Archive for May, 2013
Camino Real, Santiago Del Teide – With Extra Footage

It’s not just DVD’s that have added content, retracing a previous walk down from Santiago del Teide to Puerto Santiago I discovered extra leg straining, muscle sapping kilometers. Camino Real is one of the ancient tracks used to link the west coast town to the coast, and very lovely it is too.

Santiago del Teide was sunny and a crisp 17 degrees as I arrived on the 460 Titsa bus to Icod. The entrance to the walk wrongly signposts it as 6.7 kms but the other distance posts along the way have it as 8 kms but what’s a few more metres between friends. Stone wall building was highly skilled in this corner of Tenerife and the sturdy guardians channeled me slowly down the uneven rock track as it slowly veered away from the main road. The flowers and plants were perky and colourful in the nearby fields and even the cactus were flowering.

Last time I did the full route without diversions but just 30 minutes in I found my first temptation. As the track rose and turned a corner there were two smaller feeds, one down to El Molledo, and soaring upward the one I picked, a 2.1 km trek (each way) to Risco Blanco. It was tight and twisting and a bit overgrown in places and at one point a large finely balanced rock overhung my path. Was it the work of nature, it looked like a dastardly plot from Willie E Coyote, I took my chances and was thankful I hadn’t worn my Road Runner costume. Sometimes these paths can fizzle out to nothing but this one held a fine reward, as I crested the last hill I found myself staring straight at the knarled white cone of Risco Blanco, stunning in itself but doubly so as La Gomera shone clear and bright in the distant sea beyond.

Tenerife must be a geologists dream, stacks, intrusions and many more rock formations spread out below me as I headed back down to the Camino Real. Back at the junction I realized I was still not far from my Santiago starting point. Pushing on I went down into the bowl surrounding the Barranco del Valle with water gurgling through the large pipes that now carry the water that used to run through stone channels. An excitable cockerel nearly blasted my eardrums off as I passed a small isolated farm yard and across the valley goats were bleating and clanging the bells around their necks – damm noisy place the countryside.

Oh lucky me, there was another signpost waiting to test me, this one pointed up to Cruz de Los Misioneros, at a mere 1.1 kms, I couldn’t resist and started plodding up the side of the mountain path partially covered in bushes and grass. There were big boulder based steps to cope with and as I rose higher I could see the village of Tamaimo spreading out below me across the barranco. The meandering track didn’t seem to have any obvious end but I stuck with it, big respect to those people clutching a paint pot and brush who add the yellow and blue marks on the rocks to show the correct route. Eventually I hauled myself up on the last ledge and looked over to see a sheer drop to another valley and the other side of my old friend the 942 metre high Risco Blanco, a bit scary but very rewarding.

Back down at the bottom my track was dipping down close to the almost dry river bed of the barranco which became a small section of the way ahead. After a long narrow corridor of steep sided rocks I emerged with a welcome view of the coast in the near distance. The barranco now fell away to my side and reservoirs had tapped the dribbles of water coming down to feed some fertile farm areas. I ignored another side track, this one for Circular Guanma, another 3.5 km that I could manage without but it would get a chance another day.

The final stretch was in some ways the hardest as firm but uneven rock gave way to shifting small shingle but my trainers were up to the task. The trail comes out by a large farm area and strangely the posts point to the high cliff face on the right, I tried that last time and it nearly stranded me up the side of the mountain. Sticking to the left hand side of the netted growing areas I threaded my way though some narrow paths, with those paint marks encouraging me, and emerged just above Puerto Santiago on the main road leading down to the Los Gigantes mirador. My apologies to any passing motorists subjected to me sat on the grass verge removing my socks and massaging my feet – you can probably seek counseling for the trauma. It had been a good walk, five hours and just over 14 kms and plenty of glimpses of nature at its finest.





Late Goal Puts Promotion Champers On Hold For CD Tenerife

What a great party but the guests piddled in the punch just before leaving and CD Tenerife have a tricky task as they take a 3-1 home lead to Hospitalet next Sunday. Fans and players can be proud of the spectacle they produced as the Group One champions picked off their visitors only to be pegged back by a late away goal that gives Hospitalet hope.

