Archive for March, 2012
Santiago Del Teide, A Shrine To Rural Pleasure

Apparently 13% of visitors to Tenerife use one of the many walking trails, as I battled my way through 30 staff wielding German hikers and onto the 460 Icod bus from Las Americas I thought that figure could be a bit low. For once I was headed for a more sedate excursion, a good old poke around Santiago del Teide, a village I have passed through many times but never given it the attention it deserves.

Most of the walkers also got off at my stop but transferred straight onto the 355 Titsa mini bus for Masca or headed up onto the Chinyero volcano trail. Left at the main plaza I savoured the cool air and the tranquillity, determined to leave no stone unturned I passed the church of San Fernando Rey and turned into Senora del Valle, home to a rather lovely rural hotel and the Casa del Patio, all laid out on natures finest canvas.

The pine tree covered hills were soft and majestic but a noisy rooster was determined to make his case and as I moved inside the courtyard a couple of squawking parrots in a cage stuck their beaks in – bless. There is a riding centre at the back of the grounds but the horses were having a lay in or getting their oats. Casa del Patio, an old rural house was restored and opened in 2009, perfect timing for the 100th anniversary of the Chinyero eruption, they now have a permanent exhibition which I found fascinating. Outside two sturdy wine presses stand guard, methods have changed these days but Santiago del Teide still produces some memorable wines.

Back past the church and the imposing statue of Guanche Prince Alonso Diaz, the main street was quiet apart from the odd wave of lycra clad cyclists and a convoy of jeeps on their way to Masca. A glance down a side street and an odd structure caught my eye, I had to investigate and found it was a tribute to the local volunteer firemen that had been killed in action. Honour and Glory it proclaimed and a few yards along the bomberos station stands as an ongoing commitment to this service.

My main objective of the day was to walk up the Camino de la Fuente de la Virgen, an archway leading up a rugged path marked with white crosses on the way to a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes whose statue was blessed and placed next to a spring in 1990. A mere stroll compared to the long walks I have done but one of the most beautiful and emotive climbs I can recall. Each cross had a round sculpted bible scene at its base and although plain and stark each cross was packed with cultural and religious significance.

The path was quite steep and winding and the wisps of cloud that flit by in this part of Tenerife revealed a clear hot sky. I was going to take a quick breather half way up but noticed the stones were alive with armies of scuttling ants. The shrine was hewn into the rock and decorated with flowers and had some small stools so visitors could rest and contemplate. Just next door was an alter and a large bell, an oil drum brimming with foliage and discarded candles showed that the shrine was lovingly tended and used for acts of worship. A discarded Spanish teen mag suggested that younger worshippers sometimes scampered up here to contemplate their own idols. As for the spring, that looked like it had been dry for a long time and not just during this current parched spell.

The views down over Santiago del Teide were wonderful, not that high but revealing of the landscape that was carved out by volcanoes and now is being opened up further to the east by the new ring road and tunnels through the mountain. It’s a good job I’m not easily spooked as the bushes were twitching as large lizards went about their business, quite a nice spot for them with so many ants on tap. My descent was slow as I drank in every last sensation from this special route, and back in the village I relaxed with a coffee and cake at one of several delightful and friendly bars.

Wake Up CD Tenerife, There’s Work To Do

Most people put their clocks forward on Saturday night but CD Tenerife put theirs back a year to the painful days of relegation football. Coming on the heels of the home surrender to SS Reyes this was a worrying 2-0 loss at the bottom placed team Leganes.

Kiko, Llorente, and Cristobal (below) were back in the starting line up but there was no real urgency and Tarantino got away with some sloppy marking thanks to a brave intervention from Sergio. The defence was asleep again when Toninoturned and chipped a shot justover the bar but he improved on that after 16 minutes when he spotted Sergio loitering on the edge of his box and chipped the ball over him and into the net.

Zazo was getting stuck in and needed treatment aftercoming off owrse in a clash with the home goalie but most players struggled to break sweat. Navarro could have increased the lead on the half hourr, his free kick only just cleared the CDT bar. The second half opened with the killer goal, Cristobal stood off his attacker on the right and was missing when Victor nipped in for a free header to make it 2-0. Aridane came on for Ferran Tacon, and Bravo for Marcos but it didn-t make any difference.

