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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Black sand beaches

Excluding the national park at the top of the Teide volcano, the island of Tenerife has two distinct sides. The south is known for its sandy beaches and sunny skies, while the north is higher and cooler with crashing waves under plunging cliffs.

The south is touristy (full of visitors flying in from London, Madrid and Miami to stay in high-rise hotels on the beach), but there are some gems.

El Medano has the longest beach in Tenerife. The black sand beach is the result of Teide's eruptions, the most recent being in 1909. The sand is interrupted by flat layers of lava rock that flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

The beach is littered with millions of colorful pieces of tumbled sea glass in colors you just can't find on Lake Erie. So, Lauren and I scoured the beach, picking up glass in shades of lavendar, light blue, turquoise, cobalt, yellow and olive green. Oh my!

During our hunt, we watched surfers hanging ten, nude bathers strutting and dogs patiently waiting for their owners to return. As the last bit of sun passed over a distant peak, we wandered into a beachside bar for a pizza run by an English bloke who had traveled extensively in the United States and had lived briefly in Hawaii.

"I really loved the scenery in Hawaii," he told us. "But, I loved the Canarian lifestyle."

In that moment we could understand what he meant. We've eased into island time, living in the moment without a car in the world.

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