Brexit’s Coming, Dont Be Angry, Be Ready

 

In March 2016 Brexit became official, at the end of March 2019 it will be a done deal, and after a transition period it will be legally signed as a binding treaty by the end of December 2020. That’s the time scale so it’s time for British citizens living abroad to look at how it will affect them and take steps to protect their interests. On that basis a team of British Consul staff came to Adeje on Thursday 5th July to outline the facts to date, the road signs already in place, and sound advice on potential potholes along the way.

Charmaine Arbouin, British Consul for the Canary Islands and Andalucia, headed the meeting, aided by Helen Diaz de Arcaya Keating, British Vice Consul in Tenerife, and Lorna Geddie, Regional Consular Policy Advisor for Spain and Portugal. Round the table were 13 representatives of local media, and advice groups, ready to pass the message to as many people as possible. Charmain started by tackling the biggest expressed concern, citizens rights. We learnt that basic agreement had been reached as a priority last September. We were advised that the key to protecting our rights as ex pats is to be legal. “The NIE and Padron are both important but the main need is to be registered as extranjeros (foreign citizens), that´s the old green A4 form or the more recent card. It doesn´t have an expiry date and it doesn´t need to have the permanent status.” This was music to my ears as I still have my green A4 form ( and so does Charmaine). However it is a good idea to check if your form is still on your local councils system, paperwork here can be a little “elusive” at times.

Voting rights for the UK was another hot topic but the Consul told us. “There is a private members bill going through the UK parliament to ensure all UK citizens abroad could still vote in UK elections. “It has reached the second reading and is on course to become law next June and it wouldn´t have the 15 years away cut out anymore. Talks are going on between the UK and Spain to allow Brits here to continue voting in the local and EU elections. Again checking with your local council in Tenerife to ensure you are still on the voting list is important as they don´t all contact you automatically pre election, council elections in Spain are in spring  2019 so you need to be on the census by the end of this year”

Lorna Geddie told us that her role had been created to engage and influence the other EU member states, particularly in countries with a large UK ex pat population. She also underlined the fact that citizens rights was the number one concern mentioned by all sides in her departments discussions. “even the new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had raised the matter and stressed how important it was to him, during his first telephone conversation with Theresa May.”

Driving licences were also raised, Lorna said there were no changes planned and it was still the plastic card with a photo until it expired, and then change to the newer paper version. All three consul members stressed the importance of people power. Officially there are only 280,000 Brits living in Spain, if more are visible and committed to the country then they will have more influence in any proposed changes.

As always there are many ways to keep up with all the unfolding changes on the Brexit road here are some useful British Consul sources. www.gov.uk/livinginspain www.gov.uk/world/brexit or on Facebook www.facebook.com/BritsinSpain or maybe the local Tenerife office Spain.Consolate@fco.gov.uk and for healthcare issues www.healthcareinspain.eu

The British Consulate´s role is varied and the next morning there was another meet up, this time at the Arona Gran Hotel in Los Cristianos get the lowdown on the new Travel Aware campaign encouraging safe tourism. The leaflet below explains the four main areas it deals with so in keeping with the short sharp messages designed by our host, Consular Officer, Penny Gomez, I will just add a few extra points. Help is available in English in the case of reporting stolen passports, and emergency calls. The crime report you collect is not enough to get you on your flight, follow this link to see how the Consulate office in Santa Cruz can get you a quick replacement. Think of the British Consulate as a safety net for the rare times when things may go wrong.

 

Stands Back In Amazement At Royal Hideaway Resort

I got to La Caleta in good time for the opening party at Barcello Hotels new baby Royal Hideaway Corales Resort in Tenerife, so why did I hesitate to go in? Maybe because it makes such a stunning impression on the Adeje coast, I felt the need to skirt around the outside to appreciate the design of Tenerife architect Leonardo Omar. The spiral starwells, and bold white layers are very impressive. Before the January opening it had already won an award as Best European hotel in construction from Hotel Management magazine.


