Archive for May 7th, 2008
Granadilla, full of rural charm

Tenerife is full of so many wonderful places, my biggest problem is deciding where to visit next. Granadilla drew the short straw this week, another of those towns that is just a pleasant memory from a visit some years ago.


Heading by the more familiar landmarks of the municipality of Granadilla de Abona, like Reina Sofia airport and El Medano, the bus veered up through San Isidro to Granadilla, about 20 minutes up hill. Leaving the bus station on the side of a very steep slope, the drop in temperature was noticable, but hardly anything to worry about.

Hermano PedroFirst port of call was the Plaza Gonzalez Mena, the focal point of the town and setting for the Ayuntamiento(council) building. The Convent de San Luis Obispo was again being given a facelift, nothing new after many fires and accidents since it’s 1550 birth.

There was a small staue of Hermano Pedro in front of the building, he was born in nearby Villaflor and preached, taught and healed locally before emigrating to help the poor of Guatemala, eventually dying there in 1667. For several years he lived in a small cave near El Medano, it’s a bit of a tourist attraction now, and it is said miracles can happen there. When the Pope made him Tenerife’s first Saint in 2002, thousands went from Tenerife to the ceremony in Guatemala. Church

Religion is just one strong element of Granadilla, and for a better understanding, a visit to the History Museum of Granadilla (top) , just down the road, is just the thing. It’s free and open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm  and 4 pm to 8pm. Granadilla is also the gateway to the foothills of Teide and the pine forests of Villaflor, and a real walkers delight. The local council have made great strides to encourage rurul tourism with a leaflet featuring 10 converted farms and houses that are ideal for rural holidays, details are also on the council website.

One of the best walkers hotels is the Hotel Senderos de Abona, right in the centre of town and staff are very knowledgeable about the area. Church banner

This is just opposite the Church of Antonio de Padua, which boasted a terrific floral offering from the Day of the Cross , which is celebrated in the Canary Islands on May 3. The banner says “I am the good shepherd, and you are my sheep”. There were many other floral and adorned crosses around the town, and I saw some more later in El Medano.

I tried to find the famous spring, Fuente de Agua, Â up above the town but after puffing up ever steeper hills, I gave that one up and settled for the great views and a quick march down to a cold drink. It was fairly warm today in Granadilla, but last time I called in, it was decidedly nippy and a couple of winters ago, the snow on Mount Teide crept all the way down to the town plaza.

It was worth the effort to see Granadilla again, and it even stirred my desire to maybe do some more testing hill walks in the summer, but for now, a chilled Dorada will do nicely.

What ever floats your boat

After 3 weeks of people asking me what that old ship is, moored up at Los Cristianos, I thought I better find out. No it’s not Roman Abramovich’s bath tub plaything, it’s the Lyubov Orlova, a Russian cruise ship, built in Yugoslavia in 1976, registered in Malta and specialising in trips from Argentina to Antarctica. Is that bizarre enough for you!

Lyubov Orlova

It may not look like much, but it has 4 decks and a bridge, and can carry 110 passengers at a top speed of 12 knots. Quite why it has stopped off here, I don’t know, the next cruise isn’t until November, when it will sail from Ushuaia, Argentina to Anvers Island in Antartica and back, a round trip of 1,700 nautical miles. The voyage lasts 11 days and the cost depends on what standard of accomodation you want, but starts at 3,500 dollars.

Maybe the crew came to Tenerife to get some sun and have now melted away, although I did see a few people working on deck through the lens of my camera. I didn’t think Russians liked Antartica, brings back memories of Lenin and that ice pick that did for him. Maybe they have come to liberate a few of the inmates at Planet Penquin in Loro Parque, but they always seem so happy there, so they would probably tell them to ppppp pick on someone else.

For the record, the name, Lyubov Orlova, refers to the first big screen star of Russia, she was a sort of early Marilyn Monroe, for the wild sex scenes she would undo one button on her trench coat – pretty risky stuff in Russia. An old Russian cruise ship, headed for the Antarctic,with lots of adventurous young people on board, sounds like the premise for a Ealing comedy – Carry On Comrade!