Sergio had to make a great stop with his legs after Tonino waltzed through the retreating CDT defence. Loro hand balled and was off for a second yellow, add to that yellows for Zazo and Kike Lopez and an injury for Chechu, that means the whole midfield will miss the Toledo home game. This was a terrible showing by a CDT side with one eye on the play offs and no pride in their play.

Montaña Roja Is Too Good To Miss

Looking down on the beaches of El Medano and ducking as the planes came and went from Reina Sofia airport, I heaved a contented sigh as an epic six and a half hour walk drew to a close. This was the latest of the Arona council free guided walks but my guide and the other 19 walkers bailed out just short of the climb to the top of Montaña Roja.

I had feared a repeat of the previous day’s calima and wild winds but a perfect clear and sunny day dawned as I met the other walkers at Las Galletas. The early part of the trek was a mix of raw nature and rampant development as we followed the coastal path through Costa del Silencio taking a few short cuts through holiday and residential complexes. The coast around and beyond Westhaven Bay is beautiful and rugged and it seemed that every spare outcrop had been claimed by a keen fisherman. As we rounded a corner we got a full frontal view of Montaña Amarilla. If I told anyone unfamiliar with Tenerife that we have a Yellow Mountain they might think I also believe that the moon is made of cheese, but the evidence was there in the distinctive tinge of the rocks as the rich turquoise sea lapped gently at the pebble beach.

This area of the coast is being protected and nurtured as a special site for quality diving with strict limits on the prime spots where Lime Urchin, Spotted Burrfish, Grey Triggerfish, and many more wonders mingle in their watery treasure chest. There’s more information on the area and the project at this website.

It was lovely to admire but the steep ascent up Montaña Amarilla was a tough test on the legs with rewarding views from the top. Coming down the other side Amarilla Golf and Golf del Sur loomed up in the distance but we had a snack stop on the large pebbled beach and enjoyed a light breeze. There were already a few camper vans sprinkled around but nothing compared to the motorcade that will swarm down for Semana Santa – Easter Week.

Skirting the two golf courses and San Miguel marina we were soon back on the concrete promenade passing San Blas before diving down to the beach again. Rock pools were teaming with young human life as well as sea creatures as we passed Playa Grande and hit Los Abrigos. Here the first dissent started to show as some walkers wanted to catch a bus to El Medano, thankfully the majority realised that this was advertised as a walk so we passed through the delightful Los Abrigos. Some of my Armada Sur football friends were sat outside a bar and teased me with their ice cold pints of Dorada – tempting but the taps would still be full later.

Coming out of Los Abrigos Montaña Roja loomed larger and nearer as we trudged along the sandy beach and onto the coastal path outside the banana plantations. Lots of different bird species hang out in El Medano and whilst a few shy and elusive visitors like the Corredor left us with just a snatch of bird song I did get a shot of this Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador) on holiday from South America.

Veering away from the main road and kicking our way through the sand we eventually headed back to the camp site by the main road where the others swarmed on a bus stop ready to head back to Los Cristianos. Our travels had already gone beyond five hours but Montaña Roja was advertised as a key point of the walk and I had only seen the 171 metre high peak once before. I had water left in my bottle and one last smelly squashed salami roll so in my best stubborn mood I stomped off to find the main path I needed.


As the path curled around the base of the mountain and headed upwards, my legs were cursing me but the views were already getting even better. Only a few people passed coming down as I kept to the more rugged side of the corkscrew path. Within 30 minute I was at the peak by the concrete stack and admiring the busy airport and the beaches peppered with bodies, some of them nude at La Tejita. Looking back Montaña Amarilla seemed a long way off, the jagged coastline etched in my memory. A few photos and a gulp of water and I was picking my way back down, this time turning onto the path across the main beach and into the heart of El Medano just in time to catch the 4pm bus home. Definitely worth the extra effort.

