Return to the Messy Painting

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Much earlier this year, I had an urge to paint, and so I got out my art supplies and started painting. The painting I began to paint was very messy. And the more I painted it, the messier it got. At … Continue reading

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The Good And Bad of Cell Phone Use

Cell phones like all technological advances have pros and cons. Technology enables people to stay connected 24/7, but that is also a drawback. There are literally people who will have a meltdown if you do not get back to their text message or voice mail within fifteen minutes, and this preoccupation with technological devices is not a healthy one. However, we can put boundaries on a technological device, and set limitations and when and how we use these.

Some people really seem to enjoy writing reviews about cell phones, but it is a bit disconcerting to me. Have you ever read a review written by a person that does not that even own that particular phone? Often it is easy to tell because they speak on the phone in more of a generic sense, whereas I would rather communicate the authentic user based experience. I feel a personalized writing style is crucial because it shows I am a human being interacting with the electronic device and not an automaton convincing you to buy a product in which I have no investment. Thus, I will continue to have a personalized stance when it comes to my writing, which has been helpful as a blogger. When I review future products I want these to be things I have used and not simply things the search engines are looking for. The good thing to know is the search engines can still find you when you only write about products you have personal experiences with. However, today I have decided once again I will write about some of my first-hand experiences with cell phones.

People That Use Cell Phones In Public Places

There is nothing wrong with using your mobile device in a public place if this is acceptable, but often restaurants and libraries have signs that prohibit cell phone use. Time and time again I am often in shock when people whip out their cell phone and start chatting away loudly. Personally I have always been too embarrassed to do this in certain public settings where this is discouraged. When I need to use my cell phone I go outside and far away from others so they cannot hear my conversation.

When people have their loud cell phone conversations I try to tune these out, but from time to time I cannot hear some of the personal things people are willing to reveal in public. If you ever watch the movie Loser, there is a funny scene where Paul (Jason Biggs) and Dora (Mena Suvari) joke about the deplorable cell phone etiquette some people display within earshot. A good rule of thumb when it comes to our cell phone conversations is to stay in your car or to go outside and away from people. When I am walking and there is really no one is around is my preferable time to talk on the cell phone.

The LG Env2 flips open to a keyboard.

Choosing A Cell Phone

Do research before buying your first cell phone because I discovered I ended up with a not so desirable plan when I first signed up with AT&T. I am sure there are some great plans with that provider, but I should have done more research before buying my first phone with them. After a year I decided I did not want the phone and made the boo boo of canceling my plan before the end of the two year contract. This is another big no no because I ended up paying the $179 dollar early termination fee, which could have been avoided if I had kept the phone. Last year apparently a California judge ruled that early termination fees are illegal, but it remains to be seen if this ruling will have much impact on the industry.

A few months later I signed up for a cell phone with Verizon Wireless, which has been the best company in my experience. In the mountains I always had good cell phone coverage when people with other companies could not get a signal. From the start of my plan in 2003 I had unlimited night and weekend minutes with Verizon, and I could make free calls to other wireless users with the same company. All in all most customer service representatives for Verizon Wireless have been very friendly and efficient. If I could do things again I may have just signed up for a pay as you go phone, but right now the cell phone is my main phone since I have decided to get rid of my LAN line. Big talkers such as myself enjoy plans like those offered with Verizon where we get unlimited in calling, seven hundred peak minutes, and unlimited night and weekend minutes. Also, I have become a bigger texter since I purchased the LG Env2 last summer, which is great because Verizon has several good text messaging plans. I buy the lower end one that comes with 250 text messages and 50 picture messages per month, which is great for me.

Also, I found that through my work I get a 15% discount on the Verizon wireless phone on my line, so it never hurts to inquire with if you can get similar discounts for being employees of a certain company. What I do know is that people who are city, county, and state employees often get discounts with Verizon in our area, but you would need to inquire with your local store to see if that is true for you too.

Cell Phones Are Useful Communications Devices

Back in 2003 my mom never used to think cell phones were silly, but during a time we had to stay away from home for a few days,  and then she started to see these were crucial. Cell phones allowed us to communicate with each other when we got separated and were far from home. Today some people argue that mobile phones can become an addiction and have evil components, but is that really true? Every generation has raged against technological advances of the “young people,” and often state many of the new devices were evil. Back in the 1950s, some thought television was the demise of the family, etc. A few stubborn people used to argue that cars were evil when they first came on the market, but today these are an indispensable form of transportation.