The greeting for Tenerife was inspiring with the 16,546 crowd producing a wall of sound from the warm up and as the tifo flowed and flares billowed smoke, Hospitalet and their meagre support must have felt overwhelmed. Coach Alvaro showed loyalty to central defenders Rigo and Bruno despite a shaky game last week and they rewarded him with a sturdy display against a side with some genuine pace up front. Rigo made a strong decisive clearance in the first ten minutes and with Sergio Aragoneses back in goal the confidence spread. Loro was at his best after 11 minutes to open the scoring with a superbly flighted free kick over the wall and past the diving keeper.

Bacari was nippy up front for the visitors but Rigo and Bruno wouldn’t let him pass and 21 goal Cirio was hounded by Moyano when he broke down the left. Hospitalet got their chance when the Tenerife marking was a bit slack but Sergio charged out of his goal to mop up the potential shot. It was all good stuff and every home charge brought an even louder roar from the crowd.

Chechu was struggling to make an impact and skied a decent chance early in the second half but he was about to be given a lesson in forward play from an unlikely source, left back Llorente. The pony tailed defender weaved inside two defenders with ease and let loose a screaming shot that was just a blur to Craviotto in goal. It was one way traffic but Hospitalet made a double substitution and it briefly revived them. Osado fresh off the bench set off on a run, Moyano closed him down well and snuffed out the danger. Suso had been struggling for fitness in the week but replacing Chechu he set about testing the opposition down the right wing.

Medina and Ayoze soon followed onto the park in place of Alberto and Loro but it was the defensive Medina who grabbed the third goal. As Tenerife appealed for a blatant hand ball and penalty the ball broke out to Medina just outside the box and he picked his spot like an expert to leave the keeper floundering. Ayoze had an overhead kick that just cleared the bar and we were dreaming of a routine second leg but with a couple of minutes left Osado latched onto a half chance and belted the ball past Sergio to stop the runaway Tenerife train. It was a performance worthy of promotion but the away goal means a 2-0 win would shade it for Hospitalet. One more challenge, hopefully even the plastic pitch in Barcelona wont stop Tenerife in this form.

CD Marino Into The Sunset, CD Tenerife Into The Play Off Glare

Job done after 20 minutes for CD Marino, 2-0 up against a weakened Guijuelo side the game fizzled out into a second half stroll but Marino looked comfortable and will spend all summer regretting a disastrous first half of the season.

I was looking forward to seeing CD Tenerife loanees German and Abel (below) but only the midfield half of that pair played and he had a quiet game. Balduino has had a good season for Marino and when goalie Carmona tried to clear his raid with his head in the second minute the ball fell to Sandro who sliced it straight into the net. Then Balduino showed some good close control before powering a low cross close to the goal that needed a strong defensive block.

Raul Barcos pushed up on the right and forced a low save from Carmona, and Rafa Hernandez should have done better with his shot from the right that whizzed past the post. Guijuelo had eight regular squad members missing and it showed, Marino were all over them and the second goal was sure to come. Raul Barcos ventured forward again and put in a perfect cross to Balduino, he controlled the ball well and in one smooth move lashed it past the keeper.

I was expecting Abel to exert some control on the visitors midfield but he played deep and was slow to link up with his team mates. Chema was giving full back Valverde torrid time, he was glad to see the keeper cover when he was easily beaten again by Chema. Abel had a sticky moment when he lost the ball with Marino bearing down, thankfully for him a nifty back pass closed that threat down. Winger Manu looked to have some pace but Raul Barcos shadowed him well and limited him to one decent chance when he got to a free header but his direction let him down.

