Abades Perfects The Art Of Surprise

How do you trump the forlorn concrete shells of a leper colony that was sidelined by a cure ? Abades on Tenerife´s east coast always has other rare finds to enjoy, and lived up to its reputation on a cloudy day of short showers. The natural beach had attracted plenty of divers and snorkellers but our walking muscles were heading along the coast to Arico and the Punta de Abona lighthouse. Looking inland to the TF 1 motorway I got a better view of the new purple paint job on the power pipes that skirt the road. Just a simple idea but it must make it easier to trace any breaks or problems with drones, and a nice contrast to the white wind turbines.

A mini library made of recycled wood destracted me from the worn track as extreme cyclists hopped over the rocks leading down to the sea. Up ahead more creations made use of tiles, ropes, and toys. The artist behind these quirky additions spared some time to explain her philosophy of breathing new life into old discarded items. The natural erosion of some rock forms blended in with the more modern arrivals on the shore. Even the sea seemed to be joining in the challenge, large swirls of sea weed were swarming and mutating as they rode on the breaking waves.

Taking a lower path that skimmed the sea edge opened new views inland, the beach had always been popular on previous visits, but caution should be your guide as it can show the other side of its character at a moments notice. Punta de Abona had been suggested as a sight for a new hotel a few years ago, thankfully that plan hit the rocks, ensuring more sea bound views and a choice of tracks to head a little inland before sweeping back to the main Abades beach via the colony buildings. Despite security patrols, the lure of the old structures showed signs of new curiosity and new graffiti.

Back at the beach plaza of Abades, the few cafes there were proving popular as the sun made a stronger claim for control of the weather. From the motorway, Abades looks unchanging but there´s always something new to see. It´s a good place to enjoy nature at a relaxed and creative pace. A couple of days after this walk, the east coast of Tenerife from Candelaria down through Arico to Guimar was hit by sporadic 4 metre high waves, with some people being evacuated temporarily. A timely reminder of the delicate balance between the elements.


All Together For A CD Tenerife Win

It was all shared! No, not the game, that was a convincing 2-1 win for CD Tenerife over second placed Eibar. The under fire home coach, Garitano, was fully vindicated for his changes to a stuttering squad, and even the new bust of stadium founder Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez must have been bathed in a  glow of appreciation. A bumper 15,170 crowd completed the shared feeling of pride for a strong team performance.

Waldo burst down the left wing, exchanged a short pass and sliced just wide of the visitors goal before they could settle. Roberto Lopez had been longing for more starting roles and was lively from the first whistle. Just 11 minutes had passed when Roberto covered the same stretch of grass before curling his boot around the ball and plant it in the back of the net. The changed defensive line up with Sergio at left back, and a welcome return for Loic Williams, making himself at home in the centre of defence.

There was always going to be danger from free scoring Eiobar, Corpas putan effort past the home post before going one better with the leveller as half time approached. Soriano needed attention to his hand just after being flattened after the break, thankfully he was still on top of his game, gathering a high shot from Eibar after the restart. With 8 players a booking from a suspension, Garitano made some wise late changes ahead of the decisive goal. Teto has found scoring elusive foir Tenerife, he showed his determination though on 87 minutes by beating two defenders deep on the byline and slipping the ball through for Angel to smash the winner past Luca Zidane.

This was much bettter, the prized scalp of Eibar should boost confidence foir the final 8 games, Tenerife are pretty much clear of getting pulled into a relegation scrap, and can aim upwards to at least flirt with the possibility of sneaking into the promotion play offs.


Bowled Over By New Wave Of Swimming Fun In Santa Cruz

Free supervised sea swimming and sun bathing, just a short stroll from the heart of Santa Cruz. That´s the good news from the Charcos de Valleseco, part of the neglected old industrial port in the Tenerife capital. Wallowing between the cruise ship terminal and backed by the towering mountains of Anaga, three years of reconstruction has produced a user friendly bathing zone, open daily from 7am to 11 pm.


Reached by two concrete ramps from street level, the leisure zone offers fun and relaxation to all ages, and caters for those with limited mobility. But this makeover has gone far beyond the functional, a sprouting of shade shelters will be very welcome on those scorching days, and ample showers include a fixed seat on the end of each row to support the less mobile of sea lovers. There´s a large spread of toilets and a first aid room, plus facilities for the attendant life guards.

