Archive for January, 2008
Las Galletas – new marina nearly ready

One of the great things about Tenerife is it’s diversity, there are so many rewarding places to visit. Las Galletas is just a few kms, or a short bus ride down the road from Los Cristianos, but could be another world. A small fishing village, unspoilt by commercialism, it’s cheap and cheery, has a small but sheltered beach and lovely shops and places to eat and drink.


A revamp is just taking place with a new marina built around the small quay where many boats park up. The Marina del Sur, the name is now proudly displayed, reaches out and runs parralell to the small beach, at each end is a classy looking blue and white pavillion with locales ready for bars and shops and upstairs, an open seating area with all round views.

The new marina starts on the site of the old police station, that was demolished, but the ancient iron canon that stood on guard has been moved a few yards along nearer the beach. The work on the development hasn’t been allowed to disrupt the local economy, fishermen have still been selling their daily catch each morning from the stalls at the top of the beach.

The promenade on the other side of the marina is looking busy as ever with tables outside bars and restaurants, looking out to the livelier part of the sea, where some surfing takes place. Further along, near Tenbel, the pedestrianised shopping area is still of joy to browse through and offers more good places to eat and drink. If you are getting the impression that I like this village, you are spot on, it’s always a nice place to visit and thankfully, once the inside work is finished on the marina, it should soon go from strength to strength.

CD Tenerife mark time with another draw

Missed chances cost CD Tenerife the chance to move nearer the promotion pack, after a 1-1 home draw against Sevilla Athletic last night.

A woeful first half display saw them struggle to produce a decent shot and Sevilla grew in confidence and grabbed a lead in the 44th minute through Juanjo. It could have been worse as Juan Pablo had just made a good save from a Sevilla header.

Into the second half and Tenerife stepped up their game but a mix of poor finishing and bad luck frustrated them. Oscar Perez shot wide after 48 minutes and Nino had two bites 4 minutes later, one blocked on the line and the other put wide. After 55 minutes, CDT got a breakthrough with Jonathan fouling Nino, leaving Ayoze to score from the penalty.

It didn’t change the pattern of the game and Nino saw another effort go wide, Arruabarrena had his strike saved and Juanma hit the post to finish a frustrating evening with a 1-1 draw. Nino picked up a yellow card late in the game which will rule him out for next Saturdays away game at Cadiz, maybe that will encourage CDT to bring in another striker before the transfer window slams shut on Thursday.

Good news from Las Palmas, where the Pio’s recent good run was brought to a halt with a 2-1 loss to Numancia.

Touchdown in Tenerife

So here I am back in Tenerife, a frantic last morning snapping a few more pics and pulling together more info about Lanzarote, and it was a slow trip to Gando airport via Arrecife. The bus station in Arrecife does some nice tapas, so that helped to send me on my way.


Once at the airport I had a little time to look around and although it’s a small 2 terminal airport, it has all you need, a bar/cafe, shop and a lounge. The check through with Islas Airways was fast, within 10 minutes of the gate opening, the plane was taking off. For the technical it was a Alenia ATR 42 that holds 72 passengers, it was less than half full both ways. No meal on such a short flight, 50 minutes but the stewardess did serve up a bag of peanuts each, glad it wasn’t a camp steward offering nuts.

Back in Tenerife North airport it was cloudy outside and I soon found out that the wind and the calima (dust blown in from Africa) had been bringing the temperature down while I was away. It was good to be back though and quick bus connections soon got me into Los Cristianos. Now it’s time to wade through the photos and do all the write ups, I have lots of fond memories of Lanzarote to reflect on.

