Archive for April 7th, 2012
The Greatest Story Ever Told Never Loses Its Passion

If credits rolled at the end of The Passion in Adeje “shepherd with shovel” would appear on the honours. As noon approached Roman soldiers shuffled their sandals, the Empress toyed with her snake, even the Roman eagle had a little flutter, and the horses showed their nerves in a less delicate manner.

There has to be some back stage jitters for this annual street theatre extravaganza that re-creates the last days of Christ and his crucifixion. A cast of 300 actors rehearse for months, scenery and costumes are lovingly created, and Calle Grande is transformed to a biblical setting thanks to liberal sprinklings of palm ferns and leaves.

The crowd was bigger than ever this year, 22,000 people lined the street from the church at the top down to the small plaza where Jesus would be nailed to a wooden cross. Press and the local television crews following the scenes as they unfold dress in costume so as to not distract from the emotionally charged story.

Even The Greatest Story Ever Told can benefit from a few tweaks, this year there were more dancers and some extra passages of dialogue, relayed over speakers from head sets worn by the main characters. The key elements were all there in their usual glory, The Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, Pontius Pilot’s court room and the market.

The power and realism is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved, no gory detail is spared from Jesus chained and whipped by the Romans to the graphic nailing of Jesus to the cross before it is hoisted before his mother and Mary Magdalene. As Jesus forgave his captors with his last breath and his close friends wept at his loss, many of the onlookers shed tears too and everyone crowded into the final area was visibly moved as every last drop of emotion was wrung out.


Into The Valley, Peaceful And Divine

Fertile is another adjective that The Skids might have added to their lyrics if they had done the Santiago de Teide to Puerto Santiago walk. As talk of drought continues in Tenerife the Barranco del Valle showed how well water can be used to keep agriculture going.

At the top end of this 8 km walk the low dark rolling cloud was sprinkling rain on me as I set out, it felt a bit chilly too and I was glad of my rain jacket. Much of the route is the old Camino Real, one of the earliest paths linking the coast to the hills. Big angular blocks of stone tested my footwork and volcanic stone walling helped to channel me slowly downwards parallel to the main road.

The rain soon fizzled out as I left the brooding cloud behind me and the coat joined the bare essentials in my small rucksack. I soon discovered that this was quite a selection box of teasing trails, the first temptation was a detour of 3.8 kms to El Moledo or a 2.1 km stairway up to Risco Blanco. Making a mental note for a future trip I pushed onwards and down to the lip of the barranco deep below.

Rock stacks to my right were bizarre and fascinating and the path had its own beauty with cactus plants blooming with pink pears. The next signpost offered up Cruz de Los Misioneres, a steep climb up the side of the mountain to a lone white cross at the top, again I had to decline the invitation. A black goat I passed trotted up onto a mound and started a bleated conversation with a friend across the barranco. Tamaimo was now in view to my left and as the path dipped down, the trail crossed the dry barranco bed and I took advantage of a smooth stone to sit and have a snack. The river course may have been dry but since the start of the walk a large pipe running close to the path had gurgled loudly with the water rushing through it.

Cresting a hill I got my first glimpse of the coast and very beautiful it looked. A little further on I noticed several reservoirs, not full but not far off. Pipes running into them were matched by others leading out into well tended plots of bananas and cereal crops, all looking very healthy. Coming down hill two reservoirs looked more like a small marina, the sign here pointed up to the right so I duly obliged only to find myself following a quickly narrowing ledge that was leading to a sheer drop.

Common sense eventually tapped me on the shoulder and I back tracked to the reservoirs and headed around the well protected banana plantations. The track between the towering green enclosures soon turned into a road and my confidence returned as I recognised some landmarks up ahead. The road came out just above the Los Gigantes mirador which was awash with coach parties of tourists. The near four hours had sped by, the transition from rain to hot sun, and the expanse of fertile farmland in the barranco had given me a new understanding of the precarious nature of water supplies on the island. More importantly I had found another stimulating and rewarding trail of wonder and beauty.