Seeing The Wood, The Trees, And Fragrant Foliage in El Sauzal

Oh the joys of wash day. Parque Las Lavanderas in El Sauzal has been pumping out 50 cubic metres of spring water an hour through the beautiful cascade of pools and greenery since it was formally welcomed into the caring arms of the municipality in 1987. Tenerife outdoor washing areas have always been a social gathering point and are conserved with pride.

I´m often waylaid by the latest artisitc masterpiece on the steep steps of the town hall. This time, sculptor  Luis Stinga had exceled himself with his tribute to this domestic chore that was transformed into a sicial occaision in the 8,000 square metre park, perched 200 metres above the coast line. Cafeteria Deleite nestles in the middle of the feast of nature, winter (september to may) opening is from 10 am to 7 pm. Most visitors can´t resist a wander around the split level pathways to spot dragon flies, fish, and lizards.

There´s plenty of pride in the local traditions of El Sauzal, posters invited entry to a photographic exhibition featuring the manzana reineta (Queen Apple), an import from France many decades ago that has won people over with its destinctive bitter sweet taste. I was also just a few days short of a classical instrument recital in a vineyard.

Like most remote rural areas, El Sauzal is constantly fighting to keep their population steady and thriving. A practical scheme backed by the Ayuntamiento (council) and the Gobierno (Canary Islands government) offers a 50% maximum grant of up to 10,000 euros to Spanish residents of El Sauzal, to rebuild properties that are in danger of being left to ruin. There are some impressive new residencies between the coast and the motorway linking Puerto de la Cruz and the capital Santa Cruz. Older buildings will now have an even chance of providing affordable homes as the municipality looks to the future.

With its modern outlook on old favourites, El Sauzal is always a good place to visit, I´m already looking forward to the festive season to see what adorns the town hall steps this year.

Tacoronte Has Much To Celebrate

Just entering their fifth week of the Fiestas of Santisimo Cristo, a relaxed mood drifted through the back streets and plazas of Tacoronte. just 40 minutes on the Titsa bus from Tenerife capital city Santa Cruz. It would be hard to guess that Tenerife North airport was just over the horizon, the hills shield it from the former bus station plaza viewing point, which allowed nature to roll out below.

My focus for this latest visit was to see more of Santa Catalina church – and it impressed from all angles. Sebastian Machado, the founder of the municipality stood proud of the former hermitage that he had built in 1497. Curiously, different official notices identified the Portuguese founder as “a settler” and also “conqueror”. There´s no such difference of opinion about the founding of the main town of Tacoronte, founded in 1911 as noted on a sculpture on the top road.

Heading downward to the busy commercial streets, the theatre offered a range of live events, and the Plaza del Cristo further on is a big focal point for celebrations, and has plenty of references to the towns famous artist Oscar Dominguez who went on to wow the Spanish courts. Me eyes were drawn to the classic wooden balcony that frames La Casona within easy distance of the church.

Strikingly agricultural with its proud wine making tradition, Tacoronte boats a long stretch of black sand coast. El Pris and Mesa del Mar are both popular cooling off points and accessed by steep corkscrew roads. That pleasure would have to wait another day as my strides had already taken me further along to the neighbouring municipality of El Sauzal. There´s something for everyone along this north coast of Tenerife.


Young Seed Teto Inspires Healthy Growth For CD Tenerife

Even the club groundsman couldn´t cover as much pitch as 21 year old Teto, the new hero of the CD Tenerife fans. Making his first senior start, the local born forward drew on 10 years nurturing through the youth ranks to score a decisive goal to seal a 3-1 home win over Malaga CF.

Who cares if Malaga were a shambles even before a sending off left them a man short for 30 minutes. Tenerife were trying to break free from an injury crisis and learned a lot about the hidden depths of the squad. Midfielder Waldo Rubio showed his creativity from the left of midfield, Mellot was as solid as ever, defending behind him, and Gallego was the sharp and strong target man in front of goal. The powerful striker´s aim was true when Waldo beat two defenders and slipped the ball back to Gallego for a 17th minute lead.

It could have ben a false dawn, Tenerife have looked vulnerable when leading this season. Gallar levelled just before the break with a free shot after defender Sipcic´s soft clearing header fell at the visitors feet. Malaga didn´t have the quality to build on their good fortune, their desparate hacking of home players saw Bustinaza sent off for two bookings. Gallego wasn´t going to refuse a generous 76th minute home penalty to edge back in front.

