Bah humbug but I still can’t resist the pre Christmas build up in Tenerife so with the lovely Karen on board my Titsa sleigh we set off for Santa Cruz and La Laguna. Where to start was the big question but the temporary ice rink in La Laguna was high on my list, unlike the Santa Cruz version last year this was more accessible with a viewing area inside and a couple of food and drink stalls. The skaters looked keen and it brought back fond memories of mini British ice rinks visited in my ice hockey watching days.
Outside in Plaza del Cristo the market was doing a good trade as we headed into the city centre via the back streets. Was that marching band music wafting in the air, turning a corner there was a long procession headed by the statue of the virgin, my memory finally cranked into action and I recalled that it was a holiday for the Day of the Immaculate Conception. We followed the parade up to the Iglesia de la Concepcion, due to the Christmas lights strung across the streets one man had the important job of lifting the decorations with a pole to avoid the virgin leaving havoc in her wake.
Catching the tram back to Santa Cruz a tour seemed a good idea, first stop Plaza Weyler and on to Parque Garcia Sanabria to view the delightful plants and flowers and to have a dizzy spin in the kids playground – what do you mean, it’s meant for children?
A quick stop at CC Parque Bulevar allowed me to introduce Karen to the Carnaval museum, once again the shopping centre was almost deserted – the whole of Santa Cruz seemed very quiet for a Saturday so close to Christmas. A port detour was next on the agenda, a couple of big cruise ships were moored on the far side including Albatross which will be popping into Los Cristianos in 2013. The gleaming, wealth oozing Attessa 1V caught my eye and cutting across the marina a Polish yacht Energa looked bright and sporty. An old friend Stavros S Niarchos loomed up ahead, part of the Tall Ships Trust it takes on volunteer crews for adventure voyages, we got an invite on board for a tour, very majestic and imposing. On the quayside the huge stage structure was taking shape for the Christmas night (25th) free classical concert with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra.
With evening coming in we headed back to Plaza de España where a small commotion was taking place, Popeye, Fidel Castro, and Michael Jackson were playing second fiddle to a noisy group of Carnaval murgas, the Zeta Zetas were celebrating their 10th birthday by the lake with a few fire crackers and some kazoo inspired musical backing. Their jolly mascot look familiar to me as last Sunday he popped up at the Heliodoro stadium for CD Tenerife’s home game, this time unlike myself he was not wearing a CDT shirt.
One of the main points of the northern pilgrimage was to see the Christmas lights but as we headed up Calle Castillo the lights suspended above us seemed reluctant to join the shop windows in lighting up the darkness. At least the Canarian parliament building was open with their belen (nativity scene) pulling in the punters, we filed past the lavish landscape and were suitably impressed. Back outside the decorations flickered into life spot on 6.30 pm, not bad but a bit square with just a bare hint of the festive season.
On our route back to the bus station we had to pass La Noria, a popular late night food and drink area and their star spangled display left us oohing with admiration. It was still noticeable at the bus station there was no wild shopping scrum down, our bus queue was short and the journey quick. Maybe people are leaving shopping until later this year, Reyes (Kings Day) January 6 is the main event so the momentum will build nearer the time but we enjoyed more than enough festive fun to fill any pillow or stocking.