Archive for January, 2016
Fans Flock In But CD Tenerife Hardly Raise A Flutter

Pigeons pecking at the Heliodoro pitch didn’t even bother moving as play headed in their direction, they seemed to know that CD Tenerife v Numancia was destined for a 0-0 draw. Both teams had their moments but that extra bit of class was missing from these mid table sides and the bumper 10,796 crowd, boosted by special ticket deals, left a little frustrated.

Tenerife could have blazed into an early lead, Choco ran onto a through ball but hit his shot at the visiting keeper, Omar went close a few minutes later and hopes were high that the goals would arrive. Carlos Ruiz was playing his 100th game in Tenerife colours and was cool at the heart of the defence. Just add a pony tail and new loan signing Saul could pass as a Raul Llorente play alike, just like our former left back he played the position in a very forward role, maybe that confused his team mates, they starved Omar of the ball on the left wing.

Suso got a harsh booking just after 15 minutes that rules him out of the away game at Nastic, thankfully Jorge and Vitolo didn’t add to their four bookings. We didn’t get the pleasure of abusing our former player Julio Alvarez who was out injured and when Numancia threatened they found Ruiz ready to rob them or a wasteful Valcarce. The need for an attacking midfielder for Tenerife is becoming glaringly obvious, Vitolo and Aitor Sanz looked jaded. Raul Camara had a shaky game, just before half time he was skinned down the flank and a cross ball was nearly prodded in, only an alert clearance from Dani ensured equality at the break.

The second half lacked purpose, Valcarce put a clear chance wide and Alberto threaded a clever ball through into space but his team mates couldn’t latch onto it to prise open Numancia. The home bench had a strange look about it, no Cristo Gonzalez, Nano replaced Aitor and almost brought instant success, Suso fed him from the right but the sub wasn’t quite sharp enough and ran the ball into the keeper. Omar went off and was replaced by Jairo, maybe his last chance to show why he shouldn’t be loaned out, he did nothing to strengthen his case, a late back pass from him had to be tidied up pretty smartish by Carlos to avoid any blushes. Pedro Martin was back on the bench but never made it over the white line.

Numancia were predictable in the last part of the game, theatrical injuries and general time wasting, how often do we see that now. The ref let Numancia get away with a lot but Raul Camara had cause to praise his name when he clashed with Valcarce. As the pair toppled to the ground and Raul knelt over him, Valcarce did the old cupping his face in his hands trick, red cards have been given for less but the man with the whistle saw it for the cynical ploy it was. Numancia had the last word in the third minute of injury time, scooping a shot over the bar when it seemed easier to score. On the plus side it’s now 315 minutes without conceding a goal, the 10,000 plus crowd triggered some more promised incentives for the next home game on Saturday 6 February. That’s at home to Huesca and it’s the Carnaval game, if the pigeons come back maybe Dastardly and Muttley (ask your Dad) would be good fancy dress choices.



A Warm Glow Of History In Cold Cold Oxford

Dip a wimp in years of Tenerife sunshine and you can bee sure he will be shivering, whinging, and spluttering when popping back for a few days of an English winter. It was good to be back in Oxford, the flooding from the prolonged rain wasn’t as bad as I had expected but the mercury was plunging.

In between seeing family and friends I managed a little tourist time, between the city centre and the University parks I headed for two museums that hadn’t seen my prying eyes since I was dragged there on an infant school trip. The Museum of Natural History is in a grand looking building and inside it links into the Pitt Rivers Museum, both are free, relying on donations from visitors. The heavy wooden door of the main building opened inward to reveal a vaulted glass roofed, two galleried treasure trove of nature. Hipocrates gazed down on a stuffed American Black Bear that had a sign saying Please Touch. There was a lot of hands on exhibits but some like the two dinosaur skeletons that dominate the man aisle are a bit more protected. I remember being in awe of these creatures and the whale bones hanging from the ceiling, memories of forced duty and learning was instantly dispelled by the bright, friendly lay out of the place. A couple of large school parties were eagerly exploring the walkways and scribbling notes in their school books. There were a lot of interactive displays too with video and spoken insights. Hipocrates was just one of an army of famous thinkers and scientists whose statues ringed the museum, Charles Darwin is particularly prominent, the Dodo is the logo of the museum.