When radio first came out some thought it was evil. Later on, people were upset about movies and the advent of television. Today there are even a few that argue that the TV is an evil influence, but how is this really so? Any technological device can become an addiction, but the use in moderation is key. One thing I do know about cell phones is these are crucial communication tools when you are isolated from family and friends in times of danger and crisis. Also in calm and happy times it is good to have a cell phone and communicate with your loved one when needed. Mobile phones are not evil monsters, but useful tools that can make it easy to find a person lost from your party in a crowd. Honestly, I am glad I live in a time where I have a cell phone and it makes my life more convenient.


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How To Find Backlinks

Reliance upon one tool to find backlinks to blogs is not a good use of precious resources. Personally, I prefer because it allows the user to find links to blogs and articles. Also, it distinguishes between whether these links are “do follow” or “do not follow”.

Do not search the ocean for backlinks!
Do not search the ocean for backlinks! Pros And Cons

The best feature of is that it allows people to look up as many pages as desired. It can get pretty addicting and it is fun to see the different ways websites are linking back to you. Also, backlinkwatch shows whether is a link is “do follow” or ” do not follow”, which does not have as much meaning with search engines as it once did, but this information might be useful. For instance, I noticed Zazzle products are no-follow links when you post these to a blog or website. I am not sure how valuable this information is to the casual Zazzle user, but it is just something I noticed when embedding a Zazzle product into a blog post.

One of the drawbacks of is that you often have to reload the page for it to work correctly. Also, it often loads slowly even on a high-speed connection, so you better be patient if you are going to this site on a smartphone. Overall this is my favorite site and my go-to choice for learning about who is linking to me, or if my blog posts are registering with backlinks.

Google Analytics: Pros And Cons

I love Google Analytics and it can teach you a great deal about the traffic coming to your websites. For example, clicking on the traffic sources tab leads to a  subcategory enumerating the websites sending referral traffic to your blog. Google Analytics even allows you to search within a specific date range to see which sites are linking to a particular post. Another feature I appreciate is viewing the keyword searches that are leading to my blogs, which is very useful. However, these days the keyword search information is more sporadic because it is anonymized for people who are signed into Google. I have never done much SEO research, but I have done well with writing online because I look at my Google Analytics, which gives me an idea about which topics are more popular within my niche. On a monthly basis, I look to see which phrases are doing well, and which ones are not so popular anymore.

One of the drawbacks of Google Analytics is that you actually have to dig around it to learn how it works. For instance, there is even a feature to shows how many people are actually visiting your website in real time. If you click on the entrance sources you can see where traffic is coming from to get to a particular page. For instance, a couple of years ago I noticed people in Australia were searching for how to break up with their boyfriend, but Internet users in India seemed more interested in learning how to make American pizza dishes. This information might be valuable if you are targeting your website’s content to a particular country or demographic.

Do not let Google Analytics scare you because it provides some interesting information about where traffic comes from on the Internet. My favorite feature of Analytics is the map overlay that shows which countries and cities people are coming from. Okay, I am a geography buff and I like to look at maps, so maybe I get more of a kick out of this tool than some. Today I noticed the city that was visiting my blogs the the most was London, which tends to a city that can bring lots of traffic. London was followed by Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Pittsburg, Mumbai, and Sydney. Glossing over Google Analytics means that you could miss out on some interesting information, so why not explore it a bit?

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Sesame Seeds and Joy

Sesame Seeds and Joy

If you saw this box on a grocery shelf, would you know what it was?

If you’ve never experienced functional illiteracy, then this is how it feels. You go into the grocery store, and there are shelves upon shelves of beautifully packaged processed foods, each of them carefully labeled for content. However, you are limited to the pictures on the packages in order to determine what they must contain. My first experience of this was when I moved to Taiwan at the ripe old age of thirty-eight.

I was looking for a breakfast cereal and the Quaker label jumped out at me from a package on the shelf. I didn’t know what it was, but I figured it must be something like oatmeal. Except for the word “Quaker”, everything else on the package was in Chinese. However, there were some pictorial directions on the side. There was a picture of a boiling teapot and water being poured into a bowl that contained something gray. I’m not much of a cook, but this seemed doable. Boil water. Pour into bowl. Definitely something I could do.

So I bought the package and took it home. Inside, there were foil pouches, about the size of an instant oatmeal packet. Only it wasn’t oatmeal! It was a blackish-gray powder that smelled somehow familiar. Not knowing exactly what it was, my senses told me it was an old friend. It was safe. I could try it.

