Irish Eyes Sparkle On Tenerife Swimming Return

Ten two hour swimming training sessions in a weeks return visit to Tenerife had Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club buzzing with fitness and ambition. It had been five years since their last pre Covid visit to Los Cristianos and the 50 metre, Olympic sized outdoor pool, at the  Jesus Dominguez Grillo complex.

Team manager Michael Angus dished out grapes and bananas at the end of the latest morning session as the 30 teenagers basked in the hot morning sun. That´s just one of the attractions of the Canarian winter. A similar sized group from Ulster Schools (based in Aards) refelcted the same dedication at the other end of the pool.

Coach Michael Angus was delighted to be back at the well used pool. Many ages and nationalities use the open air facility, on this morning a group of mature local swimmers were using the under canvas pool. All that use still leaves plenty of fun for recreational splashing from the young paying public.

Sport in Arona is a big success story. Los Cristianos beach has a large spread of volleyball plots, the Irish swimmers enjoyed some free time, stretching different muscles at the nets, as well as the walk up and down the hill from Paradise Park Hotel, a home from home on previous trips.

The pride in his swimmers was clear to see from Michael Angus.  A beacon had been lit for them last year by another local swimmer, Grace Davison with a 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medal at 200 metres. Another confirmation of the Banbridge clubs strides could come at the Swim Ireland awards on 4 November, where they are vying with three other groups for the best club award.


Pedal Along To San Miguel

Flashing by through San Miguel de Abona, streamlined cyclists on razor thin bikes painted a picture of state of the art sport. But slower more sedate steeds in the underground exhibition hall of Casa de la Capitan were a fitting tribute to years of keen travel over the testing roads that look down on the Tenerife south airport and its nearby resorts.

Always worth a visit for its agricultural and industrial history lessons, the solid stone building nestles just down from the church and off the entrance tracks to several bracing walks. I was delighted to see the alluring posters for the ruta de tapas in a seasonal selection of local bars and cafes, as I stepped off the Titsa bus from Los Cristianos.

Every time I pop inside the free to visit Casa de la Capitan, they have made some new touches to their exhibits harking back to a proud, productive heritage. The outside courtyard was bathed in sunshine as reminders of the wine production and barrel making beckoned me closer.

Posters of the current cycling homage had alerted me to the classic models downstairs. San Miguel has always been a welcoming sight for sports cyclists, the local Irichen club is well into its second decade of pounding the pedals. The vintage shirts on display have now been eclipsed by modern fibred second skins that enhance the speed and comfort. I suppressed a chuckle at the Haig Whisky cycling top, a wobbly ride could ensue if sampling the bottle before the bike. There´s always guidance and information close to hand at the Casa de la Capitan, in several languages. Opening windows on the past, the Casa makes regular seasonal changes – pop in and say hello.



CD Tenerife Young Guns Blanked By Same Old VAR Errors

Early season injuries were not the biggest problem for bright and breezy CD Tenerife. Jesus Belza made his first senior start on the right, and 21 year old Las Palmas born Alassan added another 13 minutes to his growing tally late in the 0-0 home draw against Levante. Both blended in well, and revelation Luic Williams was like a commanding veteran at the heart of the defence.

However the game was marred by a schoolboy error from the referee after 5 minutes. Sergio Gonzalez had chased the ball into the visitors goal mouth and tucked it over the line but the official referred it to VAR for an offside and then disallowed it for being out of play when it got the final touch.

That would have sapped the spirit of many sides but Tenerife resumed their hunt and showed plenty of creativity against a solid but unspectacular Levante line up. Belza and Waldo worked the flanks well to encourage the spearhead Gallego. Roberto Lopez stoked the fire just behind the big striker, but again it was Alexandre Corredera making the team tick with his vision, hard work, and polished skills.

Gallego has a crisp shot denied by the goalie just into the second half, and his replacement Alassan snatched at a half chance that was covered by the vistors. The loud applause at the end of the home fixture showed that there is plenty of patience for the squad to bind together. Gallego signed a new contract extension to 2025 in the days after the draw, and similar negotiations are ensuring continuity. The biggest crowd so far, 19, 102, underlined that the fans are liking what they are seeing so far.


Taking Fonsalia Port Plans With A Pinch Of Salt

To many coastal walkers, Fonsalia is a compact jewel, but it is also a thriving commuinity. Already partly blighted by a modern desalination plant, the tiny hamlet is used to sporadic bouts of rumours and designs to add a huge port to replace the often long queues of island hopping cars at Los Cristianos. The first expansive plans for a new port on the west coast of Tenerife were presented in 2007 and are currently enjoying another dusting down. Set between Playa San Juan and Alcala, Fonsalia is well worth seeking out.

On a scorching afternoon I could see why a group of divers were so keen to enjoy the breaking waves around a small rocky inlet. The haze of the calima dust hung in the air, obscuring the views of neighbouring Canary Island La Gomera. Fonsalia is closer to the small island at this point in Tenerife. Some preparation work was carried out a few years ago, installing traffic roundabouts which would ease the flow of traffic to the port if the grand scheme came together. There´s a bit of a clamber down to the sea level and the pocket shingle beach, otherwise there are two narrow lanes trailing back among the banana leaves before linking up in Fonsalia.

Fonsalia may be small but the mini church, Ermita Santa Lucia, and plaza give it a special character, and the La Berrera bar and restaurant is always a welcome stop off point. Once back on the beach path, there are a few rough areas of rock before Alcala, these need some careful foot work. Bird life thrives in the area but sadly some people leave rubbish behind, and there are even a couple of makeshift shacks down by the tides edge.

