Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
Breaching The Adeje Fortress Of Industry, Commerce, And Culture

Panting up hill from Adeje town centre has tweaked many hikers muscles ready for the plunge into Barranco del Invierno, one of the most trodden walks in Tenerife. The sturdy canon outside the battle weary walls of Casa Fuerte may have hinted at the strategic value of the “strong house” but now a full appreciation of this 500 year old home and fortress is open to visitors. A new Sunday initiative of an artesans market was in full swing with music and crafts on my visit.

Where pirates failed to destroy the Casa Fuerte, fire had more success in 1902, but on this clear morning the missing sections of roof showcased natures ingredients that had inspired the original sugar refinery on the same site. This sweet production process was the biggest of its kind in Tenerife.

The proud white tower of the country house still looks lout over the 7,200 square metres of courtyards, gardens, servant quarters, and industrial and agricultural work spaces. Boilers and other production stock gleamed as hand held tools clinged to walls. I felt a swell of pride to see that some items were made in England. Wooden barrels, now empty, would have lubricated many a social gathering. Wine, art, and needlework were among the many items for sale in the market area, harking back to the days when this was the social centre of Adeje.

Casa Fuerte is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1 pm, and the artesans market is expected to become a monthly treat. The website will keep you up with further developments.Views down to the coast show a very changed landscape, vut the fortress is regaining its modern relevance at the same time as shining a light on the past.

Waves Of Colour Transform Los Abrigos Harbour Wall

Fish restaurants on the sloping crescent of Los Abrigos now have an even better view for customers to feast on.Michael Diaz and Natalia Real have been adding  images of noted local figures to a 395  square  metre concrete canvas that extends its protective arm around the secluded bay on the Granadilla coast of Tenerife.

Four months on and the work is nearing completion as friendly faces from the fishing community share their stage with the reassuring prescence of the Virfen del Carmen, the patron of the fishermen. It´s not just people immortalised in paint, the ginger cat that pads the promenade looks like the cats whiskers on the big screen.

The framework of the mural was outlined first like a giant jugsaw before colour and details were added. Michel and Natalia are experienced with such large projects and favour artists brushes rather than sprays. Old school rules with mixing performed on a hand held palate, and a paint spotted gladstone bag that keeps the creative mixtures ready to apply.

It´s a tough call to reflect the charms of the port and shine up a natural jewel like Los Abrigos but the couple have achirved it with a sprinkling of humour and lots of pride. Now the fine flavours of the restaurants opposite are complimented by the respectful insight into tradition.

 

Geisha And Samurai – The Art Of Japan, Holds Court In Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Seemingly totally opposed aspects of Japanese culture, but this exhibition at the Caja Canarias Cultural Foundation in Santa Cruz showed many similarities between the subservient Geisha and the warrior Samurai. Both require a tight discipline, dedication to detail, and a flair of expression. Some 200 exhibits showed how both lifestyles had paid such a big part in the history and development of Japan.

From the spiritual through theatre, flowers, and mystic icons like Mount Fuji, sketches, documents, and paintings explored the growing process of people and country over centuries. Textiles, like the fine fabrics for kimonos, and hand carved ornate fans showed the amount of preparation behind everyday life. Split over two floors of the building, the exhibits grew in size and stature as I toured the rooms as gentle oriental music played in the background.

Geisha tradition has a strong sexual element, a warning sign made that clear before visiting the section of explicit drawings explaining the Geisha role in society. The costumes are the big showpiece stars and appear in the later sections. The delicate, flowing nature of the Geisha costumes contrasted well with the robust fighting armour of the Samurai. I was surprised to see how intricate the Samurai robes were, but their lances and other combat weapons looked suitable savage.

The exhibition is on at the Espacio Cultural of Caja Canarias in Plaza del Patriotismo, about 5 minutes up from the port area, until 24 July 2021. Opening times are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1.30 pm, and 5.30 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays times are from 10 am to 1 .30 pm only, and closed Sundays and fiesta days. Entry is FREE on Mondays, and 5 euros all other times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Blooms Sweep Through Santa Cruz For Day Of The Crosses

How nice when old friends turn up for a special birthday. Santa Cruz welcomed back the flower crosses for the 527 th anniversary of the founding of the Tenerife capital. La Rambla missed the colourful event in 2020 due to Covid restrictions but 16 crosses took pride of place to raise the tradition back to its former heights.

