Keep It Clean Tenerife Dig In To Keep The Coast Clear

Rugged beauty draws sun worshippers to Playa El Callao beach just below the rising ridge of Guaza mountain in Los Cristianos. Not everyone takes their rubbish away with them, that´s why Keep It Clean Tenerife leapt into action armed with rubbish sacks, gloves, and bags of enthusiasm.

As a baking hot Sunday morning hit its stride, 58 volunteers covering a wide age range, left no stone unturned to capture  an impressive haul of assorted leftovers, they normally scoop up around 100 kilos each event. British  founder Tim was chalking up the groups 10 th clean up. “It started  just over a year ago when I picked up some rubbish when walking my dog, and its grown from there. We target the coast and have included Abades, La Caleta, El Medano, El Puertito, and Los Abrigos on a roughly monthly basis.”

The key is in the preparation, they set up base camp and welcomed their diverse team including Brits, Spanish, and Dutch. The long handles grabs were useful for the less fragrant deposits, but they didn´t hesitate to delve in along the craggy sides of the rock pool at the Las Tarajales entrance to the beach. The pool showed the diversity of the bathers from scuba fans to swimmers, and there were also  a few cans and plastic glasses from social gatherings perched on rocky ledges.

Large plastic water bottles were a perfect home for discarded cigarette ends. Tim explained that they could be recycled by a company in Holland. If that sounds unusual, a haul of old rusty nails and screws was an even bigger surprise. Tims guess was they were from wooden doors and pallets burnt on the beaches during the annual Night of San Juan (23 June)  when mid summer bonfires attract large groups to all Spanish beaches.

Two hours of combing the beach significantly reduced thethreat of more rubbish finding its way down into the sea. There are plenty more clean ups planned around the coast, including a big spruce up of the nearby Playa Las Vistas. Volunters are sure of a warm welcome, keep an eye on the Keep It Clean facebook page for full details.

Geisha And Samurai – The Art Of Japan, Holds Court In Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Seemingly totally opposed aspects of Japanese culture, but this exhibition at the Caja Canarias Cultural Foundation in Santa Cruz showed many similarities between the subservient Geisha and the warrior Samurai. Both require a tight discipline, dedication to detail, and a flair of expression. Some 200 exhibits showed how both lifestyles had paid such a big part in the history and development of Japan.

From the spiritual through theatre, flowers, and mystic icons like Mount Fuji, sketches, documents, and paintings explored the growing process of people and country over centuries. Textiles, like the fine fabrics for kimonos, and hand carved ornate fans showed the amount of preparation behind everyday life. Split over two floors of the building, the exhibits grew in size and stature as I toured the rooms as gentle oriental music played in the background.

Geisha tradition has a strong sexual element, a warning sign made that clear before visiting the section of explicit drawings explaining the Geisha role in society. The costumes are the big showpiece stars and appear in the later sections. The delicate, flowing nature of the Geisha costumes contrasted well with the robust fighting armour of the Samurai. I was surprised to see how intricate the Samurai robes were, but their lances and other combat weapons looked suitable savage.

The exhibition is on at the Espacio Cultural of Caja Canarias in Plaza del Patriotismo, about 5 minutes up from the port area, until 24 July 2021. Opening times are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1.30 pm, and 5.30 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays times are from 10 am to 1 .30 pm only, and closed Sundays and fiesta days. Entry is FREE on Mondays, and 5 euros all other times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Blooms Sweep Through Santa Cruz For Day Of The Crosses

How nice when old friends turn up for a special birthday. Santa Cruz welcomed back the flower crosses for the 527 th anniversary of the founding of the Tenerife capital. La Rambla missed the colourful event in 2020 due to Covid restrictions but 16 crosses took pride of place to raise the tradition back to its former heights.

I arrived early from Los Cristianos on the Monday morning, swapping the Titsa bus for the tram. Getting off at La Paz, I could see the display had extended across into Avenida La Asuncion to the left, and a family were still adding fine touches to their entry. Dia de la Cruz (Day of the Cross) is always popular but bigger gaps this year allowed more freedom of movement and a chance to appreciate the blooms from all angles. La Rambla is the perfect host with its wide pedestrianised walkway through the heart of the city.

