Fortunate Isle by Ronald Mackay

Wrestling an octopus, dynamiting bedrock, and grading and packing acres of bananas ready for market. Sounds like back breaking, hard work, but to 18 year old Ronald Mackay it was all part of his introduction, integration, and education to the rare and beautiful culture of Buenavista del Norte in the north west corner of Tenerife.

Fortunate Isle is a name that is often used to describe the climate, setting, and rural contentment of Tenerife but to Ronald it came to represent the open hearts, practical minds, and communal spirit of his unexpected hosts for a life changing year. It wasn’t a planned stop off, originally the Canary Islands were to be a stepping stone to South America for an adventurous young man from Dundee. A series of random circumstances landed Ronald in the heart of a family eeking out a living via a small farm cum guest house.

On the face of it, that might sound like a dour, uninspiring basis for A Memoir Of Tenerife, but Ronald Mackay manages to convey his awe, admiration, and comfort as he is accepted into the community. With settled digs, tasty and creative meals from the bounty of the island, and a welcoming niche in the banana growing industry that fuelled Tenerife’s economy in those early 60’s days, Ronald had a sturdy base that allowed his enquiring mind and feet to wander and explore. The mountains of Teno offered plenty of adventures, and he also gained a healthy respect for the wild seas that buffeted the craggy coast.

The book is a journey of discovery and a coming of age, lessons learnt from first hand experience, and described in detail from a sharp eye and an open mind. Learning Spanish along the way, Ronald slowly opened the door further day by day on his new world. The affection for his new life shines through in the books pages as his horizons expand to the peak of Mount Teide. Uplifting, informative, and infectious, Fortunate Isle proves the old adage that travel does broaden the mind. You can get a paperback or electronic copy via Amazon, at bookshops, or contact the author at https://www.facebook.com/ronald.mackay.395

 

Young Pup Alex Shows His Pedigree

When Alex Mula asked his girlfriend to postpone their wedding for the slim hope of a promotion play off extension to his CD Tenerife season, he was probably in the dog house for a few days. Two quality goals in a 3-1 home win over Real Oviedo backed his confidence and smoothed the romantic path.

The 21 year player, on loan from Malaga, would normally get star billing for his display but it was another pleasing team effort that made it three straight victories. The play offs are still a tall order but regardless of the destination, the journey is enchanting the fans, 14,600 people turned up for the Friday night game. Let´s not forget the little matter of more absentees through injury, including Juan Villar who was on a hot scoring streak. Bryan Acosta took on the main supply role for top scorer Longo, with Suso, Luis Milla, and Alberto giving steady support.

It was the Tenerife defence that shone in the early exchanges, Camille´s return to the left back slot added stability, and Luis Perez was outstanding at right back. Former Tenerife player Aaron tried to deceive Dani Hernandez with a low free kick to the near post but the keeper was all over it. Mossa had his eyes on the home goal, twice Perez robbed him of the ball with ease. Just 18 minutes into the game a long ball from Carlos Ruiz was chested under control by a leaping Longo who turned to dispatch the ball into the net in one flowing movement.

Acosta was making his prescence felt, a quick break was cut out by Herrero in the Oviedo goal. A high tempo and work rate has lifted Tenerife´s performances to a new level. Turning defence into attack is a feature of the rejuvinated team, Carlos Ruiz, an inspiration at 34 years old, outjumped Oviedo players and prompted several good forward raids. The second goal was another cracker, Longo got bundled off a high ball that dropped loose, Alex Mula pounced on it and had the vision and skill to launch a long range rocket past the goalie.

The second half opened with Oviedo trying to up their game, they managed to hit the post before Tenerife took charge again. Acosta should have got the third goal but took the ball wide and blasted it into the side netting. Longo and Acosta were building a nice understanding, the Italian won the ball off Verdes and set up Honduran Acosta who shot wide again. Acosta turned provider with a gentle pass for Alberto, he got his boot too far undr the ball and blasted it over the bar. Oviedo are trying to hold onto a play off place and caught Tenerife out with a Saul breakaway that finished with a glancing header by Forlin into the home goal.