One of the staff told me the museum had only re-opened two years ago after “going dark” for 18 months. In those closed months some of the bigger exhibits went on tour while the building was spruced up. I could see a big effort had been made to make displays relevant for young enquiring minds, a display on bone and animal tissue dating was linked to a CSI theme, and a large collection of insects had a DVD case and drawings based on the Disney film “A Bugs Life”. The smaller thoughtful touches were everywhere, pillars around the edge of the upstairs gallery were made from granite and sandstone from all around the UK coast. I stopped off in the upstairs café for a coffee and chunk of chocolate cake, very homely and welcoming.

Going back downstairs I headed through the old stone archway into Pitt Rivers Museum, named after the founder Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, you wouldn’t want to call him in for tea! This was much more old school, dark, compact with galleries on three floors, all crammed with display cases of masks, musical instruments, maps, mummies, and weapons. The huge totem pole at the far end was an abiding memory of my youthful visits. The cramped layout was retained even after a recent facelift and it suited the slightly eerie feel, small children huddled between the exhibits sketching and their chatter was reduced to guarded whispers. Some of the displays were quite bloodthirsty and a large section of knives, spears, and crudely made weapons added to the Scooby Doo mood – I expected to see the curator slipping into a ghostly mummy outfit or a startling voodoo mask.

Modern thinking is the way forward for museums, Pitt Rivers do night time tours, some by torch light, how cool is that? Both museums have free Wi Fi and are very active on the joint website as well as their Twitter and Facebook feeds. There were a lot of younger, very enthusiastic staff on hand to answer questions – I think several of them were probably studying related science subjects at local colleges. I spent a couple of fascinating hours avoiding the chilly blasts of winter outside and will add more museums and galleries on future home visits, well it may make up for all the school time I frittered away. With my thirst for knowledge quenched it was time to seek out a pub and attend to my more basic desires – well all this exploring is thirsty work.

Bruises But No Points In CD Marino Defeat

There must have been a few bruises to nurse after CD Marino lost 1-2 to a hard, physical El Cotillo team from Fuerteventura. The home side matched their high flying rivals for skill and work rate but the younger players took quite a battering as their visitors reclaimed second spot in the division.

There was a scattering of former Marino players in the Cotillo line up, most notably Richard, and Sesma but the best early moves came from the blues. Alexis and Josito linked well to feed Kevin Castro but he was only able to put his shot wide. Cotillo have been full of goals this season and a break down the left followed by a defence splitting pass from Josito allowed Caliche to grab a 6th minute lead. Marchena charged forward from the left back slot and put in a hanging cross for Marino, Julio in the Cotillo goal had to punch the ball aside for a corner.

Mendy rose well to test the keeper with a header before Alexis and Josito switched combined again with Josito shooting past the post. Cotillo started to get more of the ball and tested Marko Cicovic with a couple of well aimed shots that he covered well. Amaad and Marchena both went close for Marino before right back Bradley Mills overlapped and took the ball into the box where he was chopped down for a penalty. Marchena took the spot kick and put the ball just wide of the goalies outstretched glove to make it 1-1.

Cotillo moved Sesma from the left to the right flank where he found plenty of space and set Hector up with a clear chance that he wasted. The visitors ended the half on top, forcing successive corners but couldn’t edge back into the lead before the break. Julio nearly let Marino in within a few minutes of the restart, his long clearance was snapped up by Airam who made a charge on goal but a lone defender did just enough to prevent him from making a clean shot.

