Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
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.

 

Walk Like An Egyptian March Like A Roman

So there I am stood on Santa Cruz quay side looking at a space ship housing a Roman exhibition, after earlier visitng an Egyptian mummy show. At my side a Canarian ice crean van for a company called Califonia (why?) is relentlessly chiming the German song Lili Marlena (again why?). It´s no wonder my brain is confused.

It was all part of a very rewarding pre christmas visit to the Tenerife capital. Egipto En Busca De La Eternidad (Egypt in search of the eternity) was the latest in a long line of wonderful art exhibitions staged by the Caja Canarias Fundacion and housed at the two floor cultural space of the Caja Canarias bank HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo. Mournful mummies were what I expected and they were lurking but the first floor was more about the cultural life of ancient Egypt, featuring art, music, ceramics and a look at some of the leading dynasty´s. The faint waft of Egyptian music, secluded alcoves, and moody lighting helped to put me in the mood. It was a national holiday and I was glad to see many families enjoying the free exhibition.

Upstairs it all turned a bit more macabre, yep the mummies were revealing their secrets. British archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, there were 65 revealing black and white photographs of the cursed expedition, a rare insight into the sheer scale of the endeavour. The boy king was just one of several sovereigns being shown in a new light. It wasn´t just wood, bronze, and ivory coffins on display, a cut away tomb showed the full inner workings of the last rites, and there was even a video alcove with more grainy and gruesome images. It´s well worth a visit before the works go back to Madrid´s Egypt Museum after 27 January 2018. It´s open Monday to Friday 10 am to 1.30pm, and 5.30 to 8pm. Saturday is just 10.30 to 1 .30pm, and even mummies get a day off on Sundays.

 

Honest I´m not after a free overdraft but the touring exhibition, Roma Norum Vita (Roman Life) is another free show from the Caja Canarias Fundacion. The space ship like touring venue turned out to be more of a Tardis, it had a Roman city and 2,000 years of excellence packed inside. A scene setting video room gave way to a paved and very solid feeling street lined with forum steps. Rooms feeding off showed their home comforts like the communal toilets, tapped drinking water, and lavish sleeping quarters. A backdrop became another video wall showing more of their political, social, and commercial life. I almost felt like a ghostly intruder, or an extra in Up Pompei. The show lasted about 25 minutes and a lot of families brought young children who looked genuinely fascinated.

To catch a glimpse of this glorious past, head for the ferry port, Monday to Friday it´s open 12.30 to 2pm, and 5 to 9pm, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays it´s 11 to 2pm, and 5 to 9pm. They take 25 people at a time, and can do groups if you pre call 902906666, and these Romans remain until 25 January 2018.

 

A Green Seed Grows Proudly In Valle San Lorenzo

They´re fresh, they´re fruity, they´re delicious, and they´re locally produced in the Tenerife municipality of Arona. It was high time for a farmers market within easy reach of the tourist hot spots of the south and on Saturday 14 October 2017 the doors opened on the Mercado del Agricultor in Valle San Lorenzo.

With a high vaulted roof and plenty of glass I anticipated being boiled and poached inside the new building in Calle Cooperativa near the big Cepsa petrol station, but it was large, bright, roomy, and surprisingly cool despite the outside calima already hitting 31 degrees at 10 am. The market opens on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm but the official launch we was geared to a 10 am ceremonial opening by the Alcalde (mayor) of Arona, Jose Julian Mena Perez. This fitted in nicely with free coaches from Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos, provided by the Arona Ayuntamiento (council) who have financed the market. Look out for those red coaches, they will continue to be free each Saturday and Sunday, 10 am from Las Americas, 10.15 from Los Cristianos, and 10.20 from Chayofa, with a 1 pm return calling at those three points.

Four wide aisles were lined with 60 stalls, nearly all in use, selling fruit, vegetables, pastries, and wine, many of them with the highest of eco friendly pedigrees. There were piles of potatoes, crowds of carrots, a plentitude of peppers, and cakes that would test anyones resolve to wait until tea time. Some of the more specialist items included, jams, teas, coffees, and breads. A show cooking display featured soup made from calabazo (a kind of gourd) and white cheese, a stage allowed for some live traditional Canarian music and dance, and there was even a childrens play room near the entrance.

As the seasons change there will be new wonders to behold, stocking for the festive season meals will be a lot easier and seasonal specials like chestnuts will feel cosy in their new surroundings. I arrived on the free bus but there are two regular Titsa public bus routes that pass through Valle San Lorenzo at the weekends, with stops a short hop from the market. I got a 418 Titsa bus destined for Playa de Las Americas bus station and bailed out in Los Cristianos, just 30 minutes and 1.15 euros with an advance Bono bus ticket.Go on, take a visit and you will realise how green is your Valle.

Full Moon Madness At Santa Cruz Plenilunio

Any excuse for a party, that´s the Tenerife way, so why not throw a huge annual bash in the streets of the capital city, Santa Cruz, all inspired by the full moon. The Plenilunio had reached it´s 7th year and true to form it wasn´t hanging around waiting for the silvery moon, That´s why just after noon I was confronted by a large group of mature men dressed as exotic female singers, complete with large phallic microphones.

