Morton Bay Fig

Morton Bay Fig

The Day of the Cross was being celebrated on Friday, May 3, day 120, when we arrived in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. On our included tour to Puerto de la Cruz, we stopped at an overlook of the city located above the Orotava Valley. We visited the Acclimatization Garden of Orotava, a world-class botanical garden that is home to exotic and subtropical plants.  It was created by a Royal Order issued by King Charles III on August 17, 1788. We appreciated that most of the plants and trees were identified, although in Latin.

Puerto de la Cruz Coast

Puerto de la Cruz Coast

Our final tour stop gave two hours to explore this former fishing village. Now, Puerto de la Cruz’s quaint harbor is surrounded by charming plazas lined with colonial-style cafes and surrounded by narrow streets of cobblestone. Today, fancy resorts dominate this resurgent community. Before we left, the sounds of fireworks filled the air.

After a late lunch back on the ship, we walked around Santa Cruz discovering numerous interesting sites. The Island Council of Tenerife building stands out in part because the top is covered in netting. We later learned that it houses the governing body of the island. The nearby Monument to the Fallen of Santa Cruz in the Spanish Civil War dominates the Spain Plaza. We encountered numerous other sculptures on our walk. The tall bell tower of the Church of the Immaculate Conception attracted our attention. We were disappointed that it was not open. The Circulo de Amistad XII de Enero also attracted our attention with its Second Empire architectural style. The facade is decorated with multiple white sandstone sculptures and small intricate decorations, as well as flags.

Auditorio de Tenerife

Auditorio de Tenerife

We concluded our journey by walking near the iconic Auditorio de Tenerife designed by Santiago Calatrava. Some have said it has the form of a wave, for others, a moon or hull or a huge tongue. We thoroughly enjoyed our stop on Tenerife, the largest of the seven main Canary Islands.

Six chess players came together on Saturday, day 121, for play and instruction. We attended Mark Callaghan’s lecture on the “History of Northwest Africa.” Edward Lynch outlined the deft political maneuvers of “Morocco’s King and the Arab Spring.” Our trivia team finished with 10 points, while one team had 12. George Sranko introduced jellyfish in his lecture “How to Succeed Without a Brain.” R. Hunt Davis examined “The Golden Trade of the Moors & Beyond” in his lecture linking Morocco and West Africa. Our evening entertainment featured four vocalists known as the “Jack Pack.” They are a contemporary swing pop group.

Five chess players met on Sunday, day 122. We attended the port talk for Vigo, our destination tomorrow. Originally, we would have had a stop in Casablanca, but the captain cancelled this stop based on projected weather forecasts. Our trivia team had 10 points, while one team scored 12. Our team had lunch together with Edward, the Assistant Cruise Director who leads trivia, in the Restaurant. Edward Lynch spoke about “King Juan Carlos and Spain’s Returns to Democracy.” According to a ship handout, here are the laundry estimates per day: 2,500 towels, 400 table cloths, 3,200 napkins, 800 bedsheets,750 uniforms of officers & crew. Wow! We have benefited from a hard-working staff.