Archive for August, 2011
CD Tenerife Turn On The Style To Launch Segunda B Campaign

The smiles were back at the Heliodoro, as a statement of intent this 3-0 home win over Vecindario was the perfect way to reward the 8,206 crowd at the start of a new era in the unknown waters of Segunda B. Pre season was a little disjointed with so many new players to bed in but it all came together with an all round solid team display brimming with individual creative flair and slick football.

There was a late scare when Kitoko’s clearance didn’t come through to resume last seasons loan so the midfielder was replaced by a home debut for local product Abel and he slotted in well looking very comfortable on the ball. The ink has only just dried on Luna’s new lower pay contract but it looks like he could be on the way out to a Segunda team, a niggling injury kept him out for the derby but Medina made an impressive replacement alongside Tarantino in the heart of the defence and Vecindario got little joy on their few first half attacks.

Up front Kiko (top pic) led the line with power and passion, a second minute header just missed the target, his presence and ability to hold the ball up was a gilt edged invite for Bravo and Ferran Tacon to carve out strong attacks. Marcos Rodriguez was a calm creative head in the centre of midfield and the whole team had a quiet confidence that inspired hope for the second half. Just two minutes after the restart Victor Bravo showed his class scoring a cool goal that was well deserved. Five minutes later another Bravo was there again this time laying off a perfect pass to Perona to make it 2-0. The players must have been sweltering in the 31 degree heat but they didn’t show it, Bravo made way for Nico and he was soon showing his attacking flair on the left wing. Sergio had a fairly quiet afternoon in the home goal but was alert to deny Ruyman after 65 minutes.

Holding and building on a lead has so often been a problem for Tenerife but there was a hunger in the team, the third goal was a beauty with the ball being stroked around from the back and taken on an agressive run by Nico (above) who finished with precision. There is a lot of versatility about the new squad, Nico and Tacon swapped flanks and looked equally at home, German came off the bech and was unlucky not to add a fourth goal and Perona nearly had the final work but the Vecindario keeper got a foot to his goal bound shot. It was hard to see any bad points about this game, even the silly bookings were missing. Fans are starting to get to know and appreciate the new players, Nico could well be the big crowd pleaser, he ran to the fans to milk the applause for his goal and was first to salute the supporters at the final whistle. Bring on the next game, it can’t come soon enough.

Getting A Damm Good Thrashing At Guimar Rock Festival

Beers in hand we parted the sea of long hair, body piercings and leather to get a good view of the stage, the lights throbbed, the smoke billowed and Thrashtorno let rip with guitars blazing. Just a quiet evening on the seafront at El Puertito in Guimar for the Goymar Fest of rock and heavy metal.

Myself and The General had both been a previous year on the way back from football in Santa Cruz so had a good idea what to expect. The venue was an outdoor concrete sports court and the music had started at 2 in the afternoon and was set to go on until 2 am. Coming into Guimar the road sides were parked tight with cars but we headed to the beach area by Club Nautico and found a suitable slot. The large expanse of sand was peppered with a few wild revellers enjoying a drink and some special cigarettes, the cool breeze was very welcome after another scorching day, some of the fans must have been pouring with sweat in the afternoon wrapped in their denims.

At this point you may be thinking wild hairy rockers beer and a free festival, sounds like a recipe for a riot, well things are a lot more laid back in Tenerife and there were no police anywhere and just one low key security guard on each entrance to the performance area. There was quite a mix in the crowd, some were clearly curious tourists and a few old gits like The General and me but everyone was friendly and welcoming. There was one wild fan who kept charging at the stage and his fellow revellers during the Thrashtorno set but after several attempts to guide him out and reason with him he melted into the night. Thrashtorno , real locals from Guimar,lived up to their name, loud no nonsense thrash metal, at one stage their guitars dissapeared under cascades of hair as they lost themselves in their music.

The next band on, didn’t get their name, had a bit of a punk influence and were all the better for it, as we watched the swirling mosh pit rise and fall one of the organisers sold us some raffle tickets. One of the prizes was a free tattoo, could have been interesting if I won it, maybe I could have Club Deportivo Tenerife inked on a very intimate place or maybe I would have to settle for CDT. At the end of the second bands set they did the rafle draw on stage, a bit bizarre as they were most concerned to get all the winners before carrying on with the music. With the brief lights up and rest in the music I was able to scan the crowd and appreciate some of the rock chicks although there were a few more hefty ladies with piercings in all sorts of places.

