Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes cliffs and beach, Tenerife.

Our hotel is perched up on a rock and has a wonderful view of the cliffs.  They are especially striking at sunset.

To get to the beach below the cliffs means a little walk.  First up a steep hill, not much fun, but nevertheless tackled a few times because of the reward of a nice day out.

Pause at the bench half way up the hill.  Regret eating so much for breakfast, but how can you not, when faced with such a wonderful, varied, limitless buffet?

Make it to the top of the hill, look in some shops, buy a silly beachy-type garment in green with big orange circles on it – it will sit in a cupboard unused for years, but is nevertheless precious and gets pulled out in advance of future beach holidays.

Then downhill, nodding a hello to other tourists, enjoying the views of the bay and the marina ahead, revelling in the wonderful heat and clear blue sky.

In the little town we look at the hundreds of big fishes begging for crumbs in the waters of the harbour, taking endless photos of them.  We get accosted by various people selling boat trips and consider which excursions we might purchase.

In fact on another day, I do go on one on my own, several hours out on a little boat, and I have to admit, they deliver what was promised – several good sightings of leaping dolphins, as well as black beluga whales, and one bigger whale, lingering just off from the boat, quite an experience.

In particular I remember three dolphins swimming towards the boat fast, in formation, and passing underneath.  In a straight line, ignoring the boat – giving us the feeling that they were busily engaged on their own urgent and secret business, and we were merely an obstacle in the way of their very clear trajectory.  They definitely knew where they were going and I waved them on their way.

Based on this experience, I recommend Tenerife as somewhere you can really see dolphins – not just get the promise of them, as I’ve experienced on boat trips elsewhere.  And I don’t think it was just a lucky day – sightings seem to be pretty reliable.

So by the harbour, we sit and eat sardines in a café on the corner, unfortunately having to spend the whole meal swatting away flies from our plates.

Then we cross the road and discover a wonderful public lido.  A big pool right by the sea with loads of space to sunbathe, and good facilities, or at least, everything you need – changing rooms, toilets and a little café.

I don’t know why I like it so much – or rather I do, it’s because it’s relatively empty of people.  I guess everyone’s at their hotel pool and not keen to pay for this public one, but I think it’s a wonderful extra option, and enjoy swimming and lazing around in relative seclusion for some time.

Then later in the day, we walk along a pretty little pathway with tourist shops on one side and some beautiful, coloured trees and bushes on the other.  At the end of this is Los Gigantes beach.  Small and not too busy, with the cliffs towering above it, but not providing much in the way of shade at this time of day.

The sand is so incredibly hot, it’s impossible to walk on.  Even in flip-flops, the sand gets onto your feet and burns them.  Everyone hops about from their towels to any patch of shade under a sunshade.  This is why people wear trainers on the beach!

We hire sunbeds and shades and plaster ourselves with sun tan lotion.

The toilets by the beach are dreadful, second only to the worst toilets I have ever experienced in my life – a stinky hut in the middle of the Chott El Jerid, a salt pan in Tunisia.

There’s a little café right on the beach, nothing special but with a very ‘local’ and atmospheric feel.  Beer and ice cream gets consumed.

The cliffs impart a bit of an echo.  Swallows fly around them, the waves break against the bottom of them at the end of the beach.

I liked this little beach, despite the hot sand and the smelly loos.  It was a peaceful, quiet moment – a nice bit of genuine relaxation.  I pottered about under the cliffs, wading in the sea and exploring rockpools.  Feeling profound – as you do sometimes, looking out over the water and listening to the waves and the sound of children playing.

And this beach became particularly significant, after the event, because a few months after our holiday in Tenerife, we saw a sad news story – there had been a serious rockfall on this very beach and a tourist was killed.  Pretty much exactly in the spot we had lain, somewhere in the middle of the beach!

Wrong place at the wrong time – for some poor other lady, not me.

Moral of the story – don’t sunbathe under cliffs!

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