Archive for the 'Exploring' Category
Looking Up And Down, To The Past, And To The Future In Santa Cruz

Sometimes you have to act on impulse, I had a plan for my latest visit to Santa Cruz but stepping out of the bus station the sheer sunny beauty of the day yanked at my arm to do something different. I’ve always intended to go up to the Mirador de Ifara to get some panoramic views of the Tenerife capital, and when better.

Subtle improvements were taking place at the Intercambiador, new bays were being created on the top floor and as I waited for the 912 Los Campitos bus opposite the tram terminus I noticed the indoor café had now spread beyond the glass with a few scattered tables complete with waiter service. My 20 minute frequency ride was a freebie on my bono ticket as I had recently got off another of their buses. After threading through the back streets the route rose steeply and a 30 minute ride overshot to the old, rural destination. I was looking for a formal mirador with a viewing platform but it’s much more casual than that. The driver dropped me on the main road back down and I found my own gaps in walls and fencing to admire the living map below me. There’s a lot of posh new housing in this area, the views and closeness to the big city must make it very expensive.

Taking the short walk down the winding road I was soon at Parque Garcia Sanabria, it had looked like a hemmed in square from up above but up close it charmed me as always with its mix of trees, flowers, and modern sculpture. Nearby was another long forgotten friend I needed to look up, Plaza de Los Patos has more ceramic tiles than your average DIY store, these are the type pieced together on walls for advertising but here they adorn 20 concrete benches and the central pond. It’s a pity the duck in the centre of the pond no longer squirts water and it’s hardly a puddle deep but the ornate frogs sit proud on the circular wall. I half expected a burst of Rupert and the Frog Chorus.

 

The port area always figures on my jaunts, there were no cruise ships in this time but a few heavy laden tankers lurked at the far end of the old loading area. Santa Cruz is still undergoing a big facelift, the Via Litoral coast road has been diverted through an underground tunnel and the bright modern design on the side wall caught my eye. Maybe it was a secret code or a mathematical formula, either way it cheers up what could be just dull concrete slabs. The marina was also getting a makeover, it’s startling how much difference some new tarmac paths and young palm trees can add a fresh feel.

The main purpose of my day out was to review the new touring exhibition from the Prado Museum in Madrid. More of that at a later date. The venue is the Caja Canarias bank HQ, they have held a series of high profile art shows, this one is free and on until 16 January 2016. While I was checking out the paintings I could hear music wafting through from their small theatre next door, it was an Afro Cuban Jazz Quartet, never let it be said that Tenerife lacks variety.

It was the opening day of the Exposaldo bargain sale at the Recinto Ferial hall so I had to pop in and see if anything tickled my wallet. With 180 stands the good people of Santa Cruz were keen to get in and entry was just one euro but what a crazy system. Visitors had to queue at the box office to pay their nugget and get a ticket before moving a few yards around the building to the entrance to have it checked on the way in. The queues at the box office were stretching back, I reckon quite a few people gave up. Once inside it was very busy laid out in blocks of rows with a large side section selling former hire cars. Goods included books, clothes, sports gear, toys, and even a sex boutique. The busiest of all seemed to be the Conforama home furnishings and electrical, the café area was doing a steady trade as well. If you read this in time the Exposaldo’s last day is Sunday 8 November and they are open 11 am to 9 pm.

That was about it for me, as always I still had more on my tick list but that’s just another excuse for a return visit. Even on my bus back to the south there were plenty of the distinctive orange and black bags from the Exposaldo. After a busy day I was looking forward to checking out the stock at The Victory and Zizzi’s Bar in Los Cristianos.

 

Snaps Shops Ships And Sales In Santa Cruz

How do you like your art Mr Kirby? As strange as possible please. Well the first part of my Santa Cruz and La Laguna trip delivered on that request. It was nice to walk into the super cooled lobby of the Hotel Atlantida as the digital read outs of Santa Cruz were panting at 35 degrees from the calima that continued to hang over Tenerife. The photo exhibition was simply called 801 but after going up and down in the glass lift overlooking Avenida Tres de Mayo it took another trip to reception before the artistic penny dropped.

