Archive for January, 2009
Kool music ahead for the Canary Islands

Dig out those flares, book yourself for a perm and fire up the Audi Quatro, the 1980’s are making a comeback in Tenerife. Kool and the Gang, the American soul band are playing at the Santa Cruz auditorium on April 18, the latest in a long line of retro music acts to pop over. The group from New Jersey had a string of big hits at the start of the 1980’s such as Joanna and Get Down On It, the years may have aged them but i’m sure they cn still evoke a few memories.

Kool and the Gang

It looks like being a busy musical year for the Canary Islands, Tony Hadley, former lead singer of Spandau Ballet, is playing the Alfredo Krauss auditorium in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on February 26, backed by the Barcelona Jazz Orchestra. Possibly the biggest event to hit the islands this year is the official inauguration of the Grantecan telescope over on La Palma.

The Grantecan project has attracted the interest of former Queen guitarist Brian May, who did some of the research for his PHD in astrophysics there, he was asked to play at the opening ceremony. This has snowballed from there with French electro rock genius Jean Michel Jarre declaring his interest to take part on the big night, and now former Genesis drummer Phil Collins has added his talents to the mix.

The inauguration is likely to take place in July but because of the logistics, Grantecan is on Roque de los Muchachos, towering 2,400 metres over La Palma, it may well be a private event. However with 3 such top artists adding a musical twist, it should attract big television coverage from TV Canarias at least.

Maybe Sting is keen to be the next rock star to set foot on Tenerife. I have noticed some flyers lately for a series of courses on Tantric Love in El Medano and Santa Cruz, it’s something that the former Police lead singer swears by. It’s all about using the mind and body in harmony when playing “hide the sausage” and it’s got to be better than using some of Stings more experimental solo works as a bedroom backing track.


Hell of a ravine, hell of a walk

Invierno waterfallClasped in the palm of nature, that’s how it feels to reach the natural bowl at the end of the Barranco del Infierno (Hells Ravine) in Adeje. The water fall tumbles down the towering rock face as the 7 million year old rock stacks lean inward. Surprisingly, considering recent rainy outbursts, neither the cascade or the pool that feeds the stream, is particularly raging but the view is still impressive.

It’s 4 years since I last trod this popular path and high time to re-aquaint myself with it’s insight into nature. Pre booking by phone the day before meant I could stroll casually up the hill from Adeje town, past the Casa Fuerte and old canon, to the reception hut. Amazingly the walk still only costs 3 euros, and although a free leaflet gives basic info, it’s well worth paying the extra 2 euros for the thicker in depth booklet. All the information and the helpful advice of the ticket seller and the 2 on route guides, are in several languages including English.

Setting off, the barranco falls away below me, there are knee high wooden stakes along the edge of the path but these are just for guidance, certainly not protection. My feet are tested every step by the changing terrain, from stone blocks to loose gravel and rutted tracks with the odd tree root for good measure. Only 220 walkers are allowed per day on the route to protect it, the paths are well looked after with bridges made from wood and the crossing water pipes, helping to breach the old water chanel as the cool liquid makes its way down from the heights.


The route is fairly narrow and I get used to squeezing to one side as I meet returning walkers looking to pass, the viewing points marked out along the way are also handy for this interchange, as well as great places to take photos. After a while the sounds of school children playing in Adeje fade and are replaced by a calm silence, nature has its own sound track, once my ears have attuned, I can hear bird song and insects rustling in the undergrowth.

Barbary Partridge

Two thirds of the way down the walk is a rest point just before the final, more dangerous section. The high sides and constant wear of nature can sometimes lead to rock falls, so this last section is closely monitored and can be closed off at short notice if there is a problem. Thankfully on my visit all was well but I took the chance to top up with food and drink at La Cogedera (The Catching) before the final push and made a couple of nice discoveries. Just before the clearing I found 2 colourful and very tame birds pecking between some rocks. The Barbary Partridge (above) , the guide later identified it from my photo, posed nicely for me but would it have been so friendly if it knew I had turkey slices in my bread roll. Then settling on the large wooden chest at La Cogedera, I noticed a smug, well fed tabby cat sat on a rock near the stream, well why would you chase insects and lizards when passing tourists have much better scraps on offer.

Moving on into the final section I noticed the stream growing wider and deeper as willows sprung up all around and I had to weave my way around the twisted branches of the sabina trees. The ravine plunged deeper, looking up to the sky I spotted 5 para gliders performing a slow ballet on the thermal currents above the lip of the rocks. It was time for some careful footwork now as the stepping stones across the meandering stream were wet and slippery, but turning a final corner I found myself in the towering surrounds of the waterfall and rock pool, a fine reward for my efforts.


Heading back seemed quicker as I completed the 6,500 metre round trip, passing more eager explorers on the way. Back at my starting point I felt envigorated and pleased to note that it had taken me just over 3 hours including many photo and food stops. If you want to enjoy this challenge yourself, there are full details on the website. Next up for me, in 2 weeks time, is the Almond Blossom Walk from Santiago del Teide to Arguayo.

Who needs Kaka? CD Tenerife have Nino.