Will The Real CD Tenerife Please Stand Up

Expect The Unexpected should be the club motto for CD Tenerife. Once again we were set up to expect a convincing home win, this time over lowly SS Reyes but poor team selection, poor tactics, and a poor attitude saw our surprised visitors take a 2-0 win home with them.

An early evening defeat for Real Oviedo should have fuelled the desire of the players but apart from a reasonable first 20 minutes CD Tenerife showed few ideas and even less determination. Cristobal was suspended so Chechu filled the right back role, the out of form Loro started again, and Aridane (below) was the lone striker, top scorer Perona was again left on the bench.

Tenerife only had one real chance at goal in the first half and that was spurned by Aridane after he beat the keeper and had a free shot but he hit it wide. Reyes took their only chance well on a quick break, Tarantino was out of position in the centre of defence and Sergio got himself in a tangle with Llorente to present Portilla with a gift. Llorente had to be replaced after 33 minutes due to a muscle pull,Medina came on and slotted into a centre back position with Tarantino moving over to left back.

In the midst of all this the midfield looked weak and Marcos had a quiet game while Ferran Tacon was a passenger. Half times mood was as black as the night sky but CDT came back out with their headlights set on dim. Perona finally saw some action after 56 minutes but coach Garcia Tebar took off Zazo, one of the few players showing any hunger. There was another strange call when replaced Tacon, two players that have faded as the season has progressed – it would have been nice to see Kiko added to the front line to add some hustle.

Maybe there was a way back but Reyes slammed the door on that with Portilla netting from another breakaway. The 9,064 crowd was stunned and some of the fair weather fans tempted in with cheap tickets were tempted back out of the stadium. Kike looked frustrated as his low cross went begging after the visiting goalie fumbled the ball. It was depressing stuff, Perona picked up a yellow card that keeps him out of theLeganesgame away on Sunday. The only thing to cheer was when Sergio dribbled the ball up the field to clear it.

Maybe complacency is creeping in with Castilla out of reach at the top and our play off spot almost secure. This is the time when coach Tebar should be earning his wage by motivating players, momentum is a great weapon to have going into the all important play offs.

CD Tenerife Are Good Value For Latest Away Win

It was another giant stride towards the promotion play offs as CD Tenerife rounded off a fine performance with a 2-0 win at Rayo Vallecano – they could even afford to miss two absolute sitters in front of goal. Sergio Aragoneses returned for his 200 th league game in Tenerife colours and with Zazo and Aridane starting the side had a good balance to it.

Sergio soon got a touch of the ball with a simple take in the first minute and although Roberto flicked the ball over the bar for Rayo seconds later, Tenerife dominated the first half. Zazo headed over and Pablo Sicilia forced a save after heading a Chechu (above) cross. Kike Lopez unleashed a long range effort that wasn’t far away but the opening goal after 16 minutes caught everyone napping. Chechu delivered a testing ball with Pablo offside but as the linesman frantically waved his flag the goalie only half cleared and the ball fell to Zazo who couldn’t believe his luck as the game froze around him, leaving him to tap it in the net.

Kike Lopez was getting lots of close attention and needed treatment after Owusu elbowed him in the face, Kike paid him back with a crafty dig a few minutes later. Rayo’s first decent chance fell to Mata who lashed his shot over Sergio’s bar. Zazo was everywhere and cleared well from a late first half home charge, Sergio weighed in with a strong punch clear just before the break. The second half was more even, that couldn’t be said for the fans, a contingent of around 100 blanquiazul were loud and proud all game.

Chechu has been showing in recent weeks just why the club rated him so highly, a perfect pass in from the right was made for Aridane but he put it wide. Tarantino joined the attack for a Chechu corner and tested the keeper with a powerful header. Mata should have levelled for the home side, he was one on one with Sergio but produced a feeble poke at the ball, an easy pick up for our bicentennial man. Tacon replaced the battered Kike Lopez and Perona relieved the clearly still unfit Loro. Then came the free invitations that Tenerife declined, first Tacon did the hard part skillfully chesting the ball down before wasting his free shot, then Chechu took the ball between two defenders but tried too hard to round the keeper when a little chip would have done the job.

