Archive for April, 2010
Up In Adorable Adeje And Down To Retail Beach

The walls were closing in, well the dusty calima was, so it was time to break out and hit the road. First stop was a 417 Guia de Isora Titsa bus to Adeje town, was my last visit really that long ago? hopping off the bus I noticed the statue of a bombero (fireman) that I hadn’t seen before. Kneeling down, not wise at my age, I read the inscription that informed me it had been installed in October last year as a tribute to the Adeje volunteer fire force that was founded in 1986. It makes a nice modern counter point to the Guanche statue with spear in hand just down the hill.

Heading up Calle Grande along the cool leafy streets I rested at a small cafe just below the Ayuntamiento (council) building and looking up, wondered if the clock had been given a facelift, I can’t recall it looking that bright and cheery, sad to note that even that lofty perch was shared with a mobile phone antenna, they get everywhere. Between the council HQ and the old church a major renovation of the plaza is taking place, I peered through a gap and was impressed by the towering monument and new seating areas taking shape. Once completed, the views from the plaza will be fantastic, looking down into the Barranco del Invierno, and it will restore the cultural and spiritual heart to Adeje.

Rounding the old castle with its canon standing proud I could see across to the plaza monument, the dark stone ensures it blends in against the background of Roque del Conde, thankfully the bright yellow crane is just temporary. Down into Calle Piedra Redonda and I failed miserabley to pass the Dulces Suenos cafe, I kidded myself I just wanted to read the days papers and be entertained by the African Grey parrot that always holds court on the balcony opposite – nothing to do with their sticky toffee cheesecake.

Up in Adeje the calima fuelled heat wasn’t too bad but once the bus had dropped me down at Puerto Colon for Playa La Pinta beach, it felt a lot warmer – time to take the duffle coat off. Don’t let people tell you that all beaches are the same, La Pinta has fine grained golden sand that shelves gently into the sea. Sadly Tenerife is pretty quiet at the moment and La Pinta was no exception – well apart from the swarms of illegal beach vendors. It was like rush hour, lookie lookie men selling watches, chinese girls offering massages, blokes balancing trays of sliced fruit on their bellies and even a few parrots being offered for photo opportunities, the only parasite I didn’t see was Max Clifford. I normally use Los Cristianos beach, the Arona council are a lot less tolerant of these constant beach botherers.

It’s a shame that the police don’t crack down a bit more in Adeje, Playa La Pinta is a great safe beach for families due to the protective bay and the shallow water. The views from the beach up into the hills are inspiring and a short walk takes you into the busy and vibrant marina. Suitably refreshed I shook off the sand and headed back to Los Cristianos, time for more food I think.

It Will Take Viagra To Keep CD Tenerife Up Now

Was that a clue to our fate? The back page advert on the Atletico Madrid programme was for sufferers of erectile disfunction, after the poor defensive show in the 3-1 away defeat, a win for Valladolid and a draw for Malaga, it’s looking like a stiff challenge to stay up.

Diving in a taxi and heading for the Atletico ground we had one eye on being cautious in enemy territory but getting out at a bar  just down from the stadium we let rip with a chorus of “Chicharrero de Corazon” which was warmly greeted by the friendly home fans. Into the stadium and up into the top tier, it was clear that this was going to be a near 50,000 full house. Some sky divers parachuted onto the pitch before the teams came out as the 500 CD Tenerife fans turned up the volume.

Atletico had Diego Forlan on the bench and gave a full debut to 19 year old Salvio and he really grabbed his chance. It took just 10 minutes for Aguero to sting Sergio in the Tenerife goal and Salvio pounced to crack the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead. Atletico looked strong, former Arsenal player Reyes was tormenting Hector and the CDT defence looked shaky. There was worse to come on the half hour as Varela burst forward on the right and delivered a great pass for Salvio to make it 2-0. Aragonoses was kep busy and made some strong saves as Atletico kept up the pressure.

Tenerife came out more determined in the second half, Dinei came on for Juanlu and added some punch to the attack. The sub set up Roman who continued his hot form by calmly firing the ball past the home keeper. It was enough to make Atletico worry and they brought on Forlan and Simao who were benched with the Europa Cup second leg with Liverpool in mind. Â Forlan was instumental in the third Madrid goal but it was Aguero who easily beat Sicilia and then placed the ball past Sergio. That killed off any Tenerife comeback hopes, the travelling fans did their best to lift the team but there was no way back.