I arrived early from Los Cristianos on the Monday morning, swapping the Titsa bus for the tram. Getting off at La Paz, I could see the display had extended across into Avenida La Asuncion to the left, and a family were still adding fine touches to their entry. Dia de la Cruz (Day of the Cross) is always popular but bigger gaps this year allowed more freedom of movement and a chance to appreciate the blooms from all angles. La Rambla is the perfect host with its wide pedestrianised walkway through the heart of the city.

Many of the local groups that had created the works of art, had ties with the health sector, very appropriate after their sterling efforts to keep us all healthy. As it was a public holiday in Santa Cruz, many families enjoyed a stroll under the shade of the spreading Indian Laurel trees, thes all year round  inhabitants and the dazzling violet blooms mixing in made it a natural green house of beauty.

The mood is infectious, several surrounding homes had added small crosses on their balconies, and I noticed an old peoples home was having an outside tea party in their grounds, based around a small home grown cross with a guitar playing singer adding a gentle vibe to the big day. La Rambla is a treasure trove of historical interest, the old abandoned bull ring harked back to Tenerife´s past, and at the far end of the walk, the Parque Garcis Sanabria made a nice entry point back down into the  shopping centre of the city and the port.

The crosses were sturdier and more restrained this time, but as pleasing on the eye as ever. With less wild strands , and strong wooden frames at their heart, the crosses have more chance of staying in top condition until the end of the Tres de Mayo celebrations on 9 May. The Parque usually has a big flower and crafts exhibition in tandem with the crosses but this year it was moved indoors to the Recinto Ferial at the entry to the city from the south. I called in there later and there were over 50 stalls faeturing  cakes, sine, basket making, wine, and chocolates. The Flower and Artesans  show is FREE to enter and finishes on 9 May. Opening times are 4 to 8 pm until 6 May, and then 10 am to 8 pm.

Los Cristianos Is Back On The Entertainment Beat

Silence isn’t golden, it’s an annoying rusty colour that has hung over Tenerife’s events during Covid. Gradually things are awakening, so it was so good to get back into the Auditorio Infanta Leonor in Los Cristianos to hear the work of the Arona School Of Music And Dance. The free concert opened with a traditional four piece rock band, under the supervision of guitar teacher Rafael Batista. Their set was a mix of Spanish themes with members interchanging between tunes. A teenage guitarist played a wonderful cover of the Gary Moore classic “I’ve Still Got The Blues For You” and the band departed to loud applause.

Doubling up as high speed roadies, the musicians cleared their instruments and the curtain rose on the full spread of the stage. An orchestra of Canarian timple and traditional folk guitars sparkled as they worked through an impressive range of styles and composers. Flute playing soloist, Carlotta Llarena Aisa added an atmospheric high to a parade of numbers, and Dario Diaz popped onto the stage to add his own vocal treats. The variety of music on offer showed the depth and range of talent produced by the school.The 90 minute concert ended with some rousing, upbeat classics, firstly Colonel Boogie (the theme from Bridge Over The River Kwai) which suited the light tempo of the orchestra. The last tune of the night was Johan Strauss seniors Radetsky March.

The Auditorium is a valuable and versatile asset to Arona. It was good to see it in such good condition after its lengthy closure, unlike the outside, that needs an update and the return of the bar café. Seating for 800 people was vastly reduced by the anti Covid social distancing, alternate rows were sealed, but there was still around 300 people attending. For this free show, tickets had to be booked and picked up in advance from the lobby of the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre that backs onto the Auditorio in the centre of town. There is a growing schedule of shows to follow, hopefully with less restrictions as time goes on. Many events are FREE, and others as cheap as 6 euros. Bookings can be made at www.arona.org or at the Cultural Centre from 10 am to 2 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Friday. Below are some of the forthcoming events.

30 April. A Few Colours, a jazz group for International Jazz Day. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros

14 May. Bailame Amores, Ballet inspired by a Leonard Cohen song. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

15 May. Tina Turner and George Michael tribute show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 15 euros.

21 May.     Puppet show. Starts at 6 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

22 May. Tango Show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

 

 

 

 

La Laguna Is An Open House For History

You would expect an illustrious past to spill onto a World Heritage Site. La Laguna, a short tram ride north of Tenerife capital Santa Cruz, has historic gems in every street. Seeking out the Museum Of History and Anthropology will give you a broad insight into the day to day life of  and social development of Tenerife.

