Archive for September, 2008
How do you make God laugh?…

…tell him your plans. That old saying was underlined yesterday in Los Cristianos when a shower of soot from a Naviera Armas ferry funnel caused the closure of the old beach for an hour, while Las Vistas beach was undergoing a high profile clean up by volunteers. The problem happened when instead of the normal smoke billowing out of the ferry funnel, a cloud of soot blew out and landed in the sea.

Sooty“Oh no, it’s Sooty in the sea” the sun worshippers cried, and before you could say Izzy Wizzy, lets get busy, people had dived in to save the poor bear, only to quickly realise their mistake. The police ordered a sweep of bathers off the beach while the offending soot dispersed, and through the port authority, they will be asking the ferry company for a good explanation.

Meanwhile on the other side of Los Cristianos, the early morning beach clean up had started, with a team of volunteers, backed by local diving schools and Arona councils very commendable programme to keep all the beaches in their area clean and safe. As part of the days programme, the Fundacion Neotropico, that restores injured turtles to good health, released some healthy creatures back into the water.

Turtle release

The soot incident was very unfortunate and couldn’t have happened on a worse day, but at least it was just a short interuption and may even have drawn attention to the good work being done on the larger beach next door.



Bangers and blooms for Puerto de la Cruz tourists day

So they were knocking on a bit, and had probably been touched up quite regularly in their lives, but as the sun shone on their sleek firm forms, men drooled and longed to run their hands over their body work. No, I’m not talking about the beach, these grand old ladies were a dozen antique classic cars, on parade in Avenida Venezuela, Puerto de la Cruz. It was the first of a 3 day festival, Puerto in Bloom, which very handily, started on the International Day of the Tourist.

Puerto motors

Arriving on the outskirts of the city at La Paz, I cast a quick eye over the mirador (viewpoint) at the calm sea below and the clear sky, a perfect day. The Gobierno (Canaries government) has just approved a 500,000 euro injection to spruce up the mirador with new paving and surrounds, but the view is priceless. Turning to go down the walkway into the city, a large billboard bordered the path with full details of the 3 days events (download a copy from the website ) but basically there will be song, dance, talks by botanical experts and floral displays. The boards and the smaller leaflets, also show where Puertos parks, gardens and fountains can be found.

Puerto motor

Seeing the display of antique cars was due soon, I hurried on to see the magnificent beasts arrive and take up their positions. Great names like Ford, Chevrolet and Morris jostled for attention and revived memories for many old drivers. The green Morris 8 caught my eye, as many of their cars were made at Abingdon, near my home city of Oxford, and I was surprised to see that the silver lady was missing above the grill on the Rolls Royce and a shiny gold screw cap covered the base where she can presumably be removed or added as required.

Roller & Morris

Leaving the motors, I made a detour to the information centre to pick up some leaflets and made a nice discovery nearby in the Calle Agustin de Bethencourt, just behind the fishermans beach. A new shop specialising in Belguim beers has opened, and it beckoned me in. La Maison Belge is crammed full of some fine strong beers like Leffe, Duval and Kwak, all complete with their own special serving glasses, the assistant also told me they would soon be adding Belguim cheeses, and chocolates.

Puerto Flowers

Prising myself out of the shop, I headed back to the seafront by the Lago de Martianez to see the 16 marquees that were selling flowers, plants, water gardens and much more. The Avenida Colon is a popular walkway at the best of times, but the prescence of so much floral colour and scents attracted even more people, and the strolling Dixieland Jazz Band put a spring in everyones step.

Puerto garden

This is the first Puerto in Bloom but the signs are good that it will become a regular fixture on the calender. It’s on till Monday night so you can still catch up with the fun and treat your senses to their own special day.



TITSA, a 30 year journey on a ticket to pride.

What better way to celebrate the 30 th birthday of TITSA, the Tenerife government owned public bus company, than with a trip on one of their trusty steeds to the main bus station in the capital, Santa Cruz, to join in the party.

Santa Cruz station

The name TITSA is derived from Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife and in their 30 year history their buses have covered 1,000 million kms, that’s 36.5 million kms a year, and while I’m wheeling out the stats, they have 1,700 staff and 604 buses.

