Archive for April, 2015
Fresh Fields For Canarian Food Fair

Never let it be said that tradition isn’t flexible in Tenerife, even the most long running events are open to a little tweaking and fine tuning, but of course it doesn’t always work. The Feria de Alimentas Canarias (Canarian Food Fair) tried a new approach this year with the two large marquees moving from outside the Casa del Mar between the two Los Cristianos beaches to outside the Cultural Centre.

Biscuits, bread, cheeses, wine, and all manner of tasty goodies were again gathered together from all seven Canary Islands to the separated marquees at either end of the Plaza del Pescador. In between there was an array of artisans stalls selling arts and crafts, and in front of the Centro Cultural a stage provided traditional music throughout the two days.

Even allowing for it being a bit quiet in Tenerife at the moment the turnout of potential customers was much lower than at the previous location. I popped in several times and it wasn’t the usual scrum down of free sample seeking jabbing elbows around the stalls. The old site was on a main walkway as tourists went back and forth the beaches, they have to be the main target of sales, locals buy and use these foods and drinks all year round and have cheaper local stores to buy from.

The variety didn’t seem quite wide this time, I assume the stall holders had to pay for their pitches, maybe the prices were a bit steeper this time. It was still possible to buy fine products like Avocado Oil, Aloe Vera, honey, gofio, mojo sauce, spices, and chocolate almonds but I didn’t see the constant stream of carrier bags that normally parade out of the tent flaps. Fair play to Arona council for trying something different but maybe next year they will revert to the busier beach site.

CD Tenerife A Point Nearer Safety – Knock On Wood

A 0-0 home draw is not always the best way to impress but lapsed CD Tenerife fans, lured back by ticket deals, were given plenty of encouragement as form team Llagostera were outplayed for most of this game. Both sides had clear chances and had good cause to thank their keepers but Tenerife hit the woodwork twice and squandered some sitters in an entertaining game.

Abdon Prats started his first full game with Diego Ifran consigned to the bench amid worries about his fitness. Dani teased us all with a little juggle of a Pitu shot just after kick off but it was just a blip and the defence was in top form. Up front Maxi was his usual hustle and bustle but couldn’t quite wrap his boot around a soft 20th minute shot. Llagostera have rampaged through the lower divisions and showed a no nonsense style based on a strong defence built around man mountain Alcala, quick breaks, and a willingness to shoot on sight. Former home forward Juanjo got a generous welcome but didn’t really shine, Rios was keen to exploit the left flank but Moyano did a superb job on him.


Vitolo missed the last game because of his fiery temper but it was good to see him back displaying his fiery tackles, he’s a born competitor. When Llagostera did break through Dani was resolute, a strong clearing punch on the half hour made a commanding statement. Abdon Prats is slowly improving and got into good positions only to waste two decent chances, the clearest being a firm header wide. Carlos Ruiz added his effort to thee search for an opener but Sergio Leon gave the visitors the closing attempt of the half, Raul Camara and Dani combined to see off that danger.


Abdon showed his worth as a provider early after the break, he fed the ball to Maxi but he didn’t find the target. Modest beginnings and a surge of promotions has brought Llagostera many admirers but they tarnished that image with some farcical theatricals. Samuel deserved a gold medal for artistic impression when he squirmed and rolled like a speared pig after Suso brushed past him. Tenerife were going all out for a goal, Suso did a sweet lay off to the overlapping Moyano, a sharp defender just about snuffed it out. Cristo Martin replaced the subdued Juan Carlos, Llagostera put a free kick high and wide, and Suso made stopper Rene scramble to clear his close range prod.

The 10,475 crowd were urging the ball to hit the back of the net, Aitor Sanz could only find the roof of the net with his in swinging corner as the game ticked away. Diego Ifran took over from Maxi and Aridane lumbered on for Abdon, Diego looked fairly sharp and gave the visiting defence plenty to worry about as he shot at the keeper and forced a couple of corners. Goalie Rene joined the over acting club, dropping with a sudden leg injury and he really milked his spell in the spotlight. Back at the action Diego blasted the ball against the crossbar, Llagostera broke ending with a weak shot from Alcala straight at Dani, and Carlos Ruiz leapt to power a header at the bar. Five minutes added time gave renewed hope but it wasn’t to be and the draw was well received by the sun drenched stadium. The gap from the relegation zone is now six points, there’s more work to do in the eight remaining games and shooting practice will be high on the training agenda.