Casa Lercaro´s wooden floor boards creaked with the footsteps of past inhabitants, and the garage at the rear of the courtyard even had two majestic carriages that have carried the mighty of Europe. Entry is always free and information is in several languages, and audio points. A wide range of exhibits are used to throw light on the evolution of Tenerife, sculptures, guns, newspapers, photos, newspapers, clothes, and tools, to name just a few.  Casa Lercaro is a living exhibit itself, the courtyard features the classic traditional wooden Canarian balconies. Restoration has been authentic, detailed, and time consuming.

Talking of restoration, the nearby Palicio de Navas had delivered their lovingly restored Nava carriages to the museum while their home got its own update. A black Landau model, originally made in Germany , looked splendid with some UK touches. Craker had buffed up the bodywork, and Thomas Davis had made the side lanters sparkle, both companies are London based. The sombre look made me think of Jack the Ripper but on a more sedate note, Jane Austen often mentioned the stylish people carriers in her novels. The 18th century white Berlin carriage in a french Rococo style, looked more like a fairy tale creation and turned my mind to the Disney version of Cinderella. Pine, oak, and mahogany were preferred to a pumpkin in this case.

Thanks to good management and safety measures, the museum stayed open for many more hours than were feared when Covid arrived. For now it is waiting for you from Monday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, with a limit of 85 visitors at a time. Those hours will be extended as and when circumstances allow. You can always check the Tenerife museums website for up to date news before diving into a classic era.

 

Hermano Pedro, The Saint At The End Of Tenerife Airport

Walking down from the TF! motorway and skirting the perimeter fence of Tenerife South airport, an oasis of quiet reflection awaited me cave of Hermano Pedro, the only Canarian to be made a saint. It sounds like an unlikely junction but the modern surroundings wrapped themselves around the sandstone series of caves many years after the 11 year old took his goats to the spot of a well, a good hike south from his Vilaflor place of birth in 1637.

The descendant of a French knight , one of many historical figures to lay claim to Tenerife, Brother Pedro took on the shepherd duties to pay back a family debt. It did seem like a comfortable enclave as cars continued to buzz by just above the level of the sandstone structures in the ravine. Pedro had a lot on his plate very early but was already thinking of helping others and when the chance came to search for a new life in South America, he set off via Hondura and Cuba before settling in Guatemala where he became a missionary.

Setting up a school and hospital was just the start of Pedro´s good works, he also helped the hungry and down trodden in the streets. Dying at the age of 41, Pedro had already acumulated a huge wealth of respect and admiration for his work, and that revernce only continued to grow after he was gone. By 1980 the clamour to canonize him as a Saint had become too much to ignore and the order was made. Plans didn´t fully fit together until 30 July 2002 when Pope John Paul the second was due in Guatemala and able to perform the ceremony. Thousands of Canarians made the pilgrimage to see the historic act.

The El Medano shrine attracts a steady flow of devotees and the curious. As I wandered around, a lady added a lit cndle to his wall inside the main cave amid stacks of religious artefacts and gifts. There was even a small pile of crutches, legend says they were left by thnkful visitors whose rliance on them was removed after a prayer to the great man. It´s a working tribute to Hermano Pedro, regular services are held at the pulpit. There´s a gift shop for those wanting a tangeable  reminder of their visit, and staff are always willing to discuss the life and times of Tenerife´s famous son.

 

There´s no charge to visit the caves, and facilities are on hand for those who come to learn more. There´s even a religious touch to the wash areas of the toilets. Benches and seats scattered around the dircular site encourage reflection and restful contemplation in this important part of Canarian history and culture.It´s a 30 minute walk down from the San Isidro roundabout or up from La Tejita beach at El Medano. There´s a small parking area for drivers as well.Look out for Hermano Pedros statue around Tenerife, at the entrance to Vilaflor, the town of Granadilla, and even on the beach promenade between Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas.

 

 

Chinese Pay Tribute To Sea Goddess Mazu In Los Cristianos

What a rich cultural mix we have in Tenerife, and Los Cristianos is the perfect stage to enjoy the celebrations that different nationalities generously share with us. On Thursday 19th December 2019, dragons and lions danced, and gentle music filled the air as sea goddess Mazu came to town.

As well as performers gathered around the Cultural Centre, many helpers made a point of mingling among the curious crowd to answer questions and shine a light on this important part of their traditions. Mazu originates from the island of Meizhou, and settlers from the town of Putien have made their home in the south of Tenerife. Mazu protects fishermen and sea farers, a perfect match for the fishing port of Los Cristianos. The importance of the Virgen del Carmen to the sea around our coast is spelt out in lavish celebrations each year, this new event marked the first celebration of Mazu in mainland Spain, a welcome honour.

