Reaping A Harvest Of History At El Tanque Eco Museum

Teno rural park, the pools, caves, and peaks of Erjos, and the last big volcanic eruption site at Chinyero. They are all linked by popular walking trails, but dig deeper into the soil of this north western corner of Tenerife and a common bond is revealed. A trip to the El Tanque Eco Museo will show how a special bond between nature and people was forged by hard work and respect.

Nestling between a pine forest and and view to the distant ocean, a huddle of renovated 17th century farm buildings with courtyards, threshing circles, and even spme small caves to shelter goats, have plenty of tales to tell. An ancient plough stands proud on the roundabout by the entrance ro the museum, just above the Los Llanos turning where Santiago del Teide blends into Erjos. A short walk up from the Titsa bus stop by Bar Fleyta or a drive to the ample car parking of the museum is all that´s needed.

Inside the FREE museum, old rural tools are complimented by interactive display screens in English, Spanish, and Germman, with GR codes ready to give phone access to personal testimonies from people who have worked the volcanic enriched soil. There´s even solar panels to save energy – very ancient meets modern.

There were no such short cuts in the past, seasons were long and hard with ground being broken, fertilised and seeded before a range of cereals and potatoes could be grown. Threshing was also a long process of around six weeks with cereal crops dried in the sun and then raked over by a threshing board pulled by oxen or horses. Whole families would take part, it was a big social event with songs, stories, and meals shared as they worked. Every year a threshing fair still takes place in the last week of July to preserve and celebrate yhose traditions.

Large picnic areas now encourage visitors to linger on their visit. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 1st June to 30 September from 11 am to 6 pm, and from 1st October to 31st May – 10.30 am to 5.30 pm. The museum can arrange group visits and tours, just contact them via the website. Whether your rural knowledge is a seedling or fully grown, the museum will make you feel closer to nature.

New Boys Bring Goal Joys For CD Tenerife

Confidence oozed through CD Tenerife as transfer window signings flicked the on switch for a convincing 2-0 home win over Segunda Division leaders Ponferradina.

Elady, and Enric Gallego were big and bustling up front sewing seeds of doubt in the visitors defence and providing clear targets for their team mates to pick out. Elady was denied twice in early play by the Ponferradina goalie and when the away side made it to the hosts end, goalie Soriano, another summer arrival,was in solid form to seize the ball. It wasn´t just about the new faces, Tenerife held on to last seasons gems despite envious eyes from other clubs, it made for an encouraging blend of the defensive discipline installed last season by coach Ramis, and a bold new belief.

Sam Shashoua laid off some tempting balls for the front two and full back Alex Muñoz used the left flank as his own personal playground. Veteran centre back Carlos Ruiz had a cheeky claim for a penalty when bundled over but the ref didn´t oblige. Ponferrasina faded fast and offered little, half time was reached with no goals but that looked sure to be temporary as Tenerife were calling the tune.

The arrival of deadline day recruit Mollejo, a 20 year old loanee from Atletico Madrid, added to the attacking vibe. Lively and hungry for the ball, the new boy showed creativity and within five minutes Elady had grabbed the lead, pouncing on a poor clearance before placing it wide of the goalies reach. Coach Ramis kept up the tempo by adding local striker Ethyan for Enric who departed to generous applause from the 6,940 Covid limited crowd. Masked fans were not deterred by the vlistering heat and belted out the much missed terrace anthems.

The best was yet to come. Defender Alex Muñoz doesn´t score many goals but they are usually spectacular. This time he latched onto a through ball, waltzed through three defenders and unleashed a fierce shot into the Ponferradina net. The clincher was watched from the visitors bench by Naranjo, subbed for being as ineffective as he was during two seasons with Tenerife. There is a lot more to come from the resurgent Tenerife squad, they played with a dash of style and plenty of heart. Tougher challenges lie ahead but the squad has lots of positional options and competiton for places in the starting eleven.

 

Shining A Light On Malpais De La Rasca

Candy striped and 167 feet tall, the most modern of two lighthouses can be seen from Los Cristianos beach in the south of Tenerife. Answering its call with two friends, we uncovered the harsh but beautiful coastal history of lava fields, salt production, and moody seas. Malpais de la Rasca is the protected cultural heritage site but we started out at the fishing village of Las Galletas. Freak waves had punched a gaping hole in the beach promenade, a reminder that this stretch of twinkling blue sea could pack a punch anytime it chose to. The modern marina soon faded as small coves and crunching shingle led us through tall spikey cardones plants. Rock pools abounded as a meandering path climbed and dipped. Shade arrived alongside huge plantations of bananas that looked enough to feed an army of monkeys.