Just a few minutes walk up from Fonsalia, the modern main roads wheel away up into the mountains, and allow quick links between Los Cristianos and Los Gigantes. The modern face of progress has made its mark but hopefully Fonsalia will continue to offer a traditional alternative.

Scorching Form From CD Tenerife

Not even the stiffling hot heat wave, the dust laden calima hanging in the air or the raised expectation level that had been steadily rising made this such a classic 2-1 home win for CD Tenerife over Burgos. It was the shear quality of home play right across the pitch, the passion of the 18,383 crowd, and a belief that anything is possible that propelled the Santa Cruz side to the top of the Segunda table.

Tenerife had to absorb a little early pressure but with goalie Soriano on top form, that was not a problem. Each game now there´s always another player making their mark on the supporters, Medrano showed his defensive alertness and an eye for a quick break from the left back position. Mo Dauda started again, and even with Angel on the bench, there was plenty of threat every time Tenerife surged forward. Just before half time though it was Soriano´s turn for a cameo role as he made a superb low save from a penalty after Mo Dauda had been sent off following a clash of heads and a second booking.

The only surprise of the game was it took 64 minutes to underline the home superiority. Medrano made a power run into spce on the left and teed the ball up perfectly for Roberto Lopez to leave the goalie high and dry. With home tails up, it took just four minutes to increase the lead after defender Mumo fouled sub Gallego, who cooly converted the spot kick.

Despite a late reply from Curro, it was a convincing victory with stand out performances in several positions. The squad is gelling together and their character has shone through in the last two wins after a heavy away defeat. It´s always a tell tale sign of the feel good factor, when neighbours are watching on from the high vantage point balconies outside the ground. Inside the Heliodoro we were sweating like chickens on a rotisserie but clucking happily.

Angel Has CD Tenerife Flying High

For those too young to remenber his previous barn storming displays in the CD Tenerife shirt, Angel Rodriguez smashed two goals past Racing Santander. The visitors could not reply to the nostalgic blasts by the 36 year old from La Laguna, earning his team a return to second place in Spain´s Second Division.Coach Garitano also welcomed the re boot of the team after a 3-0 loss at Eibar earlier in the week.

Gallego led the line from the kick off, Alexandre Corredera was back in midfield as the creative spark with Sergio Gonzalez adding a hard edge alongside him. Waldo had the best first half chance for Tenerife, making space before shooting from the edge of the box. The Racing goalie reacted sharply to turn it aside.

Growing in confidence, Roberto Lopez hit his best form and went close with a wide effort in the second half. AS Tenerife pressed, Luismi Cruz made a dart down the right and was fouled in the box by the goalie Ezkieta. Angel looked confident as he strode up to the spot and cracked it past the stopper for a 63 minute lead.

Just a couple of minutes later, the big striker was at it again, latching onto a telling pass from Roberto before rounding the keeper. The legs may be a little older, but a teenagers spirit beats inside the confident veteran.

There were plenty of other helpful contributions from the white shirted winners. Mo Dauda added width and pace after coming off the bench, and goalie Soriano made a rock solid stop in the final minutes to seal a great evening for the 14,773 crowd.

Taking The High Ground In La Laguna

DONG! Every 15 minutes the bells of the Torre de la Concepcion chime, but it still made me skip a beat as I looked out over the panoramic views of Tenerife´s majestic university city of La Laguna.

The seven storey time piece didn´t have a mammoth ascent but contrasts stretched out in all directions as a chill breeze wafted in between the stone masonry windows. The three parralell main streets of the city were bustling with visitors and residents as commerce rubbed shoulders with religon, theatre, and history.

On the day of my latest visit, several smaller connecting streets were sealed as part of the European Day Without Cars, a welcome chance for the area to take a well earned breather. Looking out from my high perch, there were other signs of change, such as solar panels on roofs of old beautifull buildings.

Tenerife North airport, the original landing strip for the island, was busy as ever as planes skipped just above the tall green hills. There have always been storys about the poor choice for this modern addition, even now the clouds sometimes settle so low they cause cancellations in high summer.

The tower is great value at 2 euros, which includes a look inside the old church next door, opening times are Monday 10 to 2 pm, Tuesday to Friday 10 to 5pm. . For modern splendour, the La Laguna cathedral is a must to visit, and only a short walk back down into the main streets. At the other end of the construction range, the old bus station has been bought by the coumcil (ayuntamiento) and may well be demolished. It was replaced by a gleaming, modern building a decade ago, that dove tails nicely with the tram service between La Laguna and Santa Cruz.

I had mixed feelings about this old interchange, but the churros and chocolate bar was always a favourite of mine. Hopefully the balance between old and new will continue to respect the importance of the city to the spiritual and educational history of Tenerife.

Hot Stuff CD Tenerife Put RCD Espanyol In The Shade

Fuelling the pre match chat with moans about adjusting to the heat of Tenerife, Espanyol were reeled in by a cool, well organised victory from CD Tenerife. Espanyol are widely expected to quickly regain their Primera statuus but there was plenty of ambition and skill from the home ranks before an ecstatic 18,300 crowd.


The visitors tore into Tenerife from the kick off, asking lots of questions. The home side kept calm and soaked up the oncoming waves. Goalie Soriano was on top form, quick to spot danger and race out to make the ball his own. With just 16 minutes on the clock, the Espanyol goalie got himself in a muddle as the ball sat teasingly between his feet. Enric Gallego pounced on his uncertainty and burried the ball in the back of the net.

Tenerife grew in confidence, Waldo was again full of running and ideas, and Alexandre popped up all over the pitch to pose problems for the visitors. In defence there had been some discussion whether to keep faith with rising young centre back Loic Williams, however Amo got the nod and Espanyols breaks floundered on the back four.

There was a niggling feeling that Espanyol would step up a gear towards the end but Tenerