Archive for the 'Life' Category
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.

 

Culture, Care, And Carnaval In Los Realejos

Jumping out at me from all directions, Carnaval legends defied the gathering clouds high above Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava in the north of Tenerife. Two years of minimal carnaval celebrations meant high heels and hi jinks were straining to break through.

The steep winding road up to the small municipality of Los Realejos bajo and alto showed their concern for those with little to celebrate, at several of the traffic roundabouts. The modern sculpture of friendship towards the young had gained a Ukraine flag and a wish for unity, along with proclamations of hope and respect at the smaller traffic islands.

Los Realejos Carnaval theme was “Life Is A Musical” . The cut outs of key players in the history of the areas celebrations took centre stage in Plaza de San Agustin with many of their former costumes getting a roll call. A small ferris wheel was also being adjusted. The previous weeks rain had delayed some events but not dampened enthusiasm.

La Orotava squeezed in a three day carnaval a few weeks before, and the delayed biggie for Santa Cruz has been pencilled in from 2 to 26 June with hopes of thronging the streets once more to maintain its status as second only to Rio de Janiero in size and splendour. Fingers and painted toes are crossed for the explosion of colour.

Just below the Los Realejos plaza, was an ambitious project to restore and extend the short lived cinema. Teatro Cine was originally a convent owned by the Agustin monks but from 1930 to 1932 it became a beacon for entertainment. If all goes to plan, cinema, theatre, and culture will enrich the comminuty from 2023. In the meantime, free expression and music were being lined up for the night times celebrating up on the plaza.

Tenerife Salutes Women With Drive

I didn´t know that the first female driver for the tenerife  bus company (TITSA) was Ana Maria Rodriguez Morales in 1989, but I was aware that 8 March was the International Day Of The Woman.

A smooth trip to Puerto de la Cruz was on my mind, but I did notice the information screen on my green chariot was featuring pics of the comapany´s female staff from drivers right up to the CEO Raquel Martinez Castillo.

Carnaval and many other upcoming events were on my tick list as the blue sky and fresh air eased me from the look out mirador of La Paz, down and beyond the beach to the Plaza of rhe Ayuntamiento (council) building. Violet flags fluttered and speeches were being rehearsed as I purused a wall of 20 profiles of women who were relevant to the history of Puerto de la Cruz. Poets, painters, writers, and public servants had all left their mark, even our own Agatha Christie was mentioned for her brief stay in the city in 1927 when she wrote a short story.

Even more relevance was added to the day at Castillo San Felipe near Playa Jardin. Their display of  traditional crafts like weaving fitted in well with the theme of the day. It was also a good chance to admire the small but sturdy fortress from the inside. A few more calls in La Orotava and Los Realejos, kept the day ticking over before the last stop at Santa Cruz.

The Intercambiador bus station was paying its own homage to the special day on behalf of yjr Womens Sector of Canarian Transport. in the entrance hall. The milestones achieved by the ladies were remarkable. Maria Toledo Torres was the first taxi female taxi driver in the canaries in 1966, and only the 2nd in Spain. Maria Bernaldo de Qyiros became Spain´s first female to hold a pilots licence in 1928.

There was a nice sense of humour at work in the exhibition, with high heels  and lipstick mixing with wing mirrors and wheels at the base of some stands. It was a welcome and unexpected finish to the trip.

 

America And Tenerife – Already No Strangers

When the first United Airlines Boeing 757-300 touches the tarmac at Tenerife South airport in June 2022 it wont be an entirely new link with the New World. Cristopger Columbus blessed American soil in 1492 with water drawn from a well on La Gomera, the nearest Canary Island neighbour to Tenerife. That stop off influenced the rise of Playa de Las Americas, the biggest of the 1970 tourist boom resorts on the south coast of Tenerife, with a direct gaze to thee landing port of Cristobal Colon. The American legacy has spread around the south coast, Los Cristianos is almost knee deep in name dropping homage to the states. From the first view of Mount Teides´s peak through the clouds, Tenerife offers exotic landscapes coupled with rich history and culture.

The JFK (New York) to TFS air route will initially carry 13,400 passengers on three weekly flights in the first three months. Cruise liners have made fleeting visits to Tenerife, stopping off in the northern capital of Santa Cruz and famous US footsteps have passed through and are now imortalised among 60 tributes at the port. Herman Melville, a New Yorker and author of Moby Dick, Earnest Albert Hooton, an anthropologist from Wisconsin, and Paul Bowles, a New York composer and writer all sampled island life. American Sporting stars and actors have also beaten a path to Tenerife in recent years. Shaq Moore from Georgia is in his third season with CD Tenerife football team (soccer) and he is also a regular for the USA national team. For 2022, Shaq has two big aims, promotion to Spain´s elite Primera league, and the four yearly World Cup finals for the stars and stripes in Qatar.

