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.