Archive for November, 2020
Curtain Up On Santa Ursula

Sometimes it´s the buildings, sometimes the beckoning side streets, and sometimes just an overall comfortable feeling. Santa Ursula imressed me on a couple of recent days out. Walking the 2 kms from the Humboldt Mirador, and just 6 kms from Puerto de la Cruz, I was taken by the range and choice of multi national restaurants (Thai and Indian – yummy) nestling alongside the traditionalCanarian tascas and coffee bars. The amount of people enjoying mid morning pavement snacks and drinks would have made many of the southern tourist stops feel a little envious.

The split point of the higher and lower roads in the centre of Santa Ursula was a natural focal point. Christmas lights wrapped themselves aroud the trunks of palm trees in the church garden as white cardboard silhouettes of women faced the purple flags across the road outside the Ayuntamiento building in support of the anti gender violence campaign. Maybe there should be a collective name for the admiration of council HQ enthusiasts, this one mixed stone and wooden balconies and gave off an old world reliabilty with a trace of modern flexibility.

Top of the bill for me was La Casona cultural space, boasting a wooden decked amphitheatre  lurking under shadey palms below street level, surrounded by a leafy sea. It looked inspiring and protective at the same time. Among the plants a silver frog leapt through the air like a lilly pad olympian. Titled “besame”(kiss me) the princely pond dweller was created by Julio Nieto whose bigger works had illuminated previous days out before. A tinkling piano rung out from a rehearsal room in the pink main building. Posters at the street level entrance gate advertised several live shows and requested volunteers for pre christmas Covid compliant shows.

The incline to my bus stop seemed less challenging after this cultural boost, and just a week later, Felix Alonso, a product of the Santa Ursula football club, made his senior squad debut on the bench for CD Tenerife. There is definately something good in the air of Santa Ursula. A few more pleasing buildings demanded a photo and I eas happy to oblige. Changing buses back in La Orotava, I bagged a church and the guanche Princesa Dacil. All in all, another satisfying day out in Tenerife.


Great Views But Limited Vision At Humboldt Mirador

Was that a hint of sadness in the eyes of legendary German naturalist, Alexander Von Humboldt? Sat astride the wall of the mirador that bears his name, the beauty of the La Orotava valley spread out behind him. Sadly the recently reopened north Tenerife viewing point looked rather sparse. From December 2010 to 2014 visitors enjoyed the cafe bar, and restaurant while learning nore about the man who invented geo botany and shared his fascination of Tenerife´s plant and animal life with the world.

A large artistic lizard sprawled across the top of the boarded up cafe and toilets. A second tier of the stark concrete outpost was also sealed off. The late november weather was glorious as the La Orotava valley below raced down to meet the atlantic ocean, and Puerto de la Cruz was ringed with breaking surf in the distance.  Around 10 people popped in for a quick photo during my short stay. It´s a cifficult place to find parking although my 101 Titsa bus from La Orotava station dropped me outside in a small layby. It´s a busy road with a tight, narrow bend, a small strip close to the front of the mirador could accomodate a coach drop off but it would need strict supervision.


Another basic viewing point a few strides down the road only offered a shaded picnic table but almost identical sight lines. The Humboldy has scope to offer more but will need to generate income if it is to avoid another closure. Humboldt is an important figure in Tenerife history, the flora and fauna he so loved is picked out in the iron work of the railings and gates, a good starting point to engage hungry minds. Mount teide loomed up above on the horizon, and what better place to observe the volcanic peak when the winter weather adds a white cloak of snow.

The mirador is free to enter and worth a visit, even in its current bare bones form. The sculpture of the great man with his stone journals at his side, is a wonderful work by Lilia Martin. Evolution was the key to Humboldts teachings, lets hope that the Mirador can learn that lesson.



La Laguna And Santa Cruz Take Steps To Stem Covid Tide

Illegal bottle parties, and unlawful gatherings of more than six people, mainly young, have thrust Tenerife and specifically La Laguna and Santa Cruz, into the Covid spotlight. As I write, Tenerife has 80 per cent of yesterdays new infections across the seven Canary Islands, that´s 108 out of 139 new cases yesterday. Overall the Canary Island figures are some of the best in Spain but the pressure is on to squeeze a little tighter in the hot spots.


Christmas build up and Black Friday splurging into a week long event don´t help. I made a Saturday afternoon visit to the university town, and the capital city to see for myself. La Laguna´s main shopping area is centred on two main strets, Calle Herredores, and Calle Obispo Rey Redondo, a few policia local officers walked through the pedestrianised area, and a patrol car drove slowly through the link roads. This grid layout was marked to direct walkers in set directions to avoid close contact. It semed to work well without impeding the outdoor cafe table trade where masks, hand gel, and the six person group limit were the order of the day.