Among the neat extras are shallow ramps into the sea, with water running over narrow metal grids that remove stones and other possible hazards. Work is on going as trees and flowers burst forth along the width of the whole zone, and a large cafeteria which will soon be meeting those snack needs. Bike racks mean people can easily get to the pools but there are strict rules to prevent the zone from suffering the curse of scooters.

Centre stage goes to the sea. Two large pontoons are perfect entry points to the waves down steel ladders or by diving in. On my visit different generations were enjoying the wide open spaces and the protected walkways. There´s a reminder that this is a maritime preservation area, respect for nature is encouraged. The huge man made beach of Las Teresitas is a popular draw to the north but takes around 30 minutes to reach by bus, or a hopeful search for parking spots, and oftens packs out in high summer. The new kid on the block has a more relaxed, natural feel.

Valleseco is relying on good up keep and respect for the facilities. A police car dipped down from the road above and the life guards will be able to keep the mood light around the bathing areas. Full marks to Santa Cruz council for enhancing the capital.


Florida Pascua Reflects The Easter Story

Not even the fresh wind blowing up from the west coast of Tenerife could  diminish the beauty of the flower and plant sculptures gathered in Guia de Isora for the annual Florida Pascua in Tenerife.

Over 20 artistic creations told the story of the cruzifiction in key points around the back streets over four days. Artists from across Spain, and locally from the association of flower carpet makers in La Orotava, poured out their view of this special time of year.

The church of Nuestra Sñora de la Luz (Our Lady of the Light) and the light green Ayuntamiento (council) were among the established back drops, adding to a stunning street gallery of emotions.

Musical and poetic performances added to the mix, and a good selection of cafes and bars provided points to relax and soak in the history of this more restful part of Tenerife. But the sculptures were the stars, and work was continuing to some of the bigger works even as visitors wafted through the streets.

It´s a unique contribution to the easter story, and a monumnet to the dedication of the artists who put in countless hours to make this event an annual favourite.

Arona Carnaval Breezes Into Los Cristianos

Feathers and sequins fluttered in the coastal wind as the coso parade headed down and along the main road up into Los Cristianos and the Carnaval show ground. It was time to wallow in the adulation of 25,000 people and to marvel at the home made costumes. Drum beats filled the air, dance moves added plenty of flair as last minute touches were added to the parade.

Sheila Rodriguez Alonso beamed brightly in the glow of here crowning as the main Carnaval queen, in a dazzling light blue explosion of energy called Frenesi (frenzy).

Most vantage points had been snapped up early in the day, with many claiming ringside seats outside bars along the route. The 80´s was the theme this year but it was more of a rough guide, plenty of recurring characters weaved between the slow cruising stretch of celebration. It´s like the tip of a colourful iceberg, many hours of preparation go into making these artistic dreams come true.

An array of honours had been bestowed in the preceeding week, with costumes in age groups from children to the more mature long term devotees of Carnaval. Finishing touches were added as the procession crawled up the hill, despite the wind cutting across from the ocean.

Celebrations, music, and fireworks carried on late into the night – but even at the height of the party, a few minds would be turning to even more ambitious plans for next year.

Cruz Control Steers CD Tenerife On Winning Course

Not scoring enough goals has threatened to drag CD Tenerife into a relegation scrap. Luismi Cruz, getting a rare start, showed that he can be the man to rescue the season with a late charge for a promotion play off spot. His tenacious play caused problems for visiting Mirandes and created chances for his team mates. Surging past three red shirted defenders, Cruz was brought down and Gallego was able to convert the penalty for a 22nd minute lead. Just seven minutes later there was even more flair to Cruz´s second strike, drawing the defence towards him in the box, he calmly slammed the ball into the back of the net.

That should have been the foundation of a big victory against a poor Mirandes team, but Tenerife didn´t hammer home their advantage as Carlos Martin scored from a penalty after his foot was clipped by a loose home tackle. Arriving late in the box, Cruz had a shot at stretching the lead, only to see a defender deflect the ball wide. Soriano was as always alert at the other end to deny two chances from Mirandes. Waldo made a welcome return to action late in the game, replacing Rahmani, both players worked hard down the wing, but once again Teto was briought on in the dying minutes of the game and made little impact.