Two five star hotels embrace each other, one the family friendly Corales Beach, and the other the adults only Corales Suites. As I entered the Corales Suites reception area, with a big cavern, bubbling fountains, and a multi coloured rock face wall.,James Bond and Thunderball came to mind. Welcoming speeches were made in the Alice cafe, that specialises in an exotic range of teas and coffes. Simon Pedro Barcelo, Co President of the Barcelo Group spoke proudly of the resort and predicted a bright future for tourism in Tenerife. The resort employs 250 staff, another big boost for the island economy.



The walkway led to a shopping arcade but I was destined to a quick lift up to the fifth floor of the luxury suites. La Caleta is a smashing old fishing village bordering on the five star hotel boom, it can´t help looking good, but on this night a procession of hang gliders landing on the beach added a classy touch to the view from the terrace with its own spa pool. As singers welcomed party guests from a rocky perch below, the suite had my full attention. There are 160 of the suites and they all redifine the word luxury. A chef and his assistants stood ready to receive behind the in suite kitchen counter, just one of the mega extras you can book. After relaxing on the comfy bed, purely for research, I had a peak at the pillow menu, feather, thermal memory foam, or petit plus, the choice is yours.



Lets talk pools, up to the fifth floor I glided up in the lift to see the infinity pool, it was worth the ride, great views over to El Puertito were the backdrop to the roof top restarant El Maresia, run by the Hermanos Padron who have the Michelin Star El Rincon de Juan Carlos, in Los Gigantes. Back down to the piano pool, where music was wafting through the air. I had already noticed some metalic sculptures by local artist Yaron Lambez of La Musa in Adeje, there were many more surrounding the pool side to be admired as samples of culinary creations were served.



Local politicians including the presidents of Tenerife, and the Canary Islands formerly welcomed the new addition to Tenerife´s holiday attractions. and Pilar Rumeu of TV Canaria hosted the presentations. It was good to see the resort acknowledge all the services and workers who are the life blood of the resort. An earlier buggy ride gave me a guided tour around the grounds and perimeter of the huge building. One of the most impressive things about the resort was the passion, knowledge, and friendly attitude of all the staff. Back at the pool the water shimmered as the guests all mingled, the Cava, wine, and Dorada flowed, and the sun set to a gorgeous fanfare of colour.

 

Shared Heritage On Living Tenerife Tours

Ask British ex pats and residents what they know of our country’s relations with Santa Cruz and they may know a little about Horacio Nelson’s failed attack on the island capital in 1797. A very civilised surrender showed the mutual respect between the two sides and led to over two decades of historical links between the UK and Tenerife. Living Tenerife Tours is a new English language window on Santa Cruz that uncovers those links, plus the lesser known buildings and characters that forged a bond between the two countries.

Leaving our super cooled people carrier at the higher end of Santa Cruz, we climbed the stone steps to the imposing facade of the Colegio Escuelas Pias catholic school, a former castle built in 1870 and greatly extended in 1943. Our guide, Jorge Ballesteros set up the new tour to share his passion and knowledge for history. Educated in Sussex and London, he has lived most of his life in Santa Cruz. The school is not normally open to the public but Jorge knows the great and the good in the capital and we were soon enjoying a potted history and panoramic views across the city. There’s a great story behind the British influence on this building, one that Jorge enjoys telling.

Versatile and informal, the tour lets the guests set the pace, our trip was just a dip into Jorge’s vault of knowledge, La Laguna, and Puerto de la Cruz are also destinations for similar small, intimate groups of around 12 people. The back streets and plazas of Santa Cruz had plenty to divulge, Why on earth would a gothic revival Anglican church dedicated to St George nestle in a quiet Tenerife back water? The brick by brick account was quite an eye opener. As we travelled between stops, Jorge pitched in little teasers about a famous UK politician visiting Tenerife, and a British hand in kick starting the Spanish Civil War.