Sergio had one personal scare as he committed himself at the near post but the Rayo player was also in wasteful mood. Into injury time after a home player got sent off for a second yellow, I was just thinking what a poor game Aridane had when he made a great unselfish move laying the ball off to the overlapping Llorente (above) who blasted the ball with the precision of a striker to seal the 2-0 win. Lots of hard work and determination from CDT, Castilla only drew so Tenerife have consolidated second place just four points behind the leaders. Wednesday nights home clash with SS Reyes can’t come soon enough.


Arona Carnaval Rides Off Into The Sunset

It was the hangmans noose that caught my eye, swinging from its wooden frame at the Los Cristianos showground. The wild west came to Arona as the theme of this years Carnaval and it was a big hit with The Good, The Bad, And The Cuddly.

There were some bold tweaks to the programme, the Cabalgata opening parade set the tone adding a splash of colour to Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas as the dance troops and murgas assembled. Making their way to the edge of Los Cristianos the parade added some new converts to the Carnaval cause while my attention was rounded up by the high kicking cowgirls.

Back at the showground – AKA the Valdes Centre car park, the main stage was taking shape with a western town look featuring the frontage of a bank and saloon. The Carnaval Queen election was predictably late starting but the large seated crowd showed no sign of being restless and the pre election show was a whirlwind skip through the founding of the wild west with shoot outs, indians and the cavalry all playing their part.

Natalia Suarez (above) swapped her stetson for a Queens crown as late night revelry took us into Saturday and another new feature, the Day Carnaval. The showground served up a Bonanza of live music and the young guns were looked after at the church plaza with face painting and murgas performing their kazoo inspired music. Day turned into night and the showground was thumping well into the early hours but next morning at 9 am I looked in to hopefully catch an early glimpse of the classic car display due at 10.30. It was buzzing with cleaning activity from Arona council’s finest, spraying, brushing and wombling up the mess, they always come up trumps at the big events.

Rushing back from seeing CD Tenerife shooting blanks in a 0-0 draw I dived in to the full glory of the Coso parade as they slapped on the make up and adjusted their dresses at the Paloma beach assembly point. The cavalcade of colour seemed longer than ever and the enthusiasm shone through during the hot two hour dance of delight up to the Cultural Centre. People hung over balconies, sat on parents shoulders, and climbed every tree and wall possible to get a better view of the lovingly crafted costumes. Shedding their bright skins the multi coloured army took to the showground to pulverise their aching feet with joyous dancing in a zone where the clock has no meaning.

It’s always sad to say farewell to Carnaval but at least it was done in traditional style with Monday’s sardine funeral. The usual suspects were there, wailing mourners exposing a bizarre variety of underwear, mock clergy with their own special holy water, and the star of the show, a huge cheecky faced sardine, blissfully unaware of it’s fate. Los Cristianos was bouncing, crying, singing, and drinking as they propelled the doomed fish along the back streets and down to the beach. Mourners were eventually forced to withdraw from the sardines side and as the flames leapt up the scales and the fireworks went off the dancing and partying was re-ignited for one last late blow out.

As Carnavals go this years will be talked about by old cowboys for a long time to come but for now it was time to catch up on some sleep as we all faced the end. Some were a bit more saddle sore than others, you can see the full gallery of photos here.


Sands Beach Resort, What A Place To Win A Weeks Holiday

Lanzarote made quite an impression on me during my week over there – and not just because I managed to squeeze in a visit to the local football team.Sands BeachResort in Costa Teguise was my base and I tried three of their six pools for my early morning dip. Now Tenerife Magazine is giving you the chance to explore this land of volcanic rebirth with a free weeks holiday for two at Sands Beach Resort.

During my trip I packed in some of the big tourist attractions like Timafaya National Parkwhere volcanic heat performs party tricks like cooking food and propelling a geyser high into the air. Swimming as always was on my agenda, Costa Teguise beaches are popular with families and surfers. The more active guests at Sands Beach Resort used their sea water lagoon to learn windsurfing and scuba diving, outside horse riding and running are popular, Jenson Button keeps fit outside the motor racing season with triathlons in Lanzarote. Next time over, I’m going to check out the walking trails but in the meantime you can keep up with the news from Sands Beach Resort at their Facebook or Twitter contacts.

