Do you remember 1967, when the infamous “Summer of Love” in San Francisco made headlines worldwide and everyone wore flowers in their hair?
That was the year my mother took me to Puerto de la Cruz on the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands for the March school break. We were living in Germany then and travelled extensively. I was twelve, “going on 20”.
These islands were formed from volcanic rock and have some fascinating vistas. Unfortunately, my personal photos didn’t capture much of that, but you can see more details here.
The first thing that struck me was the interesting mix of Spanish and African cultures. Strains of Flamenco music wafted through the open bar doors while people rode on camels through the streets. We fit right in among the mostly German and British tourists.
Most afternoons, there was a stop at the Cafe’ de Paris on the main promenade for traditional German “Kaffee und Kuchen”, (coffee and cake). I especially enjoyed this, because of the young, handsome waiter who always flashed me a dazzling smile. To this day, the dark Latin types appeal the most. I even married one!
While wandering about, we discovered a quaint little bar with Flamenco dancers. I can’t remember the name of it and wonder if it’s still there. The furniture was all hand carved and there was a small bull ring out back, complete with a live bull, available for “jousting” with the patrons. He was old and tame, so it was completely benign. (PLEASE NOTE: I am against this cruel practice in reality.)
My favourite song there was Los Beta Quartet’s version of “Guantanamera”. I bought the 45 as a souvenir and used it to make this video. (Please excuse the poor sound quality and lack of stimulating images. This was my first-ever attempt at making a Youtube video):
My mother purchased a lovely oil painting of Flamenco dancers at one of the many colourful bazaars, but only after much haggling. (She was good at that!) The seller’s comment, accusing her of being a “rich American” who only wanted to cheat him, had me doubled over with laughter! It’s hanging on my bedroom wall today and makes me smile whenever I look at it.
The Sheik himself served us tea. Lunch was roasted camel meat on a stick. It smelled awful and I buried mine in the sand; in hindsight, a regrettable move. Wish I had been a little more adventurous!Tea Time with the Sheik
After lunch, we were treated to a display of traditional Bedouin dancing and encouraged to join in. I was the youngest person there and got roped into it by the rest of the group, much to my discomfort. Again, that sense of adventure was lacking and I didn’t fully appreciate the experience.You want me to dance?!
I’ll never forget March 1967. One of the most memorable trips of my life!
(That “Musical Memories” post about 1967 will be forthcoming – promise! I get sidetracked so easily 😉 )
(Originally written for Boomeresque’s “Travels Down Memory Lane” blog carnival in 2013.)
Do you have a favourite vacation memory? I’d love to read about yours too, in comments below.