Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
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.

Tenerife Will Stand Firm For Admiral Nelson Reload

Mutual respect by the two sea faring nations was not diminished by a defeated British Navy attack on the Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz in 1797. Admiral Horatio Nelson lost most of his right arm to musket fire when coming ashore, several of his ships were forced off target by ill judged winds and tides, and the surrender treaty of 25 July confirmed three historic defences of the capital.

Now 222 years later the Amigos de 25 July are staging their annual reconstruction of key battle moments, but there are many places to visit all year round in the Tenerife capital that evoke two entwined histories.
On Friday 19 July 2019, the Castillo Negro, between the modern hook nosed Auditorium and the Parque Maritima outdoor swimming complex, will see the first landing boats met by the defending forces at 9 pm. That began and ended Nelson’s personal action, he was ferried back to a ship under protest, to have most of his arm cut off and the wounds sewn up. He had already lost the sight in the right eye from a previous wound. Not surprisingly, the invading effort had little chance after that.

On Saturday 20 July, small units of troops will be deployed near Plaza de España from noon. Some British troops had landed further north up the coast and tried to battle down through the city as commanded by Admiral Troubridge. From 9 pm skirmishes will be played out near Calle La Noria, just below the barranco bridge. The surrender treaty was signed initially by Admiral Troubridge, at Plaza Isla de Madera, and this will be re-enacted at 9 pm on Sunday 21 July. There will be a procession through the city on Thursday 25 July from 8 pm. Back in 1797, patched up Nelson was invited to dine with the Santa Cruz Governor, Juan Antonio Gutierrez. The British lost 250 men in the failed invasion but Nelson was full of praise for the humanity of Gutierrez, he arranged for injured men and provisions to be returned to their ships and presented barrels of malvasia wine and other gifts to the British. Nelson promised to forbid any future attacks on the Canary Islands, it was a strangely civilised surrender and the Admiral is even commemorated on a couple of street names. This years events are dedicated to Captain Diego Correa of La Laguna, who captured the British Flag from the ship, Emerald. It´s now displayed in a glass cabinet in the Military Museum of Almeyda, a short stroll north of the ferry port. Entry is free, Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 2 pm, and there are two floors of exhibits from many eras plus a range of vehicles in the yard.

All along the coast road of Santa Cruz, and inland, there are plaques describing key points in the Nelson conflict, in English and Spanish. Down on the port, by the small, metal lighthouse, there is the imprint of a canon ball from a British ship, a sculpted tribute to the surrender treaty had pride of place at the port and is expected to be replaced once the major makeover of the port entrance is completed.

For a dip back in time, try the ruins of the old Castillo San Cristobal, unearthed when the Plaza de España lake was updated a decade ago. Entrance is free from Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, you can see part of the old city wall and also the Tigre canon that helped to repel Nelson and his men.

Bumper Sunday Crop In Valle San Lorenzo

Nature knows how to set out it’s stall, and Valle San Lorenzo, just 7 kms above the Los Cristianos coast, put on a wonderful spread for my Sunday morning trip to the Arona Farmers Market. Usually I am tempted up by a specific event like the chestnut night, but the time was ripe to enjoy the free market coach provided by Arona Council (Ayuntamiento) and to check out the delights of the town.

Bang on time, the 10.20 red coach whisked me from the Escuela Idiomas (language school) just above the Apolo Commercial Centre, and 20 minutes later I was dropped off in the main street near the market. It was already 24 degrees as I passed the statue of the Guanche native at the roundabout, a homage to the goat herds and other people who founded the town. The main street was dominated at the lower end by the craggy peak , and at the other by the modern Terrero, where Canarian Wrestling still thrives.

The Mercado del Agricultor de Arona has been open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm since its October 2017 inauguration. Flowers, vegetables, cakes, wines, biscuits, cheeses, and seasonal specials fill the stalls. It´s a home to culture too, on past visits I have enjoyed live music and dance, this time there was an exhibition of sculptures by Slovenian artist Jurij Jesovnik. Entrants from a recent painting competition hung outside near the entrance to the free car park, and posters invited entries for upcoming cake, and tortilla competitions.

Back outside, I strolled up the main street to see the impressive rise of the mountains and made a rough note of the Barranco del Chijas, an old ravine route that I intent to re-walk soon. Lower down in town the modern murals showed the pride in the agricultural past of the area. Colourful artistic brush strokes made their own impressions as I took a break for a coffee in one of the many well priced bars and cafes. There are some fine restaurants as well, popular with evening visitors due to their price and quality.

The market is just a weekend attraction but Valle San Lorenzo is worth visiting any time, the journey up and down from the coast offers great views. The green public buses of the TITSA company run frequently through Valle San Lorenzo, look for the 416 and 417. I didn´t have long to wait under the shade of a tree for the free bus back to Los Cristianos, bang on time again.