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Pilgrimage cave and Jungle Park

Saint and zoo

sunny -34 °C
View Tenerife 2012 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Another hot day, reaching 34C this afternoon. Maybe the ex-pat we met on the flight over was right in his forecast of a heatwave with temperatures reaching 39C by Sunday.

There once was a poor and lonely shepherd, whose name was Pedro. Devoting his life to Christ, he lived in a cave near El Medano in the 1700s, before deciding that he was needed in the Americas to spread his faith. Catching a ship across the Atlantic, his funds ran out in Cuba, but somehow he managed to work his way along to Honduras, where he disembarked and walked to Guatemala City. Despite his extreme poverty, he managed to beg and gain sponsorship to found a convalescence home for the poor. His good deeds were finally officially recognised when he was canonised by the Pope in 2002, as the Canaries' only saint. His cave is now a place of pilgrimage in a rather out of place setting right at the edge of the airport underneath the runway lights. A small wooden sign in the middle of nowhere directs you to the cave, where a lot of money seems to have been spent on the approach leading to his very modest underground abode. No more than just a small enclosure in the side of the cliff, the cave is now full of flowers and candles as befits a place of pilgrimage.

1Cave_2.jpgCave_3.jpg1Cave_1.jpg Rosaries in the cave

Using a next-to-useless guide book and rather hit and miss signage, we headed for Las Aguilas Jungle Park – a zoo by any other name. I love a good zoo, and this really was a good zoo. The hefty entrance price turned out to be quite good value for money, at just a Euro less than the cable car to the top of Mount Teide yesterday. Despite generally favourable prices, the touristy stuff isn't really that cheap here.

Beautifully laid out in a verdant jungle setting, the park features peaceful shady walkways, exciting rope bridges as well as large enclosures full of what appears to be well looked after and contented exotic animals. We did succumb to the tourist trap of having our pictures taken with the birds as we arrived, but avoided the flying displays, favouring a gently and relaxing five hour walk in amongst the flora and fauna. Save for a few Russian families and and the odd topless British chav (why do past-middle-age portly men think it is suitable to walk around shirt-less?), the place was almost deserted. Bathing tigers, swinging gibbons, lazy crocodiles, pacing leopards, roaring lions, fat old orangutans, my first sighting of a black panther, free flying macaws, the best cactus garden I have ever seen all added to the enjoyment of the day. And there were penguins.

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A very odd but very refreshing drink....

Back on the balcony testing out the local rum. The first four glasses seem to be OK, but I have to make sure it's not a fluke...

I thoroughly enjoyed practising my (extremely limited) Spanish in the supermarket this afternoon, buying some pre-marinated chicken pieces on the butcher's counter: “Piquante?” (“No”) “Quesiera.... para dos...” Grateful for having packed my sambal oelek, the chicken was thoroughly enjoyable with some 'tortilla papas' and salad left over from yesterday. More than enough food for two, we now have some left over for a picnic tomorrow'.

Posted by Grete Howard 13:27 Archived in Spain

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It sounds like you had another very nice day. Interesting about the cave.
Great pictures taken at the zoo. That is a strange looking drink you have there.
Glad the rum on the balcony is drinkable.:-)

Hugs,Kay xx

by Kay

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