A notice and the rearing tower of the 1978 built lighthouse announced the entrance to the malpais (badlands). Dried pools harked back to the days when sea salt was harvested from the waves that buffeted the coast. There were other welcome uses for these small puddles of water. Tabaiba plants sprout in clusters around the lava field, the toxic armaga variety sprinkled in a pool would induce a drunk like state making the delirious fush easy to grab.

The squat buildings near the sea beacon are from the 1898 original lighthouse, built from stone quarried from Guaza mountain were for the lighthouse keepers family, and the lamp room which needed lighting by hand from acetylene gas. There was no such burden  on our visit, just a few young sun bathers on the nearby outcrops of rock, oblivious to the daily dramas that used to play out as ships were kept well away from the rocks.

Pushing on into the lava fields, we followed an uneven surface a few yards back from the sea. It must have been a slow and uncomfortable procession for herders, cattle, and traders. Some of the old stone huts (goros) still remain at least in part, they would have provided welcome relief from unexpected turns in the weather and any accidents on slippy surfaces. In recent years people have built illegal shacks on the protected zone, a few weeks before our visit a big clean up removed 1,335 kilos of rubbish. that doesn´t mean it´s lifeless out there, some 40 species of reptile call the area home.

Guaza mountain and the modern developments of Palm Mar steered us past the old protective fort and onto even roads to a small promenade. Familiar landmarks over in Los Cristianos looked enticingly close but its a choice of a steep up and over the mountain or our chosen route up the main street of Palm Mar to the busy bus road back into Los Cristianos. The mountain is worthy of a dedicated walk in its own right with a track up the spine to the radio mast park at the peak. A few bars in Palm Mar ensured we cot some cooling liquids after a hot 2.5 hour stroll. Rasca is a taste of tradition and a connection to tougher times.

CD Tenerife´s Welcome Home Cake Just Lacks A Little Icing

Four points from their first two league games, and some quality new signings. CD Tenerife welcomed back the fans after 530 days of Covid exile, and it felt so good to be home. The 0-0 Santa Cruz draw with Sporting Gijon spotlighted the need for a proven scorer but 34 year old French Tunisian Yoann Touzghar is expected to join within days, he signed off with a goal for Troyes in France´s top division after his 16 goals last season fired them to promotion.

Just 5,059 fans witnessed the Tenerife return, a big drop from the Covid restricted 9,000 reduced capacity (the Heliodoro holds 23,000). Some 2000 fans didnt take up the new season tickets in time but lean financial times and concerns over the Covid restrictions on standing, smoking, compulsory masks, and distancing in green spot seats all made an impact. Reality was much kinder on this big step towards normality. There was a light touch to stewarding, Armada Sur fan club from the south brought their usual two coach´s to our pre match plaza and bars. Our turnstile wait was no longer than usual and despite the hot sun, everyone was in a cool mood.

Sporting bossed the first half, probing down the flanks with left back Ktavets trying to open things up before running into new home defender Mellot, one of the pre season success stories. Alexandre Corredera was another who shone in pre season games but couldn´t quite live up to his superb goal to clinch the 1-2 win at Fuenlabrada on opening day of the regular season. Recruited goalie Soriano kept the gloves to start and had another solid game. It wasn´t just about admiring the new guns, recently retired Suso Santana was honoured with a minutes ovation at the tenth minute mark. A well deserved tribute to the man who gave ten seasons of passion to Tenerife. The applause helped to loosen up the crowd a little and assure fans that they could cheer again for their favourites.

Tenerife grew in stature in the second half, Alexandre forced a low save from Diego Marino and Brit Sam Shashoua clipped the post after shaking off his markers. Coach Ramis was ready to shuffle the pack, adding Nono for Sergio Gonzalez in midfield and bringing on 19 year old local goal prospect Ethyan from Cruz Santa. The young striker has rattled in goals at youth and B team level, he worked hard and every senior minute he gets now will boost him as a player. Gijon dug in for the point after Tenerife surged forward fuelled by the return of passionate voices from the crowd. A draw was a fair result against a side that are expected to challenge for promotion. As for the match day experience, it was like slipping back into a comfortable routine. The bond between fans and the team was renewed in our Heliodoro home.

