Archive for the 'Life' Category
Christmas Keeps Giving In Icod And Garachico

It´s not over till the fat wallet slims. Maybe a cynic might say that, but in Tenerife the Spanish traditions of Reyes and the arrival of the camel mounted three kings on 5 January, followed by the big family celebrations of 6 January add a spectacular flourish.

Heading north to Icod I soaked up the impressive decorations, with reindeer vying with the ancient  drago tree for attention.. The tight back street was decorated with a modern and traditional mix. In previous years they have had festive songs floating on the air, there was a happy buzz this year from the shoppers, and who also felt their their mood lifted by the trimmed balconies of the Ayuntamiento (council) building. Luis Stinga excelled himself with a new wooden sculpture, this one dedicated including all people in the comunity events – and fittingly a local school had played a big part in getting the message across.

Onward to Garachico on the coast below. Garachico is always magnificent so this time I stretched my bus journey to one stop up and outwards from the rock pool swimming area. On a high turn mirador the figure of El Emmigrante is always looking to leap into the horizon. It symbolizes the large number of people who left the Canaries for South America, looking for new lives. A string of suit cases pour out around the figure, and a hole through his body mirrors the pull of his heart at leaving home soil.

There´s a splendid cafe bar on the mirador but many were oblivious to the nativity scene below inside a cave. Each year it is peopled with all the biblical characters gathering around the crib. A kayak rower passed close by for a close up look and the frothy waves around on this afternoon became becalmed near to the festive scene. Further inland the Plaza de La Libertad was full of visitors being wowed by the festive characters popping up at all points.

They really pack the visual treats in at Garachico, well they have a lot of natural attractions to compete with. It was hard to imagine the combined frantic activity around the islands as camels preened themselves for their starring roles as the bringers of presents. Tenerife adds a modern take on the old ways, many municipalities now have gluten free sweets for the royals to shower on the crowds at Reyes processions. It´s a special time of year.

Feeling The Festive Force In Tenerife

Brick by brick, christmas was coming together in Santa Cruz. The old favourites were there, like the red and white blooms of the flor de pascua, but a more modern influence was supplied by film epic Star Wars.

The Espacio Cultural exhibition hall of the Caja Canarias bank was filled with a Lego landscape bringing two epic stories together, light years away from the usual rural scenes with a distinct historical taste of Tenerife. It´s free to visit with opening times Monday to Friday 5 to 8 pm, Sat and Sunday 11 am to 2 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm. Times differ on the big festive dates. From 23 December to 5 January it´s 11am to 4 pm and on 24 & 5 December, and 31 December to 5 January from 11 am to 4 pm. On December 25 and 1 January it is closed – well even Lego figures need some down time.

Santa Cruz also has its smaller but more traditional Belen in the Cabildo building between the port and the lake. It´s always a work of art with plenty of little details to look out for, woven into a historic fabric. It´s also free and open  between 9 to 3 am and 4pm to 9.30pm most days. On 24 December it´s 9 am to 5 pm, on 25 th it´s  4 pm to 9.30 pm, on 31 December it´s 9 am to 5 pm, and on 1 st to 6 January it´s 4 pm to 9.30 pm.

Down at the port, the giant stage was taking shape for the anual classical concert onChristmas Day, late in the evening. This year the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and friends will pay homage to great modern composers like John Williams, another Star Wars link. The 8,000 tickets are on sale at 3 euros each. Taking advantage of the performing platform, a solidarity concert will take place on Friday 15 December to raise money for a reforestation project in Tenerife. Tickets are 18 euros.

There will be lots more distractions in the streets across Tenerife as the festive season unfolds. I will add a few more of the unusual ones on here soon.



Tick Tock To Party O Clock In Santa Cruz

Grapes and a glass of cava as 2022 became 2023 whet the whistles in Santa Cruz, The Tenerife capital. Dorada Especial had already got the nod for Reyes Eve when the Three Kings (Reyes Magos) will hold court at the Heliodoro stadium home of CD Tenerife, after a parade around the city.

Just a short way down Avenida San Sebastian, live music and a bounty of food will accompany the beer at La Recova market, also known as Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa. The stylish market looked delightful when I called in a few days before the big event. The clock tower looked down on the 1943 built trading hub, in recent years it has regained its hustle and bustle with the smells of fresh produce mixing with the aroma of coffee and snacks.

Outside, a liquid delivery is being made in the old manual style, a fitting addition to the iconic centre which now holds its own against the backdrop of the TEA arts building and other modern changes to the vibrant city.It´s just as well the kings have their hands full on the night before Reyes, the big day of presents and celebration, Especial slips down nicely and could lead to a few wobbly sleigh rides.

Adeje Ready To Ring The Bells For Christmas And Reyes

Papa Noel (Santa) rested his feet after world wide wish gathering. Meanwhile his reindeer made light work of trotting their boss up to Adeje town in Tenerife, above the southern resorts.

As always a colourful assortment of characters tucked into the folds and shadows cast by the  peaks above Barranco del Invierno. Plaza de España was wired for sound, ready for New Years Eve´s big orchestral bonanza, from 11.30 pm to 6 am.

Reyes (Kings Day) Eve was also on the horizon for 5 January when the Three Kings arrive by helicopter at the Municipal Football Stadium at 5pm, just in time for the big parade up Calle Grande for 7pm. Rocker Sting will be gracing the stadium on 3 June, adding his own synchronicity to the Adeje music scene.

Plaza de España started the pre Christmas displays with an interactive series of nativity scenes from 1 December. That show will run on to 9 January. In the meantime, magic and wonder will sparkle like the expectation in young childrens eyes.


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!