Archive for July 4th, 2008
Santa Cruz, the best, and worst, laid plans.

Several long running stories in Santa Cruz have sparked into life, so today was high time I headed up to the capital of Tenerife to check it out. With CD Tenerife taking a summer breather, it’s been a good few weeks since my last visit, so with the north also basking in the heat, I took the 110 direct bus for a one hour, 3.90 euro bono ticket price trip. Changing straight onto the tram, the bono registered a free ride.

Bull ring plans

Getting off at La Paz and turning into Rambla del General Franco, I passed the old bull ring, see inside here ,one of the reasons for my trip. It’s still proud and peeling and awaiting its fate, which could be decided in the Garcia Sanabria park, a little further on. Santa Cruz council invited local architects to submit plans for the redeveloment of the Plaza de Torros and this Friday, Saturday and Sunday they are on display in the park. I hoped there might be a few entries, but it was a nice surprise to see 35 sets of plans. These were not just your basic technical drawings, but computerised colour mock ups from several angles.

Garcia Sanabria clockThankfully, most of them want to keep at least some of the facade of this iconic building, with designs ranging from inspired to “carbuncles” as HRH Charlie would call them, one even looked like the elephant house at London Zoo. All legal residents are allowed a vote so I popped my slip into the ballot box. On July 7, a committee of 13 headed by the Santa Cruz mayor, will add their verdict and then the whole planning merry go round kicks off again.

I’ve gotta mention Parque Garcia Sanabria, not the biggest of parks but truly glorious, with its dense mix of plants and trees little pathways constantly lead you off to new hidden delights like sculptures, water features, a flower clock, a kids train and a cafeteria. The main monument in the centre is quite a work in itself, I thought the large lady might be one of those performing statues, so I kept my distance. The council have also introduced a bike hire scheme from the park at one euro per hour, but I couldn’t find any trace of that, however one of the canarian papers did report it as starting earlier in the week, so hopefully the bikes were all out on hire, and not nicked.

Parque Garcia Sanabria

Onward ever onward, around the Rambla del General Franco to the Military Museum of the Canary Islands in Calle San Isidro. This was part of some research on Lord Nelson (see next post) but I didn’t check the opening times and arrived just 30 minutes before the 2 pm closing. It’s a big place, with a very impressive display and is FREE. I got the pics and info I needed but will definately be going back for a more leisurely stroll. This took me almost full circle, you can get to the museum along the Avenida de Anaga on the front, just past the Fred Olsen port.

Monument of the FallenThe other main point of my trip was to see the newly re-opened, but still not finished Plaza de España. It’s taken 2 years, many false dawns and a recent financial top up of 4 million euros from the Tenerife government to bring the toal spend to nearly 20 million, split 80 % to 20 % in favour of the government over the Santa Cruz council.

The trees around the edge of the park look good, the 61 year old Monument to the Fallen has scrubbed up well and the 2 bronze 1,000 kilo statues on guard look good, if a little cheeky. Three large buildings, one already destined to be the new tourism office, have their sloping roofs climbed by 5,000 plants arranged by French designer Patrick Blanc (please no jokes about uphill gardeners) . The big centrepiece should be the 2,500 cubic metre lake, but instead of being full of sea water from deep underground wells, there is just a small puddle in the centre, and the 30 metre high geyser is not spurting. Hardly any of the 122 parking places below are in use yet and the remains of the San Cristobal castle, also below are not on show yet. The finishing touches will take “some weeks” apparently, what a shame, the lighting draped across the plaza is in place and looks stunning at night, but is supposed to relect off the lake for full effect.

Plaza de España

I eagerly await the completion of Plaza de España and look forward to seeing how many people can end up in the lake at Carnaval time.