Monday, April 21, 2014

Santa Cruz

During our holiday in Puerto de la Cruz, we decided to go to Santa Cruz (about 40 km away). Asked the hotel receptionist which bus to take. Luckily, unlike our experience in Bulgaria, the buses came on time. We took the regular bus there, but on the way back we took the express buss (same fee, shorter route). Luckily for us, the express bus had a scenic route, so if you ever go there by bus, I suggest taking the express bus instead.

Here's a pic of me and MIL waiting for the bus at the bus stop and a photo of the bus tickets. The ticket price €15.75 is for three people.



Here's a photo I took from the bus. The scenic bus ride back to Puerto de la Cruz. There's the sea at the right side of this. I'll upload the short bus trip video later.



Santa Cruz is definitely a MUCH bigger place than Puerto de la Cruz. Here are some photos of downtown Santa Cruz. 




Here are some pics of the market. When I first saw the clock from afar, I thought it was some kind of church or something ha ha ha ha ha...This market reminds me of the market in Budapest. :-) There are also food sellers, butchers, etc.

Here's one photo of the inside of the market.

The other end of the market.

We didn't browse around in the market itself, but I found a top in one of the stores on the outer side of the market. Then we continued walking and walking and walking until we got thirsty, so we stopped by a coffee shop to have some snacks. I bought some croquettes, which tasted similar to those in Indo. Yummy!

Then we continued walking towards the high end shops and stores...
 
Interesting looking flowers high up on those trees...and some zoomed up pics of the flowers.



We kept on walking and walking until we found this...Some cafe/restaurants with interesting ceilings...the other side of the ceiling is covered with beautiful flowers.





Here's a video clip that I took in this area to give you a clearer view. The building with a sloping low roof across the pond is the restaurant with flowery roof.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aroma Thai Massage Spa

Before going on our trip to Tenerife, I was browsing online to find massage places. There is a massage place above our hotel gym, but it's impossible to have all three of us to have a massage there at the same time. At first I found a spa place in a four or five star hotel, but when I asked about their massage offers, they said that they only accepted hotel guests, so if we want to have a massage there, we have to pay the price for a hotel room (price includes breakfast and dinner), but then it'd cost way too much, so I kept on searching and found Aroma Thai Massage Spa.

I couldn't find any prices on their website, so I went to their Facebook page (the one that you can click above) and asked them about their list of massage and their prices via Facebook PM. They replied very quickly and any question asked were answered promptly. So I made the bookings for three of us for a 1,5 hour aromatherapy massage (€60/person). We had had traditional Thai massage before, but I didn't think my MIL could handle such a massage, so I chose aromatherapy instead he he...

Here's the front view of the massage place. It's very easy to find. 



We actually found it already the first day we went downtown. It didn't look big, but turned out it was very cozy inside. Plus they had two adjacent rooms that could be combined for me and my husband (they just needed to open the rolling door). Very convenient! I didn't expect that at all.

We arrived at the spa about 20 minutes earlier, then we were guided to the second floor to wait before our massage sessions started. They served us some fruits and tea right away and then they gave us forms to fill in. Here are some photos of the waiting room upstairs. 

After my MIL filled in the forms (actually we helped her because it was all in English), they took time to discuss it because she has had plenty of surgeries. 





Then we had our massage in dark and quiet rooms. It was very relaxing - a blend of strong and soft strokes. I actually assumed it'd be a bit more noisy because the place was in downtown, but it wasn't. I also liked the fact that they had a nice shower in each massage room (so my husband and I used different ones). Here's the photo of our adjoining rooms:



Here is a cozy corner outside the massage rooms:



After the massage, we were served more tea. :-) 



I'd rate the whole spa experience as 3.9/5 - the best massage experience is (unfortunately) still the one in Singapore years ago (even if the place was nothing as good as this one), followed closely by the one in Bali when we had our honeymoon. 

For those of you who'll ever visit Puerto de la Cruz, I recommend Aroma Thai Massage Spa for their massage, spa ambience, price range, hospitality, and the responsive marketing manager in Facebook. Thanks for helping us have this spa experience, Paola! :-)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sitio Litre Orchid Garden

One of the places we visited in Puerto de la Cruz was The Orchid Garden in Sitio Litre. The entrance fee costs € 4,75/person. It's not such a huge garden, but it's the oldest surviving garden in Tenerife. It's been owned continuously by British families since 1730 (according to the brochure). Funny thing is that the information in the brochure is also translated in Finnish. In fact, there are many restaurant menus in Finnish as well. I think there have been lots and lots of Finnish tourists going there for years. They even speak a little Finnish at the hotel where we stayed at.

Anyway, there have been plenty of famous guests in the parties thrown in this particular garden, including William Wilde (father of Oscar Wilde) and Agatha Christie.

Here are some photos of the garden.

The entrance:


The Koi pond near the entrance where guests could sit down and sunbathe ha ha...


The cute souvenir shop (at that time it was still closed). It sells some seeds as well (plant/flower seeds) at €1/bag. It also sells paintings as well as other stuff. Funnily enough, I noticed some used books/novels sold there, as well he he he...


Other parts of the garden...they have a separate section for the orchids.







Here is my hand as comparison (I know my hand is small, but still the red flowers are HUGE!). 



Agatha Christie and a character in one of her novels:


Here are the orchid section:





And at the back of the garden there's this 600-year-old tree.


There's also this funny-looking bare tree near the tree above.


There's a small cafe at the back of the garden, but we continued our journey and we found this tree with a HUGE trunk on our way back to the front of the garden. Again I'm aware that I'm small (only 145 cm) but still that tree trunk is huge he he he...


I took a photo from below to capture the upper side of the tree.


And after walking further away, I managed to capture (almost) the entire tree:


Had fun on R2's expense before going out...don't the papayas look like a hat? HA HA HA...Papaya Hat LOL!!!


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

After Holiday Cold

The reason I've been silent lately was because we went on our winter holiday and then I caught some cold when I got back. Plus I promised myself to stay away from the internet as much as possible during our holiday. 

We went for a week to Tenerife with my mother-in-law this time. It was the first time going there for us, though she had gone there before. We went to the north side, which was greener and less hot. Well, it wasn't that hot there yet because it's not high season yet, but still much warmer than here he he he...The temperature was probably around 16-23'C

I'm not going to write long here yet, because my head still feels weird, but here are some photos. We stayed in an area called Puerto de la Cruz on the northern side of Tenerife Island. I liked the fact that it was green there considering the fact that there's still piles of snow here and we still can't see any grass yet. Flowers were blooming so beautifully over there already. Here's a map of the island. Puerto de la Cruz is on the top middle part (click to view a bigger version).




Here's a pic of me with some HUGE flowers near our hotel.



Here's some pics of our hotel Apartamentos Casablanca. We stayed on the fourth floor. I must say it's a pretty good place to people watch from there he he...We were all always amazed at the fact that at 8 am in the morning when the pool was open, there were always a group of people swimming already, though it was still cool and the sun wasn't even shining on the pool area yet. Amazing! We didn't end up swimming at all - partly because it wasn't that hot yet and partly because R2 got sick there as well. He had a cold and fever and for one whole day he stayed up in the hotel room to get some rest. 

I ended up going to the supermarket to cook him some chicken soup for his resting day so that he didn't have to go anywhere. Luckily the hotel room was an apartment and it has a kitchen, so it was easy for me to cook.





The list of activities for guests. There's a green bowling competition every week as well as an aerobic session.





OK, I'm going to take it easy and rest some more. I'll blog-hop and blog some more about our holiday later on. I'm glad I still have some days off before going to work, so I have time to rest and try to get better.