It was a mixed day all round. During the pre match announcements, coach Garitano´s name was greeted with boos, he still has a battle to win the hearts of the fans. One of the complaints from the faithful is the coach´s constant tinkering, he´s gone 29 games without repeating a starting line up. The 22 year old Cruz is on loan but Tenerife have  an option to buy. At the other end, outstanding goalie Soriano is coming to the end of his contract and has been linked to a La Liga berth.  Another turn out of 13,762 was pleasing, and amid all the portents of doom, the team have put together a nice little run of seven points from the last three games, fuelling faint hopes of sneaking in the promotion play offs.

Brief Relief For CD Tenerife

Grinding and laboured, the only attractive part of this 1-0 home victory for CD Tenerife was the ceremonial kick off by the Carnaval Queen. It brought some much needed breathing space to the under fire home players and the coach but some of the choices made by Garitano left seeds of doubt simmering for the 13th placed Santa Cruz side.

Jose Leon was the hero with a superb 10th minute header from a Mellot deep dipping cross, the most creative move of the game. Eldense arrived with a reputation for picking up points away from home, that and the desire to hang on for a first victory in 70 days  seemed never far from Tenerifes minds. Aitor Sanz reigned in his more adventurous tackles and played the  tight game of a born leader. Just a minute after the goal, Eldense spurned a chance to level as they watched the ball flash across the goal mouth as desperate boots failed to add the smallest of touches.

Leon tried to double his return by racing in to a tempting cross, the visiting keeper was alert and pushed the ball to safety. Rahmani was caught between power and placement when a loose bvall came his way, so the first half closed with the lead intact. Three away defenders scrambled an early second half raid out of the direction of an oncoming home player as Tenerife lacked potent choices in front of goal. Garitano rang the changes and squeezed the play down, many of the 12,733 crowd were hoping to see one or both of the two 21 year old strikers, promoted to the first team bench from the B team, but they never got a look in. That made the decision to bring on Teto even more baffling, as much as the supporters want to see the home grown forward suceed, he hasn´t got the size or tricks to unlock a steady rearguard. The three points were very welcome but Tenerife will face much tougher challenges in the run down to the end of season.

Going Nuts For The Tenerife Almond Blossom

Bursting with colour, and complimented with tasty tapas, the annual almendras en flor (almonds in flower) walk from Santiago del Teide to Arguayo, is weaving its spell again and showing that the Santa Cruz Carnaval in Tenerife´s capital city is not the only must see attraction of the spring.

The official programme covers 29 January to 2 March but there´s a big overlapping season of buds, new growth, and bough straining almonds waiting to be harvested. On my latest pilgramage, the mid week procession of visitors allowed plenty of free space for those ooh and aah moments at the turn of each track and the cresting of each hill. This year 19 bars and restaurants in the main street of Santiago del Teide were serving almond influenced snacks and meals, I just had time for a tasty almond tart with my coffee (hot chocolate is another drink option) at Bar Soto, opposite the tourist information office, and the striking white church.

Lower down at the southern entrance to Santiago del Teide, long term traffic works had left the Fuente de La Viren short walk up to a small religious shrine, isolated, but the blossom created a respectful arch over the old walkway. Pink and white banners fluttered along the main street of the town, and there was a healthy selection of walkers congregating at various food and drink outlets. The relative chill of the morning complemented the clear blue sky and the joy of dipping into natures treasure trove of colours and textures.

The sheer scale of the blossom is a wonder to behold, at their peak, they look enchanting but the young buds are always jostling for their upcoming time on the centre stage. On this visit there was a good balance of the fully grown and those waiting in the wings. Organised groups and tours are available during the main stretch of the season, see elcardon.com , or you can go alone, just take the usual precautions of good clothing and stout shoes. At the full stretch, it´s a good four hours from start to finish. The top end of the walk in Arguayo includes a tricky, steep, walk down over small shifting granules of rock, and the 461 Titsa bus back down to Santiago del Teide is not always reliable – cue a steep main road walk upwards before dipping down in a tight spiral to the main road into Santiago del Teide. There are a couple of bars in Arguayo and they can whistle up a taxi for you – otherwise it´s an extra chunk of walking, back down to the south entrance of Santiago.


