Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
San Sebastian Is Not Only Foals And Horses

 

Who doesn’t like a dip in the sea, it’s refreshing, cleansing, and invigorating. Initially wary, the horses, ponies, and even the odd camel, were soon lapping up the waves at Playa de La Enramada beach in La Caleta, Tenerife. The San Sebastian fiesta is a highlight of the Adeje calendar and around 10,000 people swarmed to the church plaza and then the beach to enjoy the special day.

I arrived as the peel of the church bells floated through the clear blue sky,soon to be followed by the noon mass. Outside the church terrace was packed with tables full of guitar and timple players, and giant paellas washed down with beer and wine. Sheep and goats roamed in their pens, and horses were groomed and decorated in the paddock area. There were some magnificent looking steeds trotting through their paces on the road, there was an air of pride to them, they knew this was their big day.

The crowds drifted down to the beach as the mass reached its conclusion, good vantage points were soon snapped up, hotel balconies brimmed with people, and para gliders swooped down from the sky. Preparations were being fine tuned, life guards and safety boats kept watch over the beach as barriers held the eager crowds back. The first of the horses cantered onto the beach, a little unsure of the shifting shingle but the sea air and knowledgeable riders encouraged and coaxed them towards the shore. Once over their early reluctance the horses revelled in the water giving themselves and riders a good cool down. Several children either rode with adults on horses or dipped into the shallows with ponies. It was a beautiful sight, and an important cultural landmark that is lovingly preserved each year.

La Caleta has come a long way from being a small fishing village, the shore side restaurants are still a magnet for those wanting to taste the local catch but the newer five star hotels loom large on the landscape. There was plenty more celebrating to be done as riders steered their horses back to steadier ground and dismounted for some well deserved food and drink. Viva San Sebastian!

He Aint Heavy He’s San Antonio

Lifted aloft and carried around the heart of Arona town, San Antonio Abad had pride of place at the first Tenerife Romeria of 2019. It was a busy day with so many animals to bless, processions to watch, and music and dancing to behold.

There were plenty of takers for the free coaches organised by Arona council from Playa de Las Americas, and Los Cristianos, and the public bus service Titsa added extra buses to their route as well. The Plaza Cristo de la Salud was the focal point, I arrived as the tiny church was bursting at the seams with worshippers who were joined by musicians and dancers. The mayor, Jose Julian Mena was decked out in traditional Canarian dress and leant a shoulder to help carry the statue of the saint out of the church and into the bright sunlit plaza. Drummers, pipers, and dancers provided a joyous welcome to boost the happy mood.

To the side of the church stalls sold Canarian food and crafts while outlets in the plaza sold food and drink. Those taking part in the celebrations had plenty of small wine glasses strung around their costumes to toast the special day. Six carts stood tall on their giant wooden wheels with cattle ready to pull them along. Music was breaking out all the way up the road as finishing touches were put to clothes and overhead balconies. Slowly the procession fell into line and started its slow journey around the edges of the plaza before dipping down to the centre of town and returning up a side road. While this was going on, San Antonio was delivered to his stage ready to look over the blessing of the working animals and the many domestic pets brought along.

The animals were anointed with a sprinkling of holy water as singers sang the praises of the favoured saint. Some fancy footwork was called for as some creatures had left little presents behind. It wasn’t just live animals enjoying the day, there were several home made friends including a goat and a pig. The many children in the crowd were loving their taste of tradition, all ages are encouraged to join in the fun. After the blessings, San Antonio was carried back into the church, again accompanied by musicians and dancers. As the animals returned to their fields and pastures, the council workers were already power washing and cleaning the streets on the procession route.

The main stage came to life then with the first of several large groups which soon had people up and dancing. It was destined to be a late night for the hard core revellers, and who could deny them after all the hard work and dedication that goes into the Romeria.

La Laguna And Santa Cruz Unwrap Christmas

Michael Bentine´s Potty Time sprung to mind as I towered over a Roman soldier keeping a watchful eye on a fish stall, and sheep crossing a bridge from a market. The delicate christmas music tinkling in the background was the clue that I was visiting the first of the belenes (nativity layouts) on my pre festive tour of Tenerife. This first port of call was the Casa de Los Capitanes just a short stroll from the tram terminus in La Laguna. This one is open Monday to Friday 10 to 2pm, and 4 to 8pm, only the morning hours on a Saturday.