Guijuelo made an effort at the start of the second half, Matias in the home goal finally had some work to do and made a good save. Marino replaced Balduino with Ramses but his initial burst soon susbsided as both teams seemed to remember that it was a game with no bearing on league placings. Jaime opened up the left side for Marino but couldn’t find a blue shirt with a clear chance at goal. Brit Sean Wilkins came on for the last 25 minutes but the game was winding down. Guijuelo were so laid back they swapped their keeper for young sub Rubi. Guijuelo could have made a late sting, Manu broke free on the left but Matias took the ball at the second attempt.

At the final whistle the Marino players clapped their fans before departing the pitch, life back in the Tercera division will begin soon enough but it seems certain the squad will undergo a lot of changes before then.

Over in Salamanca the final league game for CD Tenerife was merely an obligation to get out of the way before the play offs. After last weeks stormy baptism back up goalie Roberto could have done without a sloppy defensive error by Bruno after four minutes that gave him no chance of saving a Borja free shot into the net. After that Roberto looked solid especially denying Igor a header early in the second half. Soon after the group champions clawed their way back to level terms after Cristo squared the ball to Aridane for his 24th goal of the season.

A few minutes later a well measured pass from Moyano found Aridane who was only too happy to notch another on his seasons goal spree. Bruno had another rush of blood, out of position he threw himself to the floor to block a shot and it hit his hand, the penalty was a harsh call but the defender shouldn’t have been in that vulnerable position. Lazaro sent Roberto the wrong way and it ended as a draw. The play offs await.



Norway Celebrates Its Proud Song Of Independence

In Tenerife we don’t need to wait for an overblown camp festival of poor music to appreciate other cultures, there’s such a rich mix here. After catching small glimpses of Norway’s National Day celebrations in recent years I was determined to see more this year when some Norwegian friends invited me along to their parade in Los Cristianos on Friday 17 May.

My first speedway hero Dag Lovaas of Oxford Rebels was from Norway but that’s about as far as my knowledge of the country goes. There is a big Scandinavian influence in Los Cristianos as the modern tourist growth was sparked over 50 years ago when the Swedish began to bring infirm patients here for the beneficial qualities of the weather. Arriving at the Scandinavian church near the old beach there was already a good gathering of Norway flags and colours and hints of national costume. My friends introduced me to Toril Merete Wulff the Santa Cruz based vice consul of Norway for the Canary Islands and she topped up the minimal information I had researched on the net.

Norway was originally under Danish rule but in 1814 they were given over to Sweden but formed their own constitution and that is what the national day celebrates, it wasn’t until 1905 that Norway gained full independence. Back in Norway bigger parades took place in all major cities with slight regional variations in customs, Oslo started it off with children leading King Harold and the army at 11am. Just over 100 Norwegians, there are 800 registered in Santa Cruz province, were raring to set off on the Los Cristianos version and a local Canarian youth orchestra came along to provide the musical backing. Arona council always do their bit to make sure the parade runs smoothly, police made sure they had a clear route especially when they spread out near the Plaza del Pescadora to sing their national song and make speeches.

Turning and heading up to the church plaza they all funneled back down the side of the Hotel Reveron and back to the Scandinavian church for a celebration meal. It was a relatively short but delightful insight into another countries special day and as I walked further along the front towards Las Vistas I noticed small stages set up for the Day of Africa celebrations with bands from Ghana, Sierra Leone, the Saharra, and Senegal. All this and we still have the Dia de Canarias to come on 30 May.

Sunday Roast Becomes A Dogs Dinner For CD Tenerife

How nice to have a 5pm kick off again. A leisurely Sunday lunch, a few cheeky beers with friends and a few hours soaking up the sun before some more Dorada. Only one thing spoilt it, a dreadful game that saw CD Tenerife slump 0-1 at home to Alcala.

Changes were always going to be made for this game as the group championship was in the bag and it is a good idea to give the less used players a game to sharpen them up in case needed in the play offs. Coach Alvaro Cervera went a bit too far and the team lacked shape, motivation, and hunger.

President Concepcion’s decision to charge season ticket holders for the play offs soured the mood and banners at both ends spelt out the anger while the opening 15 minutes was played out with no singing or chanting from the crowd. When the voices were unleashed it was to call for the President’s head but by then we could see this was not going to be a good day for football. It’s a good job Alcala needed the win to fight relegation, otherwise both sets of players could have set up camp in the middle of the park.

