Archive for August 13th, 2009
El Sauzal, home to the red, the white, and the blues

There was no doubt about it, his woman had done him wrong, life was cruel and he didn’t get no respect. So much for the tortured soul, belting out the crackly vinyl blues on a modern sound system at Casa Elias in downtown El Sauzal. As for me, I was feeling pretty chipper, a plate of tapas in front of me, a cold drink, and the church of San Pedro Apostel in my line of vision. It was clear looking at the drum and guitar on the wall of the main bar, that this was a music venue, posters proclaimed August as a month of “Musica y Mojitos” and even the lizards on the garden wall looked pretty mellow.

It was all well worth the early start for an 8.30am, 110 Titsa from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz, 1.45 euros on the Bono, prompting a free 30 minute tram ride to the La Laguna terminus. A brief walk through town to the bus station brought its reward with an unexpected floor show. An o51 bus reversed out of its berth and bashed into a stationary 230, the aggreived driver got out, and casually ripped off a hanging length of rubber and drove off to do his run. The reverser was going to leave the scene too, but a young waiting passenger let rip with a tirade of verbal and hand signal abuse, ready to add to his bad morning, the driver leapt out of the cab and squared up to Mr Angry, but before fists could fly, other drivers split the pair and the driver chugged away. All this was played out in a surprisingly casual manner, no reprimands or mountain of paper work seemed to be heading the way of either of the drivers, even though it was like Robot Wars meets On The Buses – and all before 11am.

I was still smirking as my o12 Titsa took the one euro, 30 minute journey to El Sauzal, even the twin delights of Guamasa’s Dolce Vita Swingers Club and Piss Pass cafe had to settle for second best on my chuckleometer. Getting off in the Casco El Sauzal, the old part of town, I was immediately impressed, you can tell a lot by the look of a place, and this was bright,clean, well kept and with plenty of signs and tourist information. The ayuntamiento (council) buidling held centre stage, a pretty standard design of white building with traditional Canarian wooden balconies, it stood on several terraces of plants and flowers with a small waterfall and a cascade of concrete steps down to a pavement cafe. The nearby church of San Pedro Apostel was also well worth a walk round, built in 1515 and used by the Tenerife cabildo (government) when La Laguna was devestated by the plague.

The views out over the valley and to the sea were wonderful, but the best was yet to come. a short walk along the main road brought me to the Parque de los Lavaderos, 8,000 square metres of natures finest, based around a natural water source where locals gathered to do their washing. The trees and shrubs were pretty impressive from the entrance, but once I followed the stone path down through the layers of the park, I realised what a wonderland this is. Water channels still burble through the bushes, but small turret like buildings have been added and seats and mini plazas appear in shady rest spots. The council have struck a fine balance between maintaining the park, and allowing nature some free expression, the water channels are lined with moss and weeds, a perfect habitat for tadpoles, fish and red and blue dragon flies. Lizards lurk in the undergrowth and the flowers blooms add a spread of glorious colour, complemented by the views out to sea, and along the coast to Puerto de la Cruz.


The water that passes through the park is later pumped uphill to irrigate and nurture parks and public gardens at the top end of El Sauzal. As I puffed up the steep road on the 20 minute walk to the Casa del Vino wine museum, I could appreciate how much effort was needed to recycle this fresh water. The music from Casa Elias was still fresh in my brain, I couldn’t help thinking that someone should compose some modern blues based on the mornings events in La Laguna. “Woke up this morning, crashed my bus and had a fight, yeh i woke up this morning, crashed my bus and had a fight, guess I had the Titsa blues, and after that my day got real sh….shoddy”