Crossing On The SILVER SPIRIT Part Three

Wind through the vertiginous countryside of Tenerife with Peter Knego on the third leg of his latest Sea Trek aboard Silversea Cruises’ ultra-deluxe MV SILVER SPIRIT during the ship’s leisurely fifteen night transatlantic crossing from Lisbon to Barbados.

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Silversea Cruises

All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011

Silver stairs.

We enjoyed a leisurely sleep-in as SILVER SPIRIT made her way toward Tenerife from Madeira.

Paolo.

While at the same time making sure the ship runs like a private yacht for 540 privileged souls, dedicated and detail-oriented hotel manager Paolo Percivale is a jovial and welcoming ambassador for Silversea Cruises. In addition, Paolo oversees and coordinates special events on a seemingly daily basis, whether it be a lavish deck barbeque, a galley lunch or an Austrian coffee house-themed tea. Hailing from a Genovese sea-going family (Paolo’s father was a senior captain at Costa Lines and the young Percivale was raised in a backdrop of illustrious ships such as EUGENIO C, FEDERICO C, ANDREA C and FRANCA C). Smitten at an early age, he joined Costa in the entertainment staff and worked his way through several departments before joining Silversea where he is now proud to be hotel manager.

PK salad.

Back in La Terrazza, I was up to a very predictable routine that involved a large porcelain plate, tongs, fresh veggies and a mountain of Reggiano Parmesan.

Entering Tenerife.

The rocky outline of Tenerife loomed over the SILVER SPIRIT’s bow as she made her midday approach. The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is located 70 miles off the coast of Morocco and is home to the tallest mountain in Spain, 12,198 foot Mt. Teide, an active volcano that creates its own micro-climate.

SS LAPALMA at Tenerife.

As we approached the harbor of Santa Cruz, I was very happy to see the historic LA PALMA, the lone survivor of a trio of 190 passenger steamers built for inter-island Canaries service in 1913. After years of neglect, the LA PALMA is undergoing restoration to a museum and floating attraction.

Santiago Calatrava’s opera house at Santa Cruz.

We signed up for Silversea’s Tenerife Jeep Adventure tour in a trio of jeeps that departed the quay and passed a number of sights, including Calatrava’s spectacular opera house, on our climb into the Esperanza Forest overlooking Santa Cruz. In addition to our two American selves, the jeep’s contingent included local driver Paco and two friendly Canadians named Jim and Rika.

Fog drive.

Although it was warm and temperate a mile below, as the jeep scaled the winding roads on the slopes of Teide, the weather began to change considerably. Rain and fog obscured visibility on the narrow, two lane highway. We passed several lookouts where there was nothing but white mist to look out at.

Moonscape.

After a brief coffee and pastry stop up on the mountain, we rumbled through the volcanic landscape until a brilliant blue sky pierced the fog. Our volcanic amber and crimson surroundings appeared decidedly more lunar than terrestrial.

Three jeeps.

Our convoy of jeeps stopped at a scenic lookout at the edge of the caldera where cold misty air met sun-baked breeze.

Caldera.

A short hike to the rim was nothing short of inspiration. Clusters of easels and artists were there to capture the beauty in a far more genteel manner.

El Teide.

Further along, the once molten slopes of El Tiede loomed above, reaching their summit in an elegantly ominous beak.

Mesa Teide.

Across from El Tiede, Alto de Guajara could just as well have been transplanted from the Arizona desert.

El Teide rock formation.
El Teide Rock Formation 2.
God’s Finger.

The spectacular, other-worldly rock formations in the Las Cañadas National Park deserved far more time to savor but we did get relatively close.

Tenerife street.

We wound back down through the foggy forest until once again beneath the clouds. Our convoy hurtled through the steep, narrow alleyways of several mountain villages on its descent.

House Of Balconies.

In the scenic Orotova Valley, we stopped for a visit to the famous House Of Balconies before winding through the town of Puerto de la Cruz on our return to Santa Cruz.

SILVER SPIRIT and LA PALMA.

Once back at the SILVER SPIRIT, I had enough time to walk over to the wharf adjacent to the LA PALMA for a few parting photos.

Ice sculpture on deck.

The weather began to change quite abruptly in the early evening, eventually snuffing out the efforts of SILVER SPIRIT’s staff who had worked so hard to set up a lavish poolside barbeque. The torrential rains of Tenerife were victorious.

Although the barbeque would have been sublime, it’s not as though anyone suffered. Dinner in the Restaurant was yet another fanciful gourmand’s affair.

Tenerife lighthouse.

After dinner, the Jazz show in the Panorama Lounge was packed to the rafters, so we headed back to the shelter of our balcony as SILVER SPIRIT slowly made her way out of Tenerife. With a full day tour in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the morning, we called it a relatively early night.

End Of Third Post: Much More To Come…

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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