Tarantino at left back was a strange call, Alberto back in the centre of defence next to Rigo wasn’t convincing, and Fran Ochoa and Nico in midfield were hopeless and were hooked off at half time. Ayoze tried to lead the attacking line with valiant support from Cristo Martin but the service was woeful. The big spotlight was on back up goalie Roberto, he didn’t have too much to do in the first half but just before the break he was found wanting when a corner was headed in by Ivan Garcia. Roberto was at fault but his more experienced defenders have to take some blame as well.

Bruno and Loro came on for the second half, that was a bit better, only a bit, it was still painful to watch. Loro had the best chance of the game after Cristo fed the ball to him but Juancho did well in the visitors goal to deny him. Aridane had his sun bathing session on the bench interrupted as he replaced Rigo and Medina dropped back into the defence. Most of us had already written the game off when Ayoze broke through but couldn’t find any help. The final whistle was something of a relief, we won’t be seeing this game on the season highlights DVD.

Alberto got a late booking to earn his suspension next Sunday at Salamanca, let’s get that out of the way and then down to the real business of the play off games. The dream is still very much alive.

The Call Of The Mountains And The San Miguel Trail

Elephant gun, inflatable lifeboat, distress flares, and several slabs of Kendall Mint Cake, on second thoughts maybe it had been a while since my last Tenerife mountain walk and I was over packing my knapsack. Settling for some cheese rolls and a couple of bottles of cold water my friend Karen and I caught the Titsa bus from Los Cristianos to the La Centinela mirador up above Valle San Lorenzo some 11 kms away.

It was another scorcher, the last time I did this walk a few years ago it was a cloudy day but as we crunched our way down the steep incline below the La Centinela restaurant the coast unfolded in the distance with a fine view from Playa de Las Americas to El Medano and the distinctive Montana Roja. The walk is known as the Camino de la Hoya and used to be an old trade track that linked Arona with San Miguel. Since the 1970’s the busy main road does the link work along the lip of the valley but the odd pile of horse droppings and ruts in the path showed that it’s not just walkers that prefer this route.

Up above us Roque de Jama was a tell tale window on the volcanic past, the cone is cracked and splintered and reminded me of Sir Alex Fergusons nose. It was spookily quiet, we could see a long way ahead and behind and we were alone – well apart from the sweet song of the birds. Part way down we stopped to have a nosey inside an abandoned cottage, one of those holiday property programmes would no doubt have described it as an “opportunity” but the remote setting would limit those late night trips to the nearest bar.

Pummice used to be extracted from the valley floor and the barranco, dry at this time of year, could supply much needed water to irrigate crops on the terraced hills on the coastal side. There seemed to still be some limited quarrying going on in one of the flatter areas and the loud cry of a cockrel sounded from a small holding up on higher ground. Reaching the old spring and the water collecting area we stopped for our bottled water break, the old clothes washing trough was half full of stagnant water that neither of us fancied sipping. At this far end of the valley the rough track gave way to modern irregular shaped blocks as the path rose steeply past a couple of converted farm houses now being used as attractive family homes. At the top of this steep slog the Caserio de La Hoya rural house had been lovingly restored but was closed as it was on my last visit.

The old road at the top included an old tile kiln, Horno de Tejas, built in the late 19th century and restored in 1993 and the resevoir further along looked almost full unlike the few we spotted from the main track earlier. We were skirting San Miguel now and could see the spire of the church but there was more work to do. The Sendero del Tamaide teased us along the edge of another barranco before luring us down into El Lomo and a wooden bridge over a few spluttering dribbles from the almost dry spring. Deep down in this cleft the birds swooped overhead from their homes scooped out of the rock sides. Another big effort up the tight path brought us to a modern concrete road following on from a very uneven path that dropped away dramatically into the barranco, nice to look into but good to stay out of.

