Archive for October, 2017
A Green Seed Grows Proudly In Valle San Lorenzo

They´re fresh, they´re fruity, they´re delicious, and they´re locally produced in the Tenerife municipality of Arona. It was high time for a farmers market within easy reach of the tourist hot spots of the south and on Saturday 14 October 2017 the doors opened on the Mercado del Agricultor in Valle San Lorenzo.

With a high vaulted roof and plenty of glass I anticipated being boiled and poached inside the new building in Calle Cooperativa near the big Cepsa petrol station, but it was large, bright, roomy, and surprisingly cool despite the outside calima already hitting 31 degrees at 10 am. The market opens on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm but the official launch we was geared to a 10 am ceremonial opening by the Alcalde (mayor) of Arona, Jose Julian Mena Perez. This fitted in nicely with free coaches from Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos, provided by the Arona Ayuntamiento (council) who have financed the market. Look out for those red coaches, they will continue to be free each Saturday and Sunday, 10 am from Las Americas, 10.15 from Los Cristianos, and 10.20 from Chayofa, with a 1 pm return calling at those three points.

Four wide aisles were lined with 60 stalls, nearly all in use, selling fruit, vegetables, pastries, and wine, many of them with the highest of eco friendly pedigrees. There were piles of potatoes, crowds of carrots, a plentitude of peppers, and cakes that would test anyones resolve to wait until tea time. Some of the more specialist items included, jams, teas, coffees, and breads. A show cooking display featured soup made from calabazo (a kind of gourd) and white cheese, a stage allowed for some live traditional Canarian music and dance, and there was even a childrens play room near the entrance.

As the seasons change there will be new wonders to behold, stocking for the festive season meals will be a lot easier and seasonal specials like chestnuts will feel cosy in their new surroundings. I arrived on the free bus but there are two regular Titsa public bus routes that pass through Valle San Lorenzo at the weekends, with stops a short hop from the market. I got a 418 Titsa bus destined for Playa de Las Americas bus station and bailed out in Los Cristianos, just 30 minutes and 1.15 euros with an advance Bono bus ticket.Go on, take a visit and you will realise how green is your Valle.

Full Moon Madness At Santa Cruz Plenilunio

Any excuse for a party, that´s the Tenerife way, so why not throw a huge annual bash in the streets of the capital city, Santa Cruz, all inspired by the full moon. The Plenilunio had reached it´s 7th year and true to form it wasn´t hanging around waiting for the silvery moon, That´s why just after noon I was confronted by a large group of mature men dressed as exotic female singers, complete with large phallic microphones.

That was at the African Market, a short walk from the bus station where my Titsa bus had delivered me from Los Cristianos. Stalls and costumes were taking shape in every side street, there were 27 stages and focal points for activities as well as mobile displays. In Calle Castillo, the main shopping street, the 101 Brass Band were strutting their stuff, diving in and out of shops, and updating recent pop hits. The weekly El Clavel market was squeezed in to a tight side street with its mix of retro fashion and musical memorabilia. Calle del Castillo is also home to the Circulo de Bellas Artes and I was keen to see the caped crusaders promoting a comic exhibition.

Vintage cars pop up at events all over Tenerife, their setting was particularly good this time, between the Cabildo (government) building and the Plaza de España with its monuments and lake. An Abingdon (near Oxford) built MG would have been tempting enough but add a delightful lady in an American GI uniform and I was purring. The port seemed a natural next call, especially as it was hosting the Cross Fast Civico Militar event, think along the lines of the poppy appeal Royal Tournament in London. The assault course looked hard work to me even without the rifle carrying but they all made it look like a stroll.

I always have a look to see what boats are in port, there were a couple of big cruise liners but I was more intrigued by several large, flash looking motor yachts. The blue bottomed Excellence V charter yacht was good, the brand new silent cruising 49 metre long Home was even better, but pride of place went to the 66 metre long Vanish, complete with helicopter. It cost a cool 125 million dollars but the owner, American Larry Van Tuyl has an estimated worth of 3.5 billion dollars. If your reading this Larry, you really need to own a football club, CD Tenerife would fit the bill nicely.

Anyway back in the real world, there was loads more to see, Parque Garcia Sanabria was full of food trucks offering Dorada, mojitos, and exotic variations on burgers. Back up at Plaza Weyler I could see the Canary Islands military commend palace was fronted by old style soldiers rather than their current counterparts, their uniforms were familiar to me from the recreations of Nelsons failed invasion. It was one of many buildings throwing open its doors so I had a look in, only the courtyard was accessible but it gave a brief insight into local military history.

Plaza del Principe was one of the hot spots for live music and dance so I had a quick look at that, and despite having had a large dinner, I still found a home for the free chocolate donuts being given out around town. The celebrations were going to last long into the night and of couse the full moon would add to the atmosphere but my time was ticking away as I worked my way towards the Heliodoro Stadium for CD Tenerife v Nastic. I wanted to catch up on the Casa del Carnaval but the nearest I got was a birds eye view from the bridge just before the Armada Sur´s pre match bar. For the record, CD Tenerife won 2-0 and I did get a glimpse of a brilliant and vibrant moon over the port as our coach sped back towards the south.


Tradition Around Every Arona Corner

Chunky white candles nestled against the old stone houses down all the streets in Arona town, quite a task putting all 10,000 of them in place, and a big box of matches would be needed to light them all up when darkness approached. There was a much more basic feel to this years Dia de Los Tradiciones (Day of Traditions) but those little touches helped to evoke the history of the people and their crafts just 10 kms up from Los Cristianos.

I arrived on a TITSA public service bus after waiting an hour for the free shuttle to show but I wasn´t complaining at a 20 minute journey and a mere 1.25 euros on my bono ticket. Music wafted through the air as I browsed the stalls in the tight street on the way to the church plaza. Those small touches included a free event and guide map that was tinted brown to look old and worn, it had to be big as there were so many events crammed in. On my stroll I saw the source of the music, a traditional Canarian group with dancers and musicians.

One side street featured old home made toys, wooden karts looked certain to give a bumpy but fun ride over the cobbles. Eco power is nothing new, good old pedal power was propelling a kiddies roundabout with some very basic horses, sand filled egg timers measured out the duration of a euros worth of spinning, and boxes of bananas packed a little nourishing after ride treat. Up at the plaza by the church of San Antonio Abad, a stage was set for full orchestras of music later in the day. Heading into Calle El Calvario I found more stalls, some lovely smells were coming from La Cocina de la Abuela (Grandmas Kitchen), they were teaching children some basic recipes and also offering free plates full of potatoes, meat, and gofio – well I couldn´t say no.

Another aspect of this special day is to open up old buildings like the Casa la Bodega, the scene for some of the theatrical performances during the day. I caught up with a display of Salto de Pastor (shepherds leap) an old way of vaulting across small ravines with the help of a large wooden pole. The Casino de Arona was also open to the public and featured antique radios and record players, some of them took me back to my parents radiogram, well at least we didn´t walk down the street in a trance listening to them.

There are several big collections of classic cars in Tenerife and a dozen of the famous old models were on show outside the casino, a magnet for poses against the gleaming bodywork and for smaller enthusiasts a chance to ride the running boards. I spent a good few hours taking in the goodies on offer, it was nice to see old historic houses identified with brief histories of famous families that lived in them, and also places of work and food production like the old gofio mill house. Never let it be said that Arona is just dwelling in the past, one week on (6th & 7th October) from the Day Of Traditions, the church plaza would be throbbing to the sound of car engines ready to embark on the Subida de Arona – La Escalona rally.