The Foil Pouch
The Foil Pouch
Porridge in the bowl
Porridge in the bowl

Once I poured the boiling water into the powder and mixed it in, I was already feeling excited. A taste confirmed it. This was good! It was a delicacy. It was not just something I could bear to eat. I would want more and more of it. This made me happy. It was pure joy! It was like going back in time to when I was a little girl. Only, oddly enough, I’d never had this black porridge before. Never! So why was it so familiar? And why was the joy mixed with nostalgia.

After about a week of this, with my enthusiam for the new food growing, I began to get a little concerned. I had started to formulate a hypothesis about what it might consist of. Something I’d had in my childhood. Something I liked that made me very, very happy. Could it be… poppy seeds?

Poppy seeds are everywhere in baked goods in Israel. Poppy seed cake is my favorite. But if these were poppy seeds, and they were ground down, and I was experiencing such euphoria everytime I had breakfast, then could it be there was some opium in there, too?

I began to get worried. Nobody should like a breakfast food this much! What if I was becoming addicted? What if in Taiwan including opium in ordinary foods was perfectly legal. It could contain anything, for all I knew. The ingredients were all carefully listed on the side of the box. Forty something, Four of something else — wait, that’s four pouches, probably, Then 177 big something, like maybe calories — or just the total of the other things listed below? Four of something in public units of measurement. Probably four grams of something. Then five grams of something else. Then 29 grams of another thing. At the bottom, once again, four pouches, (same character for a purse) — one person portion. something, something something 160 — probably grams. Okay, so four times forty would be 160. I could read the numbers, but everything else was conjecture.

I decided I would have to ask somebody at the university. I brought in one of the pouches. “I’ve been eating this for breakfast….”

“You like that? It’s so sweet,” my local colleague replied. “My grandfather likes it. But it’s too sweet for me.”

“Hmm. But what is it?”

“Black sesame seed powder…”

Aha! Not poppy seeds. But a close second. Something else from my childhood.

“So, there’s no opium in it, huh?”

My Taiwanese colleague laughed. “No, just a lot of sugar.”

 While the connection between sugar consumption and euphoria is well known (see the link to my hub on Serotonin and Carbohydrates), it wasn’t the sugar in the porridge that I was craving. It was the fat. Sesame seed oil promotes a joy all its own.

I am subject to extreme preferences. Most American cereals taste like cardboard sprinkled liberally with sugar. The added sugar in the average cereal doesn’t attract me. But the blackened sesame seed porridge smelled and tasted like home,

It was like the sesame treats of my youth, the halvah and tehina of my Israeli childhood. It confirmed to me that all Asians do share some things in common, and it was my Asiatic upbringing that made Taiwan seem so familiar, even though in most ways it was completely foreign.

Although it is said that sesame seeds were first cultivated in India, the word “sesame”, which is used in most languages for this seed, is in fact of Semitic origin. It comes from Assyrian shaman shammī and means “plant oil”.

Sesame seeds can be light or dark, and they are used in a number of delicacies across Asia, The darker seeds are used further east, while the lighter seeds are prized in the west. Sesame seeds contain important minerals and vitamins, including manganese, copper and calcium, thiamine and Vitamin E. They have antioxidant properties, which can be enjoyed directly from sesame seed oil. These nutrients are easier for us to absorb if the seeds are ground or pulverized.

If you are looking for something different — but good! — you might consider a dish made with sesame seeds. For a person with a high metabolism or one who has trouble putting on weight, halvah or black sesame seed porridge might be a good place to start, as these products offer both carbs and fat. If, however, you have a slow metabolism, are trying to lose weight, or are on a low carb diet, then I highly recommend tehina (also known as tahini) or even just pure sesame seed oil. I’ve used the oil on salads and vegetables, and it has a wonderful flavor all its own.

Make no mistake: the secret of sesame seed goodness is in the oil. Hence the name: shaman shammī.

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Make a Halloween Card Featuring A Cat

So how can you make a Halloween card? I prefer sweet Halloween themes, so a black cat with glowing eyes is right up my alley.

Make A Halloween Photo Card:

A photograph and text that I used to make my Halloween cat card.

A photograph and text that I used to make my Halloween cat card.

Step 1

Select a photograph you would like to use for your Halloween cat. The black cat sitting on the wall one late August evening in 2010 caught

Step 2

Use a photo editing program to write some text on the card, such as: “Happy Halloween”.