There was the last stretch through the narrow back streets of San Miguel centre past the Casa de El Capitan and a mix of revamped rural houses and new speculative apartments from more optimistic times now unfinished and abandoned. A basic modern café supplied our pressing needs of drinks and a filling snack as our muscles got a chance to take some deep breaths. On the bus back along the top road overlooking our main route it was rewarding to see how much ground we had covered in the two and a half hours trekking, it’s definitely rekindled my walking instincts.

CD Tenerife Shine Like Champions

There’s a blue and white glow to the world today after CD Tenerife sealed their Group One title with a magnificent 0-3 away win at SS Reyes. This was another big test with Bruno and Suso suspended and Llorente injured but the squad showed it’s worth again, Sergio Rodriguez covered well at left back and Carlos Portero and Medina looked comfortable in midfield.

An early lead was just what was needed to settle the nerves, Rigo tested Eladio in the home goal and he could only parry the shot for Aridane to tap in. Carlos thought he had doubled the margin but the keeper stuck out a foot to foil him. Tenerife were well in charge and another good move made it 0-2, a defender got a head to a corner and Aridane spotted his chance and nodded the loose ball into the net.

Reyes, fighting to avoid the drop, had a little rally, Moyano made two good defensive blocks from Vicente, he later managed to get a shot in but put it wide. Aridane was looking for his hat trick and nearly completed it just before the interval with a wide shot after a deep break. Alberto got himself in a bit of a muddle soon after the restart but Rodriguez cleared the danger and Sergio took a high ball off the head of an attacker. It was pretty comfortable, Aridane was frustrated by the post after a good cross from Rodriguez and Nico and Ayoze replaced Chechu and Carlos.

Nico was enjoying his rare run out, a mazy run opened up a shot for Loro that Eladio saved and a pass to Ayoze went begging as the young striker could only produce a weak shot at the keeper. On such a great day Tenerife deserved every break they got, Ayoze had the last word finally breaking his scoring duck after taking two defenders wide before scoring. What a way to clinch the title. That’s the job part done, Alcala home at 5pm on Sunday will be party time as Tenerife wrap up the two last regular games before the big challenge of home and away play offs. No team should hold any fears for the mighty Tete, surely this is our season.


Wet Blanket Ref Can’t Smother Sizzling Six Goal Draw At CD Marino

He should have been treating his mother on Spain’s Mothers Day instead referee Alvarez-Jesus did his best to ruin a cracking 3-3 draw as CD Marino took on Real Madrid C.

With Poncho leaving in the week and Rafa suspended Marino made changes but suffered the worst possible start as Chema handled the ball, got booked, and saw Saurez score from the penalty spot after 4 minutes. Dorta made a great defensive tackle a few minutes later and Jaime and Chema worked well down the left to cause Madrid a few problems. The C team were speedy on the break and hard tackling, Saurez clattered home captain Airam several times and crunched Balduino when he got near to goal. Burgui rounded the Marino defence and looked odds on to score but Aaron made a strong block.

Sandro was playing in a more withdrawn central role but once he was unleashed on the right after 30 minutes Marino took control and put the Madrid goal under siege. Too often Marino players got themselves offside but the ref was annoyingly late with the call each time. Balduino looked sharp and Airam was hustling to unsettle the visitors, after resisting several raids Madrid were unlocked by a Chema corner that was pounced on by Airam (below) as goalie Jacob clawed at thin air.

That equalizer was a great way to end the half and Marino continued to dominate at the start of the second half as a Sandro shot shaved the bar. Ayoze showed good skill looping a shot at goal from a corner and the Madrid starlets looked second best. Marino went ahead with a beauty after the keeper fluffed his clearance, the ball fell to Sandro just outside the box and he buried it with a delicate lob. The lead was soon wiped out from a Madrid break, pulled to the left and stroked the ball past Matias in the home goal.

