Archive for the 'Life' Category
La Orotava In Full Bloom For Corpus Christi

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


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

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


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


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

Feeling On Colour In Las Galletas

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

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

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

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

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

It´s Only Natural To Enjoy Imoque Fiesta

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

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


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

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


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

Casting The Net Wide In Santa Cruz

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


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

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


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

Tucking In At Gastro Canarias

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


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


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


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


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


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

And The Sun Shone Down On Santa Cruz

White faced and with a sparkling blue top hat, the clown mimed pulling himself across the zebra crossing on an imaginery rope near the Meridiano shopping centre. Santa Cruz Carnaval was warming up nicely for the main events but this clown from the south of Tenerife had a full tick list to cram in before CD Tenerife v Elche.

The auditorium was my first stop after arriving on the 111 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. Reports of the mosaic pattern peeling off the roof amid a row with the architect reminded me to give it a full 360 degree nosey. Apart from a bit of light scuffing low down it looked as majestic as ever, the cafe terrace facing the sea was overflowing and people were enjoying a sun kissed rest on the sea wall with the rock stars spread out below. Happy with architectural matters, I cut back through the bus station into the city centre and felt a sigh of pride at the Chicharro fish statue in its sea of new flowers.


The port always lures me down, as always there was a nice assortment of sea faring craft from the inter island ferries to the huge MCS Magnifica cruise liner. Further in, the marina I found the Rubicon 3 taking a rest from clipper racing. Originating from Plymouth, I bet it bobbed up and down a bit when the Green Army made life hard for Liverpool in the FA Cup. Tall mast ships were moored up further round, they are recruiting crew at this time of year for their adventure voyages, the Eye Of The Wind looked particularly fine, and together they partially masked the rather ugly oil platforms that call in for repairs.


Back in the busy capital city, shoppers were packing the streets as I passed through onto another favourite haunt, Parque Garcia Sanabria, it was ablaze with colour, well tended, and chomping at the bit for spring to come along. Whilst admiring the flowers I could hear a loud croaking sound which drew me to the big pond area. The murky green soup was full of tadpoles but many had already started turning into noisy frogs, it just needed Rupert Bear to complete the scene. I wouldn´t rule out seeing Rupert or any other cartoon character over Carnaval time, I can feel a few more walk abouts coming on.

Doing Time In Oxford

Being hung was the least of your worries when Oxford Castle and prison were in their heyday. Anne Green survived it in 1752 despite helpfull spectators pulling on her body, pumelling her ribs, and putting her in a coffin. Mary Blandy asked to be hung low down to stop people looking up her skirts, she saved her blushes but still died and now haunts the castle mound. She must be a bit shocked at the huge buidling project fot the new Westgate shopping centre nearby, on my latest Oxford visit the sky was still dominated by giant cranes but the centre is taking shape and should be open by the end of 2017.

Every time I pop back to my roots, I have at least one Tommy The Tourist trip, the castle visit was shoe horned in on the day of my return flight to Tenerife so I paid my 10.75 for the first tour at 10 am when the frost was stinging cold. Empress Matilda, the grandmother of Richard The Lionheart was our character guide for the five of us as we entered the base of St George´s Tower with its nine foot thick stone walls. The Norman conquest of 1066 led to the building of the castle with the earth from the moat becoming the mound. Our informative guide added her story of escaping down to the frozen river and beyond on skates made from animal bones. The cold base of the saxon St Georges Tower made me shiver, and so did the tales of prisoners 10 hour shifts turning a heavy capston wheel. That time span was to become a recurring theme for all punishments and work details once the prison was established.

The 101 steps of the tower were a good wake up call for my hangover and the sight of the chimney of the defunct Morrels Brewery brought a tear to my eye. Back down in the foundations we were stirred by talk of ghosts. A tight passage led us to the prison section and D Wing, a small remaining part of the prison, it closed in 1996 and a large part is now an expensive shopping area and a posh hotel that will cost you an arm and a leg. Talking of arms and legs, Matilda told us of mutilations and robbed body parts at public hangings as we crowded into a cell. It was all delivered with a gallows sense of humour and plenty of relish at the most gruesome parts. The pillary, tall version of the stocks, sounded fun, locked in and dreaming of being pelted with rotten fruit as excrement (don´t ask whose) and rats were hurled at you. Oh and for good measure your ears could be nailed to the back board to keep your chin up.

What heinous crimes could get you banged up? Anything from stealing a back of sugar to having a saucy tongue when talking about the Queen could win you a free holiday. Later prison governors were quite happy for inmates to be used for medical research, and if your thinking this is ancient history, the last Oxford hanging was in 1962. There was an opportunity to pose for mug shots against the inmates wall, these were quickly converted into grainy and aged looking photos complete with your crime and sentence. Talk of treadmills, cranks, and the origin of the officers nickname screw” made me glad I couldn´t be punished for the childhood nicking of sweets from Woolworths Pick and Mix.