Playa Blanca and strange tales

Well it was my final full day here in Lanzarote, and what a pleasure it’s been, today I went to Playa Blanca on the south west coast, quite a long bus trip but fun. The weather wasn’t as clever today, clouds moved in and the wind was lively, your expecting a rude comment there, but i will resist, just this once.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is the main ferry port to cross to Fuerteventura, just 12 minutes on the Fred Olsen ferry, and is one of the main resorts. I started at the port end and worked my way long the sea front, I thought it was a bit run down and a little seedy. The staff at the electrical shops kept trying to lure people in and there were cages out side bars with scrawny looking parrots in, i tried to teach one to swear but it would’nt perform, must be a politically correct polly.

After about 20 minutes the old front changes to the new Marina Rubicon, what a differene. It’s very bright and well planned with a relaxed continental feel, 5 plazas are linked by wooden boardwalks and bridges and it is full of nice restaurants, bars and designer shops. It was the little touches that really impressed me, bold signposts and maps at every turn to guide visitors, cycle areas complete with racks to park up and lots of bright lighting and spotlessly clean.

On the way back I noticed some unusual advertising hoardings in Arrecife, with tips to look after the island. One was about sharing with neighbours, tips like, get together with neighbours once a year to sell unwanted items at a sale, and plant your own produce and share that with your friends. there was even one showing how to make a water dispenser for the wild birds, to hang in your garden – very Blue Peter.

When I got back to the apartment I was a bit spooked to find that the maid had been busy with some wet towels I left out, and had twisted them into the shape of swans, maybe it’s a love ritual or some sort of fertility rite, she had even neatly folded my CDT footie shirt – bless her.

Anyway I must go and say a few farewells, especially to my favourite local bar. La Esquina. The whole worldwide stock market is in a state of collapse, I cant save it all but I can do my bit to keep Spanish beer shares healthy and robust, Cheers

Holes, bushes and crabs in Lanzarote

Well today I went into full tourist mode with a day coach excursion all over the island. After a hazy early start, the first call was a camel park up in the sand dunes, this was where I discovered how wild and windy it can get over here, when the camel rose up bit by bit on 2 legs at a time, last nights beer nearly rose up as well.


Moving on, there was a stop at a Bodega to taste some wine, i was upset because there weren’t any pint glasses. Over here the vines are planted in little hollows in the ground, surrounded by small stone walls, protection from the strong winds.

Wine fields

The 3 course meal was pretty bog standard, a banana was one course but then it was on to Timanfaya, the fire park. This draws on the volcanic heat in the ground, first we helped ourselves to a handful of gravel from a shovel to feel the heat from it, then they chucked a bush into a small hole and it burst into flames and the party piece was the pouring of water into a small bore hole only to see it propelled up into the air as a hot geyser. I havent experienced such a hot violent eruption since my last strong curry.

I was also keen to see Jameos del Aqua, a centre built around a volcanic cave by Cesar Manrique, a celebrated local artist and sculptor. it was pretty damm impressive and the underground lagoon is home to the only Albino crabs in the world, they were very small but i treated them with respect, quite a few of my friends have complained about crabs after a holiday abroad.

All in all a good day and loads more info for my work. Now its off on the pop, i expect i will start at La Esquina and see where the wibbly wobbly road takes me. More soon

Arrecife – footie and high times in Lanzarote

Woke with a bit of a hangover but got out on the bus to Arrecife, the Lanzarote capital, for an 11am kick off UD Lanzarote v Alcorcon. I met up with a Brit, Ian, who who helps to promote the team with posters around the bars and his own website , he also supplies the kit and sells merchandise. The crowd was about 800, and included lots of holidaying Brits and Germans so Ian’s hard work obviously pays off, there was a poster at reception in Sands Beach Resort, where I’m staying. The game wasnt bad, a 1-0 home win for the Rojillos (reds) thanks to a splendid first half strike from Fredrik, a former Swedish international.

UD Lanzarote

After that I was off in exploring mode to see the sights of Arrecife, being a Sunday, lots of places were shut but i headed for the sea front and was rewarded with a lovely mix of old and new. An old castle fortress stands out to sea linked by 2 old long bridges and 2 canons stand guard just below the battlements, a reminder of past invasion attempts. To the east the Disa oil refinery is not a great sight but to the west, the front has been renovated to give a bright marina and boardwalks. just beyond that is a huge sandy beach.