It wasn´t just the older times that we were enlightened on, as we passed through the modern part of the capital, there was plenty of information on how Santa Cruz had re-invented itself. A stop between the Auditorium, and the Palmetum plant park helped us to piece together the new landscape. Another big favourite was the Military Museum, again Jorge smoothed our extended stay, as a working military barracks they only have limited opening hours and thee is so much to see. The canons hugging the courtyard wall were just the start, upstairs a model landscape with commentary took us through the battle for Santa Cruz. The city coat of arms bears testament to this and two previous failed British assaults.

A short trip past the port brought us back to the Plaza de España and our lunch date at the exclusive Royal Casino members club. Opened in 1840 it still has reminders of its casino past, and offers splendid views of the Plaza and port. Our food and drink reflected the best of Canarian cuisine, gofio, Canarian black pig, and an award winning Fuerteventura cheese to name just a few. It was a special way to round off the day, all the trips can be tailor made to suit your needs and it will give you a new appreciation of the culture of Tenerife.

Titsa Changes Buses From Bono To Tenmas

Was this a bus journey or a guilt trip? I felt so disloyal and a little bit dirty as I clutched my new Tenmas multi ride bus ticket for use on those jolly green Titsa buses around Tenerife. Friends all leave you in the end, how fondly I remember sterling, pesatas, and those Zoom ice lollies with their three fruity flavours. But hey, I´m a modern man and not just ready to embrace change, I will even take it for a slap up dinner and declare my undying devotion if it does it´s intended job.

For those unfamiliar with the public bus (or Gua Gua) and tram network in Tenerife, they have for years had a floppy multi ride card called a Bono that gives the holder around 30% discount on journeys. It was like a Willy Wonka golden ticket for me on my journeys around the island, so I was a little apprehensive when I heard of the new fangled Tenmas, contact less travel card. Initial thoughts of chaining myself to the railings of the Titsa head office soon subsided and this morning I purchased my reusuable plastic Tenmas card for 2 euros at a kiosk near the Los Cristianos bus station and got the seller to put a 10 euro top up on it. These credits can be added at 447 outlets around the island in multiples of 5 euros up to 100 euros.

It´s also possible to get your photo added to your card, nudging the one off price to 5 euros, I felt it unfair to inflict my mush on the public so got a plain card. My 10 euro top up came with a 50 cents charge, I´m not sure if that is standard or fluctuates depending on how much you load up. The big push for the launch of the new cards was to get people to register at the on line site before the cut off date, 40,000 people quickly joined and this meant a free card was sent out to their homes. Now that period has passed, there is still a push to get people to register their card bought at one of the outlets around the island. Then special discounts and offers will be whizzing to you through cyber space, and you can top up online, and check your balance.

One of the down points of the card is that unlike the Bono, your transactions are not printed on your card by the drivers machine. Tenmas has to be swiped when getting on, and validated again when getting off, and if you only use it rarely, you may well not remember how much credit you have left. As you validate your card when getting off, the reader does show your balance (saldo) so you could scribble it down, creating a marriage of convenience between old tech pen and paper and your new plastic friend. Like the nearly departed Bono (still useable until August 2018) you can still use your last bit of credit and pay the driver the difference at the discount rate. As I understand it, if you don´t validate your card on the way off, you will get automatically charged to the lines final destination, presumably after a time limit or at the end of the day. Drivers are still real human beings with their cheery smiles and snazzy green and grey uniform, so they will be able to nurse us through teething problems. While we are on the subject, Titsa have just celebrated 40 years and committed to spending 17 million euros on 74 new buses for Tenerife. This could be the biggest revolution since they changed from their original red buses, I can feel a new era of random bus journeys calling out to me. My new plastic card is going to clock up some serious kms. Pop by again soon and I will be explaining how to split the atom.