I’ve seen galleries, street art, and strange figures banging gongs in the nearby El Tanque converted petrol tank but never an exhibition in a hotel room. I knocked on the door of room 801 and was welcomed in by top photographer Alfonso Bravo and his attractive female assistant. We had met before a few years ago when I was invited to shadow the Peroni calendar shoot 2 years running, Alfonso was the director, snapper, and creative genius. This current batch of life size studies of people was laid out around the room, I counted five but was then told there were two more in the bathroom. At one stage I saw a plate of food and a bottle of beer and wondered if it was for visitors, I realized just in time it was his dinner. The photos were excellent and the setting very different, and as a bonus I got some nice panoramic shots of Santa Cruz by hanging out of an 8th floor window.

I usually have a few targets on my trips, this Sunday visit coincided with the latest Sal 2 shopping promotion day in the capital. The streets were noticeably busier, the Africa indoor Market by the TEA art gallery was surrounded by the sprawling weekly Sunday market with its bizarre mix of antiques, trash, and bargains. It was strange to see the sculpture of the fishermen swamped by a rising tide of old typewriters, books, and ancient radios. I’m sure if the offer was right they would have sold the sculpture as well, getting it home on the bus might have been a tad difficult. Pushing on into the heart of the city everyone was laden with shopping bags, trade was good. There were 45 mini marquees around the streets selling old stock from shops, and many premises that normally close on a Sunday had flung their doors open to tempt a few in. Music, face painting, and bouncy castles helped to fuel the spending boom.

One of the hotspots was Plaza del Principe with loads of food and drink stalls around the park bandstand, outside I was pleased to see the official CD Tenerife stall doing a roaring trade in smaller shirts of recent seasons. The cash till bonanza was also benefiting from the arrival of two cruise liners in port, I’m not too sure how impressed the high rollers on the Celebrity Eclipse were to be moored so close to a rusty oil exploration ship. It didn’t seem to deter anyone from spending, there was a steady stream of shop carrier bags returning to the big ships.

The big item on my agenda was the Circo On Ice in La Laguna so with an eye on the clock I caught the tram, always a pleasure. Here’s a couple of photos to give you a taster of the circus, I really enjoyed the show, it took me back to some of the smaller rinks I visited when following Oxford City Stars ice hockey team. The circus is in town until 2 November, look out for my revue at blog.tenerife.co.uk . I asked them about becoming a clown but they said I was over qualified. Two hours later I was heading back down south on the Titsa bus to Los Cristianos with a thirst like a coal miner. Yep, that was a good day that was.

Publicity Falls On Its Arts In La Laguna

Looking forward to an art exhibition and then finding it closed was not a good start but my exploring days are never wasted in Tenerife, La Laguna and Santa Cruz gave my little pea brain plenty of stimulation on a cracking summers day.

Julio Nieto is a master of metal art and after being wowed by his earlier giant works in Santa Cruz, thoughts of his new exhibition Kamasutra del Aire made my mind boggle. An early morning Titsa and tram combination from Los Cristianos had me in La Laguna before my corn flakes had time to settle but the tourist office gave me directions to the venue and the bad news that it was shut probably for the whole of August. I went to see for myself and sure enough it was locked up but no mention of why and for how long, the local papers still have it running until September 18. Calm Colin, calm, you know how bad publicity is on the rock.

Time for an old stand by, the former Convento de Canarias and its Instituto San Agustin welcomed me to their latest free exhibition by Santa Cruz artist Felipe Hodgson. A bit of a sexual theme was emerging to my day as the two halls featured sketches and paintings of nudes, some abstract, some surreal, but all with not so much as a vest on. A lady was showing her young son around, he had that mixed expression of delight and embarrassment and my mind sped back to trying to fish my comic off a newsagents shelf without disturbing the glossy artistic publications.