Streaming out of the stadium we all got a bit seperated, my group started heading out of town before cutting back onto one of the main streets back up to the city centre. Needing a taxi we stopped at a bar for much needed beer and chatted to some local fans, all the ones we met were very welcoming and friendly even if the waiter was a miserable git and wouldn’t phone a taxi for us. We found that standing out in the busy road eventually worked and we sped back to our Irish bar for more beer and and chat with many of the other CDT fans. Sadly all good trips must come to an end and with 4am taxis ordered for the morning we headed back to the hotel.

It’s going to be tough to claw our way to safety in the last 4 games but there is always hope. As for Madrid, it was a cracking weekend and we will be back for more fun and games, whatever division we are in.

Drinking In The Charms Of Madrid


We nearly made it to our hotel without being waylaid by a bar but shortly after arriving at the Barrio de la Concepcion Metro station we found ourselves up to our elbows in beer and tapas.The Ryanair flight was bang on time and had us in Madrid by 1pm, as the first of 500 CD Tenerife fans dispersed around Madrid, seven of us from the Armada Sur headed for our Travelodge Hotel at Torrelaguna. The area seemed a litle rough and ready but the busy Bar Ruval was too good to pass and every time we bought a round, a couple of plates of yummy tapas arrived as a freebie. Luckily the 3pm check in time coincided with the bar shutting for the afternoon, otherwise we may have stayed their all day.

After some aimless wandering we eventually found our hotel, checked in, ordered some beers in recpeption and regrouped ready to hit the town. Concepcion is the surname of the CD Tenerife president so maybe the station name would prove a lucky omen? There was further encouragement when The Great Escape came on the TV at Bar Ruval, and with the weather hot and sunny we were in good spirits. Our Metro bono tickets covered us for the bus so we took a quick 20 minute jaunt into the Sol area at the heart of Madrid. As on the last football visit, we made a large Irish bar just off the main plaza our base as it has loads of TV screens and showed the English and Spanish football.

The buckets of Coronita packed in ice kept coming and we kept disposing of them, we popped out later in the evening for food at the usual kebab restaurant and just caught the tail end of a big anti fascist demo in the Puerta del Sol plaza. We had seen snatches of it on the TV, the police were out in force and it all got a bit lively, but when I got there most of the mob had gone just leaving a few odd creatures posing for tourist photos. The General went off to see English indie band Ghostcat across the city and a few of our party went home early a bit worse for wear. Midnight slipped by and we went for a wander up to Gran Via where young ladies in short skirts and high heels were offering special extras outside MacDonalds, we admired their buns but resisted their advances. If The General had been with us he could have impressed the girls with his clear plastic bag of suspicious looking white gel which he had shown us on a crowded metro train, much to our amusement. One of the big centre bars we found ripped us off charging 6 euros a pint but most places were great value, especially the salsa bar where Tolf, one of our larger members, showed off his nimble footwork. The city was vibrant and getting busier, we eventually poured ourselves into taxis getting “home” just after 3am.

Sunday morning arrived with hangovers, and with no breakfast included in our bargain 45 euros each for 2 nights, we toured the local area and found a nice bar cafe before a group of us headed to La Latina, a busy market area just outside the city centre. My first birthday beer went down well as we set off on a slow crawl into Sol. The route was bursting with history, impressive buildings and interesting bars, again with tempting tapas. The tight winding streets brought us into Plaza Mayor where a friendly waitress PR enticed us to grab a sun kissed table for more drinks, once she realised we were from Tenerife she teased us by asking if we wanted Tropical or Dorada.  The plaza was alive with characters, Tolf tried on a German helmet that some bloke was packing away and Mickey Mouse strolled around in a costume that must have felt like a mobile sauna. Among the entertainers were a couple of Charlie Chaplains, a headless man, and just outside we even found Jesus and got him to bless my Tenerife scarf, we need all the help we can get.

The Irish pub was again the focal point as we prepared for the 7pm match at Atletico Madrid, we picked up a few old time fans from Kent, a couple of geezers who looked like they had just come from a 80’s rave, and gradually we went off to get taxis to the game, more on that in the next post.

CD Tenerife Find The Winning Recipe

Smelling of fish, fire and sweat I was surprised that anyone would want to give me a hug but as Nino completed his hat trick in CD Tenerife’s 3-2 home win over Getafe, everyone was leaping on each other and dancing with joy. Malaga only drew 0-0 at home to Valladolid so the gap to safety is now just one point.