Many of the local groups that had created the works of art, had ties with the health sector, very appropriate after their sterling efforts to keep us all healthy. As it was a public holiday in Santa Cruz, many families enjoyed a stroll under the shade of the spreading Indian Laurel trees, thes all year round  inhabitants and the dazzling violet blooms mixing in made it a natural green house of beauty.

The mood is infectious, several surrounding homes had added small crosses on their balconies, and I noticed an old peoples home was having an outside tea party in their grounds, based around a small home grown cross with a guitar playing singer adding a gentle vibe to the big day. La Rambla is a treasure trove of historical interest, the old abandoned bull ring harked back to Tenerife´s past, and at the far end of the walk, the Parque Garcis Sanabria made a nice entry point back down into the  shopping centre of the city and the port.

The crosses were sturdier and more restrained this time, but as pleasing on the eye as ever. With less wild strands , and strong wooden frames at their heart, the crosses have more chance of staying in top condition until the end of the Tres de Mayo celebrations on 9 May. The Parque usually has a big flower and crafts exhibition in tandem with the crosses but this year it was moved indoors to the Recinto Ferial at the entry to the city from the south. I called in there later and there were over 50 stalls faeturing  cakes, sine, basket making, wine, and chocolates. The Flower and Artesans  show is FREE to enter and finishes on 9 May. Opening times are 4 to 8 pm until 6 May, and then 10 am to 8 pm.

Los Cristianos Is Back On The Entertainment Beat

Silence isn’t golden, it’s an annoying rusty colour that has hung over Tenerife’s events during Covid. Gradually things are awakening, so it was so good to get back into the Auditorio Infanta Leonor in Los Cristianos to hear the work of the Arona School Of Music And Dance. The free concert opened with a traditional four piece rock band, under the supervision of guitar teacher Rafael Batista. Their set was a mix of Spanish themes with members interchanging between tunes. A teenage guitarist played a wonderful cover of the Gary Moore classic “I’ve Still Got The Blues For You” and the band departed to loud applause.

Doubling up as high speed roadies, the musicians cleared their instruments and the curtain rose on the full spread of the stage. An orchestra of Canarian timple and traditional folk guitars sparkled as they worked through an impressive range of styles and composers. Flute playing soloist, Carlotta Llarena Aisa added an atmospheric high to a parade of numbers, and Dario Diaz popped onto the stage to add his own vocal treats. The variety of music on offer showed the depth and range of talent produced by the school.The 90 minute concert ended with some rousing, upbeat classics, firstly Colonel Boogie (the theme from Bridge Over The River Kwai) which suited the light tempo of the orchestra. The last tune of the night was Johan Strauss seniors Radetsky March.

The Auditorium is a valuable and versatile asset to Arona. It was good to see it in such good condition after its lengthy closure, unlike the outside, that needs an update and the return of the bar café. Seating for 800 people was vastly reduced by the anti Covid social distancing, alternate rows were sealed, but there was still around 300 people attending. For this free show, tickets had to be booked and picked up in advance from the lobby of the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre that backs onto the Auditorio in the centre of town. There is a growing schedule of shows to follow, hopefully with less restrictions as time goes on. Many events are FREE, and others as cheap as 6 euros. Bookings can be made at www.arona.org or at the Cultural Centre from 10 am to 2 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Friday. Below are some of the forthcoming events.

30 April. A Few Colours, a jazz group for International Jazz Day. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros

14 May. Bailame Amores, Ballet inspired by a Leonard Cohen song. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

15 May. Tina Turner and George Michael tribute show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 15 euros.

21 May.     Puppet show. Starts at 6 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

22 May. Tango Show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

 

 

 

 

Squaring The Circle To Unite San Miguel And Aldea Blanca

Not so much a fork in the road, more like a full set of cutlery. Contradicting signs on the track down from San Miguel  Arcangel church demanded a return visit to descend to Aldea Blanca, not far from Las Chafiras in the south of Tenerife.

Mix and match seemed a good idea so this time I started from the La Centinela mirador (viewpoint) high above Valle San Lorenzo in Arona. Volcanic cones popped up on the  lower horizon but sadly the La Centinela restaurant with its panoramic views had been closed for several years. At least the wooden cross above it stood firm as a rough dividing line between the municipalities of Arona and San Miguel, as well as a hard work destination to carry the statue of the Virgin for the top spot on the annual fiesta.