 

Dry Wetlands Green Tunnels And Black Caves In Erjos

Memories of summer camps as a very green “brussel sprout” resurfaced as sweet scented blooms emerged from  delicate bushes. Puerto del Erjos bus stop was just a few downward strides in my wake with Santiago del Teide, and Masca shielded by green ridges. The north west of Tenerife added parched trails and volcanic outcrops to daydreaming of my lost youth, and the heat was a much different setting from those rainy walks.

Bird song drew me to the pools in the wetland spread but on this August day they were distinctly dry. It was a start reminder of how quickly nature can change, in recent years wild fires had swept through the area but the balance had swung back and new growth sprouted at every turn. My aim this trip was to  head for the black caves on the lower trail to the coast of Los Silos. Heading across to the white church tower in the hamlet of Erjos, I ploughed down a bumpy track between a cluster of old houses. A few months before, I had taken the high road up and over Monte de Aqua above the rising tree line. This was more of a hidden pleasure as the track narrowed and sunlight speckled the ground through a curtain of leaves.

It was short of markers and outside sound was filtered to a low level, I was grateful to a narrow water pipe that stretched ahead of me with reassurance that I was making progress. It gave me time though to appreciate the delicate shades of the leaves thrusting their heads up towards the light in the few spaces that appeared. The gaps became bigger and I got clear views of the cave openings that seemed to suggest facial features.

Not mnay other walkers desturbed my reflection, although there always seems to be at least one super fit athlete running against the flow. A family group from the Czech Republic stopped for a chat at they started at the coastal end – Tenerife´s walking pedigree reaches far beyond our shores. It was difficult to guess how far back the caves went but there were plenty of them to offer valuable shelter for farmers and traders as they cut off a long round trip against the sometimes fierce waves that batter the coast.

The final stretch gave me a base upwards view of mountains that I had viewed across barrancos, either way it was an impressive sight. Los Silos loomed into view and my path converged with the concrete path that cut directly out to the bus stop up past Garachico and into Icod. My admiration of Erjos had risen another few notches, theres still plenty more variations to explore and the seasons will keep changing the outlook on what I have seen so far.

Answering The Call Of History In La Matanza

An iron clad Spanish conquistador reeled at the feet of Guanche warrior, Tinguaro, as he sounded a defiant call on a conch shell. Cars thundered by on the Tenerife north motorway between Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz below were oblivious to the large mural but I felt like I was straddling two ages as I gazed through the wild grass.

Not that I was feeling critical of the local council gardening services for La Matanza de Acentejo. A worker was expertly trimming the garden on the rise into the town, It set the tone for the overall appearance of the municipality, a small picnic area with seating overlooked the dual carriageway. The rest area also featured a modern art version of the brother of Mencey Bencomo, one of the original tribal kings and a key player in the rearguard stand to delay the Spanish invaders back in 1495.

A mix of old dwellings and vineyards steerd me up a steep climb , beckoned by the twin towers of the El Salvador church. There were more benches and breather points along the way. From one I watched as two chickens played out their own turf war below a canopy of green leaves and ripening grapes. The church and large plaza were noble and well tended, A school of music, and a centre for people of the third age (such a nicer term than OAPs) boosted the range of facillities. Posters for a series of concerts featuring Cuban music kept up the cultural choices.

Heading back down to Calle Real, the street that meanders through the town, it was quiet but a few people were adding little proud brush strokes and repairs to houses with plenty of character. Plaza de Cuchareras gleamed brightly as the Ermita looked down on the roses and the fountain . It was a fair walk along to the end of town, a modern sports centre offered plenty of excercise to keep bodies nimble for treading the higher parts of town. With the coast far down below and the looming figure of Mount Teide above, La Matanza had plenty to say for itself before the road meged into the start of La Victoria. This corridor of the north keeps calling me back, and i have still only scratched the surface.

 

 

 

Folllow In The Tenerife Footsteps Of Admiral Horatio Nelson

Planting one foot on Tenerife soil, Admiral Horatio Nelson drew his sword with his left hand and prepared to lead the assault on 25 July 1797. Then it all fell apart. A musket shot from the defending forces pierced his right elbow and sent him crashing to the ground still half in his landing boat. Disaster for the British naval force and potentially a career ending moment for the Norfolk born 39 year old leader.

But in an incredible display of mutual respect between two leaders of seafaring backgrounds, a very civil surrender led to the failed invasion becoming part of Tenerife culture and Nelson´s name being remembered with dignity. Over 250 British troops were killed as firece resistance and strong fortifications frustrated other landing parties that tried to breach other points around the coast of capital city, Santa Cruz. Nelson negotiated the surrender via his number two Captain Troubridge.