I made a call at the Museum of History and Anthropology and followed a small tour at a distance, There was plenty of space to avoid each other and browse, the staff even let me into a sealed storage area to see two ancient carriages, one with a London pedigree. I will return for a longer browse and do a post for here. It´s important that in these stressed times, that business´s and attractions continue to give good service – and they excelled.

After dark has been the main problem with Covid security but the current 11pm closing time for bars has helped as has the lock down of parks and plazas. Taking the tram down to Santa cruz, I turned my attention to Parque Garcia Sanabria, a delightful and popular park in the centre of the busy city. Large multi pathed and with many entrance points, I could see that barriers were already on standby for the 7pm sealing. Not robust enough to make entry impossible, but they represent another warning and probably and increase on the standard 100 euro fines. Video camaras near the flower clock would also play a part. Only time will tell if this measure will just move the problem or snuff it out,

My return trip to Los Cristianos was covered on my residents monthly payment card, cash seems unlikely to make a return to the bus drivers lives. Titsa have increased their payment options with tourist payment cards for a day or a week, and have increased the outlets where they can be bought, ncluding the airports and major bus stations. The whole rigmarol of Covid protection and measures is a monumental pain – but I´d rather stay alive!

Fonsalia And Alcala With A Pinch Of Salt

As the island of La Palma shimmered in the distance, it was all systems go for a coastal walk from Playa San Juan to Alcala in Tenerife´s west coast municipality of Guia De Isora. There were plenty of hints at choices to come from a small excercise park, to the anglers and rock pool explorers getting up close to nature. The well defined entry to the short walk had added a few new tweaks since I had last plodded forth.

A petanca court, and even a pet park offered distractions but the sea had an over whelming armoury  of counter claims. Rock cathedrals and foamy breakers with their soundtrack roar from the drag of pebbles had the most refrshing options. The stately march of palm trees lay ahead until a three option decision came just before the modern desalination plant. A new smooth elevated path, some old steps down and a scramble at the seas edge, or an inland detour through Fonsalia. The detour is worth taking, the small hamlet has just one main street but it has a strong sense of style, from the chair outside La Barrera bar-restaurant to the decorative house front diagonally opposite, and the small but sturdy Ermita Santa Lucia.

Threading back between the banana plantations to the coast, I had a pleasant encounter with a fallen pardela chick. A member of the SEO Sealife charity was overlooking the completion of its journey from mountain top egg to its natural Atlantic home. The helper said around 1,200 of the duck like birds had fallen on Tenerife this hatching season, confused by artificial lights and neon signs. Perched on a ledge, overlooking the sea, its instincts kicked in and a waddle and shakey take off soon turned into a controlled glide onto the waves. It would be unlikely to touch land again for at leadt four years. It was an inspiring sight and made my day.

As coves unfolded ahead of me, I could see the distant cliffs of Los Gigantes as Alcala loomed near. The long stone stairways down to the collection of shingle beaches where rocks reached out into the sea were a favourite sight from my days based in Alcala when working for The Western Sun newspaper. The compact Plaza del Llano was sedate and welcoming, and the bars cheap and cheery.  It´s not all mellow and traditional in Alcala these days, The new 1.9 million euro church was nearing completion, and its peaks peaked up above the edges of the plaza. Prince Charles may have been moved to call it a “concrete carbunkle” hopefully once open it will find some character to fit in with the old west coast ways.

Missed Chances Keep CD Marino Winless

Shooting practice will be on the menu for CD Marino after sharing a 0-0 draw with visitors Tamaraceite in Tenerife. Resolute defending and a packed midfield limited chances but the home side should have capitalized on their superior first half showing, especially Borja Llarena who had two golden chances.



Boosted by a bumper 700 plus crowd, the blues set off at a good pace with Nami flashing a shot wide of the Gran Canaria teams post. Aythami could only reply with a wild, deep, hopefull ball trying to find Quintero, their main striker. Pablo Santana prompted from the home midfield, setting Borja onto his through ball, but his shot found an alert defender. A delicate touch  from Nami  set up another go for Borja but he rushed the shot and missed the target. It took 30 minutes for the reds to threaten as Quintero put a header over the bar. A free kick just before half time was easily blocked by the Marino wall.

Maybe the reds sensed they had weathered the storm. Just after the restart Baez shot wide when Angel Galvan missed a high ball. The keeper was back on top form to snuff out afurther attack as Quintero thundered in. A rush from deep in the visitors half fizzled out as both teams struggled to grab hold of the game.Cristo came on for Pablo to pep up the Marino attacking options. It was still important to ensure that Tamaraceite didn´t break free, and there was danger as Padron beat Pedro Aleman before firing straight at Galvan.

Fede pushing up down the right offered some encouragement to his Marino team mates. A double change with 15 minutes left brought Moussa and Samuel onto the pitch. Moussa and Fede both had late  half chances but it was a frustrating finish for the single point.