Traditions are nice, and although I´m lacking in religious fervour, I enjoy checking out the good, the bad, and the tacky. Understated is often better, a waxy silver sprayed tree in the main shopping street caught my eye, but a giant blue and red present box left me underwhelmed. There was also a mixed response to the christmas market outside the glorious cathedral building. The food looked yummy but the garish coloured plastic tree seemed a bit out of place, and I couldn´t work out why they had sewing machines away in a manger. For a nice overview of the city, I paid a measley two euros to climb the five floors of the tower of Our Lady of the Concepcion. I could see as far as the north airport and also down the shopping streets, Gran Canaria (heaven forbid) lurked in the distance. I was a bit upset by the noticeable rise in graffiti in the main shopping streets, Santa Cruz issued 200 fines this year against roque scrawlers, maybe La Laguna should follow their lead.


The tram ride back down to Santa Cruz was smooth as always. A walk around the port added two new visiting ships to my collection, the slightly rusty Avontuur, a 1920 built cargo ship from Holland , and training ship, Alexander Von Humbolt 2 training ship also from Holland. The massive staging was also going up ready for The Jacksons upcoming concert, and the traditional Christmas Night free concert featuring the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra. By then it was time to say hello to a few more belenes, starting with the Cabildo (Tenerife government) building by the Plaza de España. This was very nice with lots of small scenes of everyday rural life packed in. Times are 9am to 9.30pm with an hour closed from 3 to 4pm. Only the first belen in La Laguna has a donation box, a shame as most people would gladly pop some loose change in a charity box.

Last of the Santa Cruz haul was the Fundacion Caja Canarias bank display in their big HQ building in Plaza de Patriotismo. This is always a favourite of mine as the light ebbs and flows to make the tall landscape pass from day to night in quick rotation. The little ponds have live fish in them, and the figures of workmen move and perform manual tasks. Aim for 10 to 1.30pm, and 5.30 to 8pm weekdays and Saturdays, with 10 to 1.30pm on Sundays.

That left me time for a wander around the shopping heart of the capital city. The festive lights burst into life prompt at 6pm and are a bit different this year, with giant baubles, and angels floating among the tree tops. How splendid and magical it all looked, unfortunately the magic was a little missing when I moved on to my main event, CD Tenerife v Extremadura, a painful 0-0 draw. Hopefully Santa will bring some new players for January and sprinkle some stardust on our season.

 

Chestnuts Make Valle San Lorenzo Glow

Senses were on high alert as the free Arona council bus dropped us in Valle San Lorenzo, just 20 minutes drive from Playa de Las Americas, and Los Cristianos. Tenerife loves to celebrate the traditions of Saint Andrew (San Andres) every 30th November, and the smokey smells combined with music, and the taste of chestnuts (castañas) drew thousands of revellers to the main street and Arona Farmers Market (Mercado del Agrucultor) of this popular town.

San Andres is the patron saint of wine and this is the time of year when the magic liquid reaches its peak in the barrels that are cracked open and bottles filled. At key points around Tenerife, such as Icod de Los Vinos, the wooden barrels are traditionally broken into makeshift karts to clatter down the steep streets during the celebrations. It was a bit more sedate in Valle San Lorenzo with wine served at the outdoor braziers where the chestnuts were cooked in cauldrons and pans. Wine and chestnuts were being snapped up in small one euro, or larger two euro plastic glasses, and paper bags, also with those same price and size choices. The queues stretched up the main street under the newly christened christmas lights threaded through the branches of the trees.

Just over a year ago, the Farmers Market was launched, the indoor hall provided a great central point to sample and buy local produce like vegetables, cheeses, bread, flowers and much more from 60 stalls. The Canarian folk group from Chasna provided a musical treat with traditional costumes and dancing, and children were distracted with art projects and even marzipan and chestnut modelling of animal figures. Every Saturday and Sunday the market is open to the public from 8 am to 2 pm with free parking next door and a free bus service from Playa de Las Americas through Los Cristianos and Chayofa from 10 am until the return run from 1 pm in Valle San Lorenzo.


