Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, which are located off the coast of Southern Morocco. This island also has the highest mountain in Spain at about 12.000 feet.
Due to its southern location, the Canary Islands have a mild climate during the whole year – making it the warmest place in Europe in the winter and one of the main reasons why I chose this place.
Another reason is that there are a lot of expats who speak “my” languages. There are many British, Germans and Russians living here, in addition to the millions of mostly European tourists who come to these islands every year.
I have been on Tenerife for several days now and I like it more than Gran Canaria. I’m not even sure exactly why – it seems more classy, cosmopolitan, easier to navigate. I really like the slopes towards the ocean which give a nice view of the ocean almost no matter where you are. Gran Canaria didn’t have that.
Currently I am staying in Playa San Juan on the Southwest coast of Tenerife:
However, the place where I would prefer to stay is called Adeje and is located just a little further south:
The views from there are actually nicer than right at the coast and it is close to the main highway that goes around the island.
Even the touristy areas further south on Tenerife seemed nicer than the ones on Gran Canaria. Interestingly, the most popular place is called Playa de las Americas – considering that I just moved here from the US and my last street there was Avenida de las Americas.
Though that name also makes sense because beyond Playa de las Americas on the Southwest coast of Tenerife there is only the ocean separating it from America.
My first stop in the Canary Islands was in Las Palmas, the capital of the Gran Canaria. It is the third-largest of the Canary Islands and has the second largest population at about 800.000 people.
After the freezing temperatures in mid-November in New Mexico, it was a nice change to be able to walk in a T-shirt during the day. And even at night, the temperatures fall only by about 5 degrees.
The city itself is pretty nice and has some beautiful parks and a few beaches. However, the one-way traffic in many places, as well as difficult parking were driving me nuts in the beginning. Without a GPS it would have been pretty much impossible to navigate.
The warmest place of all the Canary Islands is Playa de Ingles in the south of Gran Canaria. It is both warmer by a few degrees and less rainy than the capital in the North.
After two weeks on Gran Canaria, I took a ferry over to Teneriffe, the largest of the Canary Islands.
Fiji is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Since I was flying with Fiji Air and would have a stop there, I decided to spend several days on the main island of Fiji.
An interesting thing about Fiji is that everyone speaks at least three languages: English, Hindi and one or more native Fiji dialects. The prevalence of the Hindi language is due to the fact that many people from India were settled on Fiji by the British Empire.
I was also told that it is a very safe place – nobody has guns, not even the cops.
After Western Australia, I decided to check out the tropical Nothern Australia as well. The flight from Bali to Darwin was very short – about two hours.
The climate in Darwin is just perfect: It is about 32 degrees during the day and 26 degrees at night all year round.
Darwin itself is not a big city. I found the National Parks close to it much more interesting.
One big problem in Northern Australia is that you cannot swim in the ocean because there are crocodiles there. So people go to the waterfalls and water streams in the National Parks for swimming.
This is probably one of the most famous waterfalls in Northern Australia:
A lot of Northern Australia is actually a type of savannah instead of a tropical rain forest:
Australians are crazy when it comes to their road trains. Here are a couple of examples:
Highly recommended! I got myself a caravan from Lucky Rentals which was pretty cheap at about $50 per day. Since the gas has been also pretty cheap lately, I decided to do a car trip through Australia which I wanted to do for quite some time.
It was early fall in Australia (March), so the temperatures were still high during the day (about 30-35 degrees Celsius). In the Perth area the nights were somewhat cool at about 20 degrees, but up North the nighttime was exactly right to sleep in the caravan: about 23 to 25 degrees.
On the way back I learned that there was a Cyclone coming from the North. So I drove south a couple days sooner and always stayed ahead of the Cyclone Olwyn. When it reached me in Northern Perth it had lessened in power to only a thunderstorm.
However, the Northern communities that I had visited just a few days earlier were badly hit. Some people said it was the worst Cyclone they had in decades.
Perth is located in the Southwestern corner of Australia. It has a mediterranean climate, which means it is hot in the summers and somewhat like Southern Spain in the winters.
There are only about 2 million people living in Western Australia, most of them around Perth.
Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It is located between Switzerland and Austria. When I drove in I did not even notice that I had crossed the border. Only on the way back I saw a sign that showed where Switzerland starts again.
The Costa del Sol is located on the Southern Coast of Spain, somewhat West of Malaga. The winter temperatures can reach up to 20-23 degrees Celsius during the day, but it gets down to about 10 degrees during the night. Still, it is probably one of the warmest places in Europe in Winter.
I stayed at the Torrenueva holiday apartments which were very cheap (about 35 Euros per night) and had a lot of room. It was basically like a nice apartment with a living room, separate bedroom, two fridges and even a washing machine.