 

The guided tour took just over an hour, once outside I took advantage of the pass for the castle mound (included in the price) treading carefully along the upward spiralling semi thawed track. At the mounds top it was weird to look across to the old Co Op offices I started work in when just a young pup. Public hangings from the grassy peak were the big sporting event of the times with people turning up drunk and lusting for blood and possibly a few bits of bone or fingers as souvenirs. These days it would be endlessly repeated on Sky. Back at the bottom I popped into the Castle Yard Cafe for a warming coffee, they do food as well – as a nice cheeky touch they serve porridge.

 

Green Silver Pink And Blue On My Path To Christmas

Easily confused at the best of times, my head has been spinning like that girl in The Exorcist as christmas has crept up on me. There´s been some good stuff going on, keeping me busy for Canarian Weekly so I reckon I owe you all a catch up before the madness of sprouts, beer, and desperate loitering under the mistletoe takes over.

Wandering is never far from my plans so it was good to do a double whammy, the green Titsa bus whisked me up to San Miguel and Granadilla, mainly to check out the christmas decorations but there’s always a few surprises along the way. Checking down the back streets of San Miguel I could hear a band tuning up and was hopeful of a live show, especially when the guitar burst into the opening bars of Sweet Child Of Mine. It was coming from inside a school, not bad for a christmas concert, all we ever got was All Things Bright And Beautiful. The detour gave me the chance to admire the citizens statue put up to mark the towns 200 year celebrations in 1998. The christmas decorations were pretty good too but not as many as last year. The day was young so I hopped on the next bus up to Granadilla, another favourite of mine.

I thought it was a little chilly but a digital read out pegged it as 21 degrees. The buildings of Granadilla in the narrow streets always impress me with their slightly austere look but the giant murals at regular intervals add a splash of history and culture. The church decorated in a minimalist way but a council crew were loading some imitation wrapped presents up high in the branches of the trees as I dribbled my churros with chocolate.

December means the Walk For Life, I’ve witnessed it evolve and grow into one of the best events of the year. Pink is the colour for the fight against breast cancer and I was swept away by the sheer enthusiasm and upbeat spirit as always. The route was shorter this year, from Compostela Beach shopping centre to the Magma Centre in Playa de Las Americas, better for some of the older walkers on another scorching morning. It’s like a glorious assault on the senses with so much music, drumming, costumes, and wonderful people who have lost loved ones but celebrate their lives in the best way, by helping to raise awareness and funds to spare others the same pain. Here’s a link to my collection of photos from the morning.

With the earlier finish I was able to dash across to see the second half of CD Marino v Union Puerto. I must have been a curse, 0-0 when I started prowling the touchline but within minutes of the restart they had let in a soft goal and ended up losing 0-2 and had a penalty saved.. The festive break always leaves me hungry for the return of football so it inspires new hope in me, CD Tenerife had lost 1-0 at Levante the day before so i´m hoping for better from both teams in 2017. Hopefully I will be a bit more regular with my blog posts but stick with it I have plenty of plans among my resolutions.

Logos Hope Makes A Book Mark On The World

A floating library might seem an odd setting for a stage performance of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe but the Logos Hope is an extraordinary ship not bound by frontiers, languages, or conventions. The converted car ferry was on a 10 day stopover in Santa Cruz, and I got to meet just a few of the 400 crew members drawn from 60 countries.

Even among a bumper crop of luxury cruise ships, the fourth ship of the GBA (good books for all) christian charity organisation made a big impression and had a steady stream of visitors treading up the gangplanks. I made my way through the visitors section with video histories in Spanish and English playing on the screens, and strolled through the ranks of 5,000 books for sale. There were a lot of religiously inspired books, well they are a missionary project, but also lots of modern thrillers, travel tales, and childrens books. Sales of these books go towards funding the ships voyages, volunteer crew members also pay for their passage by raising sponsorship, there are only 10 paid full time crew.

Captain Chris Hughes, originally from Bristol,gave me the full tour, after 40 years experience with tankers he retired and has served on two of the earlier GBA fleet since 2006, he´s also an experienced north sea pilot. There was an unmistakable pride in his vessel and crew and it was noticeable that the crew we met on the tour were very relaxed, no salutes and even the uniform is functional rather than  formal. They all seemed young to me (well who doesn´t) but the skipper pointed out that they even have an 80 year old on the crew.” They all have to apply to join us and need to have a basic fitness level but they undergo on shore training for health and safety before even stepping on the ship.” There are other basic boxes to tick. “We are an evangelical movement so they have to be committed christians, we segregate male and female crew, the two or three bunk sleeping quarters are single sex, there´s no alcohol, smoking, or drugs allowed on board and the ships working language is English. Once on board they get allocated specific duty groups like books, galley, cleaning, engine, and deck.”

