Boats, Beaches, And A Beating Heart In Radazul

From the top of the TF1 motorway to the depths of the sea, Radazul nestled in a blanket of wispy clouds that framed the diverse lower neighbour of the Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz. After years of whizzing by as the TITSA bus eats up the last 15 minutes of the hours travel from north to south, it was time to see what the often overlooked area had to offer. Off the 111 bus from Los Cristianos, I eased down the deep sloping road and was struck by the modern circular design of the OAP centre (people of the third age is a much better locally used title) and came face to face with some colourful murals with youthful themes. As the road gave way to the first view point, I was rewarded with the sight of a patchwork of beaches sharing the coast with marinas. A thin ribbon of cloud showed no urgency to upset the balance and tranquility.

The main paved paths down from the start did hint at a testing walk back up later but the wo storey CC Radazul shopping centre gave me a good excuse to check out views from inside. I was an easy and willing target for the Arte Sano cafe with its home made cakes to acompany my coffee. The adjoing arts and crafts shop was the paying point for my refreshment. They scored another direct hit as I spotted two books about the history of CD Tenerife team – my usual reason for heading up the motorway. Pressing on with my downward walk to beach level, the unusual designs for the apartment blocks showed that a lot of thought had gone into building the urban heart.

A choice had to be taken at sea level, the small Playa La Nea beach headed up towards Santa Cruz with a 2010 Fernando Mena sculpture El Ojo del Calamar holding my attention before turning  south along the coast past the dog park and on to the begining of the marinas. Looking up, motorway level looked a steep climb away but the beach walkway had plenty more to offer. I had a faint memory of reading some years ago that Radazul was proud to add a Pisces 6 deep diving vessel, the yellow bubble looked to be still getting plenty of dives for scientific research, dive tourism, and film and production work. The sun and fresh air was working it´s own charms a little further along at an informal, cafe near the shingle beach.

I always like to see signs of community involvement on my days out, Radazul had many from another dive school backing coastal clean ups, to a book swap point just a salty breeze away from the sea. Radazul, part of the El Rosario municipality, is well worth diving into.






Salt And Seasonal Relish For Corpus Christi

Concrete canvases have been converted into spectacular flower carpets all over Tenerife for the Corpus Christi celebrations. The daddy of them all is in La Orotava in the north of the island, where it all started in 1647. The vast courtyard outside the Ayuntamiento building (town hall) is buzzing each year as sand, salt, and volcanic soil are added to the mix, which spreads out into the tight old streets. The big procession is on 6th June this year and must be almost heart breaking as a swarm of devotees walk the route around town as the patterns are slowly eroded.


Similar art outbreaks showed the their own pride and dedication. Santa Cruz left shoppers spellbound as school children and scouts laboured over their own versions spreading out from the Iglesia (church) de la Concepcion and across the main shopping street of Calle Castillo. Passing on the skills is very important to keep history alive, the young workers were surrounded by endless supplies of materials, including enough salt to flavour a banquet.

Back in the south, a lone carpet greeted Sunday morning church goers in Los Cristianos, but many smaller outposts around the island had produced their own versions large and small.

Passing Of The Baton Amid A Blaze Of Glory

It was a strange but magnificent day for Ethyan Gonzalez. The 21 year old striker wasn´t able to make the short hop to Lanzarote to see his CD Tenerife B team mates clinch their promotion, as he was wanted for first team duty. Roll on 81 minutes into the seniors  home tie with Racing Ferol, and the striker was summoned from the bench by coach Garitano (in the stand serving a touchline ban). As the game ticked down to a scoreless draw, Ethyan pounced on the ball and tied the Racing defence in knots before slipping the ball to Teto to score. What a symbolic act, Teto himself is another youth product. And as the game drifted into injury time, Bodiger hit his first goal in Tenerife colours. No it wasn´t a dream, just a well crafted victory for the 13,000 crowd. Ethyan was swamped by his B team squad at the final whistle as they received the ovation of the crowd.

Racing were poor for a side trying to secure a promotion play of spot, and it was Tenerife that had a spring in their step. Loic Williams, another home grown talent, was comfortable in defence and was always keen to overlap to help with raids on the visitors goal. Home goalie Soriano had little to do, most of the action was at the other end of the pitch, the upbeat mood of the stadium encouraged a more flowing performance but Racing seemed content to sit deep and soak up any pressure.

It would be nice if Tenerife could complete their remaining four games with positive results and hint at what could have been. In the summer there will be big decisions to take for the club, especially on the position of the coach. At least the supporters can dream of several B team players joining the seniors, and a realistic run at promotion next term.

Ethyan Leads The CD Tenerife B Promotion Charge

Flowing play, confidence on the ball, and always full of options,  CD Tenerife B team underlined their credentials with a 3-0 home win over Tamaraceite at the Geneto training complex near Tenerife North airport. Celebrations for promotion to Spain´s 4th tier will have to wait a few more days as rival sides also won on May Day morning.

It´s been a fabulous season for the largely under 23 squad, many have risen through the age levels together and there is an understanding bordering on telepathy in the squad. Under coach Mazinho and captain Felix Alonso they have only lost two matches all term, even when losing players to taste first team action. Ethyan is the creme of the crop. The 21 year made a meteoric rise through the youth system, with goals galore but a couple of annoying injuries stalled his progress.

Tamaraceite from neighbouring island, Gran Canaria, rode their luck a little early on before Ethyan burst into the box after the half hour and beat the goalie. Cacho on the left was causing problems and curled a shot just over the bar. Into the second half, the away goalie took a knock and looked uncertain when coming to claim the ball, it was like a guilt edged invitacion to Ethyan. Spotting an opening the marksman took his seasons tally to 14 goals.


Tenerife made several changes to give other players a chance to shine. Dawda, another player to have tasted a few minutes with the seniors, responded quickly to lash in a half volley for a 3-0 lead. The depth and quality of the home squad ensured that their visitors were not allowed any chances to spoil the clean sheet. Celebrations were on ice until the following Sunday at Union Sur Yaiza (Lanzarote). The biggest legacy of this season will hopefully be an increased prescence of locally developed talent to propel the club forward.


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.