Lured up to Santa Cruz early by the pre match street party outside the stadium, I got the 111 Titsa bus and switched to the tram at Santa Cruz bus station. La Paz is the perfect stop for the stadium, a quick coffee and a stroll over the Barranco Santos bridge and I was in Calle Mutine below the Tribuna stand for noon. The giant paella was simmering nicely and the Dorada was going down well, a couple of nice young ladies were handing out flags and a decent crowd was building. The carnaval band didn’t appear but once the paella was served the queue swelled dramatically. By the time the CD Tenerife team coach arived at 2.15 there were nearly 1,000 fans in full voice with banners and drums in full support.

The match started with Getafe hungry to nail a European spot, they looked good with speedy wingers and Leon had already gone close by the time he hit their opener after 10 minutes. Tenerife got their bearings and started to take over the game, it was another scorching sunny day, a stark contrast to the freezing terraces when we went over to Getafe. The line up that won in Sporting was showing confidence and on the half hour, Nino levelled with a well met header from a telling Roman cross. It was all Tenerife now and Alfaro missed a couple of decent chances to snatch the lead.

Into the second half and Tenerife piled on the pressure, Roman saw his shot blocked by Torres and goalie Codina chased Nino wide of the goal and was grateful to team mate Mane for clearing the ball. The goal had to come and Bertran supplied the pass that let Nino in for a deserved lead. With the other scores going our way there was a bouyant mood in the crowd but Getafe were determined and equalised with a Casquero header. Now it was about character as well as ability, and CDT had plenty of both, Alfaro timed his pass perfectly to beat the offside trap and Nino was sharp to slip the ball past the keeper to round off a great hat trick.

Now all thoughts are on Atletico Madrid away next Sunday, many of us have booked flights and at the moment Madrid airport is open. If the planes are grounded we have a contingency plan that involves borrowing the Kon Tiki raft from the Pyramids of Guimar and finishing our journey on Space Hoppers.

Food Glorious Food In Los Cristianos

There are so many distractions here in Tenerife, sometimes it’s difficult to walk down to the beach without being sidetracked. Today was the opening of the Canarian Food Fair next to Casa del Mar on the old beach side of the tunnel that links the Los Cristianos beaches. I thought the weeks work putting up the huge marquee and fitting it out was an extravagant way for Arona council to spend money but it does look rather good and its key position meant that it was doing a brisk trade today, all good for local business’s.

As the title suggests, it brings together food and wine producers from all seven islands and lots of small bodegas, farms and independent producers. The high winds dropped a bit today and the sun shone allowing people to sit in the outside area to enjoy their purchases and to see live traditional music on a small stage. It’s all about the food though, cheeses, jams, honey, sweets, fruit and vegetables plus a wide selection of wines. There are some samples to try, you had to fight to get to them through a sea of eager arms, I pushed my luck as ever by holding out a pint glass at the wine tasting but it didn’t work.

Some of the more specialist items include Gofio, a popular basic cereal eaten by many families, very versatile as a meal base and today I saw it used for Gofio ice cream and turron, that gorgeous sweet caramel like treat usually dealt out at christmas. There was plenty of local veg and fruit, one stall holder was brandishing a pineapple and a young lady was showing off a delightful pear. Anyway it’s just a two day show so if you are around tomorrow (Sunday) pop down between 11am and 8pm and bag some tasty goodies. They got through a loy of musical entertainment and food today but the shows not over until the singing lady’s fat!

Science And History Combine In La Laguna

Woken early by a huge storm it cleared enough to gamble on a day out up north, so catching the 110 Titsa bus I was off to Santa Cruz in good time. A quick change to the tram and I was able to get off right outside the Museum of Science and the Cosmos in la Laguna, my latest assignment for

It was blowing a rather chilly blast as I took to the roof plaza of the museum and I was startled to suddenly hear the bust of Agustin de Betancourt Y Molina, a former local engineering big shot, start to talk at me. That was just the first technical wonder of the day. Thr sun was doing its best and the views down into Santa Cruz were pretty impressive as I stood dwarfed by the large radio telescope dish.

Inside the museum was good fun, good value too at just 1.50 euros, that’s half price as i paid with my bono bus ticket. It made me think of school trips to the Science museum in London, this is much smaller but has some nice attractions, especially the Cosmic Tourism trip to other planets. Once a large school party had gone it was very quiet in the museum, I have found this with all of them and the art galleries even at weekends, such a shame, the government and council do try to offer some culture.

As the wind was whistling up the leg of my shorts once back outside, I hopped on the tram and went the 2 stops to La Trinidad in the heart of historic La Laguna. I always stop off at Hesperides bar for a coffee and a chaeck on the papers, they always have a sweep going on the next CD Tenerife game, good to see all the entrants believe we can beat Getafe at home on Sunday. La Laguna is always a pleasure to stroll around, things are always changing so i have to keep my beady eye on the place.