Tenerife responded positively with more attacking play, Aitor Sanz, a sub for Suso, played a more adventurous role than usual, and with Alex turning on the speed on the left, the chances kept coming. After 72 minutes another Acosta break tore Oviedo open, a square ball to Alex took out the defence, and the youngster buried the ball in the net. There was a brief danger as Oviedo found a way through but a strong kick away from Dani cleared the threat. It was good to see Juan Carlos Real get a five minute run out as Alex departed to loud applause. The sub hasn´t had a look in for a few weeks but had a half chance blocked after good work from Longo.

The win didn´t bring a big jump up the table, still 12th, but Tenerife reduced the points gap on the top six to just four points. The only negatives from the win were bookings for Ruiz and Alberto that mean they are suspended for Sundays game at Numancia. Tenerife hopes of getting extra dates in the play offs are alive and kicking, as for Alex Mula, he has a new special date of 2nd July for his wedding.

This report was originally published in Canarian Weekly , you can read all my sports coverage in the free newspaper. I will try to add the reports to this blog from here on, they will be just over a week after the games, and a few days after the paper hits the streets. For more CDT info, check out www.armadasur.com

 

 

 

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.

 

Westgate Oxford, White Rabbit Or White Elephant

Half yearly trips back to my Oxford roots have for the last three years featured curiously peering into the 440 million pound Westgate shopping centre rebuild. The old building was decidedly shabby and run down so this trip I got to see the opened and nearly finished article. Standing on the roof terrace looking down into the three layers of 100 shops and 25 cafes and restaurants I was getting mixed messages.

Wind tunnel is the biggest criticism I had read and heard about and on this arctic chilled January day I could feel their point. Ok I know I have been spoiled by all my years in Tenerife but I thought comfort was the big consideration for modern shoppers. The building layout reminded me of prison wing landings but this chocolate box collection had some nice thoughtful touches. Little scattered seating areas around coffee and snack stalls were nice and informal, and I liked the references and quotes from Lewis Carroll, alias Oxford scholar Charles Dodgson, who wrote Alice In Wonderland. As a true Oxonian I would have liked a few nods to “town” heritage such as William Morris, rather than just “gown” references.

The five screen Curzon cinema was a work in progress but promises to offer more relaxed viewing habits than the many other screens in and around Oxford. Social, is a collection of taste experiences from around the world, such as noodles, nachos, and designer burgers, all in a self contained dome. The Junkyard Crazy Golf looked tempting with dance music and pulsating lights as players pick their way around wrecked cars and other obstacles. Maybe at this point I should drop some store names, Hugo Boss, Mint Velvet, Moss Bros, Primark, and Ted Baker, There are also health and beauty shops. The two bus companies have stops just outside the centre and frequent Park and Ride links but the roads into the city centre are still a nightmare.

The crowning glory is the Roof Terrace with views of the spires and hills of Oxford, the tourists will love it in the summer as they can sit a little bit worryingly near the edge of the roof. The restaurants and cafes are all very up market and expensive, even the churros and chocolate by the plastic grass. I met a friend for afternoon coffee at The Alchemist, a nice relaxed setting although the multi coloured vapours coming off the cocktail mixing at the bar made me yearn for a real ale. Drinks are on the house in the Roof Terrace but only in an altitude way. The posh watering holes are open to 1 am Friday and Saturday and 12.30 other days.

 

I was told the opening days entertainment in the main square was spectacular, if they can have regular promotions and events, that will draw people back. The centre has no doors, I walked through a couple of nights, security have their work cut out, and I wondered how the ghosts are coping with the changes. I will have another look on my next trip over, but as I fancied a proper beer I adjourned to The Castle opposite, newly refurbished by Hook Norton and brimming with real ale.

 

 

Saddle Up Here Come The Three Kings

It´s not every day that you see three kings riding camels, magical characters that have stepped out of the pages of story books, and dancers with more moves than any Saturday night reality show. But 5th January is not just every day, it´s 5th January, Reyes Eve, the day before Spanish christmas celebrations and towns and villages across Tenerife were pulling out all the stops.

