Tenerife Tides And Peaks Through Anaga Rural Park

Was the ground dropping away or the mountains standing to attention? Both observations were true as the Titsa bus weaved and picked its way through Anaga in the north east pan handle of Tenerife. The occaisional blast of the bus horn pre warned oncoming traffic on the tight bends. Far behind, a cleft in the rocks showed freighters and cruise liners moored off Las Teresitas beach.

A delicate balance of fully laden trees and wedges of sloping man made terraces, added to the breath taking views that kept on coming in an hours journey from the bustling capital of Santa Cruz. How untouched by time the little hamlets and isolated houses looked. A cluster of post boxes on the lip of a plunging path was at least a small concession to the local delivery man. Secluded picnic areas and signposts to walking routes were evidence of the rise in rural tourism. The dominant peak of Roque de las Animas looked down on Taganana as the bus squeezed through the slimmest of hairpins.

It was barely 5 kms to the coastal destination but three mature ladies hurried to head us off with pre paid multi ride tickets and big broad smiles spilling out from behind their anti Covid masks. The vibrant sea seized the spotlight as we hit the coast road and young surfers piled off and retrieved their boards from the storage belly of the bus. Playa de Almaciga was busy but well below the previous heatwave weekend that saw the solo entrance road  gridlocked. The bus passed the gnarled Roque de Las Bodegas and turned up to the village of Almaciga perched on its crows nest position.

The last wave of passengers headed down the steep path to the wild sweep of beach heading to Benijo. It was very informal there, parking spots and makeshift picnics were the order of the day and back stopped the rolling waves. Back at Roque de Las Bodegas, rods and lines tried their luck from the well maintained path that skirts the rock itself. It´s a well worn tradition, fishing boats dried out near the shore. The sea was a minefield, of further jagged rocks piercing the water. Taganana wine used to be floated out in barrels for passing galleons to pick up. It must have been a supreme juggling act, as the afternoon wore on, the tides became more insistent and crashed their arrival in no uncertain terms.

Anaga is an inspiring area to visit, the few still functioning cafes and bars were doing a steady trade as the mid 30 centigrade heatwas softened by the spray of the sea. The return trip was shaved of 15 minutes from its hour expectation. The 946 and 947 buses leave each end og the journey at quarter past the hour, with the 6.15 pm the final chance to head back to the capital (check seasonal variations) and another opportunity to marvel at the amazing land that you have travelled through.

La Orotava – No Welcome Carpet Rwquired.

Worthy of more than just an annual visit to the Corpus Christi flower carpets, some healthy leg stretching was needed to explore the uncluttered streets of La Orotava. I arrived via a short hop Titsa bus from Los Realejos, eyeballed by an artistic mural proclaiming the virtues of the region. I headed up into the historic quarter where spires compete for  skyline supremecy.


Plaza de La Constitution offered shade and cold drinks while the three bell tower of San Sgustin church delivered a jackpot for architecture fans. The joy of non shuffling movement and time to gaze out over the La Orotava valley was worth savouring. It seems to be a sin in this charming town for buildings to be just ordinary. Even the less cared for barns and out houses had a rough diamond quality. The 2020 version of Corpus Christi was a vastly trimmed and mainly indoor concern but even naked, the Ayuntamiento (council) plaza demanded respect and admiration.


Don´t get the idea that La Orotava is only about food and drink for the soul. Passing up from the bus station, there´s a steady concentration of smaller bars and cafes on the left turn as the road rises to the football ground. It´s always offered ample refreshment before the almost annual pre season visit of CD Tenerife. The right fork offers more substantial fare backed with grand designs with intricate detail from top to toe. Casa de Las Balcones is a prime example of classic lines and traditional local Canarian wines and food. Plaza del San Franciscois a more under stated green area proving that simplicity is also an art form.

Museums offer glimpses into the workings of the past but be aware that several close in the afternoon. Whichever way you turn, it´s likely you will be drawn back to the magnificent Iglesia de La Concepcion. A short queue is a small price to pay for an inside view to compliment  the neck back gaze up at the dome and tower. La Orotava is packed with plazas and green spaces to relax and soak up the serenity, or if you have plenty of time. take a  long loop around the outer reaches of town with church bells as the soundtrack to your stroll. The carpets will return, but it´s always a good time to make a visit.