One of my favourite stop offs is the former convent of San Agustin, built in 1506 it was badly damaged by fire in 1964 and a long and interupted repair programme has gone on ever since. The old church is still in ruins but even so you can see a taste of its former glory, inside the main building the cloisters are coming on nicely and at the far end the Canarian Institute has a regular FREE gallery. The latest display is from Juan Jose Gil, he is from Gran Canaria but we all have our problems, the chosen paintings were all done in the last 10 years and are large bold landscapes, very impressive.

Heading back to Santa Cruz on the tram I noticed that there are more inspectors than ever checking that noone is dodging their fare, it’s only one euro any journey with a bono ticket and the 30 minute journey always flies by. This trip I just had a brief scout around Santa Cruz and a food stop, the Plaza de España lake was suffering a bit after the recent rain and will no doubt soon get a clean up. Another huge cruise liner was docked at the port, Vision of the Seas took up a fair chunk of the quayside, more spending visitors for the capital. Time to head back south via the bus station but as always the trip had sparked a few more article ideas, I will return.

Away Win Raises CD Tenerife Hopes Of Great Escape

Birds are singing in the trees, Spanish drivers are being courteous, politicians are telling the truth, and the taxman is handing out refunds – oh yes the world is looking wonderful this morning. What a difference a few days can make, last night CD Tenerife got their first away win of the season with a 2-0 victory at Sporting Gijon, and they were worthy winners.

Coach Oltra shuffled his pack, dropping below par Ricardo and bringing in Mikel Alonso and Roman Martinez in midfield, and giving a recall to Hector at left back to allow Sicilia to replace Manolo at the heart of defence. Sporting had the first chance of the game as Barral let rip after 4 minutes but Sergio Aragonoses made a confident save. Nino (below) looked more lively up front and went close racing through only to be denied by former CDT keeper Juan Pablo. Nino went agonisingly close late on in the half, his crisp shot shaving the Gijon post as Tenerife edged the play.

The second half started with Sergio again called into action, this time taking well from Cuevas. Tenerife looked more comfortable than on Saturday and put some good attacking moves together. Roman got in a strong header but the home keeper made a great save to keep the shot out. Nino was causing Sporting plenty of problems and shot wide again after 63 minutes but it had to be a win to give CDT any hope of avoiding the drop. The breakthrough came in the 70th minute, Sicilia put in a fine cross and Roman was on hand to fire the ball low past the keeper for a 1-0 lead.

We had been here before, so often the result has been snatched away late on, it was worrying to see Oltra bring on defensive subs, we can’t sit back on a lead. Thanks to a stroke of long overdue luck the second goal made the game safe, Arnolin made a half hearted clearance and Alfaro pounced to kill off the game and revive CD Tenerife’s survival hopes. That puts us 2 points behind Malaga in that safe 4th from bottom place but them and Racing play tonight, Valladolid won 2-1 over Sevilla to keep snapping at our heels.

Sunday is Getafe at home and the weekend after several hundred CDT fans will travel to Athletico Madrid with genuine hope of a win, the Armada Sur will be there in force.

CD Tenerife, That’s No Way To Treat Your Fans

Ring Ring….ah hello is that Injury Lawyers For You? Can I make a group claim against CD Tenerife on behalf of their fans, for breaking their hearts. I went to the crunch home game v Valladolid believing that this was the most important game in the survival battle but the team put in a gutless sloppy performance to draw 0-0.

Every time it gets tougher the fans dip a bit deeper into their bottomless well of passion, turning up early to greet CDT as they arrive at the stadium, more banners and tifo, rallying calls for action from all the peñas (fan clubs) and non stop chanting and singing on the terraces. Drawing or losing isn’t a sin as long as the players put their hearts into it, from the start against Valladolid, CD Tenerife showed no drive, no urgency and made unforced error after error.

The free fall visitors hadn’t scored in 3 games and had replaced their manager with Javier Clemente, a former CDT coach, with CDT 6 points adrift from safety and Valladolid just a point behind it was there for the taking. There was an early scare as Nauzet got clear but his soft shot hardly troubled Sergio in the home goal, Nino went wide soon after but the chances were few and far between in a dire first half that showed why both teams are deep in the relegation pooh. Early in to the game the scoreboard flashed up struggling Malaga’s home defeat to Sevilla, another incentive to go and grab the game but Tenerife didn’t respond.