The downward trail into the bowl of the valley showed off some great natural features., Wild ferns and grasses popped up between stacks of cracked stones, crop terraces clung to hills, and a stone viaduct bridged a plunging ravine. Above all this, the modern road curved along with the fragmented El Roque standing guard over the drop below. The big attractions to settlers and travellers were two old springs for drinking and washing, most of the water now stays below ground, leaving the eroded concreye troughs a little green and mossy.

A steep concrete ramp led up to the restored Caserio  de la Hoya and a recent dipping tarmac road . Another sign for Aldea Blanca pointed down to where I had just come from, and looking up, I could see the previous dual dilema from the earlier walk. This time my aim was true, and was rewarded with the sight of a classic two tier tile kiln. The road had no pavement but soon delivered the encouraging view of a football ground below, it had to be the Aldea Blanca pitch. Other tell tale signs were the distant buildings of Las Chafiras and the turrets of the modern breeze block castle, built for Medieval Banquet shows – but even bold knights are on hold for Covid for now.

Let´s not leave San Miguel as a bit part player in this walking saga, The walk from San Miguel church is an exceptional uncovering of layers of building history. Great designs, well looked after, and with in depth history panels in a range of languages. With friends on the original trip we took the top path at the identical signs and reached the gurgling water channels before the path faded. Including La Centinela and Aldea Blanca as options make the area even more tempting and well worth the effort.

After about 30 minutes of walking down the tarmac road from the tile kiln, the tightly packed dwellings of the hamlet of Aldea Blanca opened up to reveal the dainty plaza and church showing pride in the 500 year history. Beyond this point there were a good selection of cafes and bars and a relaxed, sedate atmosphere. A wide, overgrown water source offered more possible answers to the confused sign posts. It promised upcoming work on theree barrancos (ravines) although there was no date on this intention. There are a few bus links through Aldea Blanca and a short divertion leads to Buzanada with a busier Titsa bus service. I took the longer route out through Las Chafiras to the motorway and a wider choice of buses.

 

 

Pools, Pitches, And Sporting Pride In Arona

 

You wont find Tenerife sports venues named after, crisps, credit cards, or male grooming products. It´s more about honouring influential local figures. Take the busy Centro Deportivo Jesus Dominguez Martin “Grillo”, in Los Cristianos..Built in  1958, it´s eight 25 metre lanes of the swimming pool are churned up by swimmers of all ages, local and international. The tennis courts and multi use outdoor hard court with a suspended roof, are just as popular as the indoor sports hall where volleyball and boxing are among the many activities that take place.

Jesus Dominguez Martin “Grillo”, the nick name referred to his  constant energy which reminded people of a cricket, would have approved of the facillities. Born in 1926 to a local Arona fishing family, he excelled as a swimmer, becoming a 29 times champion for Spain with honours in crawl, breast, and butterfly strokes. Competing in 60 international competitions, he held 56 Spanish records and swam for his country in the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

And what of the imposing Antonio Dominguez Alonso stadium, home to CD Marino football club. Named after a local lawyer and politician born in 1849. Fourty years of civic service included six stints as Deputy for Tenerife, and twice as Senator for the Canary Islands. In later years Antonio moved to the Phillippines whre he became Governor of  Manila.

The stadium on the border of Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas, was built in 1969 and holds 7,500 for football and 27,000 for concerts. Originally Marino played at a now demolished ground nearer their fishing foiunders port in Los Cristianos. The smaller Anexo stadium next door didn´t join the family until 1998. Athletics clubs thrive around the running track and they welcome many international competitors, particularly for the annual Arona Combined Events two day event, on 12 and 13 June in 2021.

The Povedano gym has produced some top boxers and a big upgrade is due to see an expansion of training areas. Twenty years ago plans were drawn up to stage Spain´s Davis Cup tennis competition on with several courts on the football pitch area.That would have been a major serve for Tenerife sport. Maybe those plans could be dusted down in the future .

Praising The Other Peak Of El Medano

Refusing to be upstaged by a red mountain overlooking a surfers paradise, Montaña Pelada is well worth the wander to the east of El Medano. Where else can you experience a flattened volcanic cone born out of an epic tussle between red hot magma and the deep cold sea. Even a gallery of misfit neighbours can´t reduce the impact of nature.