Downhill Is Uplifting On The Camino Real

Had I sleep walked in the night to set the scene in Santiago del Teide? I don´t think so, but the Tenerife town was pretty near perfect as I hopped off the 460 Titsa bus from Costa Adeje bus station. The church clock chimed 11 am, and whispy clouds edged across the tops of the pine forest as the sun burst through for a very acceptable 17 degrees.

A coffee and cake in Bar Soto set me up nicely for a stroll down the main street, flower crosses survived from the recent Day of the Cross, even Meatloaf vowing to do Anything For Love from a nearby bar seemed to fit in with the romantic setting. The unpretentious opening to the Camino Real walk drew me in, this old trading route had seen my plodding feet before. Each 6.7 km walk down to Puerto de Santiago had been different due to season, time, and weather, and this one followed that pattern. The first part of the stroll was just a few feet away from the main road but felt like another timeless kingdom, serenely quiet with tunnel vision to the high mountain my bus had skirted around and down. Faint bird song, gently swaying grasses, and beaming flowers competed for my attention.

The trickle of water in rubber clad pipes led me gently down to the first crossroads where two elderly locals sat chewing the fat at the base of a sign post pointing up to Roque Blanco. I gave the hour long detour a miss this time and followed the steep descent down to the old water pumping station. Tamaimo lay ahead in the distance, the sound of mobile PA announcements for the Adeje rally that would pass through later drifted across on the breeze. I passed a party of around 20 French walkers as they were taking a short breather, normally it´s not a busy route but maybe it had picked up a few that had found out in Santiago del Teide that their Masca barranco destination was temporarily closed.

The art of stone wall building dominated the route and guided me onwards and down through the dry river bed near the Tamiamo exit. I have never seen anything more than a few mini gulleys of water through this stretch, just as well, it needed some nimble footing to follow the marked signs through the rough stone floor. A few stray cats seemed quite at home leaping from rock to rock but their claws looked none too friendly. Further down the coast loomed into distant view, stretching through Playa del a Arena and on to Alcala. The steep sided valley showed openings for old cave dwellings, and on the other side the barranco funnelled water doen to sets of ever larger reservoirs that fed farms. Four ostrich’s wandered aimlessly in one yard far below, I bet the cats keep well away from them.

The final leg involved a slight descent to a commercial banana plantation, as the route skirted around the edge of netting covered groves before emerging just above Puerto de Santiago, around three hours after my start. The afternoon heat was stronger nearer the coast but the thought of a cold Dorada encouraged me to push on down past the Mirador over looking Los Gigantes.

 

 

Learn To Love Mount Teide

Like the first cuckoo of spring, the UK tabloids have rehashed their annual story about a mega eruption threatening Tenerife, and throwing the people into a state of panic. Sadly their scientific knowledge is so poor, they probably think that Mount Teide and the eruptions is a 60’s soul band. Having lived here for 17 years, I have witnessed these scare mongering tales before, 2009 was a particularly fertile year for rumours as it was 100 years since the last eruption just above Chinyero. The current reality is we are not even on the lowest stage of alert, the flurry of small seismic tremors in the underwater trench between Tenerife and Gran Canaria is nothing new.

The volcanic nature of Tenerife make it a fascinating place to explore, there are plenty of ways to enjoy learning about what makes the island tick. I recently made a return visit to the Santiago del Teide visitors centre at the lower end of the road into the town, to see their free exhibition about that famous last eruption and the range of volcanic outlets around the island. There was six months of growing rumbling before the vent in the side of Mount Teide erupted for ten days. It was of course a stressful time, especially with so many farming communities in the area, but no one was killed or even badly injured. Once the eruption stopped, enterprising locals even started running kart trips up to see the affected area. The flow of lava was heading for the village of Chinyero, the locals preyed and wheeled out the statue of the virgen to the edge of the church plaza, the lava halted just short. This perceived miracle is now celebrated every year. The visitors centre is open 9 am to 2 pm on week days.

