Discovering Tenerife: One Step at a Time
As we transition into September, moving away from the record-breaking bank holiday temperatures and heading into the tail-end of the 2019, and the black hole of uncertainty that is seemingly awaiting us. That is why I want to spend a little time today to reflect on a calmer, simpler time – that is of course, my holiday to Tenerife!
I’ve decided to do two separate blogs, travelling and activities in one blog and hotel facilities and enjoyment factor in the second blog.
The Eagle has landed
One of the biggest challenges when planning a holiday is how are we going to get a 150kg wheelchair on a plane. I’m sure you’ve heard a few horror stories in the past about chairs going missing or being damaged. Finding an airline that would take my chair took a little bit of researching. I’m sure the question “Why don’t you just use a manual chair? After all, they’re considerably lighter, more flexible and take up far less space. Well, short answer is I’m lazy and the long answer, I’m incredibly lazy
With the flight booked and hotels sorted, the day of reckoning has arrived. For intents and purposes, I’m a pretty good flyer – I just don’t like the landing part. The issue which is on the forefront of my mind was the transferring and lifting from wheelchair to plane. In case you do not know, I have had spinal fusion surgery which means, I have to be hoisted at all times, and of course I’m extremely lazy.
Unfortunately, my selfish parents, (not really) didn’t booked first class, even if it was possible, I couldn’t bring a hoist to the plane. This meant I have to be transferred multiple times to get on the plane and luckily, I’m quite skinny, but I’m also not shot either, so with all this mind that I was nervous going into it. Fortunately, it went as smooth as it could’ve gone. The transferring was quick and easy getting on and off the plane, the seat was comfortable enough and my electric chair arrived safely, all intact. The one big downside was that you have to wait until all the other passengers to get of the plane before the disabled assistance team could get me off. After a 5 hour journey, having to wait another 30-45 minutes can be irritating to say the least.
Once we got off the plane, a member of staff from the disabled assistance team guided us through the baggage claim checkout with little to no hassle. The transport to the hotel was already waiting for us, partly due to the fact that the plane taking off late, but still. The driver pulled in a full-blown coach – it was a bit over the top and I don’t see how their business is sustainable, but I couldn’t fault the service.
Mar Y Sol offers various outings and activities to do that our all catered for people with disabilities – such as, dolphin watching or viewing mount Tede. I will just say, like with organising activities here in London, it pays to do some research on what activities you would like to go on because many are only held twice or even only once a week, and if you only on holiday for a less than a week, it can be disappointing if time logistics gets in the way.
Mapping the world
We went on two outings – a dolphin watching boat trip, and a tour of the north side of Tenerife. Both trips were well worth the price of admission. A slight caveat to be aware of though is that the boating trip is required for you to be in a manual wheelchair due to the fact that there is a couple of steps when you get onto the boat, so the staff have to carry the wheelchair on. The boat was medium sized boat – I’m by no means expert in water based vehicles (shocker, I know) but, there was more than enough room to move around the boat without fear of knocking anyone overboard. Also, worth mentioning that the group was about 10-12 people which was pretty much perfect sized group, and oh yes, we did see a pod of dolphins so, unfortunately we couldn’t request a refund. Sad times.
The 2nd trip was to a small town called Masca – which is situated in the northern part of Tenerife. The journey there – via minibus – really opened my eyes to how dessert like and sparse it truly is. A few times on the journey – especially on the motorway – I found myself thinking “they’re could’ve filmed a Breaking Bad drug deal here” and who knows, maybe they have for the new movie. After spending at least half an hour driving on long and winding roads that made me feel like I transported back to Wales. Eventually, we stopped of at a cafe with an amazing view of the long and winding roads we just drove on and a couple of mountains. After another 45 minutes we arrived at our main destination, Masca.
Masca is a nice and quaint coastal town where no one could decide on a colour theme so as a result all the buildings were painted in a bright, bold colour which gave the town a feeling of manic happiness – a feeling that scared me to be quite honest with you. The main attraction of Masca was this church – Santa Christina – which was built in the late 1800s and was partially destroyed twice thanks to volcanic eruptions. You would’ve thought that God would’ve gotten the message on the second demolition, but no. Unfortunately, God was definitely sending me a message from up above by making the church inaccessible for wheelchairs – here’s hoping the next rebuild in 200 years will include a ramp. Traversing the streets of Masca was easy enough; the pavements were all in pretty good condition and it wasn’t a particularly busy day. The only downside was that a few streets were cobblestone, especially near the church, so be warned it can get bumpy at times. God really didn’t want me to go in that church, did he.
After admiring the exterior architecture of the church, and receiving a couple of concerned looks from passers by, we stopped of lunch and headed back to the bus. All in all, I’d say the trip took a total of 6 to 7 hours. It was a small group of about 6 or 7 which unfortunately fell under the number required to have a guide on the trip, so that’s something to keep in mind when planning to book.
I enjoyed both trips immensely and would recommend them to anyone who is interested in the relatively short history of Tenerife or just wants to be one with the dolphins. If you’re a fan of both then happy days! Planning though, is definitely advised in knowing when the excursions are, and arranging transport to and from the hotel. This will be a common theme on this holiday, and my life in general – planning is key.