Archive for May, 2017
Casting The Net Wide In Santa Cruz

Multi coloured fish statues stretched out ahead of me along the La Rambla pedestrian area of Santa Cruz. These eight chicharritos had been specially comissioned as an art contest with a special website to vote for your favourites. The chicharro is a symbol of Santa Cruz and lends its name to the local people and the song we proudly belt out at CD Tenerife games “Chicharrero de Corazon”.
Even on a non football trip to Tenerife´s capital city my rxploring was being influenced by my beloved football team. First stop was the DISA petrol station behind the bus station, it´s now officially linked to the club and I paid due homage to the giant posters of Suso, Aitor Sanz, and Vitolo. A special club scheme offers discounts and team bracelets, maybe if we clinch promotion this season we can dance through the car wash rather than in the Plaza de España lake.

Back down through the bus station and a tram awaited me for my short journey to La Paz. It´s the 10th anniversary of the modern tram line, I wasn´t convinced it was needed but as soon as I stepped on board a decade ago I was a convert. Fast, sleek, and cheap, just 1.35 euros for the full ride to La Laguna, it´s a comfortable way to explore.There have been 132 million clients in the 10 years, that includes the shorter second line from Tincer to La Cuesta that may eventually extend to the north airport.

My walk to the new sculptures took me past a few older models from a street exhibition of the mid 1970´s, and how proud I was to see Henry Moore´s Guerro de Gestar reclining and free of recent graffiti.The new fishy friends were quite an assault on the eyes and brought plenty of smiles to my face, passers by were giving them a double take and even a security guard patrolling the area had a smirk playing on her face. Some of the works had historical images of Santa Cruz on their bodies, and others had extended their arty touch to the stands that held them aloft. The shoal is only on display until 15 June and well worth seeking out. There´s a quicker way to reach them than my long route, coming up through the shopping heart of Santa Cruz and through Parque Garcia Sanabria. The park is always a delight, on this visit it was holding a weeks book fair with tented stalls lurking in the shaded walkways that radiate out from the ornate fountain.

The port always lures me down to the sea, it´s such a hive of activity. There were no mammoth cruise liners calling in this time on their voyages but the Ocean Endeavour was moored in the old part of the port for a months repairs. This is a new lucrative income for the capital, many oil rigs lurked just outside the harbour wall and the Reliant Floatel nearer in looked to be nearing the end of its lengthy refit before going out to provide accomodation in the oil filled seas. Ocean Endeavour is the first cruise ship to get a scrub up in Santa Cruz and already Thomson have one of their cruise ships booked in for a make over in November. There was even some giant wind turbines from Germany, still in kit form and awaiting instalation at the new Poris de Abona park.
There´s a long busy summer ahead for Santa Cruz, July alone heralds two outdoor mega concerts. On 8th July thoise mighty rockers Aerosmith finish their last ever tour with a concert in the Heliodoro Stadium, and on 22 Juky, Luis Fonsi will take over the portside for an evening of latino dance music. I had a more imediate appointment at the Gastro Canarias in the Recinto Ferial, just scroll down a couple of posts and prepare to feel hungry.

The Tenerife Alternative by Cranley Harding

Nazi SS troops, British Secret Intelligence Service and Canarian Independence activists were in a fight to the death over a legendary underwater cave on the north coast of Tenerife in 1935. A few years ago this plot would have been dismissed as far fetched but recently released CIA files have shown that many factions had identified Tenerife as an alternative naval base and international gateway if General Franco allowed Germany free passage to prise Gibraltar out of British hands.

This is the ingenious premise for the fictional novel The Tenerife Alternative by Cranley Harding. Suave British spy Scott Rutherford doesn´t need the gadgets of his more famous big screen counterpart, he´s politically astute, makes the most of his allies, and ruthlessly disposes of his enemies. He´s very much a rough and ready hands on sort of spy, a grammar school boy who has fought his way through the ranks. Author Cranley Harding told me he sees our man more in the mould of Harry Palmer, the Len Deighton spy played in The Ipcress File by Michael Caine.
Cranley, from Glasgow, a 30 year visitor to Tenerife has added a passion for the history and culture of Tenerife and has added extensive research to make the backdrop to the thriller authentic. The action moves at a brisk pace but allows plenty of time to draw the historical and political map for the story to unfold. Of course there are many fictitious strands weaved in such as the much sought after lava cave at Punta Guanche, but the fledgling tourist resort of Puerto de la Cruz, Los Gigantes, Los Rodeos airport, and Mount Teide all make familiar reference points. Cranley also draws on his knowledge of island history like Nelson´s aborted invasion, the Chinyero eruption, and Guanche folklore to reinforce the characters motives and actions.

There´s plenty of intrigue, double crosses, and romantic interest for out hero to deal with as the plot races to the final show down. Scott Rutherford is only at the begining of his double life as an overseas trade attache and spy, maybe he will be lured back to Tenerife. In the meantime, his first adventure awaits you at The Bookshop in Puerto Colon, The Bookshop in Los Cristianos, and The Devon Arms, Los Cristianos. If you can´t get hold of a copy, contact Cranley at

Tucking In At Gastro Canarias

Just a few yards inside the Gastro Canarias food festival and my heart had been broken. Well not so much broken as cut into small tasty pieces. It was the Egatesa meat company stand and they were cooking a selection of their meats for tasting, the burgers were heart shaped and I was torn between them and the sizzling sausages – so I had a little of both.