Back on the street I cast my eyes over the restored cathedral, there were quite a few squawks when the ducks were evicted from their ancient pond and stone shelters outside in favour of a new water feature. Finally the new version was complete and was pretty poor in my opinion, a few exotic fish gobbled crisps thrown in by some young tykes, at least I have seen the ducks new home across the city. I popped into the cathedral, it was as stunning as when I visited a few weeks after its resurection, if you get a chance, feast your eyes. Outside there are three plots of barely disturbed ground awaiting an archeological search for historic remnants of the original cathedral.

Santa Cruz is always regenerating, down at the port that was very evident. A large new welcome hub for cruise liners is well under construction, ironically today was one of the few days with no floating palaces moored up. Out by the marina area further improvements are under way, I usually have a nose around to see what floats my boat, nothing too wild this time except another floating oil exploration ship.

On the way back to the bus station I checked out the newly restored Puente de el Cabo bridge over the Barranco de Santos. It was once a link between the port and commerce but had become a rusty wreck. There’s no real need for it now as two bridges cross over by La Noria and the main road crosses a few yards away, but it is an iconic piece of history and looks good with its wide ramps and sturdy tructure. I must return soon and see what other changes are in the pipeline.

 

Playa Paraiso Snuggles Up To Callao Salvaje

Not a hop and skip, a fol dee rol, or a trip trap for me when I checked out the new barranco bridge between Playa Paraiso and Callao Salvaje. My romantic notion of a rickety bridge to link the coastal walks was inspired by childhood tales of the Three Billy Goats Gruff on Junior Choice. The reality was a more industrial and sturdy construction but I must admit it was nice not to have to scramble across the gap this time.

This stretch of Adeje coast has really pulled its socks up in recent years, as my bus cut off the main road and down to Playa Paraiso I noticed council workers in hi vis jacket scooping up discarded rubbish beside the pavement. I remember an evening years ago sitting outside a bar looking up at the tall hotel blocks and wondering where all these people were. All inclusive deals do their bit to deprive the local bars and shops of trade, the baking sun of late was also playing a part on my visit, many toes had chosen to dangle in  swimming pool rather than try the delights of Las Galgas beach.

The sea was sparkling, the sky clear blue, and the sea offered its own temptations. The Paseo Peotanal coastal walkway is a smart place to stroll these days but many people ignore the warning signs to venture onto the rocks. A year ago I assisted ITV Daybreak with their coverage of a double drowning tragedy, although the sea was generally calm this time, the headlands and outcrops were being lapped by the odd bigger waves and people were still taking children onto the rocks despite grim reminders of what can happen.

Anyway armed with my anti troll spray I turned the corner for the small, shallow, but awkward barranco and was a little disappointed to see it was mainly concrete with big pillar supports. So much for a quaint little wooden effort, at least there were wooden slats down one side, the reality was much more practical than my dream, that’s why I am not an architect. It was good to see families with prams and buggies able to enjoy the full glory of the coastal path. In my mind though I was still singing a mash up of Three Billy Goats Gruff and Kim Wilde’s View From A Bridge – well it might work.

Feet firmly on the Callao Salvaje side I completed the walk to look down on Playa Ajabo, another lovely beach that was updated a couple of years ago at great expense. It looked so good down there  and the Sansibar Ajabao Restaurant is a fine place to eat and survey the view but neither it or the beach were very busy. The addition of the bridge brings us even closer to a time when walking pretty much all the way from Los Gigantes to Los Cristianos along the coast will not be just an old fable.

History Lessons At Oxford Town Hall

Had he popped out for a sandwich with Oxford marmalade or fancied a cheeky pint of locally brewed Morrells beer across the road? The rain coat of city engineer William White was still hanging on its peg and blueprints for city works were strewn across his desk at Oxford Museum, frozen in time a century after their creation.