Step 3

Print out the card to share with family and friends.

Make A Halloween Art Card:

I used colored pencils to draw a picture of the Halloween cat sitting on the wall. Here is how I did it.

halloween cat

Step 1:

Use the reference photograph of a cat to draw the photograph for the Halloween cat pop-up card.

Step 2:

Color in the cat illustration with colored pencils.

Step 3:

Give the Halloween cat card to a person who adore felines.

Honestly, I love to draw and I used to make a lot of cards, so I am just sharing this crafting idea for Halloween.



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The Uses of Copper

When people mention copper, the first thing most will think of is pennies. They will talk about something not being worth a copper penny. But if by penny, you mean the cent that is the 1/100th part of an American dollar, then that is no longer the case. They stopped making pennies out of  pure copper in 1837.

According the U.S. Mint, as linked above, things started out well and went downhill:

The following is a brief chronology of the metal composition of the cent coin (penny):

  • The composition was pure copper from 1793 to 1837.

  • From 1837 to 1857, the cent was made of bronze (95 percent copper, and five percent tin and zinc).

  • From 1857, the cent was 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel, giving the coin a whitish appearance.

  • The cent was again bronze (95 percent copper, and five percent tin and zinc) from 1864 to 1962.(Note: In 1943, the coin’s composition was changed to zinc-coated steel. This change was only for the year 1943 and was due to the critical use of copper for the war effort. However, a limited number of copper pennies were minted that year. You can read more about the rare, collectible 1943 copper penny in “What’s So Special about the 1943 Copper Penny.”)

  • In 1962, the cent’s tin content, which was quite small, was removed. That made the metal composition of the cent 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc.

  • The alloy remained 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc until 1982, when the composition was changed to 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper (copper-plated zinc). Cents of both compositions appeared in that year.

The reason that the cent could not possibly be made of copper today is that the amount of copper that it would take is worth a great deal more than one one hundreth of a dollar. The demand for copper has risen steadily over this period of time, and productions has been stepped up.

So what kinds of uses do people make of copper, besides coating zinc coins with? Here are a few:

  •  as a trace dietary mineral. It is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase’. In humans, copper can be found in the liver, muscles and bone.
  • In compounds, copper can be used as bacteriostatics, fungicides and wood preservatives.
  • present in the Earth’s crust at a concentration of about 50 parts per million (ppm), so it’s used to keep the earth together.
  • It forms an alloy called brass when mixed with zinc.
  • It forms an alloy called  bronze when mixed with tin.
  • It forms an alloy called cupronickel when mixed with nickel. The US five cent coin is actually made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Its composition is homogeneous.
  • Copper can also form compounds, such as copper oxides, sulfides and halicides.
  • The major industrial applications of copper are: electrical wires, roofing and plumbing and industrial machinery.

When the United States economy is doing poorly, people have been known to pilfer copper wiring from other people’s houses, especially when those houses are not being occupied. More than gold and silver, copper is a useful substance found in many industries whose value goes up when other resources are not available.


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Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets is a new title in the Pagan Portals series

book cover copy

Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets is a new book in the Pagan Portals series, published by Moon Books.  In it I look in some depth at the subject of how culinary and medicinal herbs were once given astrological rulers by the ancient herbalists such as Nicholas Culpeper.  Of course, there are no herbs growing on the other planets of our Solar System, as far as we know, and they would certainly be very different to those on Earth if there were, but the herbalists had a system in which they were able to assign a plant to a planetary ruler according to their mutual characteristics.


Sunflower (Photo: Steve Andrews)

For example, herbs ruled by the Sun, might have yellow flowers or petals that radiated outwards. The Sunflower is a very good example, and not surprisingly is included in the herbs that were believed to be under the dominion of the Sun. The Chamomile, is another in this group. It has petals that radiate out around a yellow central disk. The St John’s Wort is regarded as a herb ruled by the Sun too. In its case it is because it has golden-yellow starry flowers and blooms and is harvested when the Sun is at its strongest at midsummer. St John’s Day being 24 June.

Herbs of the Moon have something whitish or silvery about them. Perhaps they bloom at night or have rounded leaves like the Moon. The waterlily is a herb of the Moon, so too is the white-flowered Jasmine, which emits its perfume strongly after dark.

Mercury was thought to be the Messenger of the Gods, and so herbs said to be ruled by Mercury have something that communicates about them. The Fennel, with its delicate feathery leaves, fragrant aroma like anise, and tall and graceful flowering stems speaks to our senses, and is a herb under the dominion of Mercury.