Richi put the ball in the visitors net at the half hour mark but it was well offside and just a brief ray of hope. Tenerife couldn’t hold on to the ball, didn’t know what to do when they had it and there were no ideas coming from midfield. Ricardo was having his worst game in CDT colours, Nino looked lost up front, Alfaro had no spark and no one seemed to want to lead the team. The second half was just as bad, Sergio provided a lighter moment, racing out of his goal to clear an incoming ball with a flying header, but it was pretty grim.

Dinei came on for Juanlu to add some height but missed nearly all the headers he went for and Valladolid started to get a few chances, one a near gift as a looping back pass saw a mad scramble in front of goal. Alfaro headed over a decent chance before departing to make way for Mikel Alonso, our best holding midfielder, out of favour in recent weeks. So into the final furlong and Tenerife still looked pretty clueless, there were no Grand National winners here, just a load of tired old nags heading for the glue factory.

Many of the 15,800 crowd started to leave in the final ten minutes disheartened and let down by their heroes. You would need to be mad to want to watch this shower again, but we will be glued to the TV for the away game at Sporting on Tuesday night, back in the Heliodoro next Sunday for Getafe’s visit, and hundreds of us are booked up for the remaining away games. Yes we are mad, madly loyal and committed but it hurts when the management and players don’t seem to share that same burning desire.

A Book At Beach Time In Tenerife

Back on the rock and back on the case, chasing around for stories and events. Tenerife welcomed me back with sunny arms and lots of catching up to do. As always a lot had been happening but it was good to get back to my daily routines of swimming and exploring the daily delights of Los Cristianos.

Arona council are rather strange, they mix some great ideas with wild mood swings. At the moment there is a book fair on the front by the old Los Cristianos beach, moved from its usual church plaza setting, it was laid out nicely in a blaze of orange and white tents and balloons. Mixed in with the book stalls there are a series of musical, theatrical and artistic shows. It started yesterday and finishes on Saturday with an early evening blitz of performances. I bought a rather nice book on the history of Los Cristianos from 1900 to 1970, this afternoon but they also have some great volumes on Canarian cooking and those spicy sauces mmmmm.

Anyway, a small area has a temporary display of three sculptures from local artist Fernando Mena, he already has a permanent display called Cetaceos that shows parts of whales and dolphins seemingly rising out of the ground. The new additions were worth a walk round, he’s a prolific worker, trained in Santa Cruz and La Laguna before moving to the mainland to study in Valencia.

A little further along, just before the tunnel to Las Vistas beach, preperations are underway for the next event, a Canarian Food Fair, on 17 and 18 April. This has also been held in past years but this time they are putting up a huge aircraft hanger like tent, it needed a crane to start it off yesterday and today they were putting electrics in and large steel supports. Full marks for big ideas, but it was only a few weeks ago that the council tried to cancel the sardine funeral on grounds of poverty. The fact they are building this a week in advance shows the scale of it, normally it’s just a few breeze blocks and some chewing gum. I will definately be paying a visit or two to the Food Fair, it’s on from 11am to 8pm both days, so plenty of chances to taste and buy local cheese, wine, biscuits, cakes, bread, sweets….think I better book a trolly.

Cricket and Top Totty In Oxford

Think of cricket and you think of the glitz and glamour of the Indian Premier League and Calypso Cricket in the Caribbean-you dont think of Oxford on a cold Easter Monday. But that was where I ended up this morning, at The Parks, the home of Oxford University cricket.

I had just read in the paper about the death of Sir Alec Bedser a great player from another era, so when I saw that Northants were playing in Oxford I had to have a quick wander down there. The University parks were given to the city years ago so they cant charge to watch games, all the counties visit during the season and every other year the touring side pop in for a 3 day game. It was always a case of booking 3 days off work and heading to The Parks with a coolbag stuffed with beer, I saw Australia and the West Indies strutting their stuff, always great fun. Today was very different, no big crowds and so cold you could grate cheese on my scrotum.

There was no beer tent today just a few hardy souls huddling together around the boundary. Oxford were batting and Northants played with 2 slips-a bra and a pair of panties – old cricket joke number 397 there. I just stayed long enough to take a few snaps, then I retired to the pavillion, or pub as i prefer to call it.

The ground is in the post part of North Oxford, where they have fruit on the sideboard even if nobody is ill. On my way out of town I spotted 2 magpies (2 for joy) on a wall, I tried to get a better vantage point as they moved and I went in through an open gate. It was only at this point that I realised I was in a posh school for elegant young ladies – and that is the case for the defence your honour.

Nearly time to return to Tenerife, cant wait to get some warm sun and taste the Dorada again.