The Wander Bug Meets the Butterfly In Icod

Unsettled and changeable best describes recent weather in Tenerife but to my holidaying friends Neal and Karen on the run from Bournemouth snow, it was just what they needed and as they wanted to taste the TITSA touring experience we headed off to Icod de los Vinos. Rising up into the hills the early sun was soon covered by low cloud although it did filter through for a wonderful rainbow nearly touching the road just by Santiago del Teide. Passing through some drizzle we dropped down into Icod and a decent sunny day, the tight back streets were bathed in festive classics in a Canarian stylie from the speakers at key points along the shopping parade. The local businesses had even laid on free wrapping in the street – the present sort not the bling and baseball cap musical variety.

Heading along for a gawp at the Drago tree brought us to the Plaza Andres de Lorenzo Caceres for a spot of lunch, decent prices and a lovely setting among the mix of strange knarled trees and the rather out of place multi coloured kiddies car ride. News had reached us of nearby Garachico’s 3 million euro collective win on El Gordo, the Spanish christmas lottery, was that a wave crashing as we looked out along the coast, or just another large bottle of champers being cracked open? The big famous Drago tree walled in just below the plaza gets all the attention but there are plenty more in the area so we headed up the road to worship a slightly smaller neglected tree hidden away in its own small crumbling plaza – I think we might start an appeal to help it. It was then we spotted a museum, Casa de Los Caceres, a fabulous old two tier house packed with some great food influenced art like a human figure made of lentils, peas, and chick peas, I think the artist was Jamie Oliver but I wouldn’t swear to it. Coming out there was a large crowd gathered as 2 chaps performed some street theatre.

Heading back down to the plaza it started raining so we dived into the Mariposario, the Butterfly Zoo. I have meant to visit this zoo for a long time, they have had run ins with the local council and it has been open and closed more often than Jordans legs. It doesn’t look much on the outside but once inside it opens up into a huge tropical greenhouse with plants, flowers and a stream running through. The butterflies were amazing, so many of them all around us and such a range of colours. A large lizard lounging on a tree bough looked like he was stuffed after eating a feast of butterflies but he flicked his tail now and then just to show willing. As the butterflies landed on us we had to resist the natural urge to brush them off, don’t want to destroy the stock. I can’t believe some woman had taken her dog in with her, small yappy and wrinkly around the face, but the dog looked quite nice.

Deciding to head south we stopped at a bar next to the bus station where a few locals were glued to a very old western on the TV, resisting some gems among the station shop DVD collection – Kojak when he was so young he still needed a comb- we waited for our bus as a young Ninja stretched his legs up the side of another bus and played out a rythm on the side with a rolled up newspaper, of course he got on our bus and continued his impromptu drumming all the way down to Guia de Isora where we got off. Town was fairly quiet apart from a kids party in the church square, sadly they didn’t seem to want us on th bouncy castle so we found a bouncy bar along the main road and savoured the last sun of the day as we had a few drinks. Guia were playing CD Marino at the football ground, just as well as the floodlights were the only illumination for the bus station next door, we were joined by a young pretty Eastern European lady who didn’t seem to know where she was heading and was gonna wait on her own in the near dark for an hour. Thankfully we persuaded the lost lass to get on our bus and head back to Las Americas, she only had a 50 euro note that the driver couldn’t change, Karen rescued her by paying with her Bono ticket, not nice to imagine the lady left on her own with just broken English and a 50 euro note to help her.

Our trip was brief, just a few stops down to Tejina to meet up with The General from the Armada Sur, by now it was getting a bit chilly but the pizza bar was welcoming and served up some nice local food to warm us up as we spilled our story of the day. TITSA buses give a good service and our 10 pm bus was spot on time to whisk us back to Las Americas and Los Cristianos. Another rewarding day exploring Tenerife in good company, with a few Doradas thrown in for good measure.

[…] carols from the speakers and plenty of empty restaurant tables. Maybe the fenced off, closed again Mariposario butterfly house, and the glaringly unfinished Drago visitors centre have something to do with the lack of […]