Venus is the Goddess of Love. Herbs she governs have associations with matters of the heart and of sensuality. The Rose, being a symbol of love, was an obvious herb to be included in this group of plants.


Dragon Tree (Photo: Public Domain)

Herbs of Mars have something aggressive about them because Mars was the God of War. The Dragon Tree with its spiky sword-shaped leaves, red berries and sap that dries dark red like blood was an ideal candidate to be included in the herbs believed to be ruled by the Red Planet and its deity.

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Herbs ruled by Jupiter have something expansive about them and many are trees that expand outwardly with their branches. The Lime Tree and the Oak and Pine were all assigned under the rulership of Jupiter.

The other giant planet of Saturn was thought of as the “Grim Reaper” and has associations with time, old age and death. Many poisonous plants were included in the herbs of Saturn.  Deadly Nightshade, Hemlock and Henbane are all in this category. Many of these dangerous plants were once used by witches who included them as ingredients in their flying ointments. It seems likely that their “flying” was probably inspired by the hallucinations the poisonous herbs of Saturn they employed had caused.

Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets is divided into seven sections in which seven herbs are examined with regard to what characteristics they possess that probably resulted in why they were selected to be representative of the herbs under a particular planetary ruler.


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What to see in the Mountains of the North of Tenerife

Tenerife North’s Anaga Mountains


In the Anaga Mountains (Photo: Public Domain)

Tenerife is a popular holiday destination in the Canary Islands with some incredible countryside, including forests, mountains, ravines and valleys that overlook the rocky and sandy beaches of the island’s coastline. One of the best mountain ranges is the Anaga Mountain range in the north of Tenerife.

It is easy to travel by bus from the university city of La Laguna up into this part of the island, or you can drive there. There are services that run to most parts of the mountains of the north, including the remote hamlets in this area, though some services run only a few times a day. The mountains and forests of the Anaga Massif, as it is also known, have many hiking trails that can be used by walkers. Many people choose to explore the beautiful scenery on foot, and not only do you get to see some amazingly picturesque locations but it keeps you really fit at the same time.

The forests that cover the Anaga Mountains are mainly what is known as “Laurisilva,” which means evergreen laurel forest. These woodlands are kept moist by the frequent clouds that shroud these mountains. They have a fascinating endemic flora and fauna and are of especial interest to naturalists. The evergreen laurel forests of Anaga are some of the only stretches of this type of woodland that remain in the world today, so are a very important habitat. One of the only problems encountered when out and about in the Anaga Mountains is that the weather can change quickly, and it can get cold, wet and cloudy. You need to consult the local weather forecast for the day, and it is wise to take suitable clothing. Also the cloud cover can spoil the views, although it is still a memorable experience being up in this part of the island whatever the weather is like!


A forest trail in Tenerife (Photo: Public Domain)

One of the main places to visit in the Anaga Mountains is the small village of Taborno, which has a rocky pinnacle that can be seen easily from other parts of the area, as it towers above the already high ground. Las Carboneras is the name of the village near to Taborno.

It is possible to walk from Las Carboneras to the troglodyte hamlet known as Chinamada where there are around 30 cave-houses where people still live. There is even a bar in a cave in this fascinating village in the remote parts of Tenerife’s north. You can carry on walking from Chinamada across the mountains and cliffs and down into Punta del Hidalgo on the coast where you come back to civilisation again and can catch a bus back to La Laguna.

Taganana is another coastal village that is below the Anaga Mountains. Other places of interest include Cruz del Carmen, Las Mercedes, Pico de Ingles, and El Bailadero. This last-named place is traditionally thought to be where local witches once used to gather. The forests and mountains of the north of Tenerife are certainly very magical places to visit!

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Songs From the Debt Collector, A Libertarian Musical

Some musicals promote class warfare. Les Miserables is one of those, denigrating landlords and elevating the poor to a station of sainthood. The Debt Collector aims to unite us all in understanding of rights and responsibilities. The enemy is not our neighbor, our landlord or someone who has money. The enemy is not the debt collector or the welfare mother who lives down the street. The enemy is that which seeks to divide us into classes and make us believe that for some of us to thrive, others must be brought down.


Nobody in The Debt Collector is a saint, but nobody is irredeemable.  Take Lottie Lark, the welfare mother.  When one of her children shoplifts, Lottie reprimands the child and explains that it is not necessary to steal, because the law already provides them with everything they need at other people’s expense. The Larks are law abiding people.