Whilst admiring the view up on the bridge, the captain told me more about the 40 year old ship. “It used to be a ferry between the Faroe Islands and Denmark, so when it was bought and converted in Germany in 2009, new stabiliser sections were added and a new upper deck. There are 4 engines, two propellers with variable pitch for better manouvering, and we normally travel at a fuel saving 10 knots although it can go at 15 knots.”

 

The bridge seemed very uncluttered and minimalistic but it was deceptive, the computerised navigation system zoomed in on their next course to Guyana picking out every fine contour and detail of the sea with a light touch of the captain´s hand. Continuing the tour downward, the 400 seater theatre was being prepared for the show, big screens would translate it into several languages. Passing the galley, the smell of freshly cooked bread tweaked my nose, and we had a peak inside the hospital the dentists office, and at the engine room from a safe distance.

A chart on the wall of another area showed details of one of their main missions, supplying water purification systems, they also supply eye glasses and clothes, and do some teaching, painting, and anything they can do to help at their ports of call. Since 1970 the organisation has visited 160 countries. Captain Chris stressed that they have to be invited, they don´t just impose on destinations, they have even visited some muslim countries. It was time for me to swap the gentle lapping of the ship for dry land as the crew prepared for another long spell at sea. With so much to do I´m sure the time must fly by but if the crew ever get bored they can always read a book, they have another 800,000 in a warehouse to back up the on board library.

A Galaxy Of Sport And Science In Tenerife

Where’s my red spandex suit? I felt a bit like The Flash this week trying to run ahead of everything that was happening, but that’s how I like things. Sleepy little Playa San Juan was having an out of body experience when I called by on Saturday morning as the Tenerife International Water Ski Racing tournament was getting underway. The small harbour adjoining the gently shelving beach had a bizarre mix of huge throbbing speed boats, small training yachts, and paint peeling old fishing boats.

Could the mix get anymore bizarre? It sure could, police whistles shrieked, sirens wailed, and a string of rally cars came bombing along the coast road and up through the tight main road. The Subida de Isora contestants were just limbering up for the afternoons uphill charges, a nice little bonus for me in the quest to fill my allotted pages of the Canarian Weekly. I was impressed that people in the sea front cafes hardly missed a slurp of their coffees as the action unfolded around them.

The lure of CD Tenerife at home to Rayo Vallecano meant I could only sample these splendid contests before catching a magic carpet, well Titsa bus to be precise, back to Los Cristianos and a link up with the Armada Sur. My blog match report has slipped down behind life’s sofa with so much going on but needless to say I was well chuffed with the 3-2 win and awarded myself the appropriate reward measured out in Dorada beer. Sunday brought more football, this time a noon kick off at CD Marino in a local derby with Las Zocas. Prowling the touchline with my box brownie (that’s an ancient camera, not a new bondage doll) I was sent almost dizzy by the 5-1 home win.

My big midweek mission was a long anticipated coach trip to tour the Tenerife Observatory perched just below the peak of Mount Teide. Volcano Teide made it possible for me, the observatory report is in the latest Canarian Weekly but as I hadn’t made the journey to the Teide national park for several years, it was good to remind myself how amazing the 2,000 metre plus world is. Rising through the pine forests above Chio, the first stop was at Llano de Ucanca, an old dried lake bed surrounded by towering rocks sculpted by nature. Speaking as someone who can just about turn on his computer without blowing up the national grid, I marveled at the audio guide downloads on the information boards. On a more rural note, one of the walking trails was chained off due to wild sheep, I think on that rough terrain they wear little hiking booties.

There was another short stop at the Teleferico cable car station which takes visitors to viewing areas nearer the peak of Teide. The queues were long but the views make it worthwhile, it’s definitely something I need to do again as it’s been about ten years since my last ride up. Just a week before Teide was glistening with a dusting  of snow but it had soon melted  away, on this day it was clear, and the air was lightly chilled as the sun kept the temperature at a comfortable level. Come the turn of the year when inevitably some heavier snow settles I intend to make the pilgrimage on one of the specially buses to catch people playing in the snow, making snowmen and sledging through the strange white visitor. For now it was onto the observatory and an enlightening tour of the telescopes and science projects. It was nice to think that the beach would be waiting for me on my return offering warmth