There was a scare when Cicovic couldn’t hold onto a Cotillo shot but a sharp defender mopped up the danger. Caliche had one of the clearest chances for the green and black side but somehow managed to miss the target. Ivan was the next one to spurn a chance but the decisive goal arrived after 65 minutes, Josito was again the supplier but this time for Isaac. Marino’s own Josito went down with a blow to the head and was soon replaced by Vitaka as Cotillo tightened their grip but they could have been pegged back again if a Mendy free kick had been a little closer. Marko frustrated Cotillo with some safe handling including a free kick stop and a low save at the post.

Both sides ended with good chances, Cotillo flashed a shot past the post, and Saavedra had the last touch of the game with a crisp shot that Julio tipped over the bar. The result leaves Marino third from bottom but they will be relieved to have got home ties with the top placed teams out of the way.

Polar Bears And Building Blocks In Santa Cruz

Let’s get one thing clear, I didn’t lose my beach camara during the festive celebrations, I sort of mislaid it, maybe it fell off the back of my beer scooter. Thankfully the sale season quickly followed so I headed for the Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz, to buy a new box brownie or something similar. Of course there are always other things going on to supplement my visits, this time a couple of exhibitions caught my attention.

Caja Canarias Fundacion is a charitable offshoot of the huge bank and the Espacio Cultural at their HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo has staged some wonderful exhibitions. Fernando Menis is a name familiar to me as I have seen many examples of this locally born architects work so I was glad to learn more about him. The free exhibition featured a full lowdown on his prolific output, original blueprints, and models of some of his most famous works. Plaza de España in Adeje town is a fine example as it compliments the splendour of the Barranco del Invierno below and makes a fabulous stage for concerts and the climax to Good Friday’s street theatre version of The Passion.

Magma Arts and Congress Centre next to Costa Adeje bus station is another famous example but I was surprised to see he had designed the Vigilia Park apartment complex in Puerto Santiago. I used to live around the corner and often used the rooftop pool, it looks a little tired these days but it was built in 1989. The big open air athletics track at Tincer outside Santa Cruz is another of Fernando’s as well as the bizarre converted water tank, El Tanque, now a cultural space in the centre of the capital. On an international stage Fernando and is company have delivered Spreebruke Pool which hangs out over the river Spree in Berlin, the Jordanki Cultural Centre in Torun, Poland, and the Hotel Resort Mystik in Switzerland, to name drop just a few. Take a bow that man, may your pencil never be blunt. You only have until 16 Januaary to check his work out.

Back in the main shopping street of Calle Castillo the sales crowds were ringing tills at a frantic rate. Many of the Christmas decorations were still up, maybe to encourage a feel good spending mood, but the nativity scenes were being dismantled, I saw a workman marching down the road with Bethlehem under his arm. It was good to see Santa Cruz bustling, several big cruise liners in port helped to swell the crowds. I stopped off for a coffee and doughnut at a snack bar and noticed they served milkshakes topped up with powdered body building supplement, I would have tried one but was worried I wouldn’t have the strength to lift the glass. Some of my usual stops had to be attended to, a walk around Parque Garcia Sanabria always inspires me, the flowers are always a picture and it’s always well looked after.

Time for another free exhibition, this one a two trailer homage to the Arctic Circle called El Artico Se Rompe (the Arctic is broken) parked up near the ferry port. It was good stuff, loads of sections about the history and future of the North Pole, the animals and people that live there, and the problems that have to be overcome. Lots of the displays are interactive and most are in a choice of languages including English. This rolling show is in town until 20 January and worth catching before it melts away.

A few more regular calls and a spot of food made for a busy day and as always sowed a few seeds in my mind for future visits. To top it all off I got a good deal for the new camera at El Corte Ingles and caught a direct 110 Titsa bus back that glided down the motorway for a speedy return home.


