Archive for June, 2021
Leafing Through The El Sauzal Summer Collection

Mount Teide rising through a cushion of cloud, seemed to be admiring the cascade of neat houses on the terraced green slopes of the north east coast. Must be my stop, I thought, after letting the Titsa bus take me below and beyond my previous samplings of El Sauzal town. The tight modern road revealed plants and trees bursting forth from every rocky crevice. It´s a thirst for life, shared by the locals of the Tenerife municipality, especially as they geared up for three big religious fiestas.

My upward walk back into the heart of El Sauzal was a constant battle between the blue and green for my attention. Flowers, a knarled tree trunk, and even seed pods got into the act. The Parque de Los Lavaderos looks more impressive with every visit, this time, June heat brought a myriad of pond insects in the old washing area that lends its name to the park. Some had evolved into red and blue dragon flies that skipped across the surface of the pools.

Up near the church of San Pedro Apostol, the tower was decked outfor the patron saints (St Peter) three day fiesta, Santa Cruz de Ravelo, from 22 to 26 July, and Our Lady of Los Angeles on 2 August, The wooden peacock Luis Stinga was stunning as always, framed by seasonal blooms as it marched up the steps of the town hall. Even smaller touches made a big impression, the street signs of El Sauzal have their own flourish. The wine coloured background making a subtle reminder of the municipality´s rich harvests of wine, often sampled at the Casa del Vino uphill beside the motorway linking Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz.

Hermanos Toste are legendary firework experts who paint the skies like a huge canvas, the Los Realejos based company would be busy over the next few months plying their trade at fiestas across the Canary Islands. Specialist safety was also being deployed in El Sauzal for their celebrations, the posters outline some very precise guide lines including advance tickets for all performance areas, and even a check list for pet owners to ensure no undue stress. Music drifted across from a sound system trail as I sipped my coffee outside the Cafe La Avenida as I waited for my return bus. Once again it was clear I had only scratched the surface of the municipality, but seeds had been sown for my next return.


Olympic Lure Drives Arona Combined Events to Gold Standard

“My legs felt like matchsticks, it was painfull for me on the last stretch.” But still the smile remained after Holly Mills from Andover as sh was overtaken in the 800 metres final of the senior heptathlon at the Arona Combined Events weekend in the south of Tenerife. That dropped the 21 year old into fourth spot at the end of the meeting in the Estadio Antonio Dominguez near the beaches of Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas. . Zhen Ninali (below) clinched the top spot, only months after becoming naturalised Chinese after originally representing Canada, the country where she was born 22 years ago.Second place went to Maria Vicente with Noor Vidts of Belgium in third.

Holly recovered well and was soon weighing up the positives gathered from the two day event, to add to lessons learnt from the Covid restrictions.” I feel the disruptions to my training programme have given me more time to grow and figure out what areas I need to concentrate on. I was really pleased with the massive improvement in the javelin this weekend for a new personal best, and I have had a good indoor season after moving into the senior level of competition. “Arona Combined Events was a ranking competition so the overall points gained could propel athletes towards Tokyo. “I still have a lot to do in the next few weeks but i´ve shown myself that I am capable of a lot more to come. ” The big day for Olympic confirmation is on 1st July, so good luck to Holly to receive that landmark news.

Kate O´Connor competing for Ireland had a frustrating early end to her heptathlon after a leg injury kept her from completing her  final three events. it follows a complicated year. ” I was born in Newry in Northern Ireland but competed for Dundalk in the south and have also trained in Belfast and Dublin. The Covid measures were tough back home, even the national championships in Dublin didn´t allow for coaches to join the competitors. At least my studies in Sports Development at Sheffield University worked out well with course work done on line.” Kate was in upbeat mood after a first day that included a personal best in the shot put.

In the mens decathlon, there was a top two domination for the Czech Republic with Jiri Sycora taking top spot and Adam Helcelet (above) finishing just behind him. It was close all the way through the ten events but the duo both did particularly well in the high jump and javelin. It was the tenth Arona Combined Events , last year didn´t take place due to Covid. but it came back and coped admirably with the added restrictions. Athletes, coaches, and family members were the exclusive guests of the Andorra Hotel, just a short walk from the stadium. The Hospiten Green Clinic acted as a sponsor and took care of the PCR tests required before athletes could return home. Everything in the arena got constantly sprayed and wiped, the landing sand pit was squirted between jumps, and even the shot was soaked and wiped before its throwers could retrieve it.

This years tournement attracted 63 athletes from 19 countries as far away as Estonia, Switzerland, and Venezuela. The giant screen replayed the action, and it was available on line at In between races, a selection of Tenerife´s many natural attractions helped to bang the drum for tourism. None of that ever detracts from the legacy of this major sporting event. Local young hopefuls got valuable experince on the first day with races between the programmed challenges. It must be working, the weekend saw success elsewhere as the Caja Canarias Tenerife ladies athletics squad regained their place in the National League of Honour, and the mens squad confirmed their continuation in the top section , a status that goes back to 2008.


Ancient And Modern Tenerife Pride In La Victoria De Acentejo

All tight sinews and seductive promise. Not quite what I expected when answering the motorway sign invite to “Visit La Victoria de Acentejo” in the north west of Tenerife. There were plenty more surprises to come in this natural treat of a municipality that packed an historical punch.

Just a few minutes after getting off the Titsa 101 bus from La Orotava, I was face to expressive face with Evolution, a metal sculpture from Julio Nieto, a Vizcaya born artist who  settled in Tenerife in 1986 and has stopped me in my tracks before with his bold, attention grabbing work.

The wild sea drew the attention as the road rises just above the motorway and wild coast beyond. That was just the access, the best goodies were stacked inland. The steep incline from my arrival unveiled wider views of green hills rising to meet the shyline. Evolution was in a prime elevated position, on one side a modern sports centre sat below walking trails up into the barrancos (ravines), but my eye was caught by the church tower, a more elaborate version of a popular Tenerife theme.

If I was being reeled in, I wasn´t complaining, the church led onto the Ayuntamiento (council) building for the municipality of La Victoria. An under staed  blue, and dark wood combination stood alongside a large plaza and gave me a wonderul view of a two stage towering pine tree. At the foot of the dominating tree, a carved stone provided me with a history lesson of historic resistance.

When the conquistadors from mainland Spain were invading the Canary Islands at the end of 1495, they met stiff resistance from the Guanche natives. Yhe north west provided the last pocket of defiance and Fernandez of Lugo was held at bay in Acentejo as the locals prevailed on 26 December 1495, and he had to draft over reinforcements from Gran Canaria before his troops could push on to the final vicrory in Los Realejos in the new year. The sturdy pine tree is a monument to that La Victoria stand.

There are always pointers to the life and community involvement of any town. An upcoming early Sunday clean up and walk in the Barranco Hondo caught my eye on a poster. Mentions of wine, pottery, and chestnuts filled in some more background. A poster for a second competition of historic photos of the municipality hinted at a well supported earlier contest. Even on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, the town centre and main shopping street had a good choice of bars and cafes to tempt me. La Matanza de Acentejo, takes over at the end of La Victoria, I will have to return to see what they can add to the mix.