Outside in St Aldates the rain pelted down and I had chosen this easier, dryer option for the final day of my home city visit. As a true Oxonian I thought I had a decent knowledge of Oxford but I was about to add some historical cement to the crumbling bricks of my memory. The original museum building is closed and awaiting an expensive upgrade so the large, sprawling city engineers office inside the town hall now houses the main exhibits. It was nice to see that the town got equal billing with the gown (University), I grew up in the shadow of the car factory and found the references to founder William Morris very interesting and also the features on the leisure and culture of Oxford. Adding a modern touch, an interactive video consul took me on a high speed tour out from the city centre in the basket of a delivery bike with comments from cartoon quarter boys, they are the famous figures that hammer the chimes on the carfax tower clock.

A brief poke around the ground floor of the town hall dispelled thoughts of a dull, uninviting public edifice, they now have a café, art gallery, and a souvenir shop. I wanted to see more and snapped up the chance to take a guided tour for just five pounds, the museum is free but they ask for a minimum donation of one pound. My guide Jane whisked me into the private corridors where the day to day admin offices are and unlocked the stairs down to the old crypt, now the plate room where many of the valuable dinner services and ceremonial gifts are stored. A sealed door marked the entrance to a small section of the labyrinth of tunnels that extend underneath Oxford, they provided handy exit routes from persecutors.

Back up in the main body of the building it was clear to see the love and respect that had been lavished on the current town hall, a young designer Henry Hare completed the building in 1897 with scant regard to financial restraints, the elaborate copper air vents were just one indulgence. Moving up through the city council chambers I could feel the weight of history and civic pride. Jane’s knowledge was deep and impressive with plenty of light touches to ensure it wasn’t all dry textbook stuff. The Assembly rooms were stunning with high vaulted ceilings, paintings and portraits rich in history and value, and intricate plaster work. They were preparing the main room for a wedding and the sound system was belting out some classic Stranglers tracks – did they know I was coming?

A balcony leads out from the assembly hall, I remember cheering Oxford Cheetahs all conquering mid 80’s riders when they were given a civic reception. My brain was starting to recall other visits to the town hall for beer festivals and the Unison union Christmas party – the majestic stairway from the hall to the street was a bit of a tester on those occasions. The town hall also stages concerts, exhibitions, and wrestling. My access all areas tour was taking me through corridors lined with artistic memories of Oxford and into the city council chamber, scene of many a heated debate. The old crown court, replaced some 30 years ago, was still a stern and foreboding place, I stood in the dock and as I noticed the cold tiled stairs leading directly down to the cells I hoped my library books were not overdue. The separate rooms for the judge and jury were quite a contrast, one large and relaxing, the other cramped and with minimum facilities.

The tour concluded well over an hour later down the main stairway via more impressive stained glass features. It was a fascinating insight into a building that goes way beyond the functional needs it was intended to cover. A wooden model pointed out the extra challenges that had to be overcome due to the slightly tilted setting of St Aldates and Blue Boar Street that border the town hall. Hopefully the full scope of the museum will soon be realized if it’s original annex home can be restored but the town hall looks set to serve the good people of Oxford for many more decades.

Sun Rain Flowers And Road Works In Oxford

Spin that roulette wheel of weather, Colin is back in Oxford. Well that’s how it seemed for my latest home visit, glorious June sunshine heralded my arrival and by late Sunday afternoon I was sprawled out in Bury Knowle Park with cod and chips from Posh Fish. I actually felt overdressed in my jeans and was looking forward to a few evening ales.

Organised devastation seems to sum up the huge building projects underway in my home city, the Westgate car park has been flattened ready for a new enlarged shopping centre and the bottle neck near Oxford rail station was even more jammed due to a grand redesign underway. More pubs had been wiped off the map or converted into cocktail bars or accommodation but I still dug out some interesting brews in favourite watering holes. My friend Christine took me up to the Varsity Club, a series of bars on several floors entered from the Covered Market, we were going to enjoy the roof garden but with Monday cloud making the temperature plunge we were both under dressed and retreated to the lounge below.