There is a limit of about 3 storeys to buildings on the island but the 5 star Gran Arrecife Hotel, dominates the skyline with it’s 17 floors rising into the blue yonder – not sure how they got away with that. The good thing is they have a bar on the top floor and anyone (even me) is allowed in, so I went up for a coffee (honest) and took some pics of the amazing views.


Anyway, back in Costa Tequise now and about to indulge in a few fizzy drinks, first stop, the very welcoming La Esquina. I shall try not to be late tonight as I have an early start for a coach tour in the morning. Cheers

Lanzarote Calling

Well here i am in Lanzarote for nearly a week, it’s work, honestly, i’m not enjoying all the sun, swimming and beer – much. I’m staying at the Sands Beach Resort in Costa Tequise, to soak up the local delights and enjoy the hospitality of the resort so I can write the copy for their new website.


It’s a lovely place, im in an apartment above the “beach” a lagoon just behind the sea, there are also 4 plazas surrounded by apartments, each with a central pool. It’s an interesting chance for me to compare with Tenerife, and it is very quiet here, i’m told this is normal this time of year. costa tequise is a quiet family resort but i am exploring. Today i went to Puerto del Carmen, where i went on a day trip from Fuertaventura 10 years ago-they all remembered me – Â and told me I was back too soon. Puerto is a much livelier place, where the big nightlife is, but it too seemed quite subdued.


As I am missing my fix of CD Tenerife, tomorrow I am off to see UD Lanzarote v Alcorcon at 11am, hopefully I will get some pics for here. They have a Brit fan trying to draw fans to the game and there was a leaflet about the game in reception, apparently 2 of the players live in Sands.

Ok Im off for a non alcoholic shandy-more soon.

Stage set for Carnaval 2008


Get your dancing shoes on and prepare to party, it’s nearly Carnaval time, and while all the towns around the island prepare for their regional celebrations, Santa Cruz is gearing up to be the biggest, boldest and brashest of all.

Second only to Rio de Janiero in size and grandeur, Santa Cruz draws in crowds from all over the world with it’s mix of music, dance rythms, costume and pageantry and despite taking a few knocks in recent years it’s still the event of the year.

This year because of the ongoing work to the Plaza de España, the main stage for the big events has been moved to the car park of the Parque Maritimo, on the seafront just before the hook nosed auditorium and opposite the Recinto Ferial exhibition hall. The Carnaval theme this year is Magic and the huge lavish stage and tiered seating for 9,000 people has risen up high into the skyline thanks to a team of 50 construction workers. It’s an impressive sight but im not too keen on heights and the thought of being perched at the top of the seating with the open maze of scaffolding below, fills me with dread, especially if the crowd start dancing in their seats.

Local neighbours groups have denounced the Carnaval the last 2 years for excessive noise in the streets so this year the council have tried to head that off by agreeing on limits to noise and cut off times, and from next year, the main stage will be moved to the dockside, not a popular move with the purists who can’t understand what the fuss is all about.

The qualifying rounds for the main events such as adult, senior and childrens Carnaval Queen start this week with the big showpiece finals on the stage. Tickets went on sale on Friday, some people camped out over night to ensure theirs. They are on sale at the Recinto Ferial from 8am to 8pm all week apart from Sundays when it’s 10 to 1pm and 5 to 8pm. There is a limit of 6 tickets per person and there are various discount rates for large familes, for instance, for the biggest event, the election of the adult Carnaval Queen, tickets range down from 10 euros.

Some of the main dates are January 20-Childrens Carnaval Queen election, January 35-Adult murgas final, Janaury30-adult Carnaval Queen and February 6-the burial of the sardine. For the uninitiated, the murgas are brightly dressed bands playing kazoo like instruments and singing satirical songs attacking politicians and local figures. The burial of the sardine is a big funeral procession with a giant papier mache sardine carried amongst a group of mourners dressed in widows weeds, crying and fainting. It ends when the sardine is burnt amid a cascade of fireworks.