It just needed someone to slam the door on Malaga. Sub Appiah had replaced Waldo on the left and his pace and a cross put the spotlight on Teto, who bulged the back of the net. Coach Ramis replaced Teto with a minute still on the clock, allowing the rising star to bask in the adulation of 10,177 fans chanting his name. The next step to climbing the table is  for CD Tenerife to win away. Teto will have to fight to keep his place as players begin to return from injury, but he has the talent and temperment to earn more ovations.


From Infirm To In Form Thanks To CD Tenerife Window Wonders

Mixing the completion of ten transfer window arrivals with an injury crisis, CD Tenerife had to show character, attitude, and aggression to clinch a 1-0 home win over Real Racing Club de Santander.

The 54th minute decider showed off those qualities as Sipcic, a late centre back replacement for Jose Leon powered a long ball upfield for Waldo to speed down the right and deliver a tight low cross for Borja Garces to slam past the keeper. Borja (a loanee from Atletico Madrid) had missed several first half chances and an advertising board felt the force of his frustrated boot as he celebrated.

Racing, rock bottom after three games, looked poor bordering on pathetic, but it was stalemate at the break as the unfamiliar home line up got to know each other. Gallego had netted after 38 minutes but a VAR offside call wiped it out. Alexandre Corredera played through the pain barrier in midfield and as Tenerife knitted together, the coach added rising youth forward Teto and the last of the loan signings Arvin Appiah for Mo Dauda and Waldo after 65 minutes.

The young gun Teto relished another run out, and Appiah looked strong and full of skills down the right. The Nottingham Forest developed England under 20 player was eager to please after parent club Almeria signed him for 8.8 million euros and then starved him of first team action. Five minutes of added time tested the nerves of the 11,804 Santa Cruz crowd, especially when German floored Teto with a wild crunching tackle.

Early season doubts were swept aside as in favour of hope and expectancy. Two more local lads, Ibra and David got late minutes and can look forward to more chances. There´s a lot of potential in the squad, given a hasty clear up of the injuries, a bright path beckons.



Los Cristianos Ready For Virgen Del Carmen Celebrations

After three years starved of the Arona Carnaval, Virgen del Carmen is making a bigger show than ever of the celebration of the patrona of the local fishing community. Some new elements have been added and some tweaks to ensure a bigger splash than ever.

The main action takes place on the big stage outside the cultural centre,including food stalls and a mini fair, but the fishermens port will be ablaze with colour as they decorate their boats and take the statue of the virgen on a trip out to sea.

Thurs 1 September – FRom 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm the childrens festival takes place at the Plaza del Pescadora (by the statue of the fisherwoman). Then from 10 pm to midnight, Edwin Rivera will give a free concert at the big stage.

Fri 2 September – From 8 pm to 1 am, the White Party is a new addition to the agenda and takes place outside the Casa del Mar – the old town side of the tunnel between the beaches. Wear white to join in the fun and music. Meanwhile from 8.30 pm to 10.30 there is a concert from Las Cantadores at the main stage, followed by the Big Dance from 11 pm to 4 am.

Sat 3 September – From10 am to 1 pm, there is a display of classic and vintage cars near the old beach. From Noon to 8 pm, the Sombrero Fiesta takes centre stage at the Plaza La Alpispa – just off the old beach by the white house. Music, and crazy hat designs worn with pride.

Sun 4 September – From 10 am to 2 pm there´s more fun for the children with games and activities at the old beach. From 7 pm the statue of the Virgen will be taken out of the church and paraded down to the fishermens port with musical support from the municipal band of Arona. The Virgen is the spiritual inspiration and patrona of the local community, a small concrete shrine at the old beach is a scale model of a life size statue that is at the bottom of the bay so it can bless the fishing boats as they pass overhead.


From midnight to 1 am, firworks will rip through the sky, this is often bigger than the New Year display and lights up the old beach. Music and dancing will continue into the early hours.



Mo, Jose, And Teto Are Hot Stuff In CD Tenerife Home Debuts

Jose Angel Jurado cracked his 37th minute shot into the CD Lugo net after Samuel Shasoua had teased a pass through a mob of defenders. A quality move that typified the build up play of CD Tenerife as they dominated the first half. It was a debut strike for the well travelled new arrival from Alcorcon but the home side should have added further goals before Alberto tied the game after 65 minutes.