In between the two extremes of the walk, there are many easier choices to be made, you can retrace your steps back to the church square, take a signed detour to Chinyero, the site of the 1909 earhquake, or crunch your way along the spine of the now solid lava flow. Don´t forget that up in Santiago del Teide it´s usually a lot cooler than the coastal regions, so come prepared. Even when the blossom has melted away, it´s a good walk in any season – allow a good four hours for a leisurely pace and snack stops.


Taucho And La Quinta Swirl High Above Adeje

Fine mist, whispy low clouds, and paths that stretch out like tentacles. There was plenty to admire as paragliders peppered the sky on their way down to the south coast of Adeje in Tenerife.

Choices abounded in this part of the island as many small groups of walkers followed the thin water pipes that nestled beside the chunky stone pathways. From the south coast of Tenerife via an upward road beyond Los Menores widened the horizons for small groups of walkers as we started our exploring from the church in La Quinta.

There were plenty of other small groups up ahead following the thin water pipes that nestled beside chunky stone pathways. It´s possible to do a mammoth nine hour walk up from an entrance next to the pay to walk Barranco del Invierno in Adeje town, circling high in the hills before veering back down to Ifonche and the old town again. Having recently done a big stomp up the lower reaches, we headed through the well worn route that headed in the direction of the launch spots for the flyers.

A gentle breeze enhanced the feel of solitude and tradition as lush green ferns and dominant pines spread to the horizon. The early buds of almond blossom hinted at a vast white and pink explosion to come in February. It was quite testing on the feet but there were interesting diversions like the bee keeping hives, and some bold advice for walkers not to answer their most basic calls out in the wild.

As the path reared upward, sheer drops revealed more of the coast and an even bigger gathering of gliders. It was a busy intersection as walkers of many nationalities sussed out their chosen headings. Sadly a few days after this walk, it was reported that an elderly glider pilot crashed and had to be rescued by the emergency services and flown to hospital.

The landscape was ever changing as old farm houses and dwellings gave way to more modern updates, crops changed with the seasons, and weather. Many paths converged close to each other at certain points but there were plenty of signs and worn paths to steer people in their chosen direction. There were a few sprinklings of rain on this outing, a reminder of how quickly conditions can change. It´s definately an area that calls you back to try some of the other trails that spin off from the main route.


Christmas Keeps Giving In Icod And Garachico

It´s not over till the fat wallet slims. Maybe a cynic might say that, but in Tenerife the Spanish traditions of Reyes and the arrival of the camel mounted three kings on 5 January, followed by the big family celebrations of 6 January add a spectacular flourish.

Heading north to Icod I soaked up the impressive decorations, with reindeer vying with the ancient  drago tree for attention.. The tight back street was decorated with a modern and traditional mix. In previous years they have had festive songs floating on the air, there was a happy buzz this year from the shoppers, and who also felt their their mood lifted by the trimmed balconies of the Ayuntamiento (council) building. Luis Stinga excelled himself with a new wooden sculpture, this one dedicated including all people in the comunity events – and fittingly a local school had played a big part in getting the message across.

Onward to Garachico on the coast below. Garachico is always magnificent so this time I stretched my bus journey to one stop up and outwards from the rock pool swimming area. On a high turn mirador the figure of El Emmigrante is always looking to leap into the horizon. It symbolizes the large number of people who left the Canaries for South America, looking for new lives. A string of suit cases pour out around the figure, and a hole through his body mirrors the pull of his heart at leaving home soil.

There´s a splendid cafe bar on the mirador but many were oblivious to the nativity scene below inside a cave. Each year it is peopled with all the biblical characters gathering around the crib. A kayak rower passed close by for a close up look and the frothy waves around on this afternoon became becalmed near to the festive scene. Further inland the Plaza de La Libertad was full of visitors being wowed by the festive characters popping up at all points.

They really pack the visual treats in at Garachico, well they have a lot of natural attractions to compete with. It was hard to imagine the combined frantic activity around the islands as camels preened themselves for their starring roles as the bringers of presents. Tenerife adds a modern take on the old ways, many municipalities now have gluten free sweets for the royals to shower on the crowds at Reyes processions. It´s a special time of year.