Seek And You Will Be Rewarded With Playa San Marcos

“Don´t go changing to try to please me…” crooned the singer. maybe Billy or Barry had Playa San Marcos in mind. First glimpses from the corkscrew road down revealed the ingredients of most peoples Tenerife dream setting. Driven by a noble quest for self improvement, Icod de Los Vinos has tried several times to extend the black sand and pebble beach and reclaim more coast under the embracing cliffs.

As on previous visits, the strongly pulsing tide, mix of old houses and refurbished apartment blocks, and neat fishing port, had my full attention. Mount Teide´s summit was the snowy icing on the cake. An hourly bus link with Icod station unlocked this part of Tenerife´s north west coast. I shadowed the tight road down under the motorway, making sure not to step back too far when squeezing into the side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic. I could have taken a liquid break at a nice cafe hiding under the bridge but was enjoying the slowly revealing stretch of the coast along to Garachico and beyond. Square fields of crops and a rogh stone bridge, worthy of a troll and a billy goat, kept me alert. Clouds of pigeons erupted now and then from a leafy ravine, my eyes were on constant alert so not to miss any of natures show.

The Paseo Maritimo walkway above the beach was getting a big facelift with white pergolas leading to the small church, and cafe terraces. Further around the Avenida Maritimo boasted shops and a chemists. The beach is well attended by life guards, and also offers limited mobility access.. It was clear that the beach was used to being ravaged by the sea from time to time, a few long waves were bowling in to stop the sun bathersw from nodding off. Big swells were also sweeping over the fishing port wall as I took the stone steps up to the headland a bit further back.

Looking along the coast beyond the bay, there were no easy points for gentle swimming, that puts places on the small beach at a premium, even if you have to fight for elbow room at Mother Natures table. Everything about Playa San Marcos underlines its determination to stake a claim at this point of the coast. It´s well worth seeking out to appreciate why it has a special place in local hearts.

 

 

Twin Peaks, Terraces, And Tiles As Ifonche Drops In On Arona

Tilling the chalky volcanic soil may have looked like a thankless task but the beauty emerging through the haze of a calima was priceless. The mineral rich jable plays a big part in producing the distinctive wines of Vilaflor and the other crops of Tenerife. It´s a great insulator and keeps the  warmth in the ground

The mountain peaks dominating the skyline added to the welcome as we got off the 482 Titsa bus from the south via Arona town, before spotting our 3 km stroll into Ifonche. It wasn´t just the air that was dry, cracked, and broken, roof tiles popped up above cactus and crops. Closer inspection at the edge of the roads showed a jumble of pipes and troughs spreading the valuable water.

One man who strolled these tracks as a young goat herd was Hermano Pedro. A shrine to the Vilaflor born wanderer, had a clear drinking water source and a shelter for reflection. Nature struck a chord with Pedro who later became a missionary in Guatemala, and ultimately became the Canary Islands only Saint. Modern travellers to Ifonche can find a restaurant and bar bearing the local lads name on the early stages of the walk.

Caves abound in these hills, just beyond a large hewn dwelling, a sign pointed to El Refugio, another popular eating place, sitting on the lip of a ravine strewn  with conflicting signs about directions and privacy. Casting our eyes up and beyond to an old ruin at the foot of the smaller peak, it was possible to trace the path backwards and through the mix of bushes and stone steps through the ravine. Aiming to the left of the elevated ruin kept us well away from the modern conversion that stands on private land in the opposite direction.

We emerged between the peaks of Imoque and Los Brezos and in a huge threshing circle. To the left the valley plunged but a wooden railed fence coaxed us round the tight downward turns overlooking the barranco far below. Roque del Conde loomed ahead with terraced fields cascading down our inside track to Arona town. Our path was gentler and brought us out on the more familiar side of Roque del Conde. The table top showed the face that looks down on Los Cristianos.