Taking the wooden boardwalk around the headland to Playa del Cabezo, we passed the concrete look out bunkers and the Hotel Arenas del Mar. Veering off we answered the lure of the  Playa de la Pelada with its secluded cove of dark sand. There was plenty of contrast from the yellow tinted base of the mountain, and the sea had sculpted big rocks into altars for the less shy sun worshippers to sit astride and bare all.

Going for a more frontal assault on the crater, we crossed pock marked rock and ash like earth deposits. The diversity of the ground called for  maximum attention, the wider circular track would have been a far easier ascent. Even in the throes of a calima dust cloud, we could pick out an old satellite station down below, all rusted with age. Hitting the plateau we caught our breath. A dep rumbling, a metallic shimmer, and a burst of power proceeded the take off of a large plane from Tenerife South airport. A rare sight in these Covid restricted travel days.

 

Following the marked path around the edge of the crater, we took in more small coves below, linked upwards by more slender tracks. ITER renewable energy centre boasted an array of wind turbines and a field of solar panels. Next to them, Granada portdwarfed the oil rig and Africa Mercy ship, both looking forlorn and abandoned in the seldom used modern addition to the coast. The sandy coves were quite remote but had a steady stream of visitors, some popping in on jet skis.

Completing a circle of the crater we tried a couple of unmarked steep descents rather than the far path that fed of the marked area. It was quite testing but brought us down by a small ravine that guided us back to the entrance point. It was good to get a different viewpoint on the south east coast and it was rounded off with self indulgent paddling along the shore of the La Jaquita beach.

 

Late Lapse Gives CD Marino A Relegation Mountain To Climb

Clawing back an early deficit, CD Marino failed to convert long spells of dominance into a victory. The price of a 1-2 home defeat to Recreativo Granada could be a heavy one in the relegation phase of their Segunda B division season. Dimas roasted the visitors defence in the opening minutes with crosses from the right. N´Diaye headed one on past the stranded goalie but just outside the post, and caused mayhem with a second bomb into the reds defence.

Emerson cut loose and made a hopeful hand ball appeal for a Granada penalty after his rocket shot canoned off a home defender with no response from the ref. The same attacker tried again, taking the ball wide down the left before skewing a shot over the bar. Nami was full of running for blues, he latched onto a long free kick and beat Montoro before goalie Costa claimed the ball to deny a home lead. Towering Torrente couldn´t cope with the smaller Marino forwards, Nami rose above him to set up another close call from Dimas.

Emerson was the visitor to fear, having failed from a short corner, he was more lethal with a near copy that beat Galvan in the home goal just before the half hour. A low shot from Lopez just after wasn´t good enough to extend the lead. N´Diaye was influential for Marino so it was a huge blow to loose him just before half time with a head injury that saw him stretchered off to receive a Tenerife hospital check over. The Dimas-Nami combination produced two more chances before the half time whistle gave the home team time to refocus.

A win was vital for Marino in the first of eight games in the mini league to try to secure another season in Spain´s third tier. A double change for the second half saw forwards Borja Llarena and Rodrigo join the chase. Granada had their tails up and Arencibia and Jurgen had to clear two good attempts to stretch their lead. There was renewed hope when Dimas floated in a shot from the edge of the box while the Granada defence and goalie froze as the ball nestled in the back of the goal. Marino kept the pressure on by adding attacking right back Nikki with 20 minutes left on the clock. The speedy player troubled Costa with two powerful strikes, it could have been third time lucky when Nikki raced clear of his marker only to be pulled back by the refs badly judged offside call.

It was a thrilling finish as Borja blasted a shot wide in the 90th minute. Marino minds were on attack but when the ball broke to Rodriguez on the left, he sped inside and tucked the ball past Galvan. It was the second time in two consecutive home games that Marino had fallen to a last kick winner. Empty handed in their empty stadium, Marino were left hoping for away points and another return for their home fans to help save their season.

 

 

Charco Del Pino Answers Walkers Prayers

Longing to get down and dusty after a smooth, modern road led us out of the historic centre of Granadilla de Abona. Lycra clad cyclists whizzed downhill towards San Miguel, and El Medano loomed large looking across to the south coast. At this stage we had only a fleeting glimpse of the ancient Camino del Real track that criss crossed Tenerife when foot power was king.

