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Mount Teide National Park

Getting high in Tenerife


View Tenerife 2012 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Apparently parts of the Planet of the Apes films were shot here, and I can see why – the landscape in the Teide National Park is certainly outer worldly. With miradors (viewpoints) all along the narrow, winding road leading to the base of the teleferico (cable car), the journey through the national park takes a while. The views are surreal, with an almost lunar landscape of volcanic rocks and barren lava flows. Although bleak and inhospitable, the desert-like setting with its bizarre rock formations and unique flora possess a stark a austere beauty.

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An eight minute cable car ride takes you to the UNESCO Heritage site of Mount Teide. At 3,718 metres above sea level, it is not only the highest mountain in Tenerife, but in Spain too. Growing up in Norway, a country I always think of as extremely mountainous, I find it incredible to think that Mount Teide is over 50% higher than the highest peak in Norway! Although we did not climb to the actual peak (permit required, usually only issued to scientists) even at 3,555 metres breathing feels laboured and the going is tough on the rough paths over and around the volcanic rocks, but the views are worth any discomfort. The sulphur-laden air is much cooler than at sea level, and I am really glad I packed my fleece and jacket. I am not good in strong winds as my eyes water badly – not only is my vision impaired because of my eyes constantly welling up, but of course the tears then drop on to my glasses to blur things further. All fun and games when you have a rocky, uneven, steep path with sheer drops on one of both sides. Add crowds of camera-touting tourists wanting their picture taken with the mountain as backdrop, impaired lung capacity as a result of the altitude and strong winds – not exactly what I would call 'a walk in the park.' I have to say it was an absolutely amazing experience though.

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Posted by Grete Howard 11:54

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