Bad Lands Are Good Lands At Malpais De Rasca

Coaxing the morning sun to spread down from the mountains I set off from Las Galletas with another neglected walk stretching ahead of me. Malpais (badlands) de Rasca is a hike I have done several times in large groups but not for about five years. The bus into Las Galletas was full of German walkers heading up the east coast of Tenerife but I bailed out on them and got a coffee near the pebble beach before setting off.


My entry point to the track was by the Matinal Beach Club where I had seen live performances from local rockers Oi Se Arma, and Pornosurf. There is always a small community of people sleeping in tents around the bay but as I followed the track up and around the coast I was surprised to see a good few dozen makeshift homes. It might seem a romantic way to live but with clouds waiting to be dispersed it was pretty chilly. The path skirts the edge of the sea, more or less, and offers glimpses across to the Marina del Sur in Las Galletas. The cactus is a very underrated plant, along this route there were great clumps of them looking proud and majestic. The shifting stones and dust made demanded some careful footwork but even so relatively near the main road there was a lovely feel of tranquility and peace.

Small coves fell away into the sea making shallow rock pools, fish are often stranded in these and locals used to crush the tabaiba plants and sprinkle them in. This made the fish feel like they had been out on a drinking session and made them easy to catch. I spotted the remains of a few old settlements and even some rough steps hewn into the rocks to make it easier to reach the shoreline. After nearly an hour I reached the edge of the netting clad banana plantations and a smoother path overlooking deep drops to more rock pools. This is all a prelude to the Malpais de Rasca protected area where the modern candy striped lighthouse peeped up over the horizon.

Once I had crested the hill I had a clearer view of the two lighthouses, the old squat stone original was built in 1895 before being replaced by the tall sentinel that is easily seen from Los Cristianos in 1978. Beyond was a large pebble beach backed by low level cactus and plants which sheltered the remains of old stone houses, basic and hard living from many years ago. A tight but clearly defined path picked it’s way through the exposed landscape, several walkers were using the route in both directions, I could make out the outline of Guaza Mountain ahead. A very attractive young lady stopped me and asked if I would take some photos for her – I’m always willing to oblige. The lovely Katie was from Belgium and a yoga teacher and slipped into some classic poses against natures delightful backdrop.

Moving on in different directions I could now see Palm Mar looming into view below the plateau of Guaza Mountain. Just out to sea the fish farm cages blighted the view but beyond them I could see the coast of Los Cristianos – nearly home. I could have taken the steep steps up the mountain, over, and down the other side, probably at least another hour, but with nearly two and a half hours completed I made my way up through Palm Mar and out to the main road, that was another 30 minutes, to catch the bus back home. It was another good stroll, next time I shall head upwards into the hills and mountains.

It’s Still The Season Of Giving At CD Tenerife

As one rookie managerial appointment grabbed the days headlines, CD Tenerife’s own novice Pep Marti got more proof that the dream job can so easily become a nightmare. Sloppy defending and a suicidal rush of blood from goalie Dani Hernandez left a Teide sized mountain to climb with a 0-2 half time deficit that was chipped back for a 1-2 loss to Alcorcon.

There’s a problem with the CD Tenerife engine room, it’s not firing properly, Vitolo and Aitor Sanz are both past their best, we could risk one each game but the pair together leave our strikers isolated. At the other end of the spectrum, the local kids are still learning and not mentally tough, Jorge and Cristo Gonzalez both looked dispirited at the end of the game. These are problems that Pep Marti has inherited and may be addressed in the transfer window but stamping out basic errors will be a stern test of the coach’s credentials.

Jorge is a player I rate but he had a mare in the centre of defence and was bailed out a few times in the first half by his team mates. Jon Aurtenetxe responded well to the signing of Saul and had a solid game, he chested the ball down to Dani after just 10 minutes to break up an Alcorcon raid. The keeper made a couple of decent stops as former Brighton player David Rodriguez showed why CDT tried to sign him a couple of seasons ago.