Maybe we felt a little under whelmed to be retracing the route of our Titsa bus but Charco del Pino was warming up in the wings and greeted us with surprises and insights into the past. “Pond of the Pine” arrived with a hint of Ooh La La in the shape of the church of San Luis IX. Petit and classy, it honours the 12th century King of France who brought the crown of thorns from the head of jesus, to Europe, Paris to be precise, during the crusades.

 

Alongside the church, a lane took us up to the Chiñama mirador, offering spectacular views of  natures harvest for miles around in every direction. The importance of water to this part of the island became apparent as the fluid of life filled small reservoirs and encouraged the growth of crops. There was a stone wall barn bonanza as well, some small holdings had two or three of the iconic buildings, simple, strong, and effective. In the main street there were a few cafes to quench the thirst and fill provide protein boosts for the cycle squads. My eyes grew misty as i admired the old cinema building for Charco del Pino – I yearned for a choc ice and a Kiora.

When we began the walk from the Plaza Gonzalez Mena by the leafy gardens and admin offices in Granadilla town, there were no clear pointer to routes start point. There was similar uncertainty just after the church of Charco del Pino. A wide path dropped down to the south and seemed to head for the lip of the La Orchilla barranco, but it veered off in the wrong direction and turned out to be a false dawn. After puffing back up we found the true path in all its glory, a few yards from the main road. The universally regocnised white and green  bold stripes on large rocks confirmed our path down into the deep ravine.

 

It was like a green cathedral once we followed the zig zag path down, and it was framed nicely by the 1940s bridge that spanned the main road high above. What a pleasure to test the legs on the tight turns and the steep climb back up the far side. Varied crops battled for supremecy as we squeezed past a fence dividing a modern farm from the old Camino. The thought of herding animals up that challenging climb gave us a new respect for the farmers craft. When we hit the top road it was like a culture clash, seeing how easily modern machinery had carved out the road like a knife through butter. It left us with just a short walk down to San Miguel where cold drinks welcomed us as we refelcted on the many other walks that spilled out among the hills that spread down to the coast.

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Breakfast Is A Choker For CD Marino

There was plenty of hunger shown by CD Marino, but San Fernando were early to the table with a second minute free kick winner. It was served up as a well flighted Rodriguez strike taht found the bottom corner of the home net. Marino were robbed of three key players by injury and it took them a while to adjust against a Gran Canaria team destined for the promotion play ofs.

Moreno was always pushing for the pink shirted visitors but N´Diaye and Pedro Aleman combined well a few minutes later to take up the chase. Marinos nerves showed when goalie Kikvidze ´s soft clearance had to be tidied up with a back pass from N´Diaye. San Fernando  had their own let off when Nami beat two static defenders and was only halted by the knee of keeper Perales. The keeper recovered his composure with a  follow up tip over from an N´Diaye shot.

Nami on the right and Dimas on the left swapped flanks to give the blues their best spell of the game just before the break. Moussa was quick to get into a good position as a N´Diaye  glanced header came his way but there wasn´t quite room for a threatening shot. Kikvidze did well to pluck out a high shot from Bernal to keep the deficit to the single goal. The maspalomas based visitors could have sat back in the second half but came out all guns blazing. Bernal tried to atone for his earlier failed attempt, and Rodriguez had the home goal in his sights  before Aleman came to the rescue.

Rodrigo replaced Nami and held the ball up well as Marino fought to get back on terms. Kikvidze had a busy game, a full length diving save was the pick of his busy work load. The second phase of the Segunda B (Spain´s third tier) season was beckoning. Regional groups will split into new groups to chase the long road to possible promotion and relegation. San Fernando were assured of their upper chase and Marino were already booked in for the relegation battle, but as league points are carried into this second phase, Marino needed to fight for at least a draw from this last first phase match.

A double substitution refreshed the blues urgency, Borja llarena added pace and an eye for goal from the right, and Julien added his creative vision from midfield. Borja was close with his shot from a Julien hanging cross, Perales had to stretch to grab the ball to safety. Right back Nikki was the final home sub, another fleet footed ‘player, he took on San fernando down the right and left wings and caused them problems. Rodrigo produced a couple of decent shots but San Fernando held firm and were delighted to give themselves a boost ahead of the next set of games. It´s been a hard season so far for Marino after their promotion  but they will have to dig even deeper over the next couple of months to secure their elevated status.