A guide leaflet for the chestnut night listed six local bars and cafes offering a selection of chestnut influenced tapas snacks. I needed no encouragement to dip into such delights as chestnut mousse, croquettes, and chestnut ice cream. All that creative effort was much appreciated but my warmest glow came from the anticipation of queueing for a bag of chestnuts as the red hot favourites were scooped into an open paper bag to cup in my hands before picking the shells off and tasting the glorious flavour inside.

Elsewhere there was a large childrens play area where the youngsters were being shown how to make a snake of old cans to drag down the path. The clanking noise is another traditional way of celebrating the arrival of the years new batch of wine. One day may be the focus of the celebrations but outdoor chestnut stands sprout up for a few weeks from November and there are always great wines of many a vintage to enjoy in Tenerife. Long live tradition, I’ll drink to that…and eat to it!

Adeje Romeria With Bells – And Horns

 

After three weeks of Virgen del Encarnacion celebrations, Adeje had one last flourish on the final Sunday as the romeria slowly edged its way up the Calle Grande. Tenerife has no shortage of fiestas but each regional variation is bursting with pride at their own particular slice of history and culture. Large carts trundled up the main avenue decked out with flowers, baskets and home produce, and pulled by powerful and majestic bullocks.

Arriving a little late due to football, I could have been forgiven for thinking I had missed the show. Council cleaners were already brushing the lower street and cleaning away all the debris but it was just an example of the efficient organisation, and they would not catch up to the moving tail of the procession until much later. Bars and restaurants in the street were spilling out onto pavement tables and chairs, and had been busy since mid morning. Local produce was getting plenty of attention today, wines, cheeses, breads, and meats cooked on small barbecues along the route.

It´s very much a family affair, children are encouraged to take an interest and to learn the traditional ways, they will be running future fiestas. Music and dancing were in full flow between the carts, and a huge stage awaited on the Plaza de España at the top of the street. Miss Sur had been duly elected the previous night and a succession of concerts had ensured late nights and tired feet. Calle Grande is a fine backdrop for the events of Adeje, the tight, steep street encourages mingling and friendship, the town hall is proud and imposing, and the church is rich with history. Adeje´s school of folklore ensures that there is a next generation of knowledgeable revellers, and they have all the moves.

The large statue of the Virgen held court in the doorway of the Iglesia de Santa Ursula church, and a smaller version stood just outside. Both were gathering points for family groups to pose after offering their homage. The main stage just below the church gets bigger every year and with the Barranco del Infierno gauging a deep path through the mountains behind it, the setting always inspires. Adeje is no museum piece, it has changed with the times and continues to do so. On my way down the hill on the more modern side of town, I could see the two new large underground parking areas taking shape, thousands of people flock to Adeje to bask in its charms, and the administrative hub of the municipality is there too.


The future was on the back burner for the revellers at the romeria, there was plenty to celebrate and the afternoon was a glorious, sunny one. Ancient and modern were destined to rub shoulders long into the night. If you want to take a peep at what goes on and what to explore in Adeje, keep an eye on their official website.

A Right Song And Dance For Santa Cruz Plenilunio

Every street and plaza is a stage in Santa Cruz. The Tenerife capital needs little excuse to party, well it´s all good training for the annual Canaval, and it´s always nice to give the traders of the city a boost. With 100 acts spread over 20 points, my Ten Mas bus ticket and the 110 Titsa bus whizzed me from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz for an early Saturday morning start.

First stop was the Castillo San Juan on the sea front, near the spot where Nelson lost his arm when trying to lead a British invasion in 1797. History was very much on the menu for a series of theatrical story telling sessions in the castle courtyard as a narrator weaved tales of nautical action in days past. The hook nose of the modern Auditorio peaked in over the walls and the soaring solo singing of one of the players fitted in well with the opera season taking place inside the iconic modern hall.

Moving along the port road and into the heart of the city, it was clear that many people had poured into Santa Cruz for the day, I didn´t see the Star Wars storm troopers marching through the streets but did bump into Princess Leia and friends. Parque Garcia Sanabria is always a favourite call for me at any time but it was bustling with food trucks filling one avenue, and a couple of stages for a range of musical styles. An old fashioned photographer, Michi Rodriguez, using the traditional plates and cloak method was producing some splendid black and white images. The snappers whiskers and bow tie added to the time warp feel, and there was even a birdie to watch, dangling from the lens.