Other summer signings were making their mark on the game, Mo Dauda from Ghana via Anderlecht followed up his rocket goal in the 2-1 opening day defeat at Eibar, with more glorious skills. Starting on the right, Mo switched to the left flank and mixed pacey runs with hard graft to track back to help the defence. Lugo goalie Oscar did well to prevent Tenerife from pulling clear but the ref had the biggest influence with a bizarre red card for Alex Corredera after 59 minutes. Even though it was a Lugo player crashing into the static Alex, the ref sent the bewildered home midfielder off.

Alberto cashed in with a free kick leveller six minutes later. Tenerife tried to up the tempo and replaced Shashoua with Waldo, a seventh new arrival hot off the plane. It was back to even numbers when Alberto made a crude lunge to take the legs from under Mo. The perpetrator left the field with a red card while Mo limped off with support from the physios. A quick shuffle saw 20 year old local B team player Teto filling the void. Small in stature but full of running,  and hammering on the first team door, Teto couldn´t repeat his pre season friendly goal against Ibiza.

The ref had to add six minutes for his interventions as Lugo held on to the draw. The new players are all impressing, once they have gelled together this should be another promotion chasing season – a 11,491 first home crowd of the season showed the raised expectancy after last terms near miss. Fans will be relieved once the transfer window has closed on 2 September, hopefully with no key players being lured away.

West Coast Tenerife Steps Out In Style

Unfurled towels and delicious smells ensured a busy Los Guios beach in Los Gigantes. Just a few months after my last call, a subtle dispersal of large rocks freed up more room to sun worship, and a bigger tapas terrace for the Rincon del Puerto below the cliff views.

August was in full swing, boosted by the big holiday break all over Spain, and locally the celebrations of the Virgen del Candelaria, the patrona and inspiration of the Canary Islands. Walking back through Los Gigantes and up above Crab Island natural pool, I was able to enjoy the full raised coastal walkway as it wrapped around Puerto de Santiago. The sturdy path offered changing views of rock fingers reaching out into the waves, and many seating areas to take a moment to admire the craggy landscape.

Carrying on to Puerto de Santiago´s pocket beach and fishermans moorings, there was a muscle tester walk up to street level but the views got more impressive as the thirst grew. Playa de La Arena beckoned next but I bus hopped onward to Alcala. I was less than complimentary when the modern church arrived a few years ago, but the fiestas had added explosions of colour to break up the start edges. Down below, Plaza del Llano was gearing up for more live music nights, just a few days after its sea launched midnight firework display. New flowers on the wooden cross reminded the sea bathers about the importance of this time of year.

The west coast sea was lively but not as harsh as it sometimes can be, it can change in the blink of an eye. Safety is always an important consideration, the One Up Totem stood guard, each pack inflates as it hits the sea, and they can be reused. Playa San Juan, Callao Salvaje, and Playa Paraiso could have extended my wander but I will delve into their latest attractions on my next wander up west.


Sea Birds And Coastal Walkers Flock To Punta Del Hidalgo

Like the flip side of a valuable coin, I was looking out to the twin brother cliffs of Anaga and the distant rock spits of Almaciga – but this time from the La Laguna coast. Just 45 minutes on the 050 Titsa bus down through thriving towns like Tejina, and Tegueste, delivered me to the welcoming statues and a rough road to the Camino Punta del Hidalgo.

The rugged north coast of Tenerife has long drawn visitors up and over Santa Cruz and Las Teresitas beach. Here though the old crumbling houses and an abandoned car gave way to a gallery of murals but they couldn´t detract from the outstanding beauty on offer. The immaculate and colourful Hermita de San Juanito was further proof that I was on the right course. Rock pools made  a cool enticing mosaics as they stretched out to where the sea lapped gently.

Many people immersed themselves in the series of shallow pools as others scanned the landscape for sea birds. Migrating species pass this way and add to the natural mix of local sea life and plants. This was the first time I had seen bird watching shelters at key points along a coastal walk in Tenerife. They contained pictures and details of the most common species that might grace this area, and thin viewing slots meant the birds wouldn´t get twitchy at their starring role. It all looked fairly new, even the bins were clad in wood and looked like they were regularly emptied. A pride and respect for nature is shared by local inhabitants who have a close dependency with nature.