That was at the African Market, a short walk from the bus station where my Titsa bus had delivered me from Los Cristianos. Stalls and costumes were taking shape in every side street, there were 27 stages and focal points for activities as well as mobile displays. In Calle Castillo, the main shopping street, the 101 Brass Band were strutting their stuff, diving in and out of shops, and updating recent pop hits. The weekly El Clavel market was squeezed in to a tight side street with its mix of retro fashion and musical memorabilia. Calle del Castillo is also home to the Circulo de Bellas Artes and I was keen to see the caped crusaders promoting a comic exhibition.

Vintage cars pop up at events all over Tenerife, their setting was particularly good this time, between the Cabildo (government) building and the Plaza de España with its monuments and lake. An Abingdon (near Oxford) built MG would have been tempting enough but add a delightful lady in an American GI uniform and I was purring. The port seemed a natural next call, especially as it was hosting the Cross Fast Civico Militar event, think along the lines of the poppy appeal Royal Tournament in London. The assault course looked hard work to me even without the rifle carrying but they all made it look like a stroll.

I always have a look to see what boats are in port, there were a couple of big cruise liners but I was more intrigued by several large, flash looking motor yachts. The blue bottomed Excellence V charter yacht was good, the brand new silent cruising 49 metre long Home was even better, but pride of place went to the 66 metre long Vanish, complete with helicopter. It cost a cool 125 million dollars but the owner, American Larry Van Tuyl has an estimated worth of 3.5 billion dollars. If your reading this Larry, you really need to own a football club, CD Tenerife would fit the bill nicely.

Anyway back in the real world, there was loads more to see, Parque Garcia Sanabria was full of food trucks offering Dorada, mojitos, and exotic variations on burgers. Back up at Plaza Weyler I could see the Canary Islands military commend palace was fronted by old style soldiers rather than their current counterparts, their uniforms were familiar to me from the recreations of Nelsons failed invasion. It was one of many buildings throwing open its doors so I had a look in, only the courtyard was accessible but it gave a brief insight into local military history.

Plaza del Principe was one of the hot spots for live music and dance so I had a quick look at that, and despite having had a large dinner, I still found a home for the free chocolate donuts being given out around town. The celebrations were going to last long into the night and of couse the full moon would add to the atmosphere but my time was ticking away as I worked my way towards the Heliodoro Stadium for CD Tenerife v Nastic. I wanted to catch up on the Casa del Carnaval but the nearest I got was a birds eye view from the bridge just before the Armada Sur´s pre match bar. For the record, CD Tenerife won 2-0 and I did get a glimpse of a brilliant and vibrant moon over the port as our coach sped back towards the south.

 

Tradition Around Every Arona Corner

Chunky white candles nestled against the old stone houses down all the streets in Arona town, quite a task putting all 10,000 of them in place, and a big box of matches would be needed to light them all up when darkness approached. There was a much more basic feel to this years Dia de Los Tradiciones (Day of Traditions) but those little touches helped to evoke the history of the people and their crafts just 10 kms up from Los Cristianos.

I arrived on a TITSA public service bus after waiting an hour for the free shuttle to show but I wasn´t complaining at a 20 minute journey and a mere 1.25 euros on my bono ticket. Music wafted through the air as I browsed the stalls in the tight street on the way to the church plaza. Those small touches included a free event and guide map that was tinted brown to look old and worn, it had to be big as there were so many events crammed in. On my stroll I saw the source of the music, a traditional Canarian group with dancers and musicians.

One side street featured old home made toys, wooden karts looked certain to give a bumpy but fun ride over the cobbles. Eco power is nothing new, good old pedal power was propelling a kiddies roundabout with some very basic horses, sand filled egg timers measured out the duration of a euros worth of spinning, and boxes of bananas packed a little nourishing after ride treat. Up at the plaza by the church of San Antonio Abad, a stage was set for full orchestras of music later in the day. Heading into Calle El Calvario I found more stalls, some lovely smells were coming from La Cocina de la Abuela (Grandmas Kitchen), they were teaching children some basic recipes and also offering free plates full of potatoes, meat, and gofio – well I couldn´t say no.

Another aspect of this special day is to open up old buildings like the Casa la Bodega, the scene for some of the theatrical performances during the day. I caught up with a display of Salto de Pastor (shepherds leap) an old way of vaulting across small ravines with the help of a large wooden pole. The Casino de Arona was also open to the public and featured antique radios and record players, some of them took me back to my parents radiogram, well at least we didn´t walk down the street in a trance listening to them.

There are several big collections of classic cars in Tenerife and a dozen of the famous old models were on show outside the casino, a magnet for poses against the gleaming bodywork and for smaller enthusiasts a chance to ride the running boards. I spent a good few hours taking in the goodies on offer, it was nice to see old historic houses identified with brief histories of famous families that lived in them, and also places of work and food production like the old gofio mill house. Never let it be said that Arona is just dwelling in the past, one week on (6th & 7th October) from the Day Of Traditions, the church plaza would be throbbing to the sound of car engines ready to embark on the Subida de Arona – La Escalona rally.