Needles On The Record In La Esperanza

Plane spotters would normally be well blessed with a trip to La Esperanza in the municipality of El Rosario. Alas there was not so much as an Airfix model on the Tenerife North runways as my bus took the uphill turn just across from the La Laguna bus station – well that´s the ongoing Covid effect.

Never mind, my bell was soon rung when I spotted a perplexing duo of scylptures presiding over a fork in the road at El Calvario, a traditional spiritual home for church crosses. The old TF24 is a direct route up through the pine forest on the way to Mount Teide national park. The two sculptures reflected a local commercial tradition of using pine needles to pack wholesale fruit and vegatables. The rights to this process are put out to tender but the gathering of the pointed articles is still very much a manual labour, the monument paid tribute to the pinocheros and pinocheras who have gathered the tricky little blighters over the decades. The artistic salute was made by local artist Dacil Travieso,

I was a few stops short of my intended destination but nothing that a short uphill stroll would not put right. La Esperanza plaza soon appeared and the neighbouring Ayuntamiento (council) building. Dacil had been busy with her chisel, a lechera stood proud with her delivery of milk perched on her head. A fountain, starved of water, was also nearby but the nearby greenery showed that the drought would only be a short one.

My compass had been drawn to La Esperanza by an orange intruder among the green Titsa buses at the La Laguna bus station. Although an independent company they run two services into La Esperanza, one with a direct link to  Tenerife 2 prison, and they take the usual Titsa payment cards. Back at the two central plazas, an old wine press promoted another local industry. The main road wound on up towards the pine forest to reveal some great view over Santa Cruz and out to sea. It was eerily quiet, a few TUI tour buses, and lycra clad cyclists headed through, and BRIFOR forest fire patrol trucks added reassurance against summer fires.

A good selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars with big parking areas, stood ready to receive once tourists come back to the island in numbers. Vilaflor is a more common route for Teide visitors but there´s plenty of scope to see some local history while breaking a journey at this alternative. The Ermita Las Rosas looked a little lonely and forlorn but the local council news magazine held plenty of promise, especially with a new cultural centre just opening.