Rowed back to his ship the Theseus, Nelson had made light of his wound and pulled himself up onto the ship by a single rope and insisted. ” Let me alone, I have yet my legs left and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste and get his instruments. I know I must lose my right arm, so the sooner it is off the better.” In his journal he praised the hospitality of the Spanish Governor of Tenerife. ” It is right we should notice the noble and generous conduct of Don Juan Antonio Gutierrez. The moment terms were agreed he directed our wounded men to be received into the hospitals and all our people to be supplied with the best provisions that could be procured, ”

To this day, Santa Cruz is full of reminders of Nelson´s attack, normally reenactments are carried out on and around 25 July but Covid has severly limited that. For 2021 it will be mainly acts of remembrance at key points that featured in the repelling of the foriegn fleet. However you can tap into the past all year round via in Santa Cruz. Nelson touched land at the southern entry to the capital, Castillo Negra, just along from the modern Auditorium, was the power house for the rebuff of the sailors. Just next to it, a small concrete quay meets the sea.

 

At this point you will find the first in a series of silver plaques marking the spots where various clashes and strongholds were. They pepper the coast aalong as far as San Andres beyond the old dock area. Nelsons face even appears among clasical composers and poets on the large square concrete blocks that line the San Andres shore. One of the early warnings of the approach of the British ships, came from a female trader on her way to market, she rang the church bell to alert everyone, it assured her place in local folklore.

A short stroll along from the Auditorium to the Plaza de España lake opposite the cruce ship port, reveals a treasure chest of past echoes. Steps down below the lake lead to the remails of the city wall, only rediscovered after the plaza was dug up for redevelopment at the start of the 2000 millenium. The underground area shows a complete history of the Castillo de San Cristobal that was above, and those who tried in vain to take Tenerife. Pride of place goes to the Tigre (tiger) canon that was instrumental in keeping Nelsons and previous hopefuls pinned back off shore. Entry to this hidden world is free and very informative. Over in the cruce ship port, a canon ball impact on a low wall shows how close the city came to receiving greater damage.

For the best in depth history lesson, follow the port road along to the huge winged statue and above you will find the Military Museum. This covers all Spanish conflicts and is illustrated with maps, uniforms, and weapons. In the case of Nelson, an interactive map shows exactly how the battle played out, and the Union Jack from the flag ship Emerald, surrendered by Nelson, is on disply in a glass cabinet. Outside they have a wealth of military vehicles from different ages.

The museum is free to visit, open from 10 am to 2 pm Tuesday to Saturday. Altough it´s still a working base, there is a small cafe and a terrace. Keep looking out for other reminders of Nelson in the city, new murals have been added in recent years above La Noria near the main shopping area. Nelson´s name is immortalised on a street sign near the old bull ring at La Paz. There are also plans for a more permanent exhibition, fittingly, close to the sea front.

 

 

 

 

 

Arafo Makes Leisure A Pleasure

Figs, bee keeping, and hunting dispelled my first impression of Arafo as a quiet backwater of the Guimar valley. They were all championed at the crescent shaped Centre of Leisure, Artesans, and Agriculture which pulled my attention from nature´s own panarama of mountains and clear blue Tenerife skies.

 

What a lucky change of plan after rain and wind had rerouted me from La Laguna and beyond. Back at Santa Cruz I had already noticed that it was the launch day of a new improved Titsa bus network linking Candelaria, Guimar, and Arafo. My destination changed in a minute – im so fickle. Micro climates can mean a short shift in position and suddenly its a whole new outlook.

The tight uphill back streets that greeted my arrival at Arafo, led my curiosity by the nose. The Ayuntamiento (council) building was a two tone stunner as it commanded the intersection of two roads. It still hardly prepared me for the historic centre of the town. The church of San Juan Degollado was the centre piece backing onto a partly shaded plaza.

My weakness for a striking sculpture was satisfied by a lady wrapped solely in musical notes (not even a whistle and flute) as she held her baton aloft.  Pueblo de la Musica is the proud boast of Arafo and the setting of the sculpture made me think of the Sound Of Music.The modern Auditorium just down the road looked suitably grand, it was closed on my visit but a later look on the impressive website of the municipality showed that the 500 seat building was a fitting stage.

There were a few teething problems for the revised bus service but the councils of the main towns covered are discussing a few possible tweaks to the running order. I headed back south via Guimar old town on the north side of the TF1 motorway and spotted a few more stops I would have to pick up on another day. The barrancos that swept down past Arafo also set me thinking anout a few more walking routes that this service will benefit from.