The widows tend to be mainly men in drag, a common theme at Carnaval, if you have a few drinks chaps and have a dance with a nice looking lady, don’t be surprised to find she has hairy arms and that little bit extra that might shock you if you start getting amorous. The main thing though is to join in the spirit of Carnaval, you are more likely to look odd if you are not in fancy dress. Go and have fun and let the rythm take you over.

Coastal change hits Top Guia

There’s a bit of a revolution going on in the sleepy municipality of Guia de Isora on the west coast of Tenerife. The old deserted banana plantations on the coast near Alcala have been cleared and a major new hotel, Palicio de Isora, part of the Sol Melia chain, is reaching completion.

AlcalaThe stretch of coast is familiar to me as I used to live in Puerto de Santiago near Los Gigantes and work for The Tenerife Sun from their office in Alcala. The small fishing cove of Alcala is a great favourite of mine as I used to swim off the quayside in my lunch break and frighten the fishes. Recent changes have seen stone steps into the sea added, I had to make do with a steel ladder, and a dyke below the sea surface now calms the waters.

The big changes come as I walk along the renewed coastal path heading west. The Hotelconcrete walkway takes me around the headland to a large terraced area newly planted with young palms and shrubs, and miradors (viewpoints) with seating. The huge new hotel is very imposing and although the improved coast access and easily trodden paths are welcome, I can’t help wondering if the trade off is worth it. Will they be able to fill the hotel, will the hotel pools be enough to please the guests, as swimming off this wilder coastline beyond Alcala is a big risk, and will the influx of 100’s of tourists overrun the rural charms of this rocky coast.

Past the hotel, the new walkway finishes and I’m back on the old track clinging to the shore and dipping and rising on it’s way to Punta Blanca, where the sea gets rougher as the cliffs of Los Gigantes appear in the distance. The local surf club have come as close as anyone can to taming the sea at this point and have been very outspoken about the destruction of this special environment. For years this was a magnet for campers, many virtually living here full time, and on holiday weekends it was swelled by many more campers from the big towns, leaving a legacy of litter and rubbish. The council and the police have now won the battle and cleared the campers away – at least for now.

Punta Blanca

It’s a leisurely hours ramble from Alcala to the end of the path at El Varadero and i’m left with mixed feelings. The new hotel and walkway stand for progress and a new breath of life for an area where fish and bananas can no longer sustain the economy but the rugged beauty of the coast, the locals fishing off the rocks and La Gomera standing proud out at sea are still sights to stir the defiant cry for tradition.

We 3 Kings of Tenerife are


Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar, no it’s not a firm of lawyers or a new musical group, it’s the 3 kings or wise men if you prefer, who have just arrived bearing gifts here in Tenerife and all across Spain. Tomorrow is Reyes (Kings Day) when Spanish children open their christmas presents but tonight in towns and villages everyone takes to the streets to welcome the kings.


There are some regional variations on the main theme but the kings normally arrive on camels, throwing handfulls of sweets to the crowds as they head to the main plaza and the stage where eager children are called up to receive their presents. Here in Los Cristianos, they start off from the ferry port in a big procession complete with fire eaters, musicians in traditional Canarian outfits and well known cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse,Pluto and Wayne Rooney – or was that supposed to be Shrek? All this is of course backed by a lavish firework show.

Up north in the capital, Santa Cruz, the kings arrive by helicopter and land on the pitch at CD Tenerife’s ground, where 22,000 children and their families are enjoying a live spectacular show. Let’s hope they don’t make a mess of our pitch as CD Tenerife are at home to Celta Vigo tomorrow in the league. It should be a big crowd and a great atmosphere, all we need is the welcome present of 3 points. Sounds like a good excuse to crack open a few bottles of Dorada.