Jaime went forward looking for a break and found Sandro but he snatched at his shot and it went wide. The ref had been cramming names into his book but went one better with Iker, the Marino striker went down in the penalty area after a 50 50 challenge but the ref booked him for diving, the surprised striker quietly asked why and was shown the red card – what nonsense. Madrid took this as their rallying call and pressed for a goal, Matias made a great low save to turn the ball aside. Balduino is normally an old fashioned powerful striker but he showed some sublime skill when he turned with his back to goal and fired the ball into the underside of the net to restore the lead.

It was all pretty even, Matias made another strong diving save as Madrid made their extra man count. Marino probably just about deserved to win but a late charge from Madrid produced an agonizing finish as the ball bounced off the post and crawled past Matias for a 3-3 draw.


Beer, Boats, Birthdays, And Dancing

Hoping for a head clearing walk after a heavy weekend there I was surrounded by a sea of dancers in the centre of Los Cristianos, all being far too energetic for my delicate constitution to cope with. Whoops did I just loose the end of April? It seemed to slip away pretty quickly thanks to a mix of my birthday and the company of good friends – or is it just my age. The latest landmark in my ageing process was a fairly quiet and restrained affair but it picked up pace rapidly after that.

Friday was a fun night at El Cordero in Guargacho with a select group of CD Tenerife friends, Neal, Karen and Matt were over from Bournemouth and Burnley Pete was here from surprisingly enough Burnley. The General and Bob and Jess completed the group as we noshed our way through a mountain of food – and a few beers. On the way back we popped into Suters Bar for a few Doradas and were entertained by two old local codgers squaring up to each other in a drunken slow motion preamble to a fight that was never going to happen.

Saturday was sunshine and swimming followed by a Titsa bus up to Tejina in Guia de Isora to eat out at Bar Achamey. The large platter of spicy meat mixed well with the Dorada, no one sat next to us on the return bus later. Tejina is a lovely little village and I was very taken by a garden homage to Tejina a former Princess of the Guanches, the original native inhabitants of Tenerife. Saturday night finished with a few more beers for me at The Merry Monk, I did catch the last few games on The Football League Show but they seemed to be spinning a bit – bedtime I think.

Sundays CD Tenerife trip was its usual Dorada fuelled fun fest of football and friends with a 2-0 win keeping the promotion pot boiling. Besides the game (see previous blog post) the images of Super Mario threatening to streak onto the pitch and a Roger Mellie look alike Elvis impersonator on the coach helped to jolly things along. Back in Los Cristianos after a few farewell beers with the Bournemouth trio before they left with a very early morning flight to face, I grabbed some food down at The Breeze Inn, Las Vistas beach and took a few photos of the visiting cruise ship Albatros.

It was a scorching day and the ship looked wonderful moored up just off the bay with little shuttle boats bringing some of the 600 passengers in to spend their money. Sadly there wasn’t enough time for me to shoot home and pick up my banjo or mouth organ so I could busk a few tunes for the wealthy visitors. The ship had started at Bremerhaven in Germany and called at Portsmouth, Vigo, and Agadir before La Gomera the previous day, the next stops would include Funchal, and Amsterdam before going back to Germany. I couldn’t help wondering how many bars it had on the 10 decks. After working my way home I probably should have called it a day but returned to The Merry Monk later to join a Man City (Paul & Justine) and Millwall (Henry and Cat Woman) combination of Armada Sur to squeeze out a quiz winning effort – another late night ensued.

That brings me to hangover Monday, I just about managed the basics during the day before walking into the dance zone in town. It was the International Day Of Dance and several stages, more than last year, had been set up to showcase different dance styles led by local youth groups. Some more mature ,ladies were being whipped into a salsa frenzy at Plaza del Pescadora, I swear at one point even the statue of the fisher woman was bopping. Some of the wilder dance floor moves were taking place further up the road to the church but the biggest crowd was outside the perfume shop where a large crowd was clapping and leaping around. It was all a bit much for me, after grabbing a few pics I was home and ready for an early night zzzzzzzzzzz. Well I think that’s everything covered – unless you can tell me where I picked up that inflatable zebra and a tattoo of Sue Barker on a very intimate part of my anatomy?