Easter Egg With A Sour Taste For CD Tenerife

After gorging on the chocolate shell of the first half CD Tenerife had a touch of indigestion after a weaker second half saw them share the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza. The visitors looked a good football side but their cynical fouls and a poor referee allowed them to grind out a draw despite ending with 10 men.

Dani Hernandez was barely back from international duty with Venezuela and didn’t look his usual sharp self but there was plenty to admire from Tenerife. They took hold of the game once William Jose had posted a first minute warning with a low shot to tickle Dani’s gloves. After that it was almost one way traffic, Cristo Martin was on good form and Vitolo ensured the midfield had plenty of bite. Suso conjured up a magic pass to Cristo that opened up the Zaragoza defence but his shot wasn’t enough to trouble keeper Alcolea.

Tenerife’s opener was a beauty, Aitor Sanz took a corner and floated the ball over the keepers outstretched hands so it hung in the air at the far post. Maxi is a real predator these days and was well placed to add a delicate header that hardly ruffled his crowning glory. The home defence was in a mean mode, especially Raul Camara who back tracked like a whippet and tackled like a rotweiller. Cristo went close again, this time slipping his shot across the goal before Zaragoza ended the half as they started it, with a shot that inched wide of the target.

Coach Ranko Popovic must have lived up to his porn star name during the break by delivering an X certificate lashing to Zaragoza, they came out mean and nasty. Mario set the tone by upending Maxi and picked up a booking, the ref was already missing several other blatant chops. The visitors pushed forward, Cabrera fired a shot in that Dani Hernandez should have grabbed but he punched instead and the ball came out to Vallejo to score from an offside position. It was a cruel blow but Tenerife had to get on with the job. Juan Carlos replaced Cristo, his first touch was a long range effort that just cleared the bar.

Diego Ifran was having a quiet game and picking up a booking that will sideline him next match didn’t help his frame of mind. Mario continued his wild ways but made one lunge too many when he fouled Juan Carlos and was shown a red card, the resulting free kick was wasted. With the man advantage Tenerife swapped Diego for Aridane to push for a winner, he was soon joined by Abdon Prats with Moyano making way. The changes didn’t bring the breakthrough, Zaragoza held tight and stopped Tenerife players by the crudest means as the ref got worse.

Albizua had a half chance, Abdon Prats was marginally too slow to run through onto a good ball and time was ticking down. A draw was still a good result against the promotion chasers, especially after they fluffed a relatively easy injury time opening. Tenerife were far from happy with the ref and Vitolo let rip at him in the tunnel, his loose lip earning him a red card and a place in the stands with Diego at Alaves next game.

Candelaria And Guimar Unfold Beneath La Mesa

Even the oil refinery and the motorway into Santa Cruz looked attractive viewed from my lofty perch in the hills above Candelaria. It was breather time a couple of hours into the La Mesa walk from Igueste to Araya and after a false start I was having some doubts about the trail I was following.

After trying the Samarines coastal route last year I was keen to try another suggestion from the Candelaria Ayuntamiento leaflet, this time it started in an inland area I was not familiar with. An early toddle around the basilica town and I caught the 131 Titsa bus to Igueste, a local advised me to head for the cemetery thankfully it wasn’t a veiled insult, just a helpful nudge down from the final bus stop at the church to the Plaza Dimas Coello with its wine press. I thought it would be a small village but it stretched and wound along several steep streets and had a nice combination of old and new buildings. Local pride was clear from notices urging a fight against any cut back in their bus lifeline, and announcements of the Good Friday morning procession at 6 am.

The walk signs got me to the start point but I picked an old looking downward trail through a barranco and had to come back to follow the tarmac road up to the right before I could connect to the old path heading up La Mesa mountain. The multi language council leaflet was only launched last year and the route showed little sign of regular visitors. It only takes a few weeks for the plants and flowers to encroach on the trail so I had to guess a little but used the overhanging rock ahead as my direction guide. Looking back I could now see the coast winding its way up to the Tenerife capital and the city outskirts were appearing over the horizon. Once past the rock I found more shade as pine trees began to share my progress, looking out to sea Gran Canaria was prominent on the skyline.

