Archive for April 13th, 2013
Respecting The Past And Building The Future In Santa Cruz

Sometimes I feel like that robot in the 80’s American comedy film Short Circuit “input give me more input”. A non football visit to Santa Cruz was long overdue and with a long tick list I knew the Tenerife capital would provide enough input to get my rusty circuits buzzing.

The 110 direct Titsa bus did me proud with a 50 minute run from Los Cristianos and a short tram ride was free on my bono ticket. Sitting near the drivers cab I noticed there was an emergency phone for the driver, it was like one of the old 70’s trimphones – maybe it linked straight through to Noel Edmunds at the Swap Shop? Ignoring a man wandering around the central shopping area of Santa Cruz dressed as a banana (what’s odd about that?) I headed for the Caja Canarias bank HQ in Plaza de Patriotismo and the new Cesar Manrique exhibition. The great man had a huge influence on the Canary islands in general and Lanzarote in particular and the paintings and sculptures on display put me in a chipper mood for the day. Look out for a full run down at Tenerife Magazine.

The military museum was my next call and I cut through Parque Garcia Sanabria knowing it’s delightful flowers and plants would further boost my mood. There’s a small art gallery on the far side of the park and the latest display Turismundi had recently opened so a little detour was called for. Six artists were displaying works, my favourite set was the whimsical Desayuno Incluido (breakfast included) by Enma Manescau. You have until 5 May to feast your eyes (it’s free) but only until 26 April to see Offshore, a stunning collection of surf photos in the window of the annex building.

Quickening my step I followed La Rambla around to the Museo Militar but despite being well ahead of closing time the guard said no more visitors were allowed in today and as he had a rifle I wasn’t going to argue. Never mind, it gives me a starting point for my next exploring trip. Walking down to Avenida Anaga facing the port I saw the first of three new commemorative plaques added the day before to mark artillery strongholds where invaders, including Nelson, were repelled many years ago. These have been installed by the Turtulia Amigos de 25 Julio who commemorate and re-enact the successful defence of Santa Cruz against Lord Nelson on 25 July 1797.

That led me on to a modern financial battle ground. The revamp of the main Via Litoral road that separates the port from Plaza de España and the city inland is almost complete with a tunnel ready to dip traffic underground for 506 metres so a vast pedestrian area can unite the port with the city. The day before my trip the Tenerife Cabildo (government) finally agreed to pay the annual 400,000 euro bill to maintain and service the tunnel, that leaves it clear for the big opening later in April. Up top there is more work to do to cover the roof of the tunnel and put in parks and walkways, it’s going to look pretty impressive.

Heading up into Calle Castillo, the main shopping drag, I was seduced off course by an unexpected flea market in the side streets. Rastrillo Le Petite Cirque had stalls packed with bric a brac, collectables, and street fashion. I spotted a few gems like old tobacco and chocolate tins for Senior Service and Dairy Box, a manual typewriter, a trombone, and a stack of vinyl including Emerson Lake and Palmer, Twisted Sister, and The Carpenters – what a weird party that would be. The Rastrillo will be back on 10 & 11 May, I shall have a deeper delve then and try another old restaurant to add to the gorgeous food I had at Tasca La Marea.

Safe in the knowledge that Santa Cruz is still a pleasing mix of ancient and modern I headed back to the bus station and once in my seat remembered another dozen or so things I was going to check out – bring on the next trip.