Big Ticks For CD Tenerife´s New Term Win

Boots laced, shirts slipped proudly over heads, and the refs whistle as shrill as a clarion call to action. The summer dramas in and beyond football were banished to the side lines as CD Tenerife kept it simple and effective to beat visitors Malaga 2-0 to start a new season.

Four pre season friendlies had been shoe horned into a shrunken schedule. Not much time for new coach Fran Fernandez to get his ideas across to a changing squad. Seven goals leaked in the warm ups pointed the fingers at defence, so the boss will have been pleased with Portugal´s  23 year old Bruno Wilson. The signing from Sporting Braga looked confident and comfortable in the heart of the home defence, his early sliding clearance denied Malaga´s most threatening chance of the match. With more signings to come, new Nigerian striker Manu Apeh. led the line but didn´t impose his stocky build on the game enough. Another newbee, Carlos Pomares worked hard down the left with little reward.

The break through goal came just before half time, a volley from veteran skipper Suso. The set up was a well executed hooked down loose ball by Adeje local, Javi Alonso. Jacobo Gonzalez made a big impact from the bench just afyer the restart, robbing a defender and squeezing his shot into the Malaga goal,followed by a back flip that showed off his Phantom Of The Opera protective face mask. His joy was in contrast to the previous weeks clash of heads with Maikel mesa of Las Palmas that left the new boys nose splattered like our mascots trunk.

Malaga had little to offer. Internal financial turmoil left them struggling to scrape together eleven starting players. Tenerife are also in transfer window transition. Striker Joselu was a late sub but wasn´t able to catch the coach´s eye, and may pass an incoming proved goal scorer. Maybe some of the 5 million euro fee from Granada for Luis Milla will finance a hot shot and a midfield maestro to fill the Milla void. CD Tenerife are not a rich club, and don´t have millionaire owners. Malaga have good cause to warn other “be careful what you wish for.” Polishing pebbles into gems is the realisyic aim of Tenerife, especially with no paying fans expected in the stadium until January 2021. Tenerife fans have learned to savour the moment, an opening win, more new faces to come, and a Canarian trio of young players pushing for a senior shirt. That will do nicely for starters.

La Laguna Brings The Universe Down To Earth

How could I mislay  Earth so soon after my descent into the Museum of Science & The Cosmos? Jupiter and Saturn loomed large above me but it took a full minutes scan to see my pea sized world dangling and dwarfed light years away.

Myth busting, eye opening, and full of eureka moments, myself and two other visitors enjoyed a free guided tour of a selection of over 40 exhibits in the university city of La Laguna in Tenerife. The spread of knowledge was temporarily limited by the Covid virus but interaction and hands on discovery were still the key. An eager cleaner followed in our wake to buff up outer space portals, helium balloons, and revealing light shows.

Discovery, explanation, and even naming of heavenly objects, owes much to scientist Charles Piazza Smyth, Italy born but educated in Edinburgh on the way to becoming Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Pioneering star gazing in Tenerife in 1856, his legacy can be seen in the museum in features on the La Palma and Tenerife based telescopes. Meteor and weather phenomenon were all given their stage in the building, and a step in booth gave a close encounter with a tornado. Light spectrums picked out our body heat at close range, and I even managed to lift a mini car – with help from Archimedes.

Up on the roof plaza, a telescope, a stone solar calendar, and a huge satellite dish were awaiting the resumption of school parties and night gazing sessions. It´s a busy high tech point on the island, with the Santa Cruz -La Laguna trams stopping outside, and planes swooping to land at Tenerife north airport.

When our own world returns to a less crazy spin, the small entrance fees (5 euros for non residents) will also return for over 100 people at a time, along with extended time slots to explore the wonders of the museum. Check out the website to exploit the current free tours, and to get more information in a choice of languages, and you too can get a grip on the cosmos.


Life Is looking Up In Los Realejos Alto

Chugging steadily through a roadwork bottle neck at La Zamora, my Titsa bus from Puerto de la Cruz was full of happy faces. Given the stiffling combination of Tenerife heat alert and anti Covid masks, a few frowns could have been expected. Breaking the 20 minute journey at La Montañeta, to admire a very distinctive church, had already given me a glimpse of a hard working but upbeat commmunity.

It was not just that friday feeling, the tightly coiled heart of Los Realejos Alto was busy and packed plenty into the steep labyrinth of shops, bars, and cafes. It was quite a contrast to the stretch of neglected commerce around Playa de Los Roques a month earlier. Civic pride was well covered, the two most famous sons were immortalised by the modern hand of Matias Mata (AKA Sabotaje Al Montaje). Antonio Gonzalez Gonzalez, an award winning chemist, and Jose Antonio de Viera de Clavijo, historian, priest, and naturalist shone their smiles (right to left) down at a key corner of the inner town.


