What we experienced having our first Covid-19 vaccine

Friday lunchtime OH and I were at our doctors in Arona and in passing asked when it was likely that we would receive our Covid vaccinations. Luciano our nurse (sadly Friday was his last day and we will miss him because he was excellent but we will be getting the lovely Guillermina back) said just ask at reception. So we did – and on our behalf, they phoned a number which I assume was 012, going by the amount of very fast talking going on, and booked us appointments for the following day. On Saturday at 12.30, we turned up at El Mojón and joined the short queue. We had been told that along with the printout we were given at the doctors to take our green cards (no mention of TIE) and passport which we did. We were met at the main door of the annexe where the vaccinations are being given by a young lady who only wanted to see the stamped paper appointments. She told us to put the rest of our paperwork away to keep it safe. We were then asked to queue in front of one of the numbered doors. The first one we waited at was taking quite a long time and we were moved to another door by a young lady who told us to go in together rather than individually because most of our details would be the same. We still had a little wait because the lady in front of us had no Spanish and the young people who were checking details were doing it through translate on their phones. I thought it was an excellent way to ensure that people knew what to expect. We were fortunate that we could understand and confirm we had no serious illnesses or allergies. We said we understood that we could get flu or gastroenteritis like symptoms and to just take what we would normally take i.e. paracetamol but if we continued feeling unwell for more than a couple of days to let the doctor know. We were also told to expect a text around the 20th or 21st of the month giving us a time to go for the second Pfizer injection on 22nd May. It was then that the nurse (only 2 giving injections and one preparing the syringes) came along and asked which arm we used the least. He continued to say that we should spend some time in the waiting room, just in case we had a reaction, 30 mins for Jim because of his age and 15 minutes for me. While he was saying this he had given the injection and I hadn’t felt a thing. We moved through to the waiting room (sala de espera) which had a nice outlook over the gardens and read our books while we waited and over the past few days neither of us had a single reaction. It is now Thursday and while this has no logic, I do wonder…. In January 2020 both the Quayles and ourselves were really poorly. We were of the opinion that we had all had Covid before it became popular with the masses. Since that time I have had a cough so bad that at times OH has had to go to another room to get some sleep and I have been using an inhaler two or three times each day. On waking up this Sunday after the injection, I had no cough, I haven’t coughed since and I am wondering if it could be that whatever was wrong with us 18 months ago has been overcome by the vaccine. As I said I can’t explain how or why but I do wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience.
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New GHIC for British travellers

I recently received a PM from someone who had gone to quite a bit of trouble to find me. After seeing my blog mentioned they contacted the person who posted the link to establish how to get in touch, which was through my Facebook page. I should feel rather flattered by this but have to admit I wasn’t the first choice however at least I did try to answer the question which was more than they had received in the week up to contacting me. The question was – did I know of anyone who had problems using their GHIC on the island or was it accepted the same as the old EHIC?

Now I have to say I don’t check travel rules in the UK but (and time passes so quickly so I could be wrong) I think Brits, apart from returning residents and those with extenuating circumstances have not been allowed to travel to Tenerife since the UK put the islands on the no go zone at the end of last year. A holiday isn’t seen as a necessity (although many will disagree). So to the best of my knowledge so far, the use of the card hasn’t been tested.

But rather than repeat this person’s first attempt at getting no reply I did a bit of research and found the following which future travellers may also find useful…

The UK introduced the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) in January 2021 as a result of Brexit and as a replacement to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The new card is accepted at state hospitals and medical centres across Spain, including the islands.

Despite its name, the GHIC only covers EU countries unlike the EHIC, which covers travellers to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

According to the NHS, which issue the cards, a UK-issued EHIC is still valid until it reaches its expiry date when it needs to be replaced FOC with the new GHIC. If you are lucky you may have renewed your EHIC last year which means you could have almost 5 years of use out of the old card.

Each individual needs their own card and parents should apply for those under 16 years of age. Also, students studying overseas now need to apply for a card that is limited to the length of their course.

In order to obtain treatment (not prescriptions these are not covered) you need to take the card together with your passport and ideally a translator to the State hospital as few of the staff speak English, but then how many in an A&E in the UK would speak Spanish? And hope they recognise the card as it looks quite different to the EHIC. (see below).

UK nationals who travel abroad without their card can request a Provisional Replacement Certificate to prove their entitlement to necessary healthcare. This can be obtained by calling Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 (0) 191 218 1999.

But in my opinion, while having any form of card is nice as a backup, a GHIC is no substitute for travel insurance.

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Los Realejos recovers a 16th-century farmhouse for tourist use

The old hamlet of El Terrero, set on the Realejos coast in the 16th century, was on the verge of disappearing after years of neglect. Just when it seemed that this piece of Tenerife’s history and heritage was condemned to oblivion, the Pedrana Group, from Los Realejos, made an important commitment to restore it and convert it into a rural eco-tourism complex while respecting the heritage, cultural and scenic value of this old farm workers’ settlement. In a few months, it will open its doors with 12 independent accommodation units and a maximum capacity for 26 people.

The Hacienda El Terrero was built in 1535 around the winery building, which is still preserved today. After the conquest of the island, this area was initially dedicated to the cultivation of sugar cane, due to the abundance of water in the area, and later, for more than 300 years, to the cultivation of coastal vineyards to produce the highly prized Malvasia wines. In its final stage, it housed banana plantations until the end of the 20th century when it was completely abandoned.

The houses, where some thirty people lived, were built around the main body of the winery to house the agricultural workers linked to the old estate founded in 1558 by Tomás Grimón, these lands belonging for many years to the Marquisate of Villanueva del Prado. Since the 16th century, the hacienda has been dedicated to the production of wine. The main historical characteristics of this building are its constitution which housed the estate’s workers and some people from neighbouring estates it also had two roads running east-west and north-south, it was what we would know nowadays a small community estate. It was abandoned during the second half of the 20th century, although it was occupied by a group of people (squatters) at the end of that century.