One more down and up weave through Barranco del Rey and Arona town was in sight, 6 kms and nearly four hours from the start. Cold drinks at the Atletico Arona bar just before the bus stop gave us time to reflect on a tough but rewarding trip through history, nature,  and culture.

 

Tacoronte Scenes Are Worthy Of An Oscar

Flowing brush strokes and colours mixed with bold lines, and framed with a cheeky sense of humour. Tacoronte tweaked my interest as soon as I stepped off a 30 minute Titsa bus ride from Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz.

Two men have left a big influence on the town and municipality. As a surrealist artist, Oscar Dominguez would surely have approved of the quirky statue of him at the edge of his adopted home. A giant upright fish can was relocated to Tacoronte from nearby La Laguna, Oscars place of birth. Becoming a much sought after artist, Oscar later left to hang with the masters in France.

Oscar´s spirit still lingered at the large tree lined Plaza del Cristo. Long shadows and falling leaves reached out to the two towered Iglesia del Cristo church, and the pure white Convento de San Agustin next door. I wasn´t the only one enjoying the view. The statue of a young guitarist offered silent tribute to the Young Change Makers Of The World. The Ayuntamiento (council) building was low level and low key but a stylish timepiece added a little order to the day. Maybe it was counting down the time to St Valentines Day, the nearby Nuevo Esquina bar and cafe was loved up and making a relaxed vantage point for reflection and refreshment.

The cafe balcony echoed the roof rails of  Casa Roja, now a funeral parlour, it´s design and colour did the town proud. The side road, Calle Sebastian Machado, referred to the Portuguese settler who founded Tacoronte in 1497. I felt a pull towards the Alhondiga, a granary built in 1685, endowed with great character by the passing of time and harsh weather. In modern times its look has been further boosted by modern artwork. The buiolding dipped down to meet the Calvario, home to the religious crosses, and also drew attention to the enticing Hamilton Park.

How green and splendid was the park, with its wine growing frames and stone semi circles to protect the young vines from the wind. The lush green grass and wild plants came with some leafy walks and a cacophony of bird song. Many locals were enjoying the celebrated wine of the area in cosy bars. An agricultural market at the other end of town was pulling in shoppers in the bowels of the old bus station.

Mesa del Mar, a popular rough coast spot for sea bathing, will tempt me back in the future. With El Sauzal a few stops along the bus route, there are rich rewards for my exploring days, Tacoronte dovetails nicely into this vibrant stretch of history and nature.

 

Solid Saturday Seals Blank Weak End For CD Marino

Improved in midfield and with several half chances, CD Marino´s home goal drought continued with an injury time penalty miss in a 0-0 draw with Cadiz B. It was another frustrating afternoon in the south of Tenerife and left Marino rooted to the floor of their Segunda B group.

Visiting goalie Garrancho claimed an early ball off the head of Rodrigo´Gonzalez. Lively Darra opened up the blues defence after 10 minutes, but his ball across the goal mouth was way beyond his team mates. Julien Vercauteren from Belgium, was always looking to kick start a Marino raid from midfield, and right back Fede Olivera looked comfortable in defence and added some surging forward runs. Cadiz had the outstanding player on the pitch, centre back Saturday Keigo was dominant on the ground and in the air and caused problems when joining the attack. Marino´s best chance of the opening half cane when Ekangamene, also from Belgium, set up Colombian Rodrigo whose shot skewed off target. Borja llarena´s cross cum shot cleared the bar for Marino to leave the game finely poised at half time.

Late confirmation of fans being allowed back in the stadium, limited the crowd to around 300, but they gave good vocal support to try to inspire some clinical finishing. Colombian, Rodrigo looked likely to break the stalemate just after the break but Garrancho punched away his effort. Gudeli led a charmed life for the yellows as two bruising blocks by him went unpunished by the ref. Julien found Ekangamene who fired high, and Julien hooked his own attempt over the bar.