Plaza del Principe was gearing up for a night of DJs on the main stage, but down at street level the excellent Bloko drum band were pounding out an infectious musical blast. I had previously seen the mix of drummers from the Canaries, Cape Verde, and Kenya, at the annual youth football tournament in Playa de Las Americas, it was great to hear them again. Plaza Candelaria had a corridor of pink marquees packed with craft products, and the stage was being entertained by some bizarre puppet creatures. A little further round by the lake, a magician had the children spellbound with some classic tricks, yes they even made a rabbit appear from a hat.

There was only one way to round off such a pleasant day, the evening kick off between CD Tenerife and Cadiz, it was almost as if I had planned it! The magician must have spread his magic dust towards the Heliodoro Stadium, Tenerife got their first win of the season. Sport wasn´t left out at the Plenilunio, a series of small basketball courts on the port approach encouraged young fans to test their skills. A childrens run was taking place, with an adults version to follow later, and the stages would be featuring pop and rock bands.

 

Vikings, Warriors Of The North, Giants Of The Seas

Iron swords so heavy you needed two hands to wield them, boats so sleek and long they looked like serpents with sails billowing in the wind. Come on, who doesn’t like the Vikings, even before Hollywood brought Thor to the big screen, they had to be one of the most appealing conquerers from history.

Arriving at the Caja Canarias banks HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz, I was just in time for the 5.30 pm start to the Friday evening opening in the Fundacion’s cultural hall, and joined a dozen other people in a guided tour. The large ground level entrance was dominated by a model of a Viking long boat, I was soon to learn how the narrow war ships varied from the more sturdy trading vessels they used. All the exhibits were backed by video screens and static displays in Spanish and English, although the compulsory tour guide gave this journey just in Spanish.

It seems the Vikings were about much more than just pillaging and plundering, their artistic designs and crafts as well as their religious and social structures unfolded as we progressed upstairs into a winding gallery. Of course the chain mail, hefty swords and axes evoked memories of the warrior tradition, but a copy of the decorated Jelling Stone paid homage to the meanest of them all King Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark and Norway, and made the new nation christian.

The exhibition has come to Santa Cruz from Denmark’s national museum and includes original artefacts, and well crafted replicas, but the fearsome Viking reputation is genuine. The host building had been converted from its normal open, two floor, stroll around design to a tighter cavern like look, complete with boat design layouts marked on the blue carpet to show the tight confines of the war ships. The subdued lighting added to the atmospheric feel and it was a good insight into a race that has not always been best served by legend status.

On the down side, I thought the tour was a little rushed, another tour party was snapping at our heels, especially on the upper level where we were the circular route funelled us back down to the exit. Prices are not advertised on the posters or in many listings, but the basic cost with the compulsory guide is five euros, with no reduction for residents. It is free though for those under 26 or over 65, it was good to see decent numbers on both opening tours on this Friday evening. The exhibition is on to 11th August 2018, Monday to Friday 10 am to 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 8 pm, plus Saturdays from 10 am to 1.30 pm, closed Sundays.

 

 

Carnaval Fun Glitters Like Pirate Treasure

Parrots, eye patches, and bottles of rum were all the rage as Arona Carnaval 2018 set sail under a pirate themed flag. There was even a bit of shiver me timbers at the opening Cabalgata parade from Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas, as a cold wind off the sea tested the resolve of the more scantily clad revellers. The big plus was there was plenty of warm encouragement from the thousands packing the route to drive them on.

The Carnaval Queen candidates were among the suited and booted contestants but in their promotional pirate costumes, their election outfits would have to wait until their big nights. Just my luck the eventual Queen was the only one missing, for me it was pleasing to see British candidate Jade Newman brimming with pride. As always it was a melting pot of emotion, colour, nerves, and showmanship as the groups fell into line and slowly headed onto Avenida Rafael Puig for the music and dance shuffle along to the edge of Los Cristianos. Culture, tradition, and fun are the driving forces of Carnaval but it’s good for commerce too, there wasn’t an empty bar stool or restaurant table along the route.

The temporary showground ( well car park) with a giant ornate stage, was the focal point for the week ahead and anyone living close got a free dance music blast each night into the wee small hours. The Queens were duly elected, Inma Afonso Darias was chosen as the main Carnaval Queen, with Leonor Jimeno Herrera taking the infants top prize. I popped down to the final Saturday Day Carnaval, always a wild gathering of the younger revellers from noon to whenever. The chart groups and DJs were way over my aged head but the rythmn is always infectious and the fancy dress costumes were ingenious and funny – even if some of them were a bit confusing.

