Weather was fantastic , clear blue skies everything had such a clarity about it.
We started out with no plans other than which direction to head off in, this was along the Carretera General towards Arafo.
We really love this road, If you wanted to go from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz in the days before the TF1 (Autopista), then this is the road you had to use, there was not other.
It is very twisty, now days the surface for the most is quite good, I can remember when it was a 'bone shaker' road, but over the past few years a good part of it has been widened and resurfaced, don't get me wrong there are still parts that badly need attention, but all this adds to the character of the road as it twists and turns through the different valley's and baranco's , past the cave houses and historic villages and beautiful scenery.
When we reached Arafo, we stopped for a coffee, there is no shortage of choice in this lovely town, but we like the little one underneath the band stand.
On leaving Arafo we took the road up through the forest towards Esperanza. As you climb this road, it's worth stopping at the viewing points to take a look at the fantastic views of the south coast. The character of this road changes with the seasons, in Spring the orange and purple flowers carpet the ground, in the Autumn the Chestnuts are ready for collecting and in the winter it's cold and damp which brings the smell of the pine and eucalyptus trees out..uum wonderful.
We kept going along this road until we arrived at the 'T' junction, where we had the choice of turning left to go to Las Canadas or right to Esperanza, we took the right turn and headed towards Esperanza, driving through the pine forest, it was a wonderfully clear day, so we stopped at most of the viewing points just to take in the smell and listen to the silence of the forest.
We eventually arrived at Esperanza, this little town as delightful as it is, is a bit touristy for me, it is one of the main gate ways to Mount Teide from the north of the island and a lot of the coach trips stop at the restaurants there, which over the years seem to have got bigger, saying this you can still find a few little places where the locals go and they make you very welcome, being as the timing was right we decided to have lunch with the locals.
On leaving Esperanza we took the TF226 road to Aqua Garcia, it had been several years since I had been to this village, must admit it has altered a lot, they seemed to have changed the road through the village, but we managed to find the Calle Real Oratava, which takes you through all the little and not so little villages of the north.
Looking at the quality and style of the houses, you have to think that prosperity arrived in the north of the Island some years ago, although some now look like they need some tender loving care. The villages seem to be busier somehow, not as quiet and laid back as those on the south, they have a character all of their own.
This road takes us into the town of Oratava, famous for many things, such as the Corpus Christi Carpets and the House of Balconies, but what I love most about the town are the well kept gardens, no matter what time of year you go, the colours of the plants are always so vivid and striking.
By the time we leave La Oratava the day is getting on, so many of places we could visit at this point, but they will have to be left until another day. It is decided to continue along the road towards Icod de Vinos, this being the town famous for the 3000 year old Dragon Tree, we didn't stop but took the road which took us back over to the south side of the island to Santiago Del Teide passing through El Tanque on the way.
Santiago del Teide is a delightful little town, very clean and neat, it is in this town where you find the turning to take the road to Masca, but we will do that trip another day. The little church in Santiago del Teide is well worth stopping to have a look at.
From here we continue on the road to Guia de Isora and then onto Los Cristianos, having nearly completed a near full circuit of the island. we have had a wonderful day and enjoyed some fantastic scenery.