La Mancha Country

Continuing the series of blogs about the Paradores we have stayed in, for this particular part of our trip, we planned a leisurely day in Almagro, 200km from Madrid.

Almagro is an old town that was originally an Arab castle known as Almagrib. It used to be far more important than it is today and was once the capital of the region, however, overtaken by its neighbour, Ciudad Real the whitewashed town is now a small oasis, in the middle of La Mancha.

Mention La Mancha and what immediately springs to my mind is Don Quixote. He is the theme that runs through the tourist industry in this area, like a ribbon joining towns, castles, and windmills.

You probably know Don Quixote is the story of a man who believes he is a knight, who rights wrongs, mistakes prostitutes for princesses and “tilts at windmills,” believing them to be giants. It is allegedly the most widely read book on the planet. I tried to read it but quickly gave up … boring!

Madrid (7)

Today, the historic centre of Almagro has surprisingly wide streets lined with whitewashed houses many sporting flower-filled balconies. There isn´t much to do, a few mansions and palaces scattered around but enough to fill a pleasant day.

What Almagro is known for is the Corral de Comedias, the only open-air theatre in the world still intact and still in use since the 17th century. It is reminiscent of the theatre in the film ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

It didn´t take long to walk around so after we finished we stopped for coffee in the Plaza Mayor. It is a very pretty square, with a good selection of restaurants, craft shops and a souvenir shop.

Our plan was to return to our hotel, just 5 minutes from the Plaza and spend the afternoon reading our books and relaxing by the swimming pool.

The Parador we chose is a former monastery dating from 1596; it is very comfortable with interior courtyards and beautiful woodwork. When it was still a Convent, it was a refuge for pilgrims; so much as it is today. It converted to a hospital from 1850 to 1878, only to be taken back by the Franciscans, who finally decided to close it in 1942 due to the dwindling numbers of monks and a lack of interest in living according to Franciscan discipline. Some of the original convent still stands, including the cloisters, clearly Mudejar in style, and the quadrangular with double arches.

The bedrooms, originally the monastic cells, reflect peace and tranquillity. The restaurant offers a variety of local and regional specialities, however, some of these did sound a bit grim, so we strolled one last time through the Plaza that was now full of Spanish families and found a lovely little bar where we ate with the locals.

After dinner, there was time for a few more minutes on the terrace with a game of cards and a couple of chapters of our books. Finally, as the sun moved from east to west in the sky we agreed it had been a good day in Almagro, a quiet day but we had enjoyed the rest.

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The Charms of North Tenerife

Tenerife, particularly the north has a unique personality that is reflected in its architecture not just in the large towns but also in rural hamlets, villages, and small towns. So when asked about the must see places in the north, those in the know always mention…

Puerto de la Cruz

The oldest tourist destination, where you can people watch in the Plaza del Charco or swim in the pools of Lago Martiánez.



Tenerife’s first port built in the 15th Century, destroyed in 1706 by a volcanic eruption, and declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1994.

La Orotava

One of the oldest towns in the Canary Islands founded in the early 16th Century after the Spanish conquest and home to the annual fiesta of Corpus Christi, when the town’s main streets and squares are lined with carpets of sand and flowers. And of course,

Icod de los Vinos

Renowned for the thousand-year-old dragon tree.

As they are all worth a visit it is no surprise they are the first that spring to mind. However, what about a few places that are not mentioned often enough.


The last northern town in Tenerife; the road ends here, and beyond all you find are the Teno Mountains. However, the town’s charm is not only its stunning scenery. Numerous houses line the ancient streets and plazas that combine different traditional architecture brought to the island by the Spanish conquerors. Your visit should include the church and the Plaza de los Remedios, the old public laundry, and finish at the awarding winning cake shop El Aderno.

El Palmar

Not just the starting point for exploring the Teno Rural Park. It has a character all its own with small restaurants offering local Canarian cuisine, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación and the Baile de las Libreas, which has been celebrated every September since the 17th Century. Local crafts are made from wicker and woven palm leaves and of course, as the residents’ daily lives revolve around farming, there is the smell of Gofio in the air as it is freshly milled.

Teno Alto

An isolated rural village in the heart of the Rural Park is a stronghold for the island’s rural traditions such as the use of clay ovens, threshing wheat as they did in by-gone days and its wonderful local goats’ cheese. There are several houses (not quite hotels) where visitors can stay overnight to enjoy the peaceful tranquillity.