The home tension was growing as Cadiz pushed Marino back into defence in the final minute of normal time. Rodrigo had a great chance to use his size to power between two markers and race into the yellows half unchallenged but they squeezed him out. The ref signalled four minutes injury time as Rodrigo and sub Nami both squandered half chances  but salvation seemed at hand when the ref blew for a penalty in the dying seconds. Nami stepped up and fired wide of the goal. The closing whistle was immediate and the points were shared.

 

 

Budding Stars Battle For Peak Positions In Santiago Del Teide

Just as the leg muscles began to pinch and the Santiago Del Teide church shrunk below us, Mount Teide served up its snowy reward. Pink and white almond blossom had already made its slightly subdued greeting high above Tenerife´s north west coast.

The Almond Blossom Walk is not an excat science, the weather always makes it  difficult to predict the perfect time to enjoy one of several routes that emanate from the church plaza. With Teide making its bow, nature stood to attention. More trees cascaded with colour, pines danced along the ridges of hills, and young eager buds were ready to join the party over the next few weeks.

Many people had already made their mid week devotion when me and my friends arrived from the south on the 460 Titsa bus just after 1 pm. Bars and restaurants had pink and white trim to show that they were selling almond influenced tapas and meals. A near full reservoir was our first landmark as we started to match the rise of the hills shielding Masca from the road to Icod and the north.

Gurgling water channels and rocky, well marked paths introduced us to more bursting bushes of blooms before we turned off to the Chinyero clearing. A miracle was declared when placing the statue of the Virgen from the local church stopped the lava in its tracks during the 1909 eruption. That solidified magma was now our path and a natural compliment to the other wonders. The wild shapes and twists of the rocks reflected the power and the glory that spilled forth from the bowels of Tenerife in that frightening last roar from the volcano.

Even when we reached the forest section of our circular walk, Teide was determined not to be out done by the majestic pines that thrive on the mineral rich soil. Seeing the contrasting aspects of nature thriving in such harsh conditions was a great inspiration and a calming influence.

We had to pay our dues for such an enriching afternoon, Arguayo village was in sight but the signs pointing down either side of private farming land heralded one last test of changing terrain. Experience had taught me they shared similar surfaces of small rocks and stones that tried to force the pace on a steep decline. A careful, steady descent and we completed our stroll in just under four hours and ready for cold drinks at the Tropic Bar in the village. An eight euro taxi ride won the nod over a 45 minute road hike down to complete the circle to our Santiago Del Teide start point and the 6.30 pm bus to Las Americas and all points south.

 

 

La Laguna Is An Open House For History

You would expect an illustrious past to spill onto a World Heritage Site. La Laguna, a short tram ride north of Tenerife capital Santa Cruz, has historic gems in every street. Seeking out the Museum Of History and Anthropology will give you a broad insight into the day to day life of  and social development of Tenerife.

Casa Lercaro´s wooden floor boards creaked with the footsteps of past inhabitants, and the garage at the rear of the courtyard even had two majestic carriages that have carried the mighty of Europe. Entry is always free and information is in several languages, and audio points. A wide range of exhibits are used to throw light on the evolution of Tenerife, sculptures, guns, newspapers, photos, newspapers, clothes, and tools, to name just a few.  Casa Lercaro is a living exhibit itself, the courtyard features the classic traditional wooden Canarian balconies. Restoration has been authentic, detailed, and time consuming.

Talking of restoration, the nearby Palicio de Navas had delivered their lovingly restored Nava carriages to the museum while their home got its own update. A black Landau model, originally made in Germany , looked splendid with some UK touches. Craker had buffed up the bodywork, and Thomas Davis had made the side lanters sparkle, both companies are London based. The sombre look made me think of Jack the Ripper but on a more sedate note, Jane Austen often mentioned the stylish people carriers in her novels. The 18th century white Berlin carriage in a french Rococo style, looked more like a fairy tale creation and turned my mind to the Disney version of Cinderella. Pine, oak, and mahogany were preferred to a pumpkin in this case.