It wasn´t all about the formal and famous, Matias Matia gave a nod to the digital age, beaming down from on shoppers. The bubbling fountains of Fuente de los Remedios were another lovingly crafted, corner to catch my eye. The local traders were banging their drum to supprt  the towns business folk in these troubled times. Posters stressed the need  to visit your local shop keper, and taxi drivers were lending their support to 3 euros tapas and wine thursday promotion nighrs at 9 nearby establishments up to 17 September.

Piercing the skylinr, the tower of Matriz Santiago Apostol church was a memorable landmark. Even with part of its plaza being rebuilt, it couldn´t fail to impress. The Ayuntamiento (council) building was also defying the builders intrusion but a side step still offered rewarding views down into the barranco (ravine). Bucking the current trend to shout its name via a hideous silver spell out of its name, Los Realejos took the natural, green approach. So much more in fitting with this stylish part of the island.


Refreshing Changes Lap At Tenerife´s West Coast

Heat haze shimmered in a 35 centigrade stamina tester. most people chose to admire Playa San Juan coast under shade with cold drinks, but the recent widening and gentle sloping of the harbour wall path was a welcome option for my visit.

The flower beds were a blaze of colour, and dispite a Covid induced shortage of tourists, the beach had a fair sprinkling of bathers. The closed kiosks were frustrating but hopefully new tennants will be found once the times improve. This was my first chance for a close up look at the plaza that replaced the old church. Too stark and too angular from the outside, it was reprieved slightly by a spacious and welcoming interior, with bars and play areas.

Heading further up west, Playa de la Arena was busier. Their detailed, colour coded social distancing zones added a touch of class and even looked cheery after six months of turmoil and rwstrictions. Going back to school was the last thing on young minds around the craggy coast of Puerto de Santiago. Crab Island was in sedate mood to attract plenty of sea dippers, thankfully there was none of the clawing  waves that the area often delivers.

Los Gigantes was my first Tenerife base, the whimsical urban art of Momoshi made me smile even though the lack of passing holiday makers was sad to see. There was more art on the approach road to Los Gigantes beach, this time from Matias Mata (AKA Sabotaje Al Montaje). An even more pleasing sight was the slightly extended Los Guios beach, with more improvements partly done. An easy access ramp would be very helpful, and a new lifeguard tower would back up increased security.

My feet soon remembered the steep rise of cardiac hill as I made my way up and out of “the village” and my reward for the ascent was the sight of the fisherwoman´s statue looking resplendent ringed by a higher than usual burst of natures blooms. The days heat was well worth it to catch up with some of my favourite ports of call.


Dingle´s Golden Age Of Speedway Memories

Leg breaks, cracked vertebrae, and even a rare life threatening lung infection couldn´t keep Dingle Brown from his love of speedway as a rider, manager, and promotor. Now a sprightly 80 year old settled in Adeje, Tenerife, Dingle reflected on his broad siding, shale shifting experiences. “Rayleigh Rockets were quite local to my home in Matching Green, near Harlow in Essex, and I made my debut for them in 1958 but my dad had already got me interested in speedway with trips to see West Ham Hammers, They rode at Custom House Stadium which was bigger than Wembley. ”

Travelling played a big part in a riders life. Each track had its own race night, and with guest slots and second half rides adding to regular duty, riders criss crossed the UK with bikes in vans or just pulled behind their cars on trailers. Injuries were always waiting to add a further test to a riders dedication. “I was racing at Exeter for Stoke and broke my leg in a crash, Stretched out full length I had to be strapped to train seats after windows had been removed to get me on board, The trip home involved a train to Swindon, then across to London via Liverpool Street to Harlow.  Even then after four months I discovered that a stand in doctor had got the traction treatment wrong and that stretched my recovery even further.”

Dingle still has the pin that was inserted into his leg, it ´s among his haul of momentos and photos from those days he still recalls with pleasure and satisfaction. A fractured spine came from a mid week crash at Kings Lynn and the cracked vertebrae was accompanied by a busted seat in another shunt. Few riders achieved the fame of World Champions like Barry Briggs, Ivan Mauger, and Hans Nielsen. For most it was a labour of love limited appearance and travel money. Dingle was working as a brick layer and later had interests in a car breakers yard, and boarding kennels, They were busy times as Dingle went on to ride for West Ham, Poole, and a nice round trip for “home” meetings with Scunthorpe Saints.