Up front though Cristo and Choco could have taken up knitting as they waited for some encouragement. A 0-0 half time score would have been welcome but after 41 minutes the centre of the park opened up with Jorge missing in action, Campana hit a speculative shot that hit Oscar Plano and deflected into the net. Three minutes later there was grazing room again in front of the Tenerife goal, Plano raced trough and couldn’t believe his luck when Dani panicked and lunged towards him. It was a gift, the Alcorcon player went down and Rodriguez buried the spot kick. Dani was lucky only to get a yellow card but it punctured the mood of the evening.

The second half was a bit better from Tenerife but they were chasing shadows, Suso was predictable and Omar departed to give Tommy Martinez 30 minutes. The River Plate loanee again showed that he is worth a starting place, he makes thing happen and is full of running. Nano came on for Suso and Cristian Garcia finally reappeared after his injury troubles, he is certainly a candidate for a prolonged midfield run. Aurtenetxe supplied a good feed for Choco after 78 minutes and his goal gave some hope but time was against us. Tommy gave Djene the jitters, the defender just about juggled his shot away and a later Tommy long shot wasn’t too far off target.

It wasn’t the start to 2016 that the 8,742 crowd was hoping for, home form has got to count for something if we are to avoid a relegation battle. January additions will play a big part in shaping our season, it’s tough though shopping in the bargain bucket, Pep Marti must be very envious of his richer rookie colleague.



New Year Daze For CD Marino

Outplayed and outgunned, CD Marino were fortunate to limit second placed Atletico Las Palmas to a 0-3 victory as they opened 2016 at home. There were selection problems with midfielder Kilian missing and defender Bradley Mills out with a foot injury. Connor moved into midfield and Kevin Castro was also out of position as he had a torrid time in the right back slot.

Las Palmas B team were the most impressive visitors this season, former CD Tenerife B striker Jefte tortured Kevin Castro down the left wing and even when the Gran Canarian team lost Juanma, injured scoring the opening goal, his replacement, Martin, turned out to be another lethal striker. Marino made a bold start, Javi Marchena forced an early corner but it was wasted, new home forward Amad from Senegal showed some pace but fired too high after nearly 10 minutes.

Mendy had to be at his best to clear one of Las Palmas first attacks but they soon got into their stride and Juanma powered through the middle after 15 minutes to score but instead of celebrating he had to be helped off the pitch with a leg injury. Martin made an immediate impression and almost added a second goal but shot wide. Jefte was strong and confident and turned quickly to fire in a shot that Marko Cicovic did well to cover. It would have been a good day to turn on the style for a larger than usual holiday crowd but Las Palmas closed Marino down and restricted their build ups.

Mendy made a rare mistake on the half hour selling his keeper short with a back pass, Marko had to make a crunching tackle to stop a second goal from being poached. There was more work for the busy goalie to do a few minutes later, Jefte showed his power in the air as he headed down a cross that Marko covered well. The continued pressure paid off five minutes before the break, Borja cut in from the right and found plenty of space to make it 0-2. A late free kick held out some hope for Marino but they couldn’t turn it into a goal and went in with plenty to think about.

Marchena tried to carve out an opening down the left early after the restart but was squeezed out by two visiting defenders. Arsen replaced Josito but this time there was no first touch goal, though he did give the Las Palmas defence a few more problems as Amad dropped back a little deeper. Matias had an easy chance to increase the divide and surprisingly blasted thee ball wide, and Marko had to slide out to stop another away chance. Into the last 20 minutes and Martin put the result beyond question as he pounced to make it 0-3.

Kevin Castro gave in to his natural attacking instincts and tried to push up more, he headed close to the goal and forced another corner but heads were dropping a little. Sub Sandro wasn’t too far off with a wild long shot but Las Palmas still had plenty of their own ideas, their sub Pedro could have done better with two good chances. It was a tough lesson for Marino and they need to find their way back to picking up points. Amad looked like he could be useful once match fit and hopefully a couple more new signings will make a difference but it is going to be a tough 2016.