The next landmark was the partially ruined Casa de La Mesa, one of the few original dwellings that had defied the years. The path led up and round the pine trees and was now skirting the sides of a series of barrancos, quite tough on thee legs but easy on the eyes. Scaling the brow of a hill it was reward time, the Guimar valley fell away below me with the tower of Candelaria basilica a distant coastal landmark. It was a glorious sight, low whispy cloud was like a transparent dome over the terraced hills and I could see why the valley had inspired tales of mysterious and haunted trails. After plenty of admiring I started the descent down the track, there was much more greenery here and I was soon up to my armpits in flowers and shrubs.

Araya should have been calling me but at the lower level I was strolling through vineyards and almond orchards on farm land nurtured by a strong gushing water channels. La Florida was marked on the modern service road and a quick enquiry at a garden gate told me I had veered off to the side of Araya. The motorway was in sight so I walked downwards along the TF 247 saving a lengthy wait in Araya for the sporadic bus service and I was soon on the Titsa 111 heading south. Even with the detours and snack stops it had only taken me around five hours but my feet assured me I had burst through the official 6.5 km rating. That still leaves another five Candelaria routes to try, they will have to be very special to match La Mesa.


Adeje In Awe Of The Passion

Roman soldiers shuffled their boots, goats bells jangled, and an air of expectancy hung over Calle Grande in Adeje. It was Good Friday in Tenerife and around 20,000 people had flocked to see the annual performance of The Passion with a cast of hundreds and an eye for detail that transformed the main street into a highly charged canvas for this colourful masterpiece.

I go along most years to experience the raw emotion of the story of Christ’s crucifixion, I have no strong religious beliefs but appreciate the significance it holds and as a piece of street theatre it is hard to beat. Just after the church bells struck noon the procession of soldiers, horses, religious leaders of biblical times, and assorted livestock turned into Calle Grande where people had staked out their favourite viewing positions since early morning. Café and restaurant tables spread onto the pavements while artisans, traders, and townsfolk created the feel of bustling streets. The detail always catches my eye, post boxes and rubbish bins covered in sacking so they don’t shatter the illusion, even the film crews relaying the event to television audiences wore traditional dress.

The story unfolds via a series of stages as the amateur actors (only Jesus is played by a professional) perform key scenes with their words and actions broadcast over giant speakers and screens en route. It seemed to be more stretched out this year and didn’t flow quite as easily, The Last Supper took place as always down at the smaller plaza but afterwards the progression of story and action went back and forth a little and it seemed at times to lose some continuity. The betrayal, arrest, and trial of Jesus hopped between the court and the emperor’s palace and the Garden of Gethsemane didn’t feature this time. Those are just small quibbles, on the plus side they added extra big screens including one at the top of Calle Grande that was a welcome addition, and there were more songs and even some dancing.

It’s always a squeeze to follow the action but past visits had taught me some handy vantage spots and a quick detour via a couple of side streets helped me to get around the jams. Calle Grande is a perfect setting for spectators but the armour clad soldiers on the sunny side of the street must have been sweltering in their uniforms. The shovel patrol were doing brisk business clearing up the leftovers from the horses while police and stewards managed to stop young children from squirming under the ropes. By the time Jesus had been sentenced, whipped, and made to carry his cross everyone was funneling up to Plaza de España for his crucifixion. The stone steps on the church side were packed and hundreds swelled into the plaza as guards forced Jesus onto the raised stage with the Barranco del Infierno as a magnificent backdrop.

Disciples and supporters were held back by a row of Roman soldiers and behind them more modern security held the back the main tide. There were not many dry eyes as Jesus was nailed to the cross and then hoisted into position with his cries of forgiveness to his punishers followed by his wrapping in cloths before his body was carried away. The whole performance had taken two hours but the work put into costumes and rehearsals had started as soon as last years spectacle had finished. Adeje certainly knows how to put on a performance.