Gripping my Bono, multi journey ticket, I caught the 110 direct bus from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz, and just an hour and 4.45 euros later, we glided into the top tier of the main station, caught between the shadow of the high rise Corte Ingles super store, and the hook nosed auditorium. If you are not already aware, I’m a big fan of the Tenerife bus service, pretty reliable and at your service 365 days a year, it is my magic carpet to many remote and bizarre places. Not only do they run on christmas day and all Canarian holidays, they also put on specail extras for events like Carnaval and last Fridays Gloria Estafan concert, on the outskirts of the capital.

The bus station had a big revamp a few years ago to allow the front to house one terminal of the new tram service. The top tier now has the stops for the island wide services, the second is home to those serving the capital and it’s outlying district, and the ground floor is split between a large underground car park and the main concourse. This main area is bright and airy due to high glass windows on all sides, and has a pretty decent cafe area that does tapas and main meals. In the centre of the open area I found the promised birthday exhibition.

Birthday display

Not quite what I expected, a series of large stacked cubes with scenes of the companies history depicted on all the faces, no birthday cake or champers – shame, maybe they are just modest. The Tenerife government are weighing in with their own birthday present, 150 million euros between now and 2012. It will be used for new buses, new routes, increased frequencies, new stops and new bus lanes, this Wednesday 45 new environmentally friendly buses will be presented to TITSA – pity the councillor that has to gift wrap that lot.

With no sign of any party hats or jelly and ice cream, I thought it best to head off exploring, then I remembered a sculpture exhibition at Casa de la Cultura, that I had intended to look at earlier in its September long run. After taking the tram to Teatro Guimera for some food and drink, I sussed out that 2 streets back and just up Calle Miraflores, I could catch a 026 bus up to the north of Santa Cruz to Parque la Granja and the library cum exhibition hall on the corner. Built in 1995, said the plaque, but the building looked old and a bit neglected, after a quick look in the vast and well equipped library I followed the signs down the stairs to the Sala La Granja and the large plain white room where Vision de Genero (vision of gender) by local sculptor Rosa Hernandez was on display.

Vision de Genero

The 12 female figures splayed in their death throes on the floor, oozed small pools of sand to represent blood and were certainly haunting and different. With my culture quota satisfied, I headed back down into the heart of Santa Cruz, past the altogether more cheery Parque la Granja, well kept and speckled with joggers and students. Passing the heart warming sight of CD Tenerife’s ground below me, and crossing Barranco Santos, I was soon at La Paz for a quick snack before heading down to the Plaza de España and back to the bus station.

Bus Station

The new trams struck a nice contrast with the TITSA buses swarming into the station, and there is even a specially decorated tram for the TITSA birthday. Maybe in just under 29 years, the trams will have their own 30th birthday to mark, in the meantime I shall raise a beer to the jolly green buses, many happy returns.



Time to see Santa Cruz – in the flesh.

Miss Tenerife 2007If you don’t like young, fit, nubile bodies, you best skip this posting, if however you do, DING DONG, as Leslie Phillips would say. The beautiful people are getting ready to take centre stage in Santa Cruz for the 2008 editions of Mr and Miss Tenerife, 68 of the finest and fittest, and top live music too including Spain’s 2007 Eurovision boy band D’Nash.

The shows take place on Friday September 26, for Mr Tenerife, and Saturday 27 September, for Miss Tenerife, both starting at 9pm at Castillo Negro, the old sea fort next to the hook nosed auditorium, a 4,000 plus crowd is expected each night.

Friday sees the 34 men strut their stuff, and as with the ladies the following night, they have 3 chances to impress, in swim wear, casual and evening wear. The music will be supplied by Danyssel and D’Nash, who were elected to fly the colours for Spain at Helsinki in Eurovision 2007. The 4 piece, singing I Love You Mi Vida, finished 20th, just behind a tap dancing ferret and a group of monks that had taken a vow of silence. Despite, or maybe because of that, they have prospered and it will be an emotional return for one of the boys, Mikel, who is from Santa Cruz.

On to Saturday and the chaps may be tempted out of the bars to see who is crowned Miss Tenerife. There should be strong competition for this one, as last years winner, Patricia Rodriquez (pic) , went on to become Miss Spain this March, and in November she jets off to South Africa hoping to add the Miss World title to her collection. Music will be provided by Nicky and Pignoise, if you bear in mind that each night the 34 contestants appear 3 times and there are 2 acts to perform, you will realise that the shows will go on into the early hours. Good luck to all the hopefuls, may your smiles never fade.