Oops there’s me wobbling on and you want to know how win this weeks half board holiday for two people. Just go to the Tenerife Magazine homepage, answer a simple question and sit back and wait for the draw on 31 March. You must claim your prize within two weeks of notification and it’s not transferable. The prize at Sands Beach Resort must be taken, subject to availability, and excluding public holidays and fiestas, within 12 months and does not include flights. Go on give it a go, you could be the winner.

Frustration As CD Tenerife Draw A Blank

Are we getting greedy? Having gorged on last weeks feast of a win over Castilla lips were being licked and appetites were at an all time high but there were only crumbs on offer for CD Tenerife in this 0-0 home draw with La Roda. The visitors played a spoiling game and went away thrilled with a hard erned draw but Tenerife, even with a lack of punch up front, should have sewn it up in the first half.

Once again we learned to appreciate Kiko in his abscence, suspended after another booking last week. Coach Garcia Tebar changed the playing pattern to accomodate a fit again Loro who tucked in just behind Perona, that left the midfield weak with no Zazo to back up Marcos and there was no target man to threaten the big defenders from Roda. Kike Lopez and Raul Llorente made a lot of openings down the left but they fizzled out before testing the away keeper.

After 20 minutes CDT lay siege to the Roda goal with four straight corners but each time Loro’s ball in was wasted and cleared away easily. Kike Lopez timed another perfect run and cut in from the wing with the ball but there wasn’t a white shirt in a position to finish with a goal. It got worse in the second half as Roda sensed a point was theirs to take if they just held tight. Tacon came on for the ineffective Bravo and Zazo for the tired Loro, neither made a difference to the overall picture. Aridane was added after 70 minutes, we could have done with him earlier, the 11,365 crowd had been in good voice from the start and tried to lift the players but Roda players were going down and the slightest touch and stopping the flow of the game.

Aridane had a penalty claim, the ref wasn’t impressed, at the other end Razak came to the rescue with two assertive takes from the head of Chupi. For the last five minutes Roda brought on the giant Torre up front, he looked like he could flatten all before him but Razak had the measure of him and charged him down while taking the ball cleanly. Perona needs one more goal (and promotion) to get a new contract but it wasn’t coming today. Four minutes of injury time didn’t offer a late winner and Tenerife were left to wonder how they didn’t convert any of their 17 corners into a goal.

Ifonche Looks Down On The Dwindling Waters Of Arona

The half full reservoir just above Arona hinted at the need for rain to avoid a summer drought in Tenerife. Later perched on the lip of Barranco del Rey, the centuries of lava and water erosion that had formed this deep chasm put it into some historical context. Tenerife has thrived on nature’s whims and in my ten years on the rock there has always been plenty of water to hose down the streets early morning and keep flower beds fed.

The day was certainly a hot one, even in the Plaza del Cristo de la Salud, Arona for the 9am start to the latest free guided Arona Ayuntamiento (council) walk. Sadly there were only seven walkers and our guide Virginia but we set off keenly, taking the path marked Camino del Toro 2.4 kms, the return down Camino del Suarez would be a tougher 3.9 kms, a pleasure to look forward to.

Bird song filled the air as we passed the reservoir and walked upwards parallel to the main Vilaflor road. Stone water channels were a constant companion on our route but their bubbling cargo was now encased in thick rubber pipes guided by their stone holders. As we veered away from the road and upward the path became steeper and rougher but the surroundings were soothing with plenty of plant life and distractions like an old abandoned house that we had a good nose inside.

Our slight detour to peer into the barranco that separates Arona from Adeje was soon followed by a stretch of better track that passed a small farm with some loud extrovert chickens and the El Refugio restaurant. Their sign promised rabbit and goat, maybe those chickens should cluck a little quieter if they know what’s good for them. Behind the restaurant was an old lavendaria, a basic clothes washing area, the water channels were once widely used for cleaning purposes.