The lava fields are easily accessed these days, I have enjoyed several walks across them, a choice of routes are shown on boards in the Santiago del Teide church plaza. My favourite is the almost circular route to Arguayo, this passes the cross and shrine at Chinyero and takes a marked path through the moon like lava flow. In early spring it becomes the almond blossom walk as the trees are laden down with fantastic pink and white cascades of blossom. Mount Teide is also very clear from this walk, an absolute beauty when winter rains give it a dazzling white gown of snow. The Santiago del Teide visitors centre has a separate section showing walking routes, and the tourist at the edge of the church plaza will also give you advice and maps.

The Tenerife government backed Volcano Teide programme offers various guided excursions with a volcanic flavour, from sunset and stars,to observatory visits, and walking routes in Teide National Park. These will give you a great insight into the volcanic history of Tenerife. If you want to really delve into how a volcano works, the Cueva del Viento just above Icod de Los Vinos, is an amazing place to visit. You can go down into a small section of underground lava tubes formed 27,000 years ago. In total, three layers of tubes cover 2.7 kms, the longest stretch in Europe. The tour is guided, complete with safety helmets fitted with lights, and before you set out, the visitors centre will explain about different types of volcanos around the world.

Tremors in and around the Canary Islands are a daily happening, mainly on the lowest end of the scale, and far from being a big secret, you can access technical information on past tremors and the most recent ones. A team of volcanic experts are based at ITER, the renewable energy centre on the coast of Granadilla, down by the wind turbimes. Sensors implanted in and around Mount Teide ensure it is fully monitored at all times, There is also an authority called Involcan, that monitors safety issues and updates evacuation plans in case of any happenings. All this expertise is reassuring and better still, previous seismic activity over thousands of years has created some incredible sights to visit. Teide is the peak of the interest but you will see smaller volcanic peaks every day as you tour around Tenerife. Enjoy.

 

All Whimper And No Wham

Long suffering fans are all too familiar with sudden nose dives in form from CD Tenerife but a 0-0 home draw with relegation haunted Almeria really put the boot in. At least it wasn´t a fourth straight defeat, and the defence stopped leaking goals but it was a depressing, soul less performance that smacked of end of term come early.

Another poor quality ref didn´t help the cause but Tenerife showed little hunger for a win, and had Dani Hernandez to thank for a superb double save in the final minute to save a point. Casadesus headed over from a Luis Perez cross after 10 minutes but it was all down hill from there on. The side pretty much picks itself these days due to the long term injury problems, the forward line was paper thin, midfield was quiet and lacking in ideas, the only attacking flair came from adventurous runs from full backs Luis Perez and fit again Camille. Suso had a couple of early spurts that lacked sharp finishes and Alberto looked strangely tame in the tackle. Almeria goalie Rene had an easy afternoon, his defence exposed him with a poor clearance late in the first half and Carlos Ruiz crashed the ball into his net only to receive a borderline offside call. Luis Milla had a shot deflected wide, and there was a hopeful penalty claim for a sliding defensive tackle on Camille where the ball hit the tacklers hand. These were just brief islands in a sea of boredom, it surely had to get better – didn´t it?

Almeria desperately needed something from the game to stay just above the trap door, and they had a go at the start of the second half. Marreh had a slow shot covered by Dani and Fidel smashed his attempt high over the bar. Malbasic swapped with Alberto to try to stir Tenerife, he tried to squeeze in a shot along the ground but wasn´t quick enough. The big striker did better with his build up for another shot but was fouled by Trujillo, a much stronger case for a penalty but not enough to budge the ref.

The arrival of Paco Montañes for Alex Mula hardly caused any ripples, he went through the motions, well he wasn´t the only one. Big bruising forward Nano was Almeria´s best hope, he tested Dani a couple more times but the home keeper was on his best form. Juan Carlos got a run out for Suso with just over ten minutes left, he managed a weak shot before blending in with his team mates. Bryan Acosta had already picked up one booking when he made took the feet of Pozo and upgraded to a sending off. The 11,378 crowd were praying for the final whistle to end their suffering as Nano burst through and shot at Dani from close range. The keeper got a touch to it on one side of him and twisted back to stop the rebound on the other side.