Next up were Guerilla Urbana from La Laguna, a wild mix of traditional rock, punk and metal, they had quite a following and several of their fans body surfed over the crowd and pushed through the flimsy barrier to get on stage, at one point they did a great version of The Who’s I Can’t Explain. By the end of their set all pretence at a band audience divide had gone out of the window and the stage groaned as they bounced up and down singing a delightful little ditty about paying the Pope a not so friendly visit – very topical in Spain at the moment. By then, gone midnight, a good few hours had passed and happy to have sampled some alternative entertainment we left the venue and headed back south with loud kerrrangs ringing in our ears.

Eyes Peeled In Santa Cruz And La Laguna

Who needs a reason to go off wandering in Tenerife, sometimes it’s just nice to re-visit some favourite places, there’s always something new to see, and sometimes it’s good to look closer at places I may have taken for granted. With this in mind I arrived in La Laguna, stepping off the tram at La Trinidad a cool breeze blew down the road and the temperature flashed up as 24 degrees, quite a drop from the sizzling south.

Wandering through the main pedestrianised streets the number of tourists exploring was well up on normal, I found myself heading for the Torre de la Concepcion, a familiar landmark at the top end of town. It seemed years since I last scaled the tower that dates back to 1697 but noticing the clock about to register 1pm I held back to let the bells ring out, my ears could manage without a close up accoustic blast. It’s a bargain one euro to climb the five flights of tight twisting stairs to the bell gallery, there is another level higher but its sealed off, the masonry looks a bit crumbly these days. The breeze was even fresher in the tower as it blew in between the old stone balconies but the views were rewarding, out to the mountains inland, across to the north airport without its cloak of low cloud for once, and out into town over the bustling streets and changing skyline of the Bishops Palace pushing on with its restoration since the big fire. Back down at the entrance lobby a large sign advised “No Ringing Bells Or Throwing Rubbish from The Tower” you would think people didn’t need telling! The tower is open daily, except Mondays, from 9am to 5pm.

Back in town I stopped for a coffee and a drink and watched the world scurry by, La Laguna centre is a lovely historic collection of buildings showing off the best in canarian architecture. Even the Tourist Information Centre is inside the Casa de Los Capitanes Generales with its ornate fountain and plaza overlooked by old timber balconies. as I headed back to Santa Cruz on the tram (just 1.05 euros) I passed the modern campus of the University, developed with sensitivity and style to fit in with its older surroundings.

Plaza Weyler was my chosen destination coming into Santa Cruz, I still can’t work out where the lady sits on the tram strumming a chord on her harp as she announces each stop. Wow the heat hit me like a wave, 33 degrees in the capital but the plants and flowers in the plaza looked wonderfullywatered and well tended as always. My green fingers were twitiching and my feet led me off the short distance to Parque Garcia Sanabria the secret garden of Santa Cruz. The park gets regular criticism in the media for neglect, true the fountains were off and some parts look a bit worn but a works department van was parked in the main artery and a couple of men were trimming the grass. Not a massive area the park is packed with surprises, leafy walkways lead to strange sculptures, small plazas with historical murals on sturdy benches, and wonderous plants and flowers.

At the front entrance the flower clock is a real beauty and the kiddies train a little gem that sadly I’m too big for. The cafe and its large terrace is a perfect place to take a rest and it was here I discovered a poster and listings for free family film shows on week nights at 9.30 pm through the summer to 2 September. I hope it gets the support it deserves, what a wonderful way for a family to round off a summers day, they even have a burger and drink for 3 euros offer. Heading down into the centre of Santa Cruz I passed the large metallic sculpture in Plaza Patriotismo and for the first time realised the metal shapes were fish, that made me smile, another find and further proof that even familiar Tenerife places are worth a closer scrutiny.

A quick glance at the port and the ongoing work on Via Litoral before I strolled back to the bus station, lucky me the 110 Titsa express to Los Cristianos pulled in and for the second time in a day I made the trip in just under an hour and for a mere 5.10 euros on my bono ticket.

Few Pilgrims See Slow Progress from CD Tenerife

As religious pilgrims headed up the TF 1 motorway to Candelaria for the big holiday celebration a coach load of Armada Sur headed to Santa Cruz for the CD Tenerife presentation game against Las Palmas. I was longing to be back on the terracing at the Heliodoro but others were less keen, the wide open spaces reflected a poor crowd, reported in various outlets as 3,000 and 6,000 (don’t be so silly) it showed that the fans have to be won over again. A 1-0 defeat was an improvement on the 3-0 drubbing in Fridays away leg but it’s going to take some time for the new squad to settle.