Over the brow of the hill into Ifonche and we were greeted with a clear view up to the pine forests of Vilaflor, and what a glorious green vista it was. A quick dip in and out of the shallow end of the barranco and we found another old deserted house, this time with its own wine making room with a pressing area for the grapes alas it was dry. Turning a corner we were in a large threshing circle, moving to the front we could see why it was now a popular take off spot for paragliders. The land fell away below to reveal stunning views of Las Americas, Fanabe, and La Caleta with a cloud topped La Gomera rising up beyond.

To the right the peak of Montaña Los Brezos tapered to a point and on our other side Roque Imoque (below) rose like a twin guardian. What a perfect place for a food and water stop, several other walkers passed by in both directions at this point as we fed the lizards with scraps. Moving onto our downward spiral I was glad to see a sturdy wooden rail had been added to the first tight corner since my last visit several years ago. On the way down we saw some fine examples of Tabaiba Roja, normally found in the Teno area but thriving here. Sipping coffee in Los Cristianos I usually admire the front face of Roque del Conde but now I could appreciate the rear view and the cleverly crafted gravity defying terracing on the steep side.

The Camino del Suarez was a much harder corkscrew path but has a welcome break for some more old houses and some caves hewn into the sandstone like rock. There was even an entrance to a deep water gallery, nature has hidden some reserves for a not so rainy day. Just before reaching Arona there was the small matter of another steep sided barranco to clamber down and up, on past walks this always had a trickle of water running through it but this time it was parched.

With perfect timing we were back in Arona after a five hour muscle stretching workout, just enough time for me to sink a cold drink at the bus stop bar before my Los Cristianos bus gave me a restful ride home.

Epic Win As CD Tenerife Humble Leaders Castilla

It’s a team game football and at CD Tenerife the fans are a vital part of that team. This 3-1 home win over Real Madrid Castilla really proved the point as the fans responded to a rallying call after last weeks shock defeat, and the players responded with a gutsy, passionate performance that had the entire 13,400 crowd purring.

It was a tough build up with injuries and suspensions and fate added another late blow with Loro failing his fitness test. All the peñas (fan clubs) put on a dazzling pre match display of tifo and banners and it kick started the on pitch action as Chechu cut in down the right and crossed the ball just out of reach of Kike Lopez. Kiko and Perona were linking well up front but there were early signs that Tenerife couldn’t rely on any help from the ref, he seemed to have a blind spot for fouls on home players. Perona had a strong chance after 15 minutes but scooped his shot over the bar.

Castilla had plenty of skill and broke well down the right to carve out a 19th minute goal for Juanfran. Tenerife came back strongly, Kiko should have done better when the visiting keeper spilled the ball but he should have already passed to Perona unmarked at the post. There was no mistake a few minutes later when the ball broke to Perona and he glanced the ball in the net with his head to square the game. Just after the goal Kiko got booked, that will rule him out for next weeks home game. Just before the break Kiko showed his worth with a nice lay off to Zazo but the midfielder couldn’t convert the chance.

Castilla began the second half strongly and Denis went close with a shot that looped over the bar as Razak advanced. The Ghana keeper was having a steady debut although he needs to work on his kicks in training. Aridane came on for Kiko as Tenerife went in search of the win spurred on by the constant roar of the crowd. The ref was dishing yellow cards out to the home players but missed most of Castilla’s heavy challenges. It was that man Perona again who hit the net for a deserved lead after 67 minutes and Tenerife were good value for it. Ruben Rosquete came on for Chechu as the ref showed his true colours, Razak tried to take a goal kick but was impeded by a Castilla player, then when he got room to take the kick the ref booked him for time wasting. There was worse to come, Joselu tried to pick a fight with Tenerife’s physio as he walked back around the goal and then floored Cristobal with a two handed push to the chest, strangely it only produced a yellow card.

The game went into injury time but our nerves were saved by a raid on the Castilla goal that ended with a Kike Lopez goal slotted in from an acute angle. It was no more than Tenerife deserved, every player and every fan did their job and coach Garcia can now boast five wins in his six games. This was Tenerife at their best, even the fans copping a free view from up in the flats were dancing with joy.