Archive for June, 2017
La Orotava In Full Bloom For Corpus Christi

Fancy throwing open your balcony windows to be greeted by a sea of flower carpets and tapestries. Shuffling slowly and respectfully onto the small, tight balconies of the municipal palace, home to to the local council, there was a collective gasp as the full scale of the beauty below sunk in.

It had been a few years since my last visit but hitching a lift from friends Dave and Annie, I was now feeling just a little unsteady. Well I´m not great with heights and was a bit delicate from another CD Tenerife promotion play off game celebration the very late night before. Working through the crowded streets we had so far just seen a small selection of the flower petals, and volcanic sand that was still being transformed into a glorious painting by numbers operation for Corpus Christi week. It´s been packing them in since small beginings in 1847.

Tenerife tv crews were competing for the best vantage points to broadcast from and many local radios were broadcasting interviews with the organisers and foot soldiers. It´s a great tradition and is lovingly passed down through the generations, small children were being encouraged to get their hands on the soil and petals that were arriving by the sackful. Wooden templates and chalk outlines are used to make the frameworks but the eye for detail and a slowly emerging masterpiece comes slowly with many years of dedication.
La Orotava is an old, tranquil, and almost sleepy town most of the time but when Corpus Christi arrives it draws in thousands of people from across the world, the range of tongues and accents were again as diverse as the colour of the petals that made up the mosaics. It´s a slow process working around the tight streets, roped off from the creations being coaxed into existance, the one way flow on each side of the streets ensures everyone gets to wind their way up the steep paths before plunging down past the open plaza in front of the two towered Iglesia de la Concepcion, a beautiful and imposing church.

Beside the murmurs of wowed visitors, a constant peel of bells from the church tower adds a delightful theme tune to the day. There are other tunes competing for attention, a pipe and drum trio added a quicker tempo as petal artists worked painstakingly behind them.I always like those ancient meets modern moments, turning a corner I found teenagers bopping to more modern music from a radio station stand in the shadow of the church. There´s plenty of respect for traditions but healthy elbow room for some modern commercialism, inflatable Disney characters bobbed from their strings a short walk away from religious landmarks. The bars, restaurants, and snack vans were all doing a brisk trade, and tourist coaches were parking up at any handy spots they could find on the modern outskirts of the town.

Mundane needs like,, food, drink, and commerce play their part but the big stars are the carpets. Assembled by an army of enthusiasts after months of planning, they will stay in the memories and camera images of those who gaze on them for years to come. It´s just not going to be quite the same when I pop up for the CD Tenerife Teide Trophy pre season game v Deportivo in a few weeks.

Feeling On Colour In Las Galletas

Sport, music, fashion, and a few beers, sounds right up my street, or in this case right up all the streets of Las Galletas. The annual Arona En Colores is always a good excuse for me to make the short 20 minute Titsa bus ride to the lovely fishing village just the other side of Guaza Mountain from my Los Cristianos home.

The sea on the Marina del Sur side was packed with swimmers and people trying out a few water sports like stand up paddle. On the other less sandy beach the waves wee much calmer than normal and more attuned to bathing than the usual surfing. Strolling along the promenade is always rewarding but the back streets and plazas also had plenty to offer on this Saturday.

Reggae Notes Band were warming up the crowd at the big stage, my tootsies were twitching, especially to a good cover of Buffalo Soldier. After a wander and a beer, I popped back later and Montserrat Siverio hooked me with a ska cover of Monkey Man. In the main La Rambla street I watched a bit of the magic show from Borras and Yasmine, their backing music caught my imagination, they had a disco version of the Star Trek theme – well why not?

With so much going on at little stages set up on street corners, I found a good vantage point outisde the Rincon del Pescador with a couple of crunchy arepas and a cold beer. Saturday night tv may be trying to kill variety but in Las Galletas it was diverse and uplifting. Full marks for the acrobats and the novelty act where passing members of the public were enticed to do a bit of Full Monty, and a dress up as a baby in a pram.

There was plenty for the children, face paininting, inflatable football games, and musical games. As the afternoon eased seductively into evening, the drink was flowing and more people were getting down. I departed after a good few tours of the streets, some sampling of tasty food, and some Dorada lubrication. Arona council try to spread their events around the municipality, it helps to introduce more people to different towns and villages and gives their economy a nifty boost. Here here to that.

It´s Only Natural To Enjoy Imoque Fiesta

Wild horses have dragged me to La Caleta before but this time it was the promise of cow racing that lured me to the Plaza San Sebastian. Each February it´s the start point for another fiesta that includes horses riding into the waves at the beach. This time was different, there were some mighty fine horses in attendance but also enough assorted creatures to do a long playing version of Old Macdonald Had A Farm.

The plaza and the grazing areas around it make a wonderful venue, the modern church stood proud on a higher level with a decorated stage below looking out onto a sea of seats surrounded by food and craft stalls. There was even a wedding taking place, the sound of the church organ wafted out of the open doors and mingled with the barks of Canarian hunting dogs in a series of cages down the side. Chickens were clucking, goats crying, and two black Canarian pigs were snuffling at their food basket, I christened them Messi and Ronaldo.

There was a display of birds of prey, falcons sat tethered and blinkered but my favourite was a large, wise looking owl. Later in the afternoon one of the falcons was put through its paces in the showground area, it had a cheeky sense of humour and split its flight from sender to receiver by perching up in trees and even on a balcony of a nearby hotel. Some racing pigeons were cooped up in some tight cages on the other side, they didn´t seem to bothered by their temporary homes, they all had their chests puffed out with immense pride.

A bit of a jamming session broke out on the stage, I was impressed that one of the musicians wore a t shirt with a union jack and the slogan punk classics. After a plate of meatballs and a few samples of local cheese I ventured round to the paddock where the horses were tethered at one end and the cows at the other. In between a horse was having its shoe changed with old traditional hand tools. I checked the cows and could see no hidden motors, they looked strong but very docile, I was looking forward to seeing them burst into action.

Eventually a pair of cows were led into the show ground, linked with a wooden yolk and then a flat wooden pallet was chained behind them and large bags of grain loaded on as ballast. It was to be a time trial to see how quick they could pull their loads around the circuit guided by a farmer with a wooden staff. The ground was dry and dusty and the cows showed a fleet turn of speed and power, they really pounded their way around and on a couple of circuits they nearly burst through the barriers keeping the spectators back. I was very impressed, it was quite a spectacle. There was more live music and dancing to come later in the evening but I had other calls to make so I bid farewell to my new found animal friends and caught my Titsa bus back to Los Cristianos. As it chugged up the hill above Playa del Duque I couldn´t help thinking that those mighty cows could make a useful addition to the fleet.