Archive for August 19th, 2011
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.