I always like the musicians and buskers in Cornmarket Street, they were even more bizarre this time. On Bonn Square I saw a man juggling balls and a woman behind him in a black negligee playing a violin – I couldn’t work out if they were separate acts or a bizarre mash up. I managed to do a little Tommy the Tourist time and visited the Oxford Prison and it’s redeveloped grounds full of posh restaurants, I had already done the tour of the few remaining cells before so gave the grisly history lesson a miss this time.

The sun managed one scorcher of a day so I visited the Botanic Garden off the High Street, a wonderful collection of plants, flowers, and greenhouses with exotic specimens. I was wowed by the wall plants and herbaceous border, the cannabis plants in the medicinal plant collection blew my mind, and I crumbled at the sight of the giant rhubarb. The vast layout must is a real labour of love with surprise highlights like the rock garden, and water garden. Inside the greenhouses I encountered tropical blooms, familiar looking palm trees, and the giant water lily collection.

It’s just 4.95 pounds to get in the Botanic Garden and a restful stroll also gives access to the River Thames and the big punting station. During the year they hold special family picnic days and courses in botany and nature. As a nipper it was always one of my favourite days out and added a splash of colour between some gray weather days during my weeks visit.

Hey Puerto De La Cruz It’s Good To See You Again

The bits that don’t work are the ones that work a strange magic on me. Descending into the centre of Puerto de la Cruz on the 343 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos I was almost reassured to see the old abandoned bus station gradually shedding its coating of lime green paint. It will fall down one day, I’m convinced and I would feel cheated not to see it, especially after feeling it shudder when buses used to trundle inside down the ramp.

It was probably a couple of years since my last visit but it was like putting on some old frayed and comfortable slippers as I walked up the steep steps of Calle Iriarte with its horned tree sculpture. Cutting through into Plaza de la Iglesia brought a surge of pleasure at the sight of the magnificent church and the feast of greenery and the dry but ornate fountain in the plaza. Like a dog revisiting favourite haunts I was keen to sniff out some remembered places, the Plaza de Europa was partly covered in scaffolding from the recent Carnaval but beyond it the harbour wall allowed the wind to blow through my ear holes as the waves rolled in down below.

La Cofradia de Pescadores have a nice modern building these days for selling their catch and the upstairs restaurant serves up terrific food with a fishy theme. I was lured into the exhibition hall by a large display of model ships filling two floors, it was free to browse with just a request for donations in a collecting box that struggled to hold anything more than loose change.

One of the big changes since my last visit was the unpopular demolition of the ancient wall running along San Telmo, the sight of the diggers gouging out a supposedly better landscape wasn’t convincing. The shopkeepers along the Paseo San Telmo must be cursing the tight run that potential shoppers have to negotiate to reach the other end of the seafront.


Normally I would get off the bus at the top of the La Paz district on the way down into the city centre but this time I took the winding path up to the mirador stopping off halfway for some tapas at the Tasca Barossa. The Spanish owners were obviously keen fans of American country music and Anne Murray serenaded me with Snowbird in the slightly drafty outdoor seating area. The view down to the sea was pleasant and the little wrap around blankets on the back of the whicker chairs confirmed that this busy junction of paths was no stranger to a bracing breeze. Carrying on to the top of the walk I surveyed the Playa de Martianez below, it looked almost naked without the two old sea facing bars that had finally been removed. Before I left I nodded a quick hello to the bust of Agatha Christie, who knocked out a short story on a brief stay, and the Rotary Club statue of two eager explorers.