“Law Abiding People” is the third song in the musical. We actually have two versions of it: the one with Mindy Pack as Lottie, included above, and another earlier demo with Victoria Trestrail as Lottie, shown below.

But the same system that protects Lottie and her family from landlords and debt collectors and allows them to live at taxpayer expense is the system intent on stealing her children, and in time, Lottie comes up against the social welfare system.

Victoria Trestrail as Lottie does an excellent job of conveying the despair of the poor woman hounded by social workers who want to dictate to her how to raise her children and who stand poised to snatch them away if she does not comply.

The social workers also want Lottie to divorce her husband who drinks, and they are planning to force him to go to work so they can garnish his wages for non-payment of child support — and the money will not go to Lottie. It will go to pay for the welfare checks she has been getting. But Carl Lark has no intention of going along with that plan. He is determined not to work for “the Man.”

Eventually, the Lark’s daughter Sophie is removed from the home and placed in the hands of a dangerous foster parent who wants to adopt her. This woman is so liberal that she does not believe in spanking, so every time Sophie gets out of hand, she “humanely” ties and gags her in the basement, leading to a very real possibility of asphyxiation.

When their son, Dexter, who has been visiting his sister in secret, informs the Larks of the danger to Sophie, they decide to ask the Debt Collector to help them rescue their daughter. But in order to reach the Debt Collector, the Larks have to speak with their former landlady, Mrs. Hauser. And that’s when they realize that the enemy is not the person who gave them a place to live. That’s when Lottie apologizes to Mrs. Hauser.

Eventually, when everything turns out for the best, the Lark children sing a song about Landlords and Tenants and how they all need each other. And rather than relying on the police to keep the peace, they all depend on the The Debt Collector, a private citizen who helps keep the books balanced with only a ten percent charge on the debts he collects.

Free enterprise rules!



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Tenerife’s mountains are great for climbing

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Tenerife in the Canary Islands is a very popular destination for tourists seeking sandy beaches and subtropical sunshine but the island has a lot more to offer that makes it a wonderful location for taking a holiday. You cannot fail to see the mountains and they are a major attraction of Tenerife.

Mt Teide, at 3,718-metre (12,198 ft), is the highest mountain, not just in the Canaries, but in all of Spain, and it towers over the rest of the island. There are many more mountains in Tenerife that are great for climbing, with some of them being smaller volcanic cones and others being very high, though not as high as Teide. So let us take a look at some of the best mountains in Tenerife.

To see the summit of Mt Teide you need to get a special permit from an office in the capital of Santa Cruz, but to experience the lower parts, which are still incredibly high, one of the easiest ways is to take the bus from Playa de Las Americas or Puerto de la Cruz bus stations and get off at the “Parador de Turismo” (tourist hotel) or at the stop for the centre where you can catch a cable car most of the way up the mountain. There are guided tours of Mt Teide too, but walkers need to be very fit to go to the top, not just because of how steep the climb is but because of the risk of altitude sickness. Lower levels by the tourist hotel are spectacular, and it really looks like another world up there.

The Anaga Mountains in the north of the island are covered in ancient evergreen laurel forest. There are many mountain villages, like Las Mercedes, and incredible views over the valleys. It is easy enough to find buses from the city of La Laguna that will take you into these mountains. Chinamada, is a village in this range that has houses made from caves in the mountainside. There are plenty of footpaths and hiking trails in the Anaga Mountains but the weather can change fast, so be prepared and take appropriate clothing.

Also in the north, or more accurately, the northwest, are the Teno Mountains. Life goes on in the remote village of Teno Alto much like it has done for a very long time, and goat farming is the main occupation there. The Teno Mountains look down over the coastal towns of Buenavista and Los Silos. The views are amazing and the countryside is incredible. Just like in the Anaga range the weather can change fast and a sunny day can become chilly, cloudy and wet, so consult the local weather forecast and have the right sort of clothing, and most importantly, don’t get lost.

In the south of Tenerife there are some much lower but still spectacular cone mountains, which are well worth climbing. Montana Amarilla (Yellow Mountain) is right next to Amarilla Bay in the tourist resort of Costa del Silencio. This volcanic cone provides stunning views along the coast and over the sea. You can easily see Montana Roja (Red Mountain) near El Medano, further along the southern coastline. It is another great mountain to climb.

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