The movie trail to Tenerife goes way back to Raquel Welch filiming 1,000 Years BC up in the national park of Mount Teide volcanic peak in 1966. More recent stars include Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) in 2016, and Sylvester Stallone (Rambo 5 in 2019). Current TV productions include Foundation, the Apple Plus science fiction epic with one series in the can and the second taking shape  now. There´s also a continuous stream  of advertising films for international  high range productsand and musical promo videos enjoying some Tenerife time.

More formal ties include a twinning link with the University of California via the states side Santa Cruz and the Tenerife capital of the same name. The art faculty even sent some of their works over to exhibit on the volcanic island. Even with such popularity, Tenerife still has a wealth of secluded corners and natural treasures all awaiting to impress our new visitors.

Mexican Wave Sails Into Santa Cruz

From neatly furled sails down to a steel hull, the 1,800 ton Mexican Navy training ship ARM Cuauhtemoc was not going to be shaded out by a dust filled calima hovering over Santa Cruz port in Tenerife.

For the Bilbao built vessel it was something of a home coming to Spain, the wood was polished and the brass was gleaming as they invited the public on board to see behind the scenes. Part of the crew of 249 including 25 ladies stood ready to answer questions and help young would be seafarers to pose like veteran sailors.

Entering its 201st year of service, the Mexican navy takes a yearly voyage to spread the word and add experience to the crews CVs. The last year had seen the ship call at Cadiz, Dubai, Malta, and they still had Barcelona and Rio to look forward to.

It was all well ironed uniforms and smiles as the ship gave up some of its secrets. Enticing smells wafted from the galley and mexican music had several visitors dancing around the decks. Two canons showed that noone would be taking liberties as the mighty craft roamed the oceans, a spirit born from Cuauhtmoc, the last of the Aztec warriors.

 

Curiouser And Curiouser In La Laguna Wonderland

 

Innocent, endearing, but darkly haunting. It´s 160 years since Alice In Wonderland tumbled into a rabbit hole full of trouble. I was grinning like a cheshire cat when I discovered the Oxford written  creation of Charles Dodgson (under the name of Lewis Carrol) had emerged at a Caja Canarias Fundacion exhibition in La Laguna. Appropriately, the setting was a university town, but in this case, just outside Tenerife capital city, Santa Cruz.

As a child I was familiar with the tales that wandered from the academic path of Dodgson with his chosen staid diet of maths and science. Let´s be honest, I was more familiar with the frothy milk shakes and cream cakes at The White Rabbit cafe in nearby  Cowley Centre, although a little less familiar with the full meals upstairs at The Lewis Carroll Restaurant.

Quarrelsome twins Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the savage Queen Of Hearts, Mad Hatter, and potions that shrunk and expanded Alice to giant size, hinted at dark forces. These underlying surreal twists are the focus of the exhibition. Salvador Dali and Max Ernst caught the bug in later life and added ideas to their paintings ans illustrations. The two storey building contains references to all this and more surprises. It´s even suggested that the ground breaking Hadron Collider particle acelerator was referred to as A Large Ion Collider Experiment or ALICE for short. Some of Alice´s universe has spread into other disciplines, the Jabberwocky poem from Through The Looking Glass established the bizarre creature as an iconic figure. maybe 90s post rave band The Mock Turtles were spurred on by the turtle featured in Wonderland.

Alice Liddel, the 10 year old child of a family friend of Dodgson, is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Alice. A surreal coincidence rounded off my trip ro the exhibition. Aster mentioning my Oxford connection, I was introduced to a young British family viewing the works. The father told me his interest was drawn to the display because they live in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, where the body of Alice Liddel is buried. How very curious!

 

All Ye Faithful Uphold Christmas Tradition In Tenerife

Minus the wind and swirling sand of recent years, Los Cristianos beach was a much more sedate place to be on Christmas Day morning 2021 for the carol singing. The Swallows, our very active mature visitors from the UK were in good voice and very well organised.

It´s not easy rotating song sheets, props for the 12th Day Of Christmas, and fitting in food and drink, all between Covid masks and spacing. All the usual songs were rolled out, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, and of course the frantic 12 Days.

It was a good start to a fairly busy day, despite challenging restrictions for visitors to negotiate, most revellers were moving on later to meals and drinks – all fuel to the battered local economy. Up north of Santa Cruz, the music was mising but the hot sun packed Las Teresitas beach. A rousing start to the day – even those on sun beds were huming alomg in Los Cristianos.