Up in La Paz I met the well traveled Jack and Andrea Montgomery on their own patch for coffee and delicious pastries at El Aderno. After squeezing in my business call I headed down to the street serving as a makeshift bus station, the crumbling original was finally closed in 2009 but a 1.5 million euro replacement has been promised, and promised, and promised. On top of the old station building a drained water feature looked very sad with it spread winged seagull missing a head and some very blunt Anglo Saxon tourets graffiti that some may feel reflects the Ayuntamiento (council) response to this area and its users. For me these just provided more moments of amusement on a very enjoyable trip.

Struck By Lightning In Santa Cruz

Luxurious cruise ships spilled out thousands of passengers to swell the Carnaval streets of Santa Cruz but for me the visiting Spanish Navy ship Relampago (lightning) was the pride of the port. Friday 13th seemed an appropriate time to take up an invite to tour the headquarters of the emergency services 112 Canarias and that had made a good start to thee day – but more of that later.

Carnaval fever builds steadily but there was a buzz in the air as fancy dress stalked the city streets for the evenings Cabalgata opening parade. The trams were coupled together (well it was Valentines the next day) and pulling double loads of passengers, the temporary police and hospital compound was on standby, and food stalls were wafting delicious odours through the streets. In Calle Castillo there was an outbreak of oohs and aahs as a gang of little chicks were guided down the main shopping artery. Had I stumbled on a scandal, one of the small birds was chomping on a biscuit, maybe an energy enhancer – or maybe she was just peckish.

I knew the port would be busy but the sight of the grey patrol ship with the gangplank extended gladdened my heart, the female officer at the check in table was very welcome too. There were only a few people waiting to go on board so it was a nice relaxed tour starting on the helicopter pad before being led into the hanger where a video screen was showing the ship in action on the high seas with the theme from The Rock providing a suitably strident backing.

Relampago is a new meteor class ship, launched from Cartegena in October 2010 and carrying out protection duties against pirates off Somalia and more lately based in Las Palmas. The current crew of 51 are packed into a 93 metre long and 14 metre wide hull under Captain Alfredo Saco Diaz. The guns are always a big attraction, leading the way was a 76 mm canon backed up with two 25 mm auto mountings, and two 12.7 mm machine guns. Many of the crew were on shore leave but our guide took us down through the narrow corridors of the ship and up onto the bridge. I suppose I’m a bit of a ship spotter as I always check out the port and have a big file of photos of the vessels that have passed through Tenerife.


Back at the ferry terminal a stream of well healed cruise ship passengers shuttled in and out of the city centre, the pre Carnaval activities must have impressed them. As well as the giant stage in Plaza de La Candelaria there was another whopper near the port in Avenida Anaga and they were doing sound checks ahead of a reggae evening. As always Santa Cruz had delivered more than I had expected.

 

Tuning Into Tenerife Tracks By Jeep And By Foot

How can I stay still when Tenerife keeps changing and there are so many ways to explore. As always I am intending to do even more mooching around in 2015, this week it was a short walking route, Casas de Altavista above Arona town and last week I swept around the island on a Tamaran Jeep Safari, both brought their own rewards.


The jeep tour was for a Tenerife Tourism blog and a chance to visit some old favourite spots, the first stop at the mirador of La Centinela was another nudge to dig out the walking shoes. The view over Arona municipality and across to San Miguel took my gaze over a pleasant stroll that starts just under the view point, I will pop back to refresh that route.


Vilaflor was the next stop off, I have done several of the walks around there so didn’t feel too guilty at enjoying the comfort of my hosts Tamaran. The weather has been a little patchy for the start of another year but it was bright and sunny all the way up the east of the island and in Teide National Park where natures sculpted rocks were stunning against a sharp blue sky. Heading back south down the western trail it was cloudier and cooler but that couldn’t detract from the sheer pleasure of dipping into Masca village – there’s another walk I need to repeat soon.