A helper informed me that there are 8,000 Chinese in Tenerife, nearly 1,000 were present for the ceremony. Mazu is normally celebrated on the 1st March. There was a complete age range of performers on the stage, all looking resplendent in their bright, energetic costumes. Highlights for me were the duel with the yellow lion and the taming of the red dragon.

The parade headed down to the beach front before doubling back and heading up into Oasis del Sur, plans are in hand to build a Chinese temple as a focal point for the devotees. Many churches around the south host services for catholic, Anglican, polish, and Russian orthodox. For an island that has always been an important sea junction and trade hub, it´s good to get a glimpse of different ways of life, it´s a big part of why us Brits feel so welcome here.

Art With A Message At Siam Mall

When elephants mix with monster speedboats, and Spiderman poses next to a red faced god, artistic creations can slip in nicely among shops, cafes, and restaurants. This was the setting for paintings and photos to form part of the Cuidado Con La Tierra (take care with the earth) season at the Siam Mall commercial centre in Adeje, Tenerife.

It had been a long time since my last visit, probably for the pre event gathering for the Walk For Life, so it was also an opportunity for a little scout around the two floors of big name, trendy stores and eateries. Four free bus routes converge on the centre, I took the Los Cristianos option and after a few pick up points, I was dropped at the main entrance where Spidey looked ready to sling his web over the collection of large speedboats on display in the car park, next to the main TF1 motorway. On the lower level the coffee bars were doing a brisk pre noon trade and in the shadow of the moving stairway I found the painting exposition from the pupils of Wingate School.

To be precise, the paintings were GCSE exam pieces submitted by 15 and 16 year olds, and all those on show had achieved between level 5 and 8, which translates to A Plus to B. They all showed vibrant use of colours and plenty of imagination. This was the second time in a few days I had got good vibes about Wingate, they sent a choir along to the Remembrance Sunday outdoor service at Costa del Silencio and made a big impression.

Around the other side of the entrance lobby, six pillars displayed photos from the Fototierra (Earth Photo) collection by Tenerife based photographers. These also explored the green theme, with snaps from places like Poris de Abona, and Playa de la Tejita, both have been fighting their own recent battles against threats to their immediate environment. The Cuidado Con La Tierra season runs from 10th to 30th November 2019 and includes several specialist events such as sculpting, and rapid painting.

The dancing fountains continually make their colourful contribution to the Siam Mall experience, and the big outdoor stage on the top floor includes live music, dance, and fashion among its attractions, but hopefully more art exhibitions will follow, the paintings and photos were drawing plenty of interest from the visiting shoppers.

Head Start For Virgen Del Carmen Fiesta In Los Cristianos

Music, fun, and dancing were the bait as the fishing community of Los Cristianos set sail for a weekend of celebration and tribute in honour of their patron, the Virgen del Carmen. Tenerife doesn’t need an excuse to party and I could hear the DJ pumping out the music as I approached the compact Plaza de la Alpispa, behind the old beach.

The Saturday afternoon Fiesta del Sombrero (hat party) has become a popular part of the weekends tide of joy, and is always inventive and creative. Tables were set out in informal rows laden with food and drink but not many people were sitting still. The sea and nature in general always inspires the head gear but they´re not immune to modern influences, a home made drone perched on one hat but it was light weight compared to a full sized plant pot sported by one smiling lady.

Beer had clearly gone to some heads, but only in the artistic way, and as Dorada is now the official shirt sponsor of CD Tenerife, it made me proud to see the foaming tributes. Subtlety was just as effective, a neat hat with a floral trimming was enough to catch the eye and maybe even win a prize. The DJ´s table was well laden with trophies for the best efforts, they all looked deserving to me.

Further round by the port, other preparations were taking place for the following days parade of the Virgen´s statue among a flotilla of fishing boats, after the main lady had been carried through the streets of the town. Just along from the hat party, the younger revellers were enjoying the inflatable water slides as various cartoon characters watched from the side lines.

Fireworks will be lighting up the sky as the celebrations come to a close. For the fishing folk the hard work of pitting their wits against the waves continues all year. If you find yourself feeling a little hungry, it´s a much easier task to seek out one of the many local restaurants that serve the best of the catch from the Atlantic waters that lap at the shores of the Canary Islands.