A private sea water swimming complex was only in partial use, but there was a public access large rock pool further along on the walk. The sea was sedate  on my visit but it can turn quickly off the north coast. A white guardian stood guard on an exposed turn to beam out a warning to passing shipping. The lighthouse was built in 1994 and can be seen up to 15 nautical miles away. This late comer has never had any keepers, all the lighthouses around Tenerife are automated these days. Technology also showed its hand in the form of a water cleansing station just off the main trail.

It´s not a long walk, 2.3 kms one way, around 45 minutes, but it is easily accessable and very interesting. Further along, housing faces onto the route and the Altagay apartment complex offers a cafe. The 050 bus stops just up from the beach at this point, just opposite an eye catching fish sculpture made from discarded waste by Diedel Klover.I retraced my steps back to the start to get another eye full of the cliffs. The birds were a little shy on this trip, winter months will bring more migrating friends. It was a lovely uplifting walk and a nice insight into life on the exposed north coast.



Towering Strides From Las Caletillas To Candelaria

Drop kicking a goal between the two towers of the Centro Termica power station must have run through greater minds than mine. Chugging up the TF1 motorway from the south of Tenerife towards the capital, Santa Cruz, brings a few scowls of disapproval on the Titsa bus.

Time is catching up with the 1967 built gas and diesel power turbines and plans are in place to remove one of the 76.5 metre chimneys that overshadow a thriving small community below. For me it has become a good starting point for an extended coastal stroll to Candelaria. Long delayed improvement works are now cranking into life. A large solarium was being extended and bordered with sturdy fortifications against the often lively sea. A small cafe bar and two life guards showed that the spot is used by locals, just above a small plaza full of charm, also awaited a makeover.

The four star Hotel Catalona Punta del Rey was busier than on my last walk by, a Rod Stewart disco soundtrack extolled the virtues of being sexy to a pool side exercise group. The main 1.8 million euro spend for Las Caletillas was approved in 2021, their main task will be to wipe out the eyesore debris of the old 3 star Tenerife Tour Hotel at the north end of the Playas Punta Larga beaches. The promenade board walks and lagoon style beach zones were partially protected from the wind, and a large stage awaited three free nightly rock concerts.

The heat scorched down as I reached the old marinas just ahead of the historic centre of Candelaria.The Ayuntamiento (council) building, impressed as always with its seven identical sculptures (representing the Canary Islands) along the high wall. Even the garage entrance had its own themed reference to local culture. As the busy shopping street opened out onto the Plaza de la Patrona, a three day Artesans Fair almost eclipsed the imposing frontage of the basilica church. Huge concrete blocks weighted down the giant marquee to keep the wind off the 49 stall holders showing off their traditional arts and crafts skills.

Meanwhile the waves were breaching the sea wall and soaking the statues of the Guanche tribal kings. Some visitors were blissfully unaware that three of the statues had to be re anchored last year after the pounding sea undermined them. Dancing in the sea spray for photos looked fun but part of me cringed as they laughed.

Candelaria lures the explorers in with coastal and hill walks in the more usual calmer weather days. They don´t leave the cyclists deflated or spinning their wheels. Bicibox repair points standing in Plaza Teror were like a Swiss army knife for peddlers, their range of free use attachments would put Halfords to shame. The Virgen of Candelaria reigns across the seven islands, the big day of homage is 15 August for 2022. The packed plaza will be further bulged by a 1,000 runners in a 7 am sprint down from La Granja in the hills, down through Las Caletillas to the heart of the celebrations. This part of the east coast is amazing at any time, drive, bus, walk, or cycle – just add it to your exploring itinery.



Airside – Check In For A Thrilling Read

Dashing across rain lashed runways, scurrying through underground service tunnels, and shot at in deserted lounges. Kevin Tyler´s life is under threat from all angles at a remote German airport in the new thriller Airside by James Swallow.

Call it a judgement on his years of under achievement, or punishment for grabbing a haul of hidden hot millions. Despite that, Airside readers will still want to root for this little nobody. James Swallow, an accomplished author and screen writer, combines the raw fear and rsourcefulness of Kevin as he tries to outwit thugs, murderers and torturers who want their mislaid money back. There´s noone to trust and even Kevin sneers at his own lousy life choices to date. As the airport slumbers, Kevin must wake up his desire to live and make his daughter proud of him.

Swallow keeps the pace frantic as he contines to raise and dash Kevin´s hopes. as a familiar travel setting threatens to become a final touchdown. I was left with nothing to declare except my admiration for this inventive and taut thriller.

Airside by James Swallow is a 2022 release from