After a sunny but blustery day, Los Cristianos was a little chilled down by the sea front, some camels were even thinking of wearing human skin coats. Crowds were bigger than ever this year as the anticipation built, I caught up with the floats at their gathering point at Las Vistas beach as final touches were added and costumes were slipped into. The 8pm arrival of the three kings from a boat around by the old quayside was as always optomistic, so it was nearly an hour later that the kings joined the long procession as it began it´s journey up the port road.

Ancient and modern entwined as Carnaval influenced exotic dancers overlapped with cartoon favourites from classic stories and recent Disney movies. A giant book of fairy tales proceeded rows of bunk beds on wheels, full of children ready to dip into the realms of dreamy make believe. The kings were quite far back but were the must see attraction, their arrival was heralded with showers of sweets that were clutched at by a forest of eager young, and not so young hands. Back in the UK the sweets would prpbably be banned as dangerous missiles but thankfully they fly freely for Reyes.

The reason for this celebration is to mark the arrival of the three kings, Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltasar, at the Bethlehem stable armed with gifts for the baby Jesus. The procession ended up at the cultural centre where the outside was transformed into a stable scene looked over by the kings on their thrones. Pre wrapped presents were then pulled from large containers for those lucky children whose parents had handed theirs over earlier, the 6th January is the main day to receive gifts.

As the camels dispersed to return to their luxury hotels, well they can dream, a burst of fireworks lit up the skies to signal the start for the present hungry children about to approach the thrones. It was a glorious evening with magic in the air, bars and restaurants were enjoying the huge boost to their trade and I hope the organisers and participants in the procession will have rewarded themselves with suitable drinks. Creative juices will soon be flowing again as Carnaval season looms in February and March, the party never stops!

 

Future Stars Shine In La Liga Promises

Footballers come in all shapes and sizes, so write off the short, skinny, or clumsy at your peril. The under 12 players in the La Liga Promises tournament in Playa de Las Americas showed that a passion for football mixed with dedication and belief can create the next generation of star players. Over three days the 15 teams served up a glorious showcase of international starlets at the Antonio Dominguez stadium.

A half size pitch surrounded by extra seating, television gantries, and giant video screen was beamed out to TV audiences as seven a side teams battled it out, begining with 12 minutes each way games in the group stages. Big clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and Paris St German were expected to do well but there are always surprise teams and players. Jef Utd from Japan exploded onto the scene with their tiny captain hitting a goal of skill and control against Inter Milan. They couldn´t sustain that form and lost that match 2-1 and didn´t make the knock out stage but won lots of admirers. Roma player Cristian Totti, son of Italian legend Francisco, caught the eye, and Valencia twins Vicent (goalie) and Marc Abril (midfield) were looking to create their own family joy.

The quarter finals produced some tight games, Barcelona beat Juventus 1-0, Valencia beat Dortmund and Espanyol beat Real Madrid both by a solitary goal. The drama came after a 0-0 draw between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, it took a penalty shoot out to send Atletico through. At the semi final stage games increased to 20 minutes each way, Valencia saw off Espanyol by 1-0 and a thrilling 2-2 draw was settled on penalties as high scoring Barcelona put out Atletico Madrid.

The stage was set for the decider and thousands packed the stadium, CD Tenerife were first up to play Inter Milan in the Consolation Final, a combination of the Bloko Del Valle drum troop, a large contingent of noisy CD Tenerife fans, and their mascot Elio Doro the elephant, created a real party mood. Two quick goals caught Tenerife cold but they fought hard to reduce the arrears to 2-1 before Milan netted a third before half time. The second half was shaded by Tenerife but they couldn´t finish off the many chances they made against their more physical opposition and they lost 3-1. As a CD Tenerife fan it gladdened my heart to see so the future of my club in such good hands.

Barcelona and Valencia had been full of goals during the tournament but it was a cagey, technical main final with plenty of neat passing but few clear chances. Andres squandered two first half openings for Valencia as he skied his shots high over the bar. That was to come back to haunt them at the start of the second half, Amadou broke on the left and crossed to Hernandez who claimed the goal for Barcelona. There was no way back for Valencia, Barcelona were stroking the ball around and Cristo was unlucky not to add to his five goals in previous games, he still got the top scorer and MVP awards for the tournament.