Thanks to good management and safety measures, the museum stayed open for many more hours than were feared when Covid arrived. For now it is waiting for you from Monday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, with a limit of 85 visitors at a time. Those hours will be extended as and when circumstances allow. You can always check the Tenerife museums website for up to date news before diving into a classic era.

 

Caught BetweenTwo Rocks And A Beer Place

Half way between Los Cristianos and Santa Cruz, a blonde explorer fell to his knees and kissed the ground as Tenerife´s TF1 motorway trundled by. Nearly a year without live CD Tenerife football does that to a bloke. Appropriately, it was a Saturday and Los Roques has been the half way match day stop for the Armada Sur for many a season. It´s also a beautiful setting that deserved a deeper exploration below the Los Roques and Oasis bars.

The Playa del Abrigo with its sweep of black sand was being raked by foaming waves on a 26 degrees January afternoon. A few people were sand strolling but although it does attract adventurous swimmers, the currents must be wildly unpredictable beyond the craggy guards of this stretch of the east coast.

 

The municipality of Fasnia is one of the smallest in Tenerife and can appear to be trapped in a time bubble. The Bahia  Apartments showed no signs of life but up above new housing, wooden benches, and a well maintained road told a different tale. The big surprises came on the other side of the main bay, once linked by a beach track, for me though it was up and over at the top, and into a small traditional fishing community. Built around Playa del Roque, a church and some houses had been damaged by rock falls. Trying to resist the mood swings of Mother Nature must be a constant challenge to the local council. A recent large cliff collapse on neighbouring Canary Island, La Gomera, had led to wide spread protection measures on other vulnerable spots.

Despite that, there were plenty of encouraging signs. A new water treatment plant topped by a viewing platform sat alongside a huddle of old houses around the steps to the beach. They showed a great sense of pride in their fishing traditions and the people who toiled the sea. Most thirsty drivers wont dip any deeper than the two bars but the Saturday agricultural market had a queue, hopefully that will bring further good harvests.

If you do stop off, cast a glance down to the beaches, it´s a magnificent sight. If your not in a hurry, you can also pop under the motorway via a tunnel to see the ancient Fasnia water train that used to help bring water up from the deep pools to irrigate the fields. Inland and a little up hill Las Casas del Camino Real are a flag ship for rural tourism in the area. They are soon to be featured as the setting for a German reality TV show. There´s a strong beating heart at the centre of Fasnia, the municipality and its neighbour Arico, are pioneering the Titsa bus comany´s  pre booking local bus service called TUWAWA.

Pink Tide Engulfs CD Marino

Mali international Anbaba had an uncomfortable debut in the centre of defence, and new young forward Jurgen struggled to trouble visiting goalie Herrero as CD Marino lost 0-3 to Marbella FC behind closed doors in Tenerife. The visitors dominated the game, spreading the play in attack and closing down the rear with rapid interceptions.

Niki created an encouraging opening for the home side, picking out Dumas with a neat pass but the pink defence squeezed him into making a weak shot. Marbella have well financed ambitions to win promotion to Spain´s Second Division, only early wayward finishing from Chumbi and Redruello kept the first 29 minutes goal less. That was broken when a high inswinger found a leaping Chumbi who nodded the ball into the home net for make his own debut a happy one after a move from Real Murcia.

Nami tried for a quick reply with a low shot, Busquets was a little lucky to get a boot to it to stub out the danger. Just before half time, an unchecked run down the left by Callejon ended with him tucking the ball under the diving Kidvice. Ahmed made a couple of threatening breaks after the restart, and Aleman did well to hold off Callejon to keep the visitors in sight. After 65 minutes, Niki tried to dig out a loose ball as Marbella goalie Herrero dived  to smother it. The ref gave Niki a harsh sending off to further restrict Marino.

Marbella made the most of their man advantage and within five minutes it was 0-3 from a Tresako penalty for a foul by Saavedra. Kidvice kept the scoreline down with a late full length tip away. Chumbi could have inflicted further damage, his build up dribble was good but not matched by a shot that drifted wide of the goal. It was another blow for CD Marino´s season and a few days later they scoured the January window transfer market to sign another forward. Rodrigo Rivas, a 24 year old Colombian with experience in the Cyprus and Croatia leagues as well as a spell with Alaves in Spain is the latest hope to stabilise the blues first season back in the Segunda B.