Probably the best performance I have seen in 8 seasons of watching CD Tenerife, that was the first half of yesterdays 4-1 home win over Girona, that put CDT in third spot in the Spanish Second Division. It was a sublime display that saw the blanquiazuls soar into a 3-0 half time lead that could have easily been by twice that margin.

CDT v Girona

Nino, Tenerife’s top scorer, was the subject of a 1.4 million euro bid from Barnsley in the week, he dismissed it out of hand and took just 9 minutes of the game to undeline his priceless status to CDT. With his back to goal, Nino pounced on a ball from team mate Richi, turned, and spotting the visiting keeper off his line, fired in a wonderful chip shot that hit the back of the net. There was more to come after just 21 minutes when Cameroon international Kome, again exposed keeper Ponzo’s poor positioning to make it 2-0. A free kick on the 40 minute mark by Hens Juanlu, found Richi, who slid the ball under the keeper for a well desereved third.

 Tenerife were all over Girona and playing some great controlled football, the visitors must have been dreading the second half. During the break, the wind whipped up into a frenzy making conditions difficult and threatening to blow the advertising hoardings onto the pitch. Tenerife relaxed a little and Girona hit back within 10 minutes with a goal from Raul Martin, the striker who couldn’t score in a house of ill repute, during his spell with Tenerife. Aragoneses was in commanding form in the home goal to protect the lead and CDT had more good chances, the best coming from a run by Kome, he resisted the urge to shoot and passed to Oscar Perez, who fired wide.

It was still an impressive score line, and as the 14,239 crowd filled the closing minutes with Mexican waves and deafening chorus’s of their favourite songs, Nino popped up in injury time to add a fourth and seal a memorable evening.

CristoThe next 2 games are away, followed by 2 home matches so that will provide a good test of Tenerife’s true promotion credentials.Cristo Marrero (above) came on for the last 5 minutes of the game, a regular scenario lately as he plays out his last season before retirement, there is a strong lobby to encourage Cristo and the club to sign a years extension to his contract, to add your comments go to . As for 12 goal hero Nino, there would be riots if he was allowed to leave, he is worth a fortune, even Manchester City, over in Tenerife this week, would have to dig deep to buy him.

Aliens, apparitions and androids in Tenerife

Anything goes in Tenerife, but you may be very surprised if you read any of the short story collections of Tony Thorne M.B.E. I have known the 82 year old former scientist for a few years, having written a few articles about his speculative tales of sci fi and the bizarre, and have just an enjoyable plough through his 2 latest titles, Tall Tenerife Tales and a preview copy of More Tall Tenerife Tales.

Tony (left in pic with Harry Harrison) has a solid background in science, he got the M.B.E for ground breaking work in low temperature surgery instruments and hi temperature furnaces, but armed with a healthy cynicism, he took up the pen (well computer) again on settling in tenerife a few years ago. Life is now split between Playa del Arena in the winter and Austria, homeland of wife Eva, for the rest of the year.

Tony & Harry

Both recent volumes contain tales routed in, around and even under Tenerife, and if stories of alien visitors, ghosts from the past and strange creatures, seem a stretch too far, just check the news and see what is happening these days in the scientific community. Although Tony has an American publisher, printers and outlets closer to home in Tenerife have proved to be more tricky due to large print runs and up front costs. The books are good fun reading and with the island base, they would make great beach and plane reading for visitors and residents alike, in the meantime Tony has added home printing to his other talents such as creating the cover artwork. If you want to find out more, order copies, or can help to boost his print run, check out his website at .

Some of Tony’s stories have popped up in other compilations in america and beyond and having attended sci fi writers conventions, tony has a wide orbit of literary friends, i was lucky enough to meet and interview Harry Harrison (in pic) on his Tenerife visit in 2007. There is already a 3rd collection of Tall Tenerife Tales well underway, i’m looking forward to adding that to my reviewing list.

Missed opportunity and new blood for CD Tenerife

So there I am at 11 am on a Sunday morning, sat in a Canarian bar watching cartoon dinosaurs singing and dancing on the television. Don’t worry, I’m not entering my second childhood (still in the first one) there was just a technical problem in getting Canal Plus to watch CD Tenerife play away to Xerez, thankfully the bar owner showed up and made the required adjustments. By the end of the 2-0 defeat I was longing for the dinosaurs back.

It was always going to be a tough gane to win, against the 3rd placed team and Tenerife suffered an early blow, typically from a set piece, when Xerez’s Momo scored from a free kick, just to make it worse-he is a Pio (born in Gran Canaria). Xerez used spoiling tactics with loose tackles and lots of theatrical writhng when any of thbeir players went down, but they looked a useful footballing side, thankfully Aragonoses was in top form in the Tenerife goal.

Alfaro and Nino battled away up front without much reward but goping into the second half, coach Oltra boosted the attack by bringing on Ayoze, Angel and later Cristo. For much of the game Tenerife were the better side, but it’s all about goals and Calle added a second for the home side after 57 minutes from a Momo counter attack. Xerez could have added further goals but Aragonoses denied them with late saves from Alex and Aythami.