Tenerife are now 11th and 7 points from the promotion play off spots with four games to go, but hope has run screaming up the street and there´s a slight edge of desparation creeping in as the season grinds to a halt. On Saturday it´s away to Reus Deportivo at 7.30pm, with Acosta suspended.

This is my weekly report on CD Tenerife from Canarian Weekly, you can see my full sport round up weekly in the newspaper.

Good Times In The Badlands Of Arona

Boats bobbed up and down in the Marina del Sur and some mean dark clouds lurked on the horizon, but they were up in the mountains so I had chosen the coastal walk to Malpais de Rasca to nudge me back onto the walking trails of Tenerife. With another Oxfonian, Karen, for company we set out from Las Galletas through the cactus clumps, thorny bushes, and sandy path heading past El Fraile.

There’s was quite a community of alternative dwellers in tents and rough shacks along the first stage of the path, the little coves offer a feast of the seas bounty, and the rising rocks offer shelter from the wind that was blowing in from the sea. Fallen stack formations crumbled at the coves edges, and tangles of wild bushes made us careful of our footing. Natural rock pools lined the waters edge, fish often get trapped in them, years ago people sprinkled the sour poison of tabaiba armaga plants to induce a drunk like state in the fish so they were easy to catch. The jumbled collections of undergrowth gave way to flatter, open space with well tended paths as we approached the palm tree lined tarmac road that separated the sprawling banana plantations from the sheer drops to bigger rock pools in the shadow of large outcrops of splintered and cracked rocks. After about 90 minutes we were at the entrance to the Malpais (badlands) leading up to the tall candy striped modern lighthouse and the small, squat original.

There´s definately something reassuring and stately about these sea guardians, maybe that’s why they attract enthusiasts known as farologists. The smaller building was built in 1898 and included live in accomodation, that was replaced in 1978 by the taller, automatic model that doesn’t need staff, well apart from the odd polish and repaint. They look good together and the narrow walkway and wall overlooking the sea gives great view up and down the coast. We moved down to the slipway beyond to start the walk along the old trade route with its small stone shelters used to shelter goats in days gone by.


The clouds were dispersing at this point but the waves were mighty and rolling as we made steady progress towards Palm Mar, which wasn’t even an architects dream until 1962. Quite a few keen walkers passed us coming the other way and at times other paths meandered inland, it would be easy to get lost, keeping in spitting distance of the shore was a good idea. The big lighthouse is easily visible from Los Cristianos and the reverse is true the opposite way. The fish farm cages were visible a little way out to sea and familar landmarks of Los Cristianos and Las Americas also stood out. Arriving on the edge of Palm Mar, the old stone was a reassuring sight.


Taking a well deserved drinks break at the new luxurious Bahia Beach bar gave us panaramic views of Playa Arenita, the rough beach which has always resisted cosmetic atempts to make it a bathers delight. Montaña Guaza stood proud and we could see the outline of the path up and over to Los Cristianos. Originally there were plans to develop a small jetty in Palm Mar for a shuttle boat to the busy resorts but it has never arrived. A few local fishermen were perched on precarious rocks, the old ways still hold sway in this tucked away cove. For us there was another smaller trek up through the main road out of Palm Mar to the main road and a Titsa bus back to Los Cristianos. Our leisurely stroll had taken around three hours in total and was very enjoyable.

Park Life And Port Life In Tenerife

Coos, croaks, and quacks, no not a strange firm of solicitors, just the sweet sounds of nature that welcomed me into the parks of La Laguna. It was a pleasant 21 degrees as I stepped off the tram after a 40 minute glide from Santa Cruz, Hesperides Cafe got its usual vist for my coffee and chocolate herradura, then I headed through Plaza del Cristo and onto the Parque La Constitution.