 

Cupped In The Hand Of Nature In El Puertito

There´s no bonus points for elegance! That thought spurred us on as we scrambled up a tricky part of the La Caleta to El Puertito walk along the Adeje coast of Tenerife. Barely a dozen people on the shallow pebble beach of the little port, and just a few boats bobbing gently at the entry to the bay.

A far cry from the packed scenes on a hot summers day, it was a sign of the Covid times. The clear blue sea massaged our well worked leg muscles before cold beers quenched our thirsts at the nearby bar. We had started out among a few early birds speckled on the Playa de La Enramada beach sun loungers in La Caleta. Rising up beyond the fish restaurants, a kestrel swooped over a clump of cactus as we climbed the sandstone trail in the worn rock that headed along the cliff top. The table top mountain of Roque del Conde lurked inland and the hotel towers of Playa Paraiso looked deceptively near a few coves ahead of us.

A scattering of hippy huts used to be a familiar sight in the folds of the rocks but a recent deje council enforcement of the protected status of the area left just a few hints of the tons of rubbish and shacks. Sun worshippers lapped up the warmth of the day in secluded spots near the shore and a few walkers passed us coming from the west. We faced a few tough choices where the path thinned out. Patience and tentative foot holds saw us through.

 

Crumbling plantation walls harked back to early crop raising and a large stone clock face had my thoughts wavering between pizza and Dennis Wheatley black magic novels. After a couple of leisurely hours, stone steps down besides a private house led us onto a concrete balcony beholding El Puertito in its full glory. It was one of those moments that stops you in your tracks and makes the path pounding all worth while.

Turtles also enjoy the special qualities of the cove. In busier times boat trips deposit many scubs and snorkel enthusiasts to admire the placid creatures. Our swimming was closer to the shore and well timed as the tide was quickly eating away at the sand. Whether by foot or by car, El Puerto is not easy to reach. Passing the statue of the Virgen in its shrine, and the small church, we wound our way up the tight road out above the other side of the bay. They might have part paved paradise but there´s certainly no parking lots.

It was a long slog up past the ghostly quiet hotels with lots of longing gazes back to the beach. Playa Paraiso was the next bay along for food and buses, by then we were wondering if El Puertito had just been a dreamy mirage.

Canarian Catwalk Of Culture In Arona

Smart, practical, and oh so stylish, traditional Canarian costumes are usually twirling to the music in celebration of fiestas. You can get a closer view and a taste of the history that surrounds them in the heart of Arona town at the Casa La Bodega winery. Just 10 kms uphill from beaches and night life, the past imprints itself proudly among buildings and fields that tell many a tale.

The church of San Antonio Abad held court in the plaza on a clear morning as I stepped off a Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. An ancient meets modern mural greeted me as it wrapped around the main street corner. To the west of the plaza, several walking routes attract many energetic disciples, but to the east a slight incline led to the old white and green winery, now converted to a time capsule of rural treasures.

The costumes were the latest stars. Lace up waist coats, hats, and neck coverings caught the eye. The footwear was elegant and sturdy, perfect to tap out an infectious beat. Even the under garments got a rare showing. The Prendas, Trajes, and Tipismo exhibition runs to Friday 12 February, Mondays and Weddnesdays 8 am to 6.30 pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8 am to 4 pm, and closed Saturday and Sunday. Entry to the Casa is free and other long term exhibits include, roseta needlework, Guanche rock carvings, and the history of famous Arona people and landmarks.

It all fired up my admiration of Arona, so I took in some more key sites like the El Calvario, where religious crosses are gathered together, the old casino, and plenty of buildings full of character. Add in some enticing cafes and bars. plus the views down to the coast and it all makes good reasons to make a visit at any time of year.