Abel Gomez

Despite the defeat, Tenerife stay in 4th spot and are still well placed for the promotion push. It looks likely that there will be a new addition to the squad with 26 year old midfielder Abel Gomez (above) joining from Steaua Bucarest in Romania. The player was formerly with Real Murcia and has experience in the Spanish primera division.

Kings crown Tenerife festive season

3 kingsThe christmas season is playing out its final act with Reyes (Kings Day) today across Spain. Last night the 3 kings, Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchor rode into many towns on their camels, spraying handfuls of sweets to the crowds and then taking their places on their thrones to hand out presents to eager young children. Reyes marks epiphany or the arrival of the 3 kings at the stable with presents for the baby Jesus.

There was a slight chnge to routine here in Los Cristianos, the kings arrived at the ferry port and made their way in a large procession of dancers and musicians to the church plaza this year, rather than outside the cultural centre. It was the usual good natured scrum down, before the present giving started, but a real delight to watch. Up north in Santa Cruz, the credit crunch meant the kings didn’t arrive by helicopter but were driven into the CD Tenerife football stadium by the local fire men, and even the northern rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 22,000 crowd. Tickets were just a one euro charity donation with proceeds split between several local charities.

Today was very much a family day as children opened their presents and most people tucked into a roscon, the traditional reyes cake. A yummy dough based treat in the shape of a large ring, its is stuffed with cream and sweet decorations and usually contains a few surprise gifts baked in the dough, one a lucky charm and another, a dried nut shell or something similar which means you have to pay for the cake. I wolfed down a chunk earlier, and very nice it was-cant wait for next year.


It’s nose bleed time for CD Tenerife

What a way to start 2009, CD Tenerife made it 3 wins on the trot, beating Sevella Athletic at home, to go joint second (4th on goal difference) in the Spanish Second Division, just two points behind leaders Salamanca.

V Sevilla

It wasn’t a classic game but playing the bottom team, just after the christmas break, the win was the important thing. The 14,894 crowd were treated to the long promised new video score board, it has been promised for years but finally the 6 x 8 metre screen is bringing us all the stats, gol times etc throughout the game, and the raunchy Scandinavian movie they showed at half time was a surprising treat.

Alfaro looked lively for Tenerife early on but along with his team mates, was guilty of squandering several goal chances. Tenerife were all over the visitors and with Ricardo running the show in midfield, a goal was sure to come. It took until the 36th minute though, Kome broke on the left and crossed the ball for Nino to fire in his 10th goal of the season.

It was clear that further goals were needed to seal the game and Alfaro obliged after 52 minutes after good work from Oscar Perez. Sevilla hit back almost immediately, finding Tenerife’s continuing weakness, set pieces, this time it came from a corner with Mohammed forcing the ball into the net.

Sevilla lost all chance of getting back into the game when goalie Vargas ran out of his area to handle the ball and got sent off barely ten minutes after their goal. Tenerife could and should have added to their goal tally but poor finishing dogged them and they had to settle for the slender win.

Things could get even better next weekend when Tenerife are away to 3rd place Xerez on Sunday morning and Salamanca play second placed Real Zaragoza, the right results could see Tenerife in top spot. maybe the promotion dream can come true, funny things happen in football, this weekend a former Nottingham Forest and Leicester City player became the next Dr Who, maybe Tenerife will be feeling out of this world at the seasons end.

There was a less friendly game closer to home this weekend when CD Marino hosted Los Llanos from La Palma at their Las Americas ground. The visitors won 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty and the game ended with both teams, and some fans, fighting in the tunnel as the police were called to calm things down.




Here’s to a better, less wetter, 2009

Los Cris xmasBrollies and raincoats were on most peoples christmas wish list here in Tenerife, the Canary Islands were lashed by storms with heavy rain and strong winds. I had the lovely Pam over for the week and felt very bad that the sun only made fleeting appearances. At the worst, on December 30, La Palma was cut off with ferries and flights cancelled, here in Tenerife, we had between 40 and 60 litres of rain per square metre with falling rocks blocking the main motorway and many places losing electricity. I felt very sorry for the families that had brought the kids over for christmas, and the local business’s hoping for a bumper cash boost over the festive season, many people will return to the UK with stories of rain and gloom-not good for tempting future tourists. It wasn’t all bad, even after a downpour at dinner time on christmas day, it cleared enough for a couple of hours on the beach in the sun, and since yesterday it has been sunny and hot again.

A new year is now upon us, crowds flocked to the beach area and the main church plaza (see pic) in Los Cristianos to welcome in 2009 with the usual impressive firework displays, I took it easy and spared my head from a hazy start to the year. The La Noria bar area in Santa Cruz made an ominous move, introducing a 20 euro ticket to get into this popular zone, hope it is not the start of the ticket only do’s that ruined much of the New Years Eve fun for revellers in the UK years ago.

Only Reyes (kings Day) to go now on Jan 6, and we can get back to a bit of routine and start to eat into the year. CD Tenerife resume their football season on sunday with a home game, hopefully the players wont have over indulged and can start the big push for promotion. Happy New Year.