El Medano Is Going Up In The World

Resolutions, like china shops near bull rings, are destined to be smashed, so it was just a need to revive my more healthy activities that drove me to the top of Montaña Roja in El Medano two days into 2016. It’s a good job I checked, there are a lot of changes going on along the Granadilla coast of Tenerife.

I thought I’d take a good run up at Red Mountain so I got the bus to Los Abrigos to walk the 6 kms to El Medano. With a glorious clear blue sky to spur me on, and a spring in my step, I cut down to survey the pocket beach of Playa Grande, despite being a Saturday in the height of holiday season it was almost deserted. In the past I have walked from Las Galletas, through Golf del Sur and San Blas before reaching Playa Grande and beyond, it’s a well used route. Satisfied that all was well I made my way past the promenade of fish restaurants and up to the TF 643 main road. My red target was already looking wonderful as I viewed it from one of the recently created mirador viewpoints.

The rugged coastline stretched out ahead with a track just back from the shore where cars and motor homes had been parked up for fishing and bathing. There were a fair few other walkers stretching their post Christmas legs and further on nudists were using stone semi circles as wind breaks. El Confital is the first expanse of open beach rather than just rocks, pets are allowed here and several pooches were taking a dip. There’s a point where the banana plantation covers seem to signal the end of the track but a cut through leads to a long stretch of path between the sea and the ripening fruit. As I emerged onto the start of the extensive Playa la Tejita I noticed a new gray building up near the road. Behold a new commercial centre, CC La Tejita, had appeared just ahead of the closed down camping site and café.

Clearly only a few months old, the centre still had some empty locals but offers car parking and an interesting mix of shops. A bar caught my eye, Beers (written in the same style as the American comedy Cheers) had three cabinets of imported booze, I even noticed some Hobgoblin, but they weren’t opening until 6 pm, just as well, but I will have to return, purely for research. I asked the owner about the recently approved five star hotel and he pointed out a plot of land between the centre and the beach.

La Tejita Luxury Beach Resort will cover a 26,000 square metre site, have 136 double rooms, and 33 suites, work is due to start in the second quarter of 2016. It’s going to make a big impact on El Medano, hopefully it wont ruin the charm, I believe it is to be fairly low rise, and it is behind this big sweep of natural beach. Despite the hotels name, they wont be able to seal off a section of the beach, that’s not allowed under Spanish law, even Abama Hotel in Guia de Isora couldn’t impose that. Sun beds, bars, and food can be provided just for hotel guests but other people can still use the beach. There will be a major boost to trade in El Medano even if most people are all inclusive, Palicio de Isora has certainly had a knock on for Alcala as it’s easy to walk from the hotel to the village.

It was an interesting distraction but my goal was near now, taking the signed track opposite Hermano Pedro’s Cave I started the ascent up the back ridge of Montaña Roja. The fine red dust and stones make it a crunchy and potentially slippy walk but with a bit of care it’s not difficult. The sand dunes and Playa El Medano to the east were busy with kite boarders cutting through the sky as they skipped over the waves. The views just get better as you get higher, further to the east the new arm of the Granadilla port is steadily growing and the sea was twinkling under the glare of the January sun. I always expect to see an army of plane spotters perched on the dusty track, you can nearly reach out and touch the mighty iron birds as they take off and land at Reina Sofia airport. The peak is only 171 metres high, just over an hour up and down, but it delivers some fantastic views and there’s room to sit and ponder at the top. Just down below is the small, secluded part of Playa La Tejita where the nudists throw caution, and their clothes, to the wind.

Change is certainly coming but looking at the vast spread of La Tejita and the sparse amount of people peppering the sand below, there is plenty of room to wedge a few more towels in. Looking down I could see the small car park overflowing as always and cars wedged against the side of the road. The protected reserve below still attracts a bumper crop of resident and migrating birds, and the beaches lure wind and kite surfers in flocks. El Medano will carry on unruffled, as for me, the three hour trek has put me right back on track.