Roll up for Herne Bay v Tenerife

It will be the end of the pier show for Cemex Tenerife, when the CERS European Cup winners begin the defence of their roller hockey title in Herne Bay on Saturday October 18. Group C also includes Bassano of Italy and Reus of Spain, but it will be the clashes between Kent coast and Canarian holiday island that really capture the imagination.

Cemex Tenerife

Herne Bay United to give them their full title, play out of a sports pavillion on the pier and run a full programme of teams at all age levels, as well as artistic skating classes. It’s a bit of a contrast to Cemex Tenerife who play out of the delapidated Pancho Camurria sports hall, just along from the main bus station in Santa Cruz, in front of crowds of barely 100.

At the start of this season the European authorities ruled that the Pancho Camurria is not up to standard for the European games, so the club have to hope that the council splash some cash on a quick make over or they will need to find an alternative venue. Tenerife Guanches, the in line hockey team used to use the same venue but moved to the new Las Galletas sports hall 2 years ago, that could be a suitable escape route for Cemex.

It’s a hard life for Cemex, like most Tenerife sporting teams, they play in a national league, in their case the Ok Spanish League, and have to fly to away games every other week, very time consuming and expensive. If you want to take in a game, the home season starts on Saturday September 20 at 6pm against Reus.


Siam Park – we have splash down

Would it ever open? Well Siam Park, the water kingdom in Costa Adeje, Tenerife had its official inauguration tonight, and opens to the public on Wednesday at 10 am. So was it worth the wait? the short answer is yes, as long as you want to get involved , there are no shows or vast displays of animals to watch like in Loro Park, but It will definately appeal to the younger visitor looking for some wet and wild fun.


It was 6 months since my tour of the unfinished park so it was good to see the parking areas all surfaced and in use. The approach road from Las Americas, over the TF1 motorway was heavily manned by police and even arriving early, I could see a crowd had built up outside the entrance. The frontage is very imposing, with grand towers, and lions on plinths, the attention to detail comes through in the form of cracks in the wall for an aged effect.

The 4 open topped double deckers, painted in the Siam Park livery, were ferrying dignitaries and well heeled guests in at regular intervals as we all waited around the red carpet for the Princess of Thailand to arrive. Nearly an hour later the Bishop of Tenerife blessed the park, the Princess cut the floral ribbon and we surged through the gates to be met by a large display of flowers and the sea lion pool beyond it. The wave of suits and evening dresses set off around the park, some of the ladies soon regretted those high heels on the first slatted bridge.

The Dragon

The park is visually stunning from the lazy river burbling along, to the bright and vibrant designs of the 14 water rides, particularly the dragon, the 28 metre high tower of power and the giant. A group of local youngsters had been invited in to try some of the rides and they dutifully screamed, as they hurled themselves down the slides to emerge in splash pools with a lifeguard waiting to ensure their safe landing.

Dragon pool

There have been compromises over the last few months, the slide from the tower of power was originally going to send the rider through a pool of crocodiles, in a sealed plastic tube, the pool now has fish which you can view through the glass windows as the human torpedo whizzes through. Also the lazy river was to have had a series of boats allowing a leisurely cruise around the park, but it is now for swimming, with a series of flotation aids for swimmers and non swimmers to go with the flow. This removes the main attraction for parents etc who don’t want to get a soaking, there are of course 5 bars and restaurants, but they aint included in the price.

Tower of power

Down to the nitty gritty of times and prices. The park is open from 10 am to 6 pm each day. Entrance is 28 euros for adults and 18 € for children (thats 3 to 11 – yes at 12 you are an adult here) , residents discounts have been slashed since the first prices were announced and adults are now 25 euros and children 16 €, just one euro below the discount for booking on line. There is a special Twin Ticket to cover Loro Parque and Siam Park, this is 49 euros for adults (39 residents) and 33 € for kids (25 residents) , book on line at and its 46 euros for adults, and 31 € for kids.
Siam Park will please a lot of people, there will also be evening private hire of the beach, and special events, well they have to recoup the 55 million euros cost somewhere. Parents of younger children may baulk at the prices, but it’s definately gonna be a big favourite with anyone looking for a splashing time.
Granadilla duo rule the Tenerife waves

Dragging myself out of bed every morning for my 9 am pool swim is sometimes hard going, depending on the night befores Dorada intake. Now I have a new inspiration to put my efforts into perspective. Jose Brito and Miguel Cruz set off from El Medano yesterday, to swim around the coast of Tenerife, covering 250 kms in 10 daily stages. The mammoth swim is to promote sport on behalf of Granadilla de Abona and to draw attention to the councils Costa Limpia, cosatal clean up campaign.