Prompted by a new walking guide from Arona Ayuntamiento (council) a short circular walk to Casas de Altavista seemed a good idea. It started from the Plaza del Cristo but unlike the more well known choices it turned left and took me past the football ground before rising up an old dirt track. The recent clouds had parted and some sun filtered through, the water gulleys were gurgling gently and the paragliders were swirling around the peak of Roque del Conde. Even the constant crack of hunters gunfire faded as I strode higher into the cool, fresh air with insects busily exploring the blooms and bushes.

Reaching the top of the old path as it joined a more modern tarmac road, I took a sandwich break and surveyed the scene, a further old trade path went on to link with Vilaflor and a few of the old barns and houses of the walk’s name showed a mix of renovations, some opting for traditional character and other choosing modern luxury. The downward route was along a tarmac road, there was little traffic and the bird song was hardly interrupted by modern transport and the almond blossom was in fine form. Part way down were two small rural hotels, what a great setting for a base to explore the less commercial side of the island.


Barely two hours into the walk I could see familiar roof tops and the tower of the Arona church, well it was only 3.5 kms but it was a useful kick start for longer challenges. The tight, steep final stretch of the road brought me into Arona town on the other side by the old Los Lavadores where clothes were washed at the natural source. The A.T Arona Café Restaurant tucked away just before the bus stop back to Los Cristianos refreshed my thirst and hunger and the sun popped out again as I ate in their little garden. I will pass this way again, Roque del Conde is overdue a repeat visit, a bigger challenge and one to look forward to.

Arona Town, Where Nature Is In The Driving Seat

Hermano Pedro didn’t blink a stoney eyelid as his Arona town hall forecourt slowly began filling up with fired up rally cars. The church of San Antonio Abad remained majestic and unmoved as marshals cordoned off the Plaza del Cristo de La Salud. It takes more than the advent of the Subida Arona to La Escalona uphill race to ruffle this proud old town that is the spoke at the centre of the municipality’s administrative wheel.


I have used it many times in the past as a gateway to the fantastic walks that reach high up into the surrounding hills but took a little time this visit to wander around and breathe in the history. The 25 minute bus trip up from Los Cristianos is always a pleasure as the roads wind their way through La Camella and La Sabinita. The views out over the coast of Arona were a little hazy in the low oppressive cloud but their beauty shone through. I walked down the hill a little to a track overlooking thee barranco where the sound of cool gurgling water piped was the only noise. Back up near the bridge over the busy TF 51 I loitered a while in the Plaza Don Antonio Correa Rodriguez, an island of greenery with a volcano like fountain in the centre, surprisingly restful so near to the rushing traffic on the main road to Vilaflor.


Arona is a small town but tightly packed with a nice blend of the old and more recent housing, there’s hardly any employment there apart from the Ayuntamiento (council) and a few shops so it tends to empty out in the working day. Following another track out to the well signposted walking trails I could see the challenging side view of Roque del Conde, an old friend of mine along with Ifonche and both well overdue another hike. Another detour took me up to the old wash house of Los Lavaderos, now obsolete as concrete encased pipes feed the mountain water to more modern collecting points.


Back in the church square and the feeder streets the cars were assembling for checking, a day ahead of the two day event. All shapes and sizes were ready to release their inner tiger, this Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 of Garcia and Duran looked sleek and a born winner but sport loves an underdog. Like the annual fiestas, the race is something that catches the imagination of all Arona folk, young and old, many were stealing admiring glances at the machines as the bars revved up for a good weekend of takings.


I headed back down to the bus stop with time to cast an eye over the rather stark and modern Plaza La Paz opposite. It looks like a modern leisure area but gives a big tip of its hat to the origins as a replacement for the towns original cemetery. The large archway hints back at the old entrance and the shallow levels are marked out to represent the lay out of the 1840 site. The current layout was opened in 2011 long after the old cemetery relocated just down the hill to Montaña Frias, a small settlement clinging to a prominent hill. I passed that on my return bus as I made plans to return soon for some hill walking exercise.