The Barcelona players almost skipped up the steps to collect their medals and the trophy, and then spilled back onto the pitch to celebrate with coach David Sanchez. Valencia´s Tony Lopez got the coach of the tournament award, it was little consolation but his staff and players were quick to  congratulate the winners.

No Comfort Or Joy In CD Tenerife´s Bleak Midwinter

Maybe the jugernaut seven game winning streak of Cadiz was stopped but CD Tenerife were drab and ordinary in their 1-1 home draw against Cadiz. Coach Pep Marti owes a big present to Camille, Casadesus, and Juan Villar for saving his job with a last minute leveller in Santa Cruz.

Ideas were thin on the ground and players looked like they would rather be anywhere other than on the Heliodoro pitch. Changes were again forced on the coach, suspended Acosta and injured Carlos Ruiz meant recalls for Vitolo in midfield and Alberto in the centre of defence. Cadiz oozed confidence, Barral was running free up front and Olivan threatened with a cross into the box that Alberto had to blast clear. Casadesus tested Cifuentes from the edge of the box with a dipping shot that the keeper turned aside.

Carlos Abad had held his place in goal but looked shakey as he missed two chances to cut out the visitors 9th minute opening goal, Alberto dived ahead of him to head the ball partly clear but it fell to Garrido who lobbed it over the back peddaling Carlos. Salvi nearly doubled the lead after shrugging off Camille but he put his shot in the side netting. Cadiz were solid at the back, passed well, and had willing runners to spread the play. Tenerife were nervous and couldn´t string passes together, Suso, Aitor, and Vitolo were a midfield mess and Longo was left looking for service.

The second half opened with Tenerife still looking second best, Malbasic came on for Tayron and was slow and clumsy. Cadiz were happy to just pick off stray passes and pin down the home full backs Camille and Camara to cut out any wide creative play. Longo beat two markers and tried to squeeze a shot in at the post but the angle was too tight. Casadesus took the ball wide but ran out of pitch before popping a shot over the bar from a Malbasic pass. These were brief respites, home players were not moving or calling for each other and too often a back pass was prefered to a more adventurous forward invite.

Juan Carlos Real replaced Vitolo and Juan Villar was a welcome addition for Suso, the injury prone striker has a more direct approach and likes to take players on. Malbasic on the left was a waste of space, he beat two defenders and then tripped over his own feet, and with clear space he ran into defender Carpio. Carlos showed better form with a diving save from Cruz after Garcia had cut the ball back from the byline. It was frustrating to watch for the 10,864 crowd, unforced schoolboy errors littered the home play and inspiration was badly needed.

Camille was the unlikely spark, pushing forward he won the ball and picked out a great cross into the goal mouth, Csadesus flicked it on, and Juan Villar headed it in by the far post. With three minutes of added time there was suddenly some urgency but Cadiz held firm. Former Tenerife coach Alvaro Cervera was clearky annoyed to let the win slip away and Pep Marti looked like a freshly liberated turkey. 2018 begins with two away games, a transfer window, and hopefully a fully fit squad so anything is possible, but big changes are needed.

Walk For Life Offers Hope And Friendship

Approaching the Siam Mall starting point, a mother and young daughter skipped along dressed in pink, I thought wouldn´t it be wonderful if the next generation didn´t have the spectre of breast cancer to worry about. That´s what drives Tenerife´s Walk For Life (carrera por la vida) now in its 13th year it has provided so much support and continues to grow.

Little annual tweaks to the route and presentation keep it fresh, the forecourt of Siam Mall was packed with people slipping into pink costumes and make up as rousing music and speeches from the stage pumped up the walkers. The skies looked a little threatening but they wouldn´t and didn´t dare to spoil the sunshine spilling out from 4, 500 eager entrants. With founder Brigitte Gypen leading from the front, the pink wave surged across the motorway bridge and down past the Magma Centre.