The new home kit looked good as the squad posed for pre match photos, when the names were announced the last 3 contract rebels Bellvis, Hidalgo and Berenger were roundly booed and the Pios were met with silence as only a small handful of their fans travelled for this unwanted friendly. Tenerife played well in the first half, Kiko is a good target man but needs a younger faster striker to play off him, the big forward was a little blunt when through on goal and the Pio keeper as able to snatch the ball ooff him. Cristobal supported well from full back and Marcos Rodriguez showed plenty of industry at the heart of the team.

Tacon has impressed in the friendlies with his runs on the right and he teased Kiko with a great cross but the big man couldn’t provide the finish. Luna and Tarantino had a few shaky moments in the centre of the home defence but a score less half time was about right. Just after the break Suarez gave Las Palmas the lead with a free kick that brushed the post. Kiko had another good chance but hit it straight at the keeper. The substitutions came thick and fast and disturbed Tenerife’s rythmn. Nico was the pick of the replacements and Tarantino headed his effort over the bar when he could have levelled. Jorge Perona (above 11) showed some nice touches but when Kiko hit the post it seemed to confirm that the home goal wasn’t coming, those goals will need to flow in the league. It all gets serious next Sunday with the visit of Vecindario but there may be a few more signings before then.

Kiteboards, Catwalks, Beer And Pancakes In El Medano

Did you ever try to make a kite from brown paper and sticks or try one of those brittle Texaco Flyers that petrol stations were knocking out? Things have soared to another level now and kiteboarding is a top sport combining kites and small surf boards that allow riders to defy gravity, just add wind for action.

Sadly on Tuesday morning the start of the PKRA Masters and Spanish Championship in El Medano was delayed to mid afternoon as the wind was wheezing like a long term smoker. I pitched up and the wind perked up, a familiar tale, it was still hardly wild but I got some pics and interviews for Tenerife Magazine. The numbers were down on those originally announced, for 150 try 20 riders, but it was good fun and I managed not to get tied up in the kite strings.

Roll on to Thursday and I was back for another look, this time the wind was growling, down at the beach it was like being sand blasted by Mother Nature. Nice to see some of the female riders, Spains Cristina Resinas and Angela Peral definately added some glamour to proceedings. The Reina beer promotion girls also put the wind in my sails and with a beer stall on hand it was a great way to spend an afternoon. At one point I adjourned to the nearby cafe El Mosquito for a cold drink and repite from the wind, there were beer crates stacked in the gents, sadly empties otherwise I might have settled in for a few hours. I splashed some water on my face as it was caked in sand and dust but I didn’t check the mirror, it was only later I realised I had only made slight inroads into natures face pack and now had a bizarre streaky look.

Back on the beach the riders were packing away for the day, it finishes on Saturday, there was much tugging on strings and fighting to save the advertsing hoardings as several keen riders popped a few more tricks out on the water. I sunk into a sweet creamy pancake at La Boheme and then hung around at the main beach for the Moda Al Aire fashion show, the catwalk had been set up on the edge of the busy beach and a crowd was gathering. Bang on time at 6pm the speakers burst into life with some snappy dance tunes as three young ladies took to the stage and gyrated their bodies. They only seemed to have 3 songs that kept repeating, one seemed to be called I Like Dance but the more I listened the more it became I Like Darts maybe its a new clubbing trend. A couple of local girls were up and boogieing in front of the stage and to everyones amusement they were joined by a local drunk nutter busting some moves. The unexpected dance star used the dad at a wedding technique and only just avoided falling over the sound system lead, full marks though for artistic interpretation.

After 40 minutes of the music and dance the 20 young local models were still waiting in the wings and I had to scoot to get the 483 quick Titsa back to Los Cristianos. The fashion shows are on for 3 evenings and should help to boost trade at the shops supplying the clothes. From the dancing and music that I witnessed I can definately say it’s much better than Punch and Judy.

CD Tenerife, A Work In Progress

The dust has not yet settled on CD Tenerife’s frantic summer but with this 5th pre season friendly we were expecting a glimpse of the favoured starting line up. Real Madrid Castilla (B team) were not the big draw of previous seasons and that was reflected in the less busy streets of La Orotava as we made our way to the game. The Teide Trophy was up for grabs but ending goal less it was down to penalties, no extra time, to settle it 4-1 in favour of our Segunda B rivals.