Sunday was the big day that everyone goes to even if they aren´t tempted by the many other distractions of the week. The Coso parade is like end of term, the judging has been done, the main shows played out, and time to go really wild and let rip. Of course it always starts late and by then the parade route from the shadow of Guaza mountain up to the cultural centre, was packed several layers deep, with many camped out for hours at road side bars, forcing themselves to drink. Teams of families and friends had worked months to stich up their loved ones in stunning costumes bursting with colour, and the dance moves and marching steps had become second nature.

There´s always a few strained faces and even a few tears from the younger, tired paraders but it was a grand team effort with hugs and words of encouragement close to hand. Interaction is always popular, whether it be a pose with a holiday maker that will make their photo memories special, or a normally sensible and staid older watcher being temporarily pulled into the action – especially if it involved one of the more risque outfits! The clever idea was to have a prop or a baggy costume where a little encouraging dink could be concealed, The incessant beat of the drum groups was a constant backing track to the stream of happy faces, and balconies and roof tops were packed by those seeking a crows nest view. It took the best part of two hours to complete the route but aching feet still had energy for another late, late dancing in front of the main stage.

Do sardines blush? If they do, the giant one awaiting it´s funeral was in for a shocking night. The last act of Carnaval was the funeral of the sardine, or to be strictly accurate, its cremation. The sweet, angelic fish was sat outside the Los Cristianos cultural centre as a curious crowd was joined by a selection of motley mourners. Many of the widows were surprisingly hairy and muscle bound “women” but their taste in wild clothes and aroused friends betrayed them as chaps having a great old time.

Carnaval is all about lent and a mood of revolution by the ordinary people against the oppressive church that imposed the ban on meat on the poor while they and their rich friends lived high on the hog. Sardines were often the only morsels that the poor in coastal areas could catch to supplement their meager diet, so the fish became a two fingered salute to the church. Rebel or not, it still had to endure some rough handling on its way through town and down the port road to the old beach to be set on fire. It was packed down there as the poor victim burst into flames boosted by a barrage of fireworks that lit up the sky.

So apart from another even longer night of dancing and drinking, Carnaval bowed out in a blaze of activity. It will return next year but for now it is the end.

 

Dry Bones In Wet Santa Cruz

It wasn´t quite the walk in the hills I had planned but with storm warnings for Tenerife, I took the easier option of a day in the capital, Santa Cruz. I had a few things on my tick list but the vibrant city always adds a few unexpected pleasures to the mix. First call had to be the Auditorium, a new metal sculpture had taken up residence just below the wave of the roof and having seen previous works by Julio Nieto, I was keen to see this one. The Search features a human figure hanging onto a Compass Rose, the rain was holding off and the gentle breeze was allowing the artwork to flutter just enough to show off the full glory of the new addition.

Crossing back to the entrance lobby of the main bus station I found another distraction. The public bus company Titsa, is celebrating 40 years of linking the busiest and more remote areas of Tenerife. I´m a big fan of their green chariots, they get me everywhere I need to be and are very cheap. Green wasn´t always the dominant colour of the fleet, a sleek red and white bus harked back to the early days and contrasted with a new hybrid gas and electric runaround, green in every way.

My main call of the day was the Museum of Nature & Man (museo la naturaleza y el hombre) half way between the bus station and the bustling port. Museums these days are not the formal stuffy places remembered from school trips, it´s all about interactive video screens, plenty of seating areas, and information in a range of languages. The jewell in the N & M crown has always been the display of mummified remains of the original Guanche inhabitants of Tenerife. They were waiting for me on the third floor but I had been drawn by a temporary exhibition, Athanatos, on and below the ground floor. I paid the residents rate of 4 euros for Athanatos and the freedom of the rest of the museum, the exhibition alone is 2 euros or free after 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and runs to 3rd June.

