There are two types of people: Some come to Tenerife - for a holiday. And that’s it. After returning to their home countries, they never show up again. A singular event, in a manner of speaking.
Then there are others. They fall in love with “la isla bonita” and return over and over again.
It’s their longing that keeps them coming back. Their longing for volcanic soil, champagne-like air, the captivating colours of the blue black horizon and the expressive ocean, black lava beaches, colossal mountains with dangerous rocks, pine forests that inspire a sense of home. It’s their longing for the desert-like south with its harsh and dry nature, and the rich green north with its almost indeciferable masses of clouds, crystal clear starry nights, the African sun, the desert wind Kalima and Spain’s highest mountain, almost a four-thousander, demonstrating his magical charisma through his majestic posture: el Teide.
Some even fall in love to such an extent with this patch of the earth (about 80 kilometres long and up to 50 kilometres wide – the biggest of the Canarian Islands) that they themselves mutate into emigrants. And if they spend enough time there, just like I have for the last 14 years, it is very likely that their children grow up to be honest-to-goodness Canaries (of German-Swiss ancestry).
As strange as it may sound, every time someone comes to visit me on Tenerife, it becomes apparent after a short period of time if they are “real” friends or not. Somehow this island elicits the visitor’s inner life and prompts him to leave the flurry of the western world behind, to open his eyes, rediscover himself or lock himself up. “You live in paradise”, some exclaim in the course of their fascination.
Nevertheless, the everyday life on an island can also be depressing. The never-ending horizon is at the same time an insuperable barrier. And maybe this discrepancy is the decisive factor, causing prosperity of creativity and imaginativeness and making me face myself. Here, on the island of eternal spring. Is there any better place?
The Canaries are very affectionate people who encounter strangers open-heartedly. They are an unhurried species, cherishing their fiestas, vino, comida and playa with a lot of tradition. The most important expression that everyone should learn immediately on arrival is “mañana” – tomorrow. It’s the solution and answer to everything. From my experience, xenophobia is not known to them, and not only because the Canaries live mainly from tourism. In 1885, 350 British tourists visited the island for the first time. Six years later, 5.000 guests arrived. Today, there are five million – every year!
The little “continent” has a lot to offer: There’s pristine nature and beauty on the one hand, and the tourist industry, the laying battery of the spring-break mentality and the construction mafia on the other hand. Tenerife, the contradictory.
If you take a look at the island from a bird’s-eye view its geography resembles an oversized “Y”.
“Y” as in “Yin and Yang” in Chinese philosophy? Yin for the female, and Yang for the male concept on this volcanic ground that keeps you under a spell? As is well known, opposites attract.