In the heart of the Anaga Rural Park, this was one of the first settlements founded by the Spanish conquerors. There are two churches, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves and the Santa Catalina chapel, both listed buildings and a small plaza where locals chat in the shade of laurel trees. The best way to reach Taganana is via the winding road through Las Mercedes forest.

San Juan de Rambla

An attractive historic town whose cobbled streets lead from the central Rosario Oramas Plaza. The church of San Juan Bautista dates from the 16th Century and the town conserves a rich heritage of stone houses with delightful wooden balconies.


This picturesque town is all about wine. At the local tourism office, you can book a guided tour that will include the bodegas where the town’s excellent wines are produced. Tegueste also has a complete network of well-signposted nature trails.


El Sauzal

Perched on a cliff, this charming town is just one enormous viewing point. From here, you can admire Teide, or relax on a café terrace with a drink a see one of Tenerife’s best sunsets. The Plaza de San Pedro and its church is a good starting point for exploring a place where time stands still.

So why not hop in the car, or get out your walking boots and explore some of the lesser known towns in the north of Tenerife.

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  


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Art in San Isidro

Everyone knows I’m a push-over when it comes to sculptures.  Whether it is the works of art in the Parque García Sanabria in the islands capital or if I visit other countries they are always high on my list and I must, whenever possible, seek them out.  It is, therefore, fortunate that on my doorstep we have a unique park where I can indulge my guilty pleasure.

The “Parque de Esculturas de Los Cardones” in San Isidro is an incredible sculpture park that is only open on the second Sunday of the month between November to April.

This wonderful location with views down to the sea has more than 100 sculptures exhibited around its grounds. These are made from stone, steel, glass and wood and include the latest arrival, a new work called “Cazador de luz” or “Hunter of light”. Gleaming in the sun, it stands four metres high and moves with the wind.


In 1990, the artist and founder of the park withdrew from international activity in order to fulfil his dream and create a park that offers synergy between art, and the conservation and preservation of nature.  He founded the Gernot Huber Foundation which orders sculptures from international artists as well as offering scholarships to gifted young sculptors.

At the end of April the park closes until the following November. This allows the owners to go back to Hamburg where they have a similar park. Anyone who would like to visit should phone 922772331 and although visits are free, a donation is appreciated.

To find the park head from the motorway to the top of San Isidro along the main road. At the last roundabout continue straight ahead and after a short distance on the TF64 you will see a small road on the left Calle Gernot Huber – you have arrived.

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  


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Tenerife Holidays – Top 10 Places for 2016

Rafał is from Poland and is an acquaintance I met through TripAdvisor. Like me, he enjoys travelling and like me, he likes to do it cheap without having to give up creature comforts.

On 20th November last, his boss called him into a meeting and said he had to use up all of his holidays before the end of the year otherwise he would lose them.

Like most people, if you are not specifically planning a holiday few have much spare cash so this left Rafal with the task of finding something different at a reasonable cost. He knew he could do it because this is how he had travelled to several places including Paphos and Corfu.

He warned his fiancé that he wanted her to take a week off work then he surprised her with a super last minute bargain of flights AND an All Inclusive hotel in Tenerife for just €400 per person.

They only had one week but wanted to see as much as possible. As a hobby Rafal has started to make travel videos, he is still learning, but as you can see from the two videos attached, he is good and one day wants to appear in front of the camera instead of behind.

He made the following video showing just 10 places he would recommend to anyone wanting to visit Tenerife or planning their holiday, but knows there is so much more on the island to see and he hopes to return some day.

He is already planning a follow up that I’m looking forward to seeing. I hope you all enjoy these as much as I did.

For weather & news updates  check
 Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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Weird and Wonderful Tenerife Carnival

Carnival, or as we spell it here in Tenerife CarnAval is a BIG event. So big it rivals Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro.

The party lasts for days and although Santa Cruz is home to the largest, loudest, most dazzling extravaganza, carnival festivities are celebrated all over the island.

For most the Grand Parade is the highlight.  Businesses and schools close so that everyone can get involved. Thousands of people, locals and tourists, line the streets as the city becomes a sea of colour, filled with excitement and fun.  It is safe to say that if you don’t go to carnival in fancy dress, you will feel like the odd one out. Costumes are worn by all from the fabulous, skimpy, sparkling sequins and flamboyant feathers in the parades to the ever popular men dressed as women, cartoon characters and even superheroes. Everyone is dressed up.

The vibe of Carnival for me boils down to throwing out your inhibitions, having a great time in pure, light-hearted fun and unbridled happiness. So join the fun at this years Carnival.

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog
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