For many the walk was personal, breast cancer touches so many families and the will to prevent, treat, and defeat this disease grows stronger by the year. There were noticeably more men that ever on the walk, and as always the spread of nationalities and communities was as wide as the smiles of reunited friends from previous walks. It´s become a major event for Adeje and Arona, holiday makers streamed off the beaches to applaud and cheer as the walkers spread out into Avenida Las Americas. The drum bands were loud and strident and there was plenty of dancing as the clouds parted and the sun poured through.

You never know who you will find yourself next to on the walk, pink angels, decorated dogs, and towers of balloons all jostled for space. At times it was difficult to see where the procession started and ended, the distance was 4 kms but noone was counting their steps, the sheer enthusiasm swept everyone along. Walkers had loaded up with sponsors in the lead up to the day and spectators were generous in coming forward with change for the bucket collectors. As always I felt great pride as my fellow CD Tenerife fans in the Armada Sur added to their raffle and pink shirt funds with heavily laden buckets for a total of 1,673.07 euros.

There was a nice refreshing breeze as the finishing straight at Compostela Beach came closer, more music wafted out from the stage and balloons raced up to the sky as they were released from their netting. The organisation was spot on, bananas, biscuits, and energy drinks greeted the finishers and a whirl of dancing filled the street. Frantic counting and totting up revealed a new record of just over 20,000 euros raised, a magnificent effort by all. The good work goes on, The Pink Room in Adeje is one of the tangible results of the Walk For Life, somewhere to offer support, advice, and hope. Once again the Walk For Life was an uplifting, inspiring, and a pleasure to be involved in, Massive thanks to all involved – roll on next year.

Carry On Camping At Montaña Roja

Compact, cosy, and a nice place for campers to rest their weary heads. Two years after Camping Montaña Roja in El Medano closed, it´s back with a new eco friendly look, plenty of extras, and best of all close up views of the red mountain that rises above the sea just behind Tenerife South airport.

I popped in on the official open day, Granadilla Ayuntamiento (council) have invested a million euros and installed a management team to offer much needed camping space near La Tejita beach and the wind and kite surf magnets of El Medano. My initial impression was how neat and well laid out the site is, the wooden cabins are the stars and they are blended in among the trees with a neautral colour scheme. The full menu of the site offers tent pitching spaces, and parking for auto caravans, cars, and motor bikes.

An admin office, mini market, and the Tejita bar restaurant cater for all the basic needs, there´s also bike hire, and a kite school next door. The new La Tejita Street Market shopping centre is five minutes walk away and has a large Dialprix supermarket plus several enticing tapas bars. My curiosity couldn´t wait any longer, I had to get a look inside a cabin, two were open for viewing, They are all the same size, 46 currently with plans to increse to 90, and are split into two rooms, one with a settee that folds out to a double bed, and another room with two snug fitting beds. The main room has a small fridge (electric and water are extra) and there are plug points but for Wi Fi you need to go to the bar area.

That may sound quite restrictive but these are just intended as a base for visitors, not a home, each cabin does have a small wooden decking porch, and at the end of each row there are larger communal sun bathing areas. I spoke to an American lady who was reading in a hammock outisde her small individual tent and she was quite happy to have found such a nice site so near to the airport. The pitch in a shaded spot was costing 9.90 euros a night but unlike taking a chance in the great wide yonder, it was legal, the camp site is fenced in, visitors get a key for the gates onto the beach, and there is security on site. The toilet and shower block had 3 shower cubicles in the gents and ladies sides, or there´s also a large outdoor shower wall outside the block.

Planes using Tenerife South airport might disturb the tranquility a little, plane spotters would be in heaven. The little touches impressed me, wide paths with low set lights link the cabins and it´s well marked with a letter and number grid, there´s plenty of bins and recycling points, fire extinguishers are at key points, and there´s even a massage and therapy tent. The setting is a real plus point, much of the land nearby is protected and the walk up to the top of Montaña Roja is always a pleasure. Many species of birds pass through El Medano, it was good to see plenty of small finches flitting around the site – they seem to have made themselves comfortable. There´s more lowdown on the website.