This was to be the big one – today we left before 10:00am, checked out and got the first bus we could to La Laguna. La Laguna has been quoted by many to be the Las Americas of the north (partly due to the high student population there). We got to the La Laguna bus station, but when our bus left for Santa Cruz, we found ourselves a little lost.
The ‘universidad’ was right in front of us, but I knew for a fact our hotel was a fair way away. I asked at the tourist information desk at the station how to get to the Nivaria Hotel, and the lady there had no idea (no maps either). She pointed us towards a bus, and then desk subsequently closed at midday.
Laura and I sat outside for a few minutes, unsure what was really happening. The bus we were meant to get on pulled up in the middle of the coach park, not really heading to any bay. I jogged across and asked the driver whether he was going to the plaza where our hotel was located. He spoke a load of Spanish and not a word of English, but this was a ‘moment’ when the penny was dropping, and I understood what he was saying. It was something to the tune of ‘This is the right bus, yes. I’m going to pull into that bay in a moment, you can get on over there’.
Subsequently, the bus pulled into the bay, and we hopped on. We sat on the bus for a while as it did it’s round trip. At one point, it pulled up in a council-estate-looking area (i.e. full of ‘local lads’), and I slowly started to get up, as my luck usually states I’ve booked a hotel in such an area. The bus driver then stopped me, and pointed me back to my seat. Ten minutes later, we were in a much posher area – an isolated plaza with trees and fountains and cafes. As I left the bus, I asked if the driver knew of Nivaria. He did – it was two minutes away across two roads. I gave him my utmost thanks – this day would have been a much bigger deal had it not been for his help.
We were getting into the drill – checked in (a four star hotel too – I don’t remember booking one that swish…). The room was lovely, cool and sizable. Again, we wasted no time in ditching the bags, and going out exploring. The plaza were in hadn’t got much in it, so we took a stroll in one random direction to see what was about.
Now, this is where things went funny. There was a tram that the bus route sort-of followed, which had hardly any clubs or bars on it. We ended up walking that way during our explorations, but indeed there was not a lot down there. We walked along two high streets, to a plaza called ‘La Conception’ which had a church, a tourist information that seemed to be always closed, and a cafe where I had a spanish omelette. There was an art shop on the high street, which I considered buying something from (but then it closed, as most of ‘em do).
After dropping by the hotel for a refresh, we took a final stroll in some other direction, which was much more deserted. We found a giant abandoned stadium / arena type place, where I’m guessing Tiesto did a concert in a few weeks back. Now there was only remnants. We found our way back to the high streets, and after walking around a local park, we got some food from the supermarket for tomorrow’s breakfast, and then went back to the hotel.
This was meant to be a party evening, but we had not seen a single nightclub anywhere. Not a club, or bar, or dance floor, or karaoke bar. Even the cafes were limited. Laura wanted to dress up and go for a meal anyway, which I was game for. Turns out, we had all on just trying to do that – Laguna doesn’t even have restaurants. I’m guessing were in the historical area or something – nonetheless, we had seen about eighty percent of La Laguna from the bus. The place is a ghost town essentially – maybe there’s a few clubs inside the university – sadly, that’s not a lot of good to a lot people. So, if this is a contest, Las Americas wins flat out. We were set to meet some AWF volunteers here tonight to go out with – I guess they knew something we didn’t!
Laura and myself found a pub that claimed to sell ‘fried cheese’, which Laura was big fan of. We ended up having some fresh, local chorizo on local, fresh-baked bread, followed by four fried cheeses and a meat-filled potato. This was traditional as it got – this was almost the back of beyond. A local pub for local people.
The food was delicious either way, and it filled the spot. We went back to the hotel, as there was little else to do. We spent the night plying with make-shift paper cards, mostly three games – ‘spit’, ‘roomy’ and ‘solitaire’ (bet you only know how to play the last one!). We played some music, talked a load of very probable rubbish, and then went to bed. The beds were on wheels, so every time you turned, the whole things slid around the room as if it were on an ice rink. Fun times, but ultimately a rather disappointing night considering the hype.
Getting in the habit of taking photo of all the more interesting foods I eat – here’s the Spanish Omelette from La Conception, and the Fried Cheeses from the nearby pub: