Because of the protests in Northern Africa caused by the amateur film defacing Muhammad, the International Shipboard Education and the US Department of Security both agreed that Semester at Sea needed to take a detour from Morocco. The University of Virginia decided that instead of us traveling to Casablanca, we would venture off the Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands stand right off the coast of Morocco and remain a big tourist spot for Europeans. I, along with all the other members of the shipboard community, had no idea what to do in the Canary Islands except go to the beach. However, when we pulled into port, the beautiful sites of volcanic summits and mountains that surrounded the islands took me back. I watched the sunrise over the volcanic summits of the Canary Islands and it honestly was an once-in-a-lifetime view.
The first day, my friends and I toured the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which involved visiting a huge market that is held in the square every Sunday. The market reminded me of a huge yard sale or flea market almost. After our visit to the market, we stumbled upon a beautiful beach that we later learned had sad imported to the islands from the Sahara Desert! The mountains on the beach were beautiful and stretched far into the ocean. The first day in the Canary Islands was a blast, but the second was even better.
My friend Max and I decided we wanted to go running 6 miles up a volcanic summit in the Canary Islands. Max jokingly ask our professor, Don Goniat, if he would like to join us. Apparently Professor Goniat loves to run, so he told us to meet him at 8:00am and he would take us running with him up this mountain! Needless to say, I was pretty hesitant about running with my professor because I don’t like running with people…let alone my teachers! Nevertheless, Max, Dr. Goniat, and myself went running up this summit at 8 in the morning the second day of our stay in the Canary Islands. I have to admit, although I was hesitant about the run, it turned out to be a highlight of not only the Canary Islands, but my entire SAS voyage so far. We had a great time together and all enjoyed the fabulous views of the city from the top of the summit. Dr. Goniat took photos and they may not be the cutest (concerning the fact that it looked like Max and I were melting we had been sweating so much), but they sure capture a great moment shared between friends. Later that day, Max and I explored the city some more. We walked down to the Opera House of the Canary Islands and enjoyed wonderful views of the harbor area while stumbling upon little shops and restaurants along the way.
Though our stay in the Canary Islands was only two days, they were well spent and it was definitely a place that I am glad we visited. We were all bummed we couldn’t have the pleasure of entering Casablanca, but I suppose that just means I’ll have reason to go to Morocco another time!