Team speedway used the classic formula of seven riders a team, two of each in the 13 heats, with points for finishing places also adding up for the overall team scores. Dingle also got to wear the Great Britain team jacket in an international clash with the Czechs and enjoyed further international experience.”I got to ride in France, Germany, and Holland and met some great riders. Back home, Australian Peter Moore made a big impression on Dingle.”Peter was the fastest out of the gate that I ever saw, One of my special memories was reling him in for a last heat win in a league matvh on a borrowed bike. “Barry Briggs was another top rider who made an impact on the sport. “Barry introduced the Czech made Jawa bikes to British speedway and they took racing to another level.”

Despite his many knocks and bumps, Dingle´s biggest threat came from within. Always young at heart, in his later racing years he began to suffer from bouts of unexplained tiredness and got a medical opinion. ” The doctor found growths on both lungs and warned Dingle it may be cancer. Further tests left the doctor as shocked as I was to find I had sarcoidodis, which was very rare and difficult to treat. Maybe my overall fitness helped, somehow with rest and care it faded away and I felt back to my old self.”

Even when Dingle hung his leathers up, speedway lured him back. “I was asked to be team manager for Mildenhall and was even given the track licence for a while. Later Wimbledon Dons asked me to cover one night as track manager, I ended up there for four years, ending up as promotor just before the Plough Lane stadium closed and was demolished in 2005. ” The site has now been redeveloped as the new home of AFC Wimbledon and should stage football before the end of 2020.

Tenerife has no speedway racing pedigree but the AGM of the British Speedway Promotors Association has taken place in Playa de Las Americas for several decades. Dingle had met a few speedway friends over here and made the full time move eight years ago. That´s how this lapsed Oxford Cheetahs fan came to meet Dingle and flicking hrough his latest copy of the World Speedway Riders magazine, I was thrilled to see a feature on Dag Lovaas, my first Oxford Speedway hero from watching the then named Oxford Rebels in 1975. Dingle spoke warmly of his second half rides at Oxford in the early 1970´s when Colin Goodey, Ronnie Genz, and Arne Pander were senior riders there. Cowley Stadium has defied the wishes of property developers since its 2005 closure and a few good people are still hoping to bring speedway back. The national picture isn´t quite as rosey, a few weeks before meeting Dingle, the BSPA ruled out UK racing for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus. Dingle has speedway in the blood, and new generations are simularly driven and ready to ensure that speedway will overcome all setbacks to thrill more sports fans in the near future.






Rambla De Castro Unlocks The Coast Of Los Realejos

Foaming and thrashing around a series of beautifully sculpted spits of rock, the north coast sea of Tenerife demands attention. Centuries of powerful waves had crafted the impressive bay of Playa de los Roques in Los Realejos. The beach was sealed as notices warned of possible rock falls, that didn´t deter solo fishermen from taking up precarious perches over this beach and further along the Rambla de Castro walk.

A short bus ride from Puerto de la Cruz station had dropped me in a good position to start the two hour walk looking down from the entrance path behind the blue and white  beacon of the Hotel Maritim. I realised I could have walked from El Burgado at the Loro Parque end of Puerto de la Cruz, the baseball stadium of the Marlins was a reliable indicator of my surroundings.

A steep, narrow track upwards through farming terraces led to a modern housing estate and a sharp right turn onto a pathway overlooking the sea. The opportunity to dip down and skirt along just above wave level was being taken by several groups of young walkers. The sheer scale and defiant nature of the isolated rocks told a tale of years of pounding to prise open clefts in the stacks.

The path looped down through a tight stone arch and round a narrow track that clung to the sturdy cliff. The apray from below added to the feeling of kinship with nature. Back up to the road level, helpful signs pointed onwards to the next interface of sea views. A couple of small streets around an old commercail centre allowed drivers some convenient parking before joining the route in mid flow. The next stage spread out in the distance as the cloudy sky and lush green cascade of plants gave evidence to the increased rain fall in this area. Low edging stones separated the route from the drop below, and wild birdscame and went into concealed caves.