This 16th century settlement was on the verge of being declared a ruin and of disappearing for good until saved by the restoration project. This had been underway for a year when the pandemic started and now the restoration of the houses and streets of this emblematic hamlet is almost complete and it will be able to open to sustainable rural tourism in the summer.

The 12 traditional buildings that were in a dilapidated state now offer a place of peace and tranquillity, there will be no Balinese beds, but a shady vineyard to rest in, taste organic fruit, see some little black pigs or enjoy a unique experience by taking a dip in an infinity pool with views of the Atlantic. It is planned to recover ecological agriculture, for example, the cultivation of vines to produce again coastal malvasia, bananas and avocados.

This rural tourism complex aims to maintain the essence and roots of this ancient Canary Island estate adapted to the comforts of the 21st century.

The Hacienda El Terrero is located in one of the steepest parts of the coast between the La Grimona viewpoint and the El Mirador petrol station and cafeteria by the TF-5.

The Hacienda El Terrero continues above the TF-5 in an area that enters the Protected Landscape of Campeches, Tigaiga and Ruiz, declared a Special Protection Area for Birds and very rich in flora and fauna. The intention of its promoters is that this eco-tourism area “will also have access to the coast and the rest of its natural surroundings, where it will be possible to carry out activities in contact with nature, encourage active tourism and promote bird watching”.

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¡Salud!

I don’t know the first thing about wine and can´t tell the difference between what is half-decent and a bottle of plonk. That is because I don’t drink and haven’t done so for many years since realising that I am allergic to the way most wines are made. It therefore would be a waste of time if I tried to make any kind of recommendation to anyone. Having said that, I did out of curiosity write THIS ARTICLE on wine, because it was giving away an E-book and I couldn’t resist checking it out. As you can see if you click the link I was impressed.

That article was in January and I have just spotted the book again on my kindle which made me decide to see what, if anything, has happened to date.

There is a Facebook page called Canary – wines of paradise with a few videos, but I continued on to the website and found several videos which give nice little snippets about the Canaries as well as what to expect from the wines.

Naturally, I looked at Tenerife and there are three videos relating to our wines. The first discusses Tajinaste Tradicional 2018, DO Valle de La Orotava, what it looks like and how it tastes, along with how the British came to Tenerife in Victorian times and some lovely up to date images of Puerto de la Cruz.

Another video is based in the south of the island Abona (it is also accompanied by some great music) and looks at what you can expect from Vera de la Fuente Baboso Negro 2018, DO Abona, Bodega Vera de la Fuente.

The final video I looked at discussed Táganan Tinto 2018, Vinos Atlánticos, from the Anaga area along with how, when, and where Nelson lost his arm.

There are more videos in the series about wines from the other islands for those who would like to see more.

I just felt they were interesting whether you are into wine or not, because of the stories covered, BUT if you are not a connoisseur (I had to look up how to spell that!) and would like to give the impression you know about your vino than you actually do, you could do a lot worse that check these out. Your friends will certainly be impressed when you discuss the look, the smell (oops! bouquet) and the tastes.

¡Salud!

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History of Teide Cable Car

The area around the mountain, Las Cañadas and the Parque Nacional del Teide is visited by more than 4 million people each year and some of these, 2,000 people each day, take the cable car to get to Spain’s highest point of 3,555 metres at a speed of 8 metres per second at just over 8 minutes.

It is not until you undertake the journey you think how could it possibly be managed without the cable car or ‘teleférico’ as it is called.

The initial idea began in 1929 when lawyer Andrés Arroyo González de Chávez returns from Germany and contacted engineer José Ochoa with his ideas based on the various cable cars in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

It was not until 1959 that the Sociedad Teleférico al Pico Teide was created and involved the municipality of La Orotava in order to use land in the municipality for building and work finally began in 1962 and ended in 1971. From then on, many thousands of visitors were able to get to the top of the mountain with ease, instead of having to climb for hours.

The project initially envisaged a cable car in two parts. The first section would connect Montaña Majúa with Montaña Fría, with two carriages that could carry 35 people each. From there, a second section would be built that would carry 15 passengers in one carriage to the final station. However, in 1960, the plans were changed to a single line to the terminus, as less construction equipment was needed.

The route was largely determined by the Teide itself and the right straight line to avoid the irregular surface of the mountain.

Final construction began in April 1962 and the first line to be constructed was a transport the building materials to the top. This was a monumental task, involving dozens of donkeys and lots of manpower. At the end of August 1963, this part of the project was completed. Now the real work began. Eight years after the initial preparations it was completed and the cable car was inaugurated on 18 July 1971 and on 2 August 1971, it was officially put into operation, carrying passengers for the first time in its then dark red cabins. This is how a new attraction, the most popular on the island began.

Between 1999 and 2007, the funicular underwent several maintenance works, but the turnaround in modern technology meant the replacement of the carriages with two aerodynamic models. At the same time, the old cables were replaced and the traction motors adapted to the latest technological standards. Electrical lines and the high-voltage cabin were completely replaced and the latest safety equipment was used to ensure safe and smooth operation.

These safety features caused the teleférico to fail in March 2017 and about 70 people had to be evacuated from the two gondolas.

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias has a weather station in Izaña that updates every 15 minutes, but it doesn’t tell you whether the cable car is operating. To save what many feel is a wasted trip you can see if the cable car is working. HERE

If you want to go all the way up, you can book the permit HERE. There is a long waiting list so make sure you allow plenty of time! 

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