The 2 men are doing this unpaid, and have put in months of training, averaging 15 kms per day. Both have a strong swimming pedigree which should serve them well in the challenging days ahead. Jose Brito swam from San Sebastian, La Gomera to Los Cristianos in 2004, and also that year he swam from Lanzarote to Fuerteventura. Cruz has won gold 3 times at 800 metres freestyle in the Spanish national championships, has been in the World top ten for 1,500 metres.

Epic swim

The dolphin like pair set off from El Medano at 10am yesterday with a 5pm scheduled arrival 25kms later at Los Cristianos. They will be shadowed on their swim by 2 boats taking turns, each with 2 crew. The full schedule is as below.

Fri. 12 El Medano to Los Cristianos, 25 kms, 6.25 hours

Sat.13 Los Cristianos to Punta de Teno, Buenavista, 38 kms, 9.50 hours

Sun.14 Punta de Teno to Garachico, 25Â kms, 6.25 hours

Mon.15 Garachico to Puerto de la Cruz, 24 kms, 6.30 hours

Tues.16 Puerto de la Cruz to El Pris, Tacaronte, 17 kms, 4.50 hours

Weds.17 El Pris to Taganana, 26 kms, 7.25 hours

Thurs.18 Taganana to Las Teresitas, Santa Cruz, 23 kms, 6.30 hours

Fri.19 Las Teresitas to Candelaria, 25 kms, 6.25 hours

Sat.20 Candelaria to Fasnia, 18 kms, 4.10 hours

Sun.21 Fasnia to El Medano, 26 kms, 7.10 hours

I don’t know about you, but i’m knackered just looking at the route. God speed to both of them and please let them have calm seas and helpful currents.


Up north and up staged in Tenerife

Teatro LealCulture vultures can find plenty to feast on in Tenerife, there is a rich tradition of theatres, but sadly many habe been allowed to slip into disrepair. This was the case with Teatro Leal in La Laguna, built in 1915 to the design of Antonio Pintor, the curtain came down 18 years ago and no one has trod the boards since. Thankfully a restoration programme led by local architect, Ladislao Diaz Marquez, has brought it back to its former glory, and with the lure of free tours from 5 to 8 pm this week, I headed up to La Laguna to have a look at the 620 seat theatre.

Arriving in Calle Obispo Rey Redondo at 4pm, I found about a dozen people waiting outside, and no notices about the tour, groups of 15 were being allowed in according to the local newspaper coverage, so with an hour to kill, I adjouned to a nice pizzeria just down the street. Popping back with 10 minutes to opening, the scene had changed, there was now about 100 people waiting in an orderley queue, but as the bells of the nearby Torre de la Concepcion struck 5, an official appeared and handed out a few small tickets to the front of the queue and said that was it for today, it seems a leader of a small tour party had already snaffled up most of them, leaving many of us locked out. Amid nuch waving of arms and loud complaints, the crowd converged on the entrance but the stony faced security man was adamant, culture for the masses? not today my son.

Leaving the angry mob to do what angry mobs do best, I made an exit stage left, hopefully I will get back for a performance some time. The first show is on September 18 at 9pm, when the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra will perform works of Mozart and Beethoven, with guest performers, pianist Guillermo Gonzalez and soprano Maria Oran. The big night will be in October, date to be announced, when Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain attend a gala launch.

Teatro Guimera

With theatre still in my thoughts, I caught the tram down to Santa Cruz and the Teatro Guimera. Unlike the grand frontage of Teatro Leal, this older venue, built in 1848, has quite a plain outside, but your attention is drawn to it by a large sculture of a theatrical mask. Called, Por Adriano, it was made by Igor Mitchaj in 1993 and adds a nice focal point to the building. Sadly there is a little graffiti on the nose, obviously not deterred by the Spanish law that protects sites of historic heritage, and carries a prison sentence of between 6 months and 6 years.