Needles On The Record In La Esperanza

Plane spotters would normally be well blessed with a trip to La Esperanza in the municipality of El Rosario. Alas there was not so much as an Airfix model on the Tenerife North runways as my bus took the uphill turn just across from the La Laguna bus station – well that´s the ongoing Covid effect.

Never mind, my bell was soon rung when I spotted a perplexing duo of scylptures presiding over a fork in the road at El Calvario, a traditional spiritual home for church crosses. The old TF24 is a direct route up through the pine forest on the way to Mount Teide national park. The two sculptures reflected a local commercial tradition of using pine needles to pack wholesale fruit and vegatables. The rights to this process are put out to tender but the gathering of the pointed articles is still very much a manual labour, the monument paid tribute to the pinocheros and pinocheras who have gathered the tricky little blighters over the decades. The artistic salute was made by local artist Dacil Travieso,

I was a few stops short of my intended destination but nothing that a short uphill stroll would not put right. La Esperanza plaza soon appeared and the neighbouring Ayuntamiento (council) building. Dacil had been busy with her chisel, a lechera stood proud with her delivery of milk perched on her head. A fountain, starved of water, was also nearby but the nearby greenery showed that the drought would only be a short one.

My compass had been drawn to La Esperanza by an orange intruder among the green Titsa buses at the La Laguna bus station. Although an independent company they run two services into La Esperanza, one with a direct link to  Tenerife 2 prison, and they take the usual Titsa payment cards. Back at the two central plazas, an old wine press promoted another local industry. The main road wound on up towards the pine forest to reveal some great view over Santa Cruz and out to sea. It was eerily quiet, a few TUI tour buses, and lycra clad cyclists headed through, and BRIFOR forest fire patrol trucks added reassurance against summer fires.

A good selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars with big parking areas, stood ready to receive once tourists come back to the island in numbers. Vilaflor is a more common route for Teide visitors but there´s plenty of scope to see some local history while breaking a journey at this alternative. The Ermita Las Rosas looked a little lonely and forlorn but the local council news magazine held plenty of promise, especially with a new cultural centre just opening.

 

 

 

 

All Aboard For Punta De Teno

Where 500 metre high cliffs stand shoulder to shoulder into the horizon, and the north and west coasts of Tenerife dovetail together, Punta de Teno imposes itself on the landscape. I felt envious of the osprey that soar and nest in the folds of the cliffs. Even at ground level there´s plenty to admire, it is still a living part of the island with fishermen well versed in the unpredictable currents of the sea.

Easing into my visit, chugging up a tight single file mountain road, Far below breaking waves lapped at the Buenavista del Norte golf course and a pristine stretch of shingle beach. On one of the first days of the 2021 summer season of the 369 Titsa bus, I gazed forward as the road  seemed to hit mid air. The inside rock face was being kept in check by heavy duty steel fencing and pins embedded by pile drivers. Punta de Teno was the destination beauty at the end of this magnificent beast of an incline, and worth my preceeding 460 bus ride from Adeje to Icod, and a short coastal change past Garachico and Los Silos in Buenavista del Norte.

The partial collapse of the mountain link road in 2016 led to restrictions on the rebuilt access. A manned barrier allows a few people through including the bus during July, August, and Septenber. A mere one euro each way secures the 460 ride, a Ten Mas plastic pre paid card or its mobil app version is alo acceptable, but not the residents and OAPs tickets. Cyclists were also sharing our temporary immersion in a long dark tunnel on part of the upper route.

Fisherman have access to their fleet, a dozen boats were sheltered at the back of the small Teno beach, and an equal number were out riding the waves just beyond a scattering of bathers. The lighthouse  stood guard where the conflicting currents came together. Even with a green flag and guards in attendance, the exposed waters outside the bay are worthy of the utmost respect. Farolgists love to study our candy striped friends, this sample dates back to 1897 and is a very reassuring prescence.

At the western side of the bay, the modern holiday hire Casablanca is a strange anomoly but may have been updated from an old and more modest farmhouse. The paths through the old lava deposits meander to other vantage points but the potential dangers are there at every step. just a short distance from the drop off and pick up point, its easy to feel the isolation that spans the centurys. A view down the line of cliffs conjours up Masca and beyond Some hardy souls swim from Teno to Los Gigantes in the Travesia race once a year.  However you view this corner of Isla Bajo, it always stirs a new respect for nature.