Nearing the mirador of San Pedro, the circular viewing point stood out below just beyond a wooden bridge. History was etched into the Los Realejos coast, one of the most striking examples was the Gordejuela water pumping plant. Built in 1905, it housed the first steam engine to operate in Tenerife. Despite its exposure to the winds and waves of nature, people had been the worst causes of damage. Graffiti daubed over the walls and enlarged window frames gave it a spooky feel but the water pipes trailing up the steep hills showed that the building was made of sturdy stuff. Big waves continued to lick at the walls, not my idea of a remote playground, and the remotest type of urban art gallery.

A path leading up to the busy TF15 road and bus routes was closed off but just a short back track to the commercial centre and an upward stride connected me with  Los Realejos bajo and the bus I was seeking. Los Realejos is a deep xlice into the north of Tenerife with the churches and ravines of Los Realejos Alto well worth a look.







Full Steam Ahead To The Industrial Age Of Santa Cruz

Even without the rolling bug eyes and Ringo Starr voice over, my memory was side tracked to thoughts of Thomas The Tank Engine. Half way between Playa de Las Teresitas and Santa Cruz, a 1924 green steam locomotive from Cassel, Germany set my mind chugging near the old ports area of the Tenerife capital.

Within five minutes of walking on, a blue 1920 steam crane from Bedford, England (Grafton & Co built) pulled me up. Both machines played a part in the construction and running of the diverse and busy Santa Cruz port that now has big unused gaps waiting to be redeveloped.

Even at the San Andres end of the coast, I had already seen references to maritime history and Horatio Nelson´s failed attack on Tenerife on 25 July 1797. The defeat of the UK icon was in part due to the warning issued by an unknown local lady who spottted the British fleet as she walked to market. Nelson lost his right arm but was treated with respect and honour and his name and image feature prominently around Santa Cruz.


Back to the present and my stroll from San Andres to Santa Cruz, Oil rigs have become regular callers for repairs in recent years, The west Eminence, and West Jupiter from Panama were settled just off shore. Further along, the propeller blade  from the Spanish war ship Crucero Canarias, was donated  to the city of Santa Cruz in 198o and stands proudly outside the entrance to the old jet foil station.

On this baking hot July day, young bathers were flocking to any available swimming spot in the Valleseco area. A big new sandy beach has been promised  to replace the run down stretch. Plans have sparked a debate over lost history and jobs, The CIDEMAT water sports centre is in the firing line for privatisation with 15 workers facing anxious times. Updating a big city is always a tricky call. The work on Plaza de España and the opening up of Santa Cruz to the sea front has been long drawn out but very rewarding, especially the way the past has been honoured.

The walk from San Andres offered up some fine examples of classic past work, such as the sculpted sign on the old Ministry of Work and Immigration, and a strip of classic balconied houses with  distinct pink walls. Change is inevitable but hopefully the next  batch of modernising will remember those small touches that catch the eye and tweak the sense of pride.

Las Teresitas, Where Santa Cruz Goes To Play

Even cruise liners rubbing shoulders with fishing boats, and a multi coloured meccano bridge,  couldn´t compete with Playa de Las Teresitas beach, just north of Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz. Eyes are drawn to the majestic spread of orange sand that gives way to turquoise and blue bands of sea becalmed by a long concrete side arm, and a knobbly ridged dyke peeping out of the water.

Who cares if its a fashion mix that could hint of a teenager on a first date. It works wonderfully and recent upgrades have banished the ramshackle economic shadow of a botched commercial development. Stylish blue and white changing huts and gastro club food bars back stop the beach as lycra wrapped cyclists whizz by below the imposing cliff face. Fishing village San Andres clings to the mountain side at the southern end, and from the far end, the ferry port of Santa Cruz is visible on the horizon.

The gently shelving beach makes it a family favourite and a wonderous discovery to those venturing up from the southern beach resorts, adding about 20 minutes to the motorway journey.The regimented clusters of the tall lean pine trees offer shade, and showers and spacious and abundant along the rear of the beach. Peace of mind is under lock and key with several banks of lockers to save swimming from constant backward scanning of the sand.

The squeezing  out of the long established fishing sector to a remote corner is a bone of contention. This important part of local culture, and the crumbled remains of the San Andres defensive tower will probably not be noticed by many visitors, and that´s a missed opportunity. Las Teresitas lures big chunks of the Santa Cruz population across, it is so visually pleasing and offers space for all to stretch out.

For cooling down back in Santa Cruz, there´s always the outdoor Parque Maritimo pool complex, next to the hook nosed auditorium. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, it has a selection of pools and chill out areas plus snack and drink outlets. Prices start from five euros per day but they have lots of deals for groups and regular users.