The ducks looked very subdued in their purpose built pond and duck house but managed a lazy few quacks for me. I could understand there laziness, the small park was beautiful and restful. Venturing back a few yards I entered the much bigger Parque La Vega and it was quietly bursting with sweet blooms, bird song, and the gentle croaks of frogs in the slow moving, meandering green stream. Both parks have a small cafe building, neither has been open since 2016 as the council can’t find any serious bidders to run them. What a shame, La Vega in particular, just begged for visitors to take a break with a cold drink and a cake. La Vega had informative boards showing the different type of wrinkly old croakers that lurked by the waters edge, and a bird guide showed the main feathered visitors.

The historic pedestrianised streets of La Laguna were much busier with tourists but still kept an attractive serenity. The trip back down to Santa Cruz reminded me of what a smooth and practical addition the tram had become in it’s first 10 years of operation. Getting off at Plaza Weyler it was just a short stroll to Parque Garcia Sanabria, another favourite of mine. The constant screech of green parakeets reminded me of their details on the board back in La Vega. Sadly Santa Cruz considers these foreign intruders (Kramer Cotorras) a menace as they destroy trees and shrubs, and wants some of the 300 in the capital humanely captured and returned to    There are many in the south as well, this pic was taken in Playa de Las Americas.

I had some time to kill before visiting the Vikings exhibition so adjourned to the port to see what the tide had brought in. No training ships this time but plenty of working ships and a very flash Cafe del Moar cruiser from Barcelona boat club. Even the functional ships like the   have a certain charm to them. The multi million euro business of refurbishing oil rigs ensures a few not so glamourous additions to the Santa Cruz skyline but the complete facelift to the port and Plaza de España has made the Tenerife capital a bright, modern city.

 

Vikings, Warriors Of The North, Giants Of The Seas

Iron swords so heavy you needed two hands to wield them, boats so sleek and long they looked like serpents with sails billowing in the wind. Come on, who doesn’t like the Vikings, even before Hollywood brought Thor to the big screen, they had to be one of the most appealing conquerers from history.

Arriving at the Caja Canarias banks HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz, I was just in time for the 5.30 pm start to the Friday evening opening in the Fundacion’s cultural hall, and joined a dozen other people in a guided tour. The large ground level entrance was dominated by a model of a Viking long boat, I was soon to learn how the narrow war ships varied from the more sturdy trading vessels they used. All the exhibits were backed by video screens and static displays in Spanish and English, although the compulsory tour guide gave this journey just in Spanish.

It seems the Vikings were about much more than just pillaging and plundering, their artistic designs and crafts as well as their religious and social structures unfolded as we progressed upstairs into a winding gallery. Of course the chain mail, hefty swords and axes evoked memories of the warrior tradition, but a copy of the decorated Jelling Stone paid homage to the meanest of them all King Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark and Norway, and made the new nation christian.

The exhibition has come to Santa Cruz from Denmark’s national museum and includes original artefacts, and well crafted replicas, but the fearsome Viking reputation is genuine. The host building had been converted from its normal open, two floor, stroll around design to a tighter cavern like look, complete with boat design layouts marked on the blue carpet to show the tight confines of the war ships. The subdued lighting added to the atmospheric feel and it was a good insight into a race that has not always been best served by legend status.

On the down side, I thought the tour was a little rushed, another tour party was snapping at our heels, especially on the upper level where we were the circular route funelled us back down to the exit. Prices are not advertised on the posters or in many listings, but the basic cost with the compulsory guide is five euros, with no reduction for residents. It is free though for those under 26 or over 65, it was good to see decent numbers on both opening tours on this Friday evening. The exhibition is on to 11th August 2018, Monday to Friday 10 am to 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 8 pm, plus Saturdays from 10 am to 1.30 pm, closed Sundays.