The watery sun peeping out from the low cloud was probably the best weather I have seen for a game here, the southern blow torch heat was muffled by swathes of dark cloud as we reached the north airport and rain seemed briefly to be a possibility. A few beers and unexpected free tickets into the stadium put us in a good mood, Tenerife started with Sergio in goal, Cristobal and Meji at full back and Luna and Tarantino sharing the central defence. Many fans were hoping to spot future Madrid stars but they were a poor ill disciplined side with Alvaro Morata the only one showing any pedigree.

Tacon made some good runs on the right for Tenerife, Kiko was his usual handful as the main attacker and Perona looked a useful partner for him. Perona should have given CDT the lead but the goalie prodded a foot out to stop his shot after 20 minutes. The referee was card happy from the off and Madrids loose tackles didn’t help them, Vazquez got a straight red after 23 minutes but Tenerife couldn’t make the advantage pay and it was cancelled out when Meji went off for a second yellow just before half time.

The second half saw a few changes with latest addition Sergio Rodriguez making his debut replacing Perona. The rest of the Tenerife squad warmed up in the far corner near the large clutch of our fans and Julio Alvarez got a roasting, with Natalio taking a deal to get out of town Alvarez is getting the full glare for last seasons poor overpaid displays. Latest addition Sergio Rodriguez made his debut and another new boy Alvaro Zazo (above) nearly unlocked madrid after 68 minutes. Omar took to the field and showed some skill and urgency but after only 20 minutes he was holding his sides and looking like he had just run a marathon. Bravo and Raton combined well for another Tenerife chance but the game drifted towards spot kicks.

Cristobal skied his penalty over the bar, Bravo was on target but with Luna hitting a soft shot at the keeper Madrid kept cool and won 4-1. At the final whistle the usual friendly pitch invasion was allowed and players of both sides happily posed for photos and signed autographs. Not a lot learned from this game except that another forward would be handy and we are desperate for a strong leader to pull the players together as a unit.

Eternal Springs Even In A Scorching Tenerife Summer

Looking down at my feet the path was dry, angular and rocky, looking up the sky was almost clear blue with a baking sun, but looking around Camino de La Hoya was green and fertile with clear signs of an agricultural past. Quite a contrast but as the walk went on it was clear that water was never far away from me and had been a key ingredient in attracting early settlers to this route that links the municipalities of Arona and San Miguel. Having not tackled the Path Of The Hollow, to give it a loose transaltion, for years my memory was a little patchy as I caught the 416 Granadilla Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. Just 30 minutes later and one euro lighter on my bono ticket I had passed through Cabo Blanco and Valle San Lorenzo on the way up to La Centinela restuarant and mirador. This stylish modern eaterie is the meat, fish and chicken in the sandwich between Arona and San Miguel and also the doorway to the twisting descending path. Despite the heat of the morning I had a coffee in La Centinela so I could admire the panoramic view that would greet diners later in the day.

Taking the first few steps downward below the restaurant bay windows I wondered how many walkers had amused their well watered watchers with stumbles and slides, the initial steep incline had little grip and I was glad to hit the firmer path. Of course I took my time to get going as the views were crying out to be photographed, in the distance Montaña Roja jutted out into the sea at El Medano and a quick swivel of the neck revealed Los Cristianos and Las Americas through a parting of the mountains. Spreading out like a patchwork the terraced slopes confirmed the ingenuity of early settlers. The pathway showed signs of horseback visitors, I did my best to avoid taking evidence of their passing with me.

Looking down on this landscape is Roque de Jama a protected national monument and a stunning example of past volcanic action. Its flaked and splintered cone is a beacon for miles around and another inspiration to the walkers below. The floor of the valley is a rich source of pummice but it was also an area of trade and commerce as people met at the various springs to top up on water. Near the end of the walk natural troughs and channels are carved into the red imperneable rock collecting the rain and moisture that runs down through the fractured rock above. The spring was barely a trickle on my visit and the water looked stagnant but I could hear the dripping further up, enough to know that a short shower would soon refresh this as it has done for thousands of years.

Heading up and off the track I was back on a main road linking to San Miguel, a restored rural house, Vera de La Hoya and an old tile kiln were part of the Caserio de La Hoya, one of the earliest settlements. Pipes along the road side gurgled with cold fresh water as I sweated like Lee Evans in a sauna, time to make a choice, retrace my steps or head on to San Miguel along the Sendero de Tamaide. This narrower and less clear walk skirted a barranco but there was the option of descending down to another natural spring so I made like a goat and took the steep uneven track downward.