A black pyramid in the centreof the ground floor plaza featured three gian screens exploring the nature of death and the attitude of different ages and cultures to this often taboo subject. It was just a gentle introduction to the eerie downstairs display area with rows of mummies and human remains from many eras and countries. The glass cases they occupied were glowing from white light tables, and the power leads plugged into the ceiling added to the feel of a mad scientists lair. I half expected a few of the guests to rise from their slabs and chase me back up the stairs. Suitably spooked, I worked my way back up to the main museum for a stroll around the three levels, there were a fair few people in, but considering the unattractive weather outside, it was less than I expected.

The ground floor dealt with the creation of the Canary Islands from its violent volcanic origins to the formation of land masses, mountains, and barrancos. Moving up, the natural sciences, that’s birds, bees, flowers, and trees, spilled forth through insect fossils, and on to models of sea creatures. School and college parties are the life blood of museums and I could see that study areas, activity packs, and more interactive screems would guarantee a visit became a pleasure and not a chore. The second floor was always my favourite, the wall of skulls told me I was on track and the amazingly well preserved Guanche mummies on their shelves were as fascinating as ever.

The mummies dated back to between 135 Bc and 1,420 BC, including a child found preserved in Adeje’s Barranco del Infierno. A couple of spare hands and feet added to the macabre but strangely alluring appeal of the old bones. The skin was so well preserved it semed almost like brittle papier mache. I was passing through on another whirlwind tour of Santa Cruz but have easily lingered all day in the museum, they have a cafe and restaurant, and wi fi served relaxation areas in the courtyards. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5 pm, they only close on the big christmas and new year days, and Carnaval Tuesday so go and have a browse. For me it was back out into the rain lashed streets of Santa Cruz. The weather doesn´t turn bad that often and it´s good to know that the capital has plenty of interesting places to visit, just up from the Museum of Nature & Man you will find TEA, an amazing modern art building and library, but more of that another time.

 

Christmas Lights Up Santa Cruz

Tradition always draws me to Santa Cruz and La Laguna just before christmas to savour the grand designs of the belens (nativity scenes) and to ooh and aah at the festive lights. Apparently it took seven days to create the world, I suspect it took a lot longer to put together these variations on an annual theme.

First stop was the Caja Canarias bank HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz, they always have a large walk around display set on a big rural scale with a cast of hundreds of busy figures. This year it included a bit of a River Nile influence to compliment an Egyptian history exhibit in another hall. The clever thing about this show is the dimming and pulsing light in the room so you get that night time feel too. The meandering stream adds a living feel, and there´s always a few humourous characters if you peek inside of various courtyards. Opening times are Monday to Saturday10am to 1.30pm, and 5.30 to 8pm, Sundays are only on 24 and 31 December plus 5 January, from 10am to 1.30pm.

I don´t need much excuse to get the tram up to La Laguna, so I popped up to see their offering in the Casa del Capitanes, just around the corner from the tram terminus. Not only did they have a selection of model cattle and kings grazing in the outdoor plaza, but also a large room full of a long extended village christmas scene with grand buildings and those small touches that reflected their devotion. Flocks of sheep roamed, and small birds grouped together in flight above the roof tops. This one is open 10am to 2 pm and 4~pm to 7pm weekdays, and 11am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This is probably a good time to say that all the nativities are free, some have had charity collections in the past but that was not the case this year. I did like the knitted nativity in a shop window as well.

Back down to Santa Cruz and there was a strange mix going on at El Rinconito in Plaza Candelaria at the port end of the main shopping drag, Calle Castillo. The Bethlehem stable had a windmill attached to it, and a pink Milka chocolate cow grazed nearby. At least the Cabildo (Tenerife government) building looked more seasonal with it´s facade sending out a cheery greeting. Inside their belen featured rural life with all the christmas story trimmings and some impresive fishing boats. Opening times here are 9am to 3pm, 4pm to 9.30pm everyday, apart from morning only times on 24 and 31 December, and afternnon only on 25 December, 1 & 6 January.

Just one more call, the Canarian Parliament building in Calle Castillo. This is another elaborate walk around giant montage of rural scenes. The feeling is joyful, with big jolly characters, hard at work, and revelling in the joys of the festive season. You may well recognise landmarks of the seven islands that have been incorporated into the design. Ok here come those opening times, 10am to 3pm, and 4.30pm to 10pm, the exceptions are 24 December and 31 December 10am to 4pm, and 25 December and 1 January 4.30pm to 10pm. That should keep you out of the bars for a while, it nearly worked for me.