Teatro Guimera

The theatre was as I expected closed, but as you can see from this photo I took through the keyhole (someone might believe that) it is rather grand. Antonio Pintor designed the inside here as well and it is fairly typical of Canarian theatres, a horseshoe shaped seating area on 4 levels facing the stage. Looking at the forthcoming productions, I had picked out one of interest to Brits over here. On Octoner 3 and 4 the New London Consort conducted by Philip Pickett will be performing a baroque opera by Henry Purcell called Dido & Aeanas. Tickets range from 45 euros to 20, the box office opens 10am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm each weekday or you can buy online at

I shall definately be keeping a close eye on forthcoming productions at the 2 theatres and look forward to enjoying some uplifting performances as i enjoy my choc ice and kiora.



CD Tenerife aim for the sky

There is no rich Arab, American or Russian pumping millions into CD Tenerife, although looking at them ripping the soul out of the game in England, that may be a blessing. It’s hard graft for CDT as they strive to reduce the club debt, well it is nearly down to 30 million euros, so any money saving idea is worth considering. The latest brainwave is to get a plane to be used jointly by CD Tenerife and Las Palmas, our deadly rivals from Gran Canaria.

Islas Airways

Both teams are in the Segunda Division, just below the Primera big guns of Real, Barcelona etc, and both have to travel to the mainland every other game, often via a couple of changes, all at great expense. The new plane would have both team names and logos emblazened on the side, and would whisk the players quickly and in comfort to away games.

The key man in this cunning plan is Miguel Concepcion, President of CDT and Islas Airways, he has the power to make it happen. I used Islas Airways in January for a return trip to Lanzarote, and they were very good, the plane I snapped on the runway (above) is an Alenia ATR 42 which carries 72 passengers, perfect for a football squad and back up staff.

Maybe they can supply a supporters plane for the Armada Sur , must have a bar, so we can get to all the away games. The whole idea looks good, even if it means sharing a plane with the Las Palmas Pios, we can make sure there is an outside toilet on the week they are flying. So clear the runway for the football special, anyone for duty free?

Let’s talk about sewage

Well the good news is that Los Cristianos old beach is open again for swimming, after a 2 day E-Coli scare, the bad news is it’s the latest in a running series of possible health  problems around Tenerife beaches.

Los Cristianos beach

The sea by the old beach tends to be a bit oily due to the amount of boats moored up just outside the line of marker buoys, but on Monday a routine public health check on water quality, found a raised level of E-Coli bacteria in the water, and on Thursday the shoreline was closed to the public. E-Coli is a fecal (that’s pooh to you and me)  bacteria that can cause sickness, several beaches around Tenerife have suffered from what the authorities politely call Aqua Fecales or Aqua Negra, basically sewage in the water. Only a week ago, the Varadero beach at Las Galletas was closed due to leaks from a broken old sewage pipe, this resulted in several dead fish.Â

Swimming at the Los Cristianos old beach was to be suspended until next Monday, but yesterday, after a lot of complaints from local business’s, the water was declared safe again and the warning signs taken down. Further tests will hopefully show what caused the raised levels of bacteria, but in the meantime, the political row continues.

Pipe flowI went down to take some pics of the re-opened beach today and further round by the ferry port, I noticed a lovely stream of brown liquid dribbling out of a pipe, just near where the fisihng boats gather, it may well have been harmless, but i wasn’t tempted to take a taste.

Switch your thoughts to Santa Cruz in the north, and all eyes the last few days have been on some leaking Cepsa oil pipes by the old Castillo Negro, just along from the auditorium and more worryingly just by the Parque Maritimo lido. Critics say the liquid has traces of petrol but Cepsa maintain that it is a harmless mix of salt and water. APNUM, the environmental protection agency for urban and national areas, is looking into the leak and intends to make a full report about the exact content of the liquid.

Seperate cases in seperate areas but they all highlight a concern about what is being pumped out into the sea. For publicity purposes, many would prefer to just ignore these all too frequent worries, but every year Greenpeace Spain mentions the black spots around Tenerife, maybe one day someone will tackle the problem. Personally, I still swim in the sea every day, and normally it is lovely, but I will give a wide berth to any brown fish heading for me.