Candy Striped Adeje Has Tenerife Christmas Licked

Surging up off the motorway to Adeje town , visitors are used to a few well placed guardians looking over them. Christmas 2021 has added a whole new colourful level starting with a candle powered lantern on the rim of the barranco del infierno.

The Guanche warrior stayed true to his vigil as reindeer and sleighs eased in alongside him. The tolling of the festive season was well heralded by giant bells and holly leaves. The faithfull bombero (fireman) hardly flinched at his new neighbour.

 

The theme carried on up to Calle Grande where guards stood alert with candy canes by their sides. More surprises lurked higher up the street near the Plaza de España. A royal red post box awaited requests for the three kings, well it´s good to post early. This years new special addition was a high tech interactive belen collection of nativity scenes and sounds. QR access ensured a personal link to a world of visions and inspirations.

Just around the top road, the new multi storey car park made a perfect station for a very special vehicle pulling in. Nature added its own special backdrop and even the church steps had a scattering of the giant holly. It was the diversity and colour that turned a warm winter afternoon into a wonderland. The large plaza and the modern, upwardly expanding cultural centre stood ready to host a wide range of events across the festive season. Just follow that candy.

West Coast Tenerife Has Its MYND On Change

When tourist coaches spread their loads around Tenerife, many people hold onto their first impressions of an unfamiliar resort. That´s why I was overjoyed at the cleaming white new coat on MYND Adeje Hotel. Gone is the fire damaged former squat, so no more distraction from the arch to Sueño Azul one way, and the dark sand beach and coastal path back to Playa Paraiso the other way.

A work still in progress, the hotel flower borders were being sculpted, sports courts and sandy play areas were being laid, and small outside pools were coming on strong. Part of a new chain, the hotel will be followed by a similar plot at Playa Blanca, Lanzarote.

It was enough to make me leap off and  swap Titsa buses for a change of plans, pitching up at Alcala, a little further north along the coast, and with an early eye on christmas. News of the completion of the coastal walkway to El Varadero and on to Los Gigantes was a loose end I couldn´t ignore. La Jaquita beach  coves were a popular stop with there full range of cafes, toilets, lifeguards, and neat landscaping.

Rounding the main cove, the clear but unobtrusive path offered confort, shade, and even a few artistic designs. An hours link to the main road exit and busy resort of Playa de la Arena, and Puerto Santiago looked good with the protective fencing now removed. Nature had room to spread a little and was growing into its new home.

 

Calling On Friends Is All About Timing

As Agatha Christie brought murderers to book in Puerto de la Cruz, Alexander Von Humboldt cut a lonely figure surveying the La Orotava valley from his concrete mirador a mere 5 kms up above the city. Back in the post Covid world, the Fenix was raising job hopes in Santa Ursula. With Santas already abseiling up and down musical ropes, it was time to recharge my Titsa unlimited travel residents ticket for another month.

Events were outlined on the Puerto de la Cruz street posters for the 8th Agatha Christie festival from 5 to 14 November, all based on a short stpry penned by the prolific crime queen back in 1927 on a visit to the north Tenerife city. It´s grown over the years to include readings, plays, and music, and has helped to raise the city profile far beyond Tenerife. Always keen to turn the page to new activities, Puerto de la Cruz had just become the first Tenerife municipality to confirm their 2022 Carnava, fom 17 Feb to 13 March.. Santa Cruz is the biggie and is preparing for their own parties but are still a little shy of confirming dates as Covid restrictions change.

Von Humboldt invented geo botany after sailing in to Tenerife back in 1799 with his journals and telescope, and marvelling at all the plant and insect life that abounds here. This was my third visit to his lofty free viewpoint, and it seemed like the great German explorer was edging nearer to the sheer drop edge of the balcony as he waited for people to pop in to see him. The only other visitors were a German couple who said they didn´t know about our Alex, I suspect they had eased their hire car into the tight layby in hope of finding toilets, but all facillities have been closed since re-opening after a previous spruce up. Maybe an online visitors book address by his biography plaque might encourage some feedback.

I shall keep taking this high road on the TF-21 as it leads onto Santa Ursula, La Victoria, and La Matanza, three of the smaller but most interesting municipalities on the island. Santa Ursula had declared November, Fushion En Verde month with revamped premises, offers and an overall push to help local businesses as part of the Proyecto Fenix campaign, and the response looked encouraging. The neighbours were looking decidedly quieter. It´s a tough situation, these areas have to fight for their share of rural tourism trade. All credit to those who take chances and try new ideas, maybe the influx of tourists from newly accessed destinations will filter through to boost others as well in the north.