My last visit to this annual feast at the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz was three years ago, it´s aimed mainly at those in the trade but offers plenty for everyone. Slightly dearer this time at six euros, it was still good value and had my nose twitching and my mouth watering. After covering the ladies football team of Egatesa Granadilla Tenerife for a few seasons, it was good to meet a few of the players, Ayano and Silvia, doing the rounds. A quick tour showed me that the stands were split more in favour of drink than food this time, but a large stage area featured a show cooking competition in front of a bleacher seat audience.

I seem to recall that on my last visit I paid a lot of attention to the beers on offer, I decided to pace myself this time – but then I saw a Belgium beer stand. Even better, Gert, the sales manager for Transbelga, was a friendly face from Los Cristianos and welcomed me into the heavenly parlour. Showing remarkable restraint, I started with a 5.2% Jupiler, the range of bottles was incredible, many had enchanted me in the past on trips to Belgium and Holland. It was mid afternoon when I strolled in but the pace was picking up as people came in after work. As well as the consumable items there were innovative cooking and storing systems and some very delightful promotion ladies to demonstrate and entice the public.

Gofio cookies, caramel gin, and multi flavoured chocolate fountains were among the temptations, and the dazzling array of ice cream scoops were getting bigger as time went on. I´m not a wine buff, a shame as there were tasting and appreciation classes, Tenerife has some exceptional wines that can pop their cork with the best. Some of the pastries, tarts, and cakes had me drooling. It seemed a bit bizarre that the Recinto Ferial had no free Wi Fi, trade shows are their standard fare, maybe they are missing a trick. There´s a large outside terrace which gives lovely views of the Auditorium one way and the full glory of the Cepsa refinery the other.

Dorada didn´t have a stand, they had a mock up of a bar, and I was pleased to see one of their brewers I remembered from the brewery tour. They had the full range of their bottled beers on, the Trigo wheat variety went down nicely and I also tried the new Especial Esencia Negra, a little stronger at 5.7%. My football Peña ,Armada Sur, runs on a fuel supply of Dorada, last Saturdays home game saw us clear 500 bottles at our La Tahona pre match watering hole. In the interest of fairness I felt compelled to also drink some Mahou beer, they sponsor an annual pre season cup for CD Tenerife and also the player of the month award. Their brewery in Candelaria has also had the dubious pleasure of my company for a tour with the CD Tenerife squad.

I didn´t want to make a pig of myself so l did one last circuit of the hall to make sure I hadn´t missed anything. There were definately a lot more theatrically large stands this time, Lanzarote had a beach scene to showcase their products, and Heineken seemed to have a homage to the Star Ship Enterprise to promote their no alcohol beer. With my legs crossed tightly for the one hour Titsa bus trip back to Los Cristianos, I was looking forward to continuing my beer browsing back at The Victory Bar.

CD Marino Find Their Goal Touch

All guns blazing, CD Marino battered CF San Mateo 3-0 to jump over them to fifth place in their Tercera Division group. The winning margin could have been double that against a Gran Canarian side that offered little resistance.

Adan had a half chance early on, he chested  the ball under control but couldn´t finish the move. Iriome couldn´t decide if he was shooting or passing for San Mateo and his wild blast veered out of play. Marino looked menacing going forward, Lolo and Fran Delgado showed plenty of speed and ideas on the left, Amed worked well on the right, and Adan was always difficult to mark bursting through the middle. But it was defender Brad Mills that teed up the best chance of the first half, he was running through on goal and was tripped in the box, Adan took the penalty kick but goalie Omar dived the right way to make the save.

The chances kept coming for Marino, an Adan stretch couldn´t quite put the finishing touch on a cross from the right, and Bamba headed over from a Lolo corner. Chus tried to get the visitors involved, he unleashed a good close shot but a one handed reflex save from Marco denied him. San Mateo didn´t help themselves, the goalie made a few basic errors and a weak back pass from Yeray was intercepted by Lolo and passed on to Adan who shaved the post. Marino went in at half time wondering how they weren´t leading after dominating the play.

That was soon put right within minutes of the restart, a Lolo shot was parried by the keeper and Adan gratefully planted the ball in the net. San Mateo sub Jonas could have made an instant impression, faced with a fairly easy chance he looped the ball over the bar. Saul Perez replaced Adan for Marino and gave the visiting defence plenty of new nightmares to contend with. Not just a big target man, Saul showed plenty of close control when he weaved past two defenders before tucking the ball past the goalies legs for the second goal.

Fran was quick thinking to try a chip after spotting the keeper off his line, it didn´t miss by much. Lolo had a couple of promising openings, one set up Bamba but he couldn´t get the ball under control for a shot, the second effort forced the keeper to make a save.There had to be at least another goal, Saul turned creator and squared a lovely pass to Bamba, he finished it off in style. There´s just two games left for Marino, they are already looking to next season and had some of their home grown young players on the bench, Jhony got a late run out. Saul had the last chance of the game, a neat turn and shot didn´t quite make it and the goalie was relieved to hear the final whistle.