After scrambling over some boulders I was staring up a large rockface with streams of water running down like a baby version of Barranco del Invierno in Adeje. A rickety wooden bridge seperated me from my path upwards and a thin wild cat sprinted up the rocky steps ahead teasing me with the promise of an easy climb, what a furry fibber.Rising up from the cooler leafy basement I could make out the main road ahead and another steep walk, this time on concrete, into San Miguel. Looking back I could just see La Centinela beyond Roque de Jama and onward the spire of the San Miguel church pulled me towards the cold beer that awaited. In total the walks took nearly two and a half hours but it whizzed by as my Titsa bus, one an hour at weekends, took the high road before heading down into Los Cristianos.

Garachico Keeps Its Cool After The Big Heat

It was like being slapped in the face with a wet fish, in the nicest possible way, jumping off the Titsa bus on the Garachico coast road a cool salty breeze laced with foam from the crashing waves was just the cooling greeting I was seeking. The south of Tenerife was in the grip of a calima with humidity pumping the temperatures into the mid thirties so an escape to the north seemed a great idea.

An early start saw me in Icod de los Vinos for 11 am after a 90 minute ride on the 460 Titsa bus for just 3.65 euros on my Bono ticket. The route always pleases my senses, up through the lovely villages of Santiago del Teide and around the tight roads that cling to the mountains with a sheer drop below. I have owed Garachico a proper visit for years, brief stops on the way through just left me hungry for the full feast, since my last pass through a year ago little seemed to have changed with the new marina but a leaflet picked up later assured me it would be open for January 2012. the 33 million euro project started in 2008 and should give a big boost to local fishermen and the sporty boating brigade.

The rock is the big star of Garachico, a volcanic deposit spat into the sea when a huge eruption of lava engulfed much of the town in 1706, it had played peek a boo with me as my bus travelled along the high road into Icod but close up it was a powerful reminder of a turbulent past and a defiant marker for the future. Climbing the stone steps up to the Ex Convento de Santa Domingo de Guzman I found a shady green plaza in front of the old building. Built in 1601 it’s now a geriatric hospital, exhibition hall, and auditorium as well as a neat spot to survey the sea. A small fountain trickled sedately and lizards scuttled across from plant to plant, one patient at the hospital snoozed in the shade, I was tempted to join him but pushed onwards back down on the Paseo Maritima.

The waves were lively but not threatening but there were plenty of signs of their full power, an old water mill Los Molinos is preserved for visitors, the last remaining one after others were pummelled by the sea, even the football ground had large breaker like protection just a roads crossing from the sea. Nature does balance things up, the El Caleton rock pools are a wonderful collection of channels and fissures in the rocks, free for sun seeking bathers to enjoy. Health and safety in the UK would have them sealed off but in Garachico there are not even any life guards, just a colour coded safety flag plus stone steps and metal stairs into the churning water and then it’s down to your own common sense. There is also a more formal man made pool but the natural way looked much more fun.

Turning away from the sea and up a side street I was rewarded with the Plaza de la Libertad and what a rich treasure that turned out to be. The Iglesia De Nuestra Senora De Los Angeles and the Ayuntamiento building were impressive but shelling out a paltry euro I entered the Ex Convento De San Francisco which dates back to 1524 (that’s nearly half past three). The concentric cobbled corridors were lined with cabinets full of rare shells and fossils, exhibition halls led off displaying various art works, and the courtyards just brimmed with beauty. Up on the first floor the exhibition Canarias – Volcanes En El Oceano was continuing its educational tour and although closed for the afternoon the library offered another service to well served locals.

Heading back out to the sea front I ventured another euro to make the short walk onto the tower roof of the Castillo San Miguel. This had survived fire and lava since its birth in 1575 and the rusty canon and anchors just below stood testament to its valiant efforts to repel pirates. Nature had of course proved to be a more formidable opponent and even now the slopes of the cliffs show the path of two of the main lava flows, there were seven seperate prongs of the volcanic activity. Grabbing a cold drink left my in perfect time to catch the 363 hourly bus back to Icod, just one euro and ten minutes and I was back in a rather deserted home of the drago tree. Retracing my bus trip back south I broke the journey in Tejina for a few cool drinks with friends before pitching up in Los Cristianos for a few late Doradas at a party packed Merry Monk, well it was still very humid in the south.