Mattia and I decided to spend the last week of 2015 in Tenerife. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, a part of Spain but it is off the coast of Africa (around Western Sahara & Morocco). I didn't know too much about Tenerife before, and was happy when Mattia surprised me with a trip there.
We spent about a week basking in the warm heat of Tenerife, which boasts the best climate in the entire world. Tenerife averages over 300 days of sunshine a year, which was fully apparent even in late December.
Mattia and I spent each day driving around to different corners of the island, exploring the different cities and microclimates. I felt instantly that something in Tenerife's air felt extremely familiar. I realized that the bright sunshine and dry air felt exactly like California. The beaches definitely had a Los Angeles vibe--dry, sunny, and surrounded by palm trees. As we drove up to the volcano, gaining elevation above sea level, the flora would quickly change. We would soon be engulfed in tall, spiny trees, reminding me of Monterey Bay in Northern California. The base of the volcano, or El Teide, which is the third biggest volcano in the world, looked like an outer space desert. We were both fascinated by the unique landscape and how just a few miles west, east, above sea level, etc. would be immediately reflected in the vegetation.
I loved that the Cali-esque weather was combined with Spanish flair--the architecture, the jamon, the radio filled with Enrique songs. In every Spanish song that blasted from the radio, I listened closely for the word "corazón", meaning "heart" or "love", which was pronounced with a very soft, almost lispy "z" sound, characteristic of the Canary Islands accent. It made me happy for no particular reason, maybe because the region's accent gave a small hint of its personality.
Mattia and I spent our last night in Tenerife saying goodbye to 2015 and watching fireworks over Playa de la Americas. We don't always get to spend holidays together so ringing in 2016 felt wonderfully special.