Archive for August 8th, 2009
Splash, bang, wallop, surfs up in La Caleta

Bring me a postage stamp and a pen, I will write all I know about surfing on the back of the Queens head, still leaving adequate room for a small novel. Even after hours stood on my ironing board on the balcony, I have to admit to not having any of the skill and co-ordination of the many surfers who cut through the Tenerife waves with such grace and flair.

Mind you, that doesn’t stop me from admiring the talent of those that are at home on the foam, that’s why I headed from Adeje (see post below) to La Caleta for the 4th annual Canaries bodyboard competition. The timing was good, with the Virgen del Carmen fiesta in full swing this weekend, the sun baking, and most of all, the Atlantic throwing in some towering waves. La Caleta often has lively surf, and I noticed on arrival that Playa de la Enramada was pleasing sun seekers and bathers with fair sized rollers, but between there and the old village of La Caleta, the best and biggest waves were right on schedule at one of the jagged rocky points.

The tight bunting adorned streets leading to the sea were packed with camper vans, and every homes terrace was the setting for a lively and colourful party to enjoy the twin pleasures of fiesta and sport. Fish restaurants cling to every rocky stack overlooking the sea, the surf judges had their own little canopy set up just in front of a fishy terrace, as competitors awaited their call to take to the water. A P.A system and fog horn blast kept each surfer informed of their time slot for each category.

Competitors each paid 20 euros to enter in the open, female, drop knee or local  category, with 2,000 euros of surf gear up for grabs as prizes. A 15 or 20 minute spell to impress sounds a fair bit of time but catching the right wave and then getting back into position for the next cuts that down considerably. The coast in this area is full of sharp outcrops of rock, next to the event zone, bathers relaxed in rock pools, but the surfers in just shorts and tshirts rose and fell, and cruised and crashed in the surf without troubling the Red Cross attendants with as much as a graze.

The finer points were lost on me , I’d be happy just to stand up, but for those who want to see the full results and look out for future events, try It’s back to the ironing board for me.

Adeje, where Tenerife old and new collide

The spirit of Arkwright lives on, I’m not sure if they are Open All Hours, but the Bar La Estrella in Calle Grande, Adeje with its combined bar and newsagents brought to mind that old cccccc cantankerous shop keeper made famous by Ronnie Barker. The shop and bar look seperate neighbours from outside, but one bar/counter unites them inside seperating my morning coffee from a selection of sensible hats, tacky souvenirs, magazines and papers. Smack in the middle, squatting on 2 low chairs, Mr and Mrs A were glued to a re run of last nights Real Madrid friendly and I seemed to be an unwanted distraction.

 Never mind, onward and upward, literally, as the shady tree lined Calle Grande meanders uphill to the Ayuntamiento (council) building (pic) and the old church plaza. It must be about 8 months since my last visit, when notices warned of impending work to the crumbling old walls surrounding the square. It seems that the work is more intense than I expected, high fences now seal off much of the plaza as a huge crane lurks behind. The large works billboard has a familiar look, and shows the logo for Plan E, a Spanish national initiative for urban renewal  with the commendable logic that it’ s better to pay the unemployed to do small overlooked  building projects, and give them some pride and purpose.

Turning the top corner towards Casa Fuerte, the old run down castle, I noticed lots of building, large and small going on in the newer part of Adeje, and a notice warning that the popular walk, Barranco del Invierno is closed. The Barranco is undergoing a month (Canarian timescale) long revamp costing 361,861 euros, improving the path and cutting back intrusive plant growth. Being a nosey git, I had a good look round the side and behind the Casa Fuerte, guarded as ever by the old canon. I don’t think there are plans to repair it anytime soon, but even in its rundown state, it has a strong prescence, a reminder of more vulnerable days when many people coveted Tenerife. It’s quite a border line for 2 eras, on one side, the new town growing at a quite frightening rate, and on the other, the terraced landscape dropping away to the Atlantic with the island of La Gomera beyond, emerging through a fluffy wrapping of cloud.

Coming back down into old Adeje, there is a nice mix of old and new low level housing, a large popular plaza with childrens play area, and some smashing coffee and cake shops, which I felt duty bound to visit. Los Olivos has been blighted with the worst aspect of this area, a new stark concrete church, sealed off with its own small plain plaza, it would give Prince Charles sleepless nights, not so much designed but line drawn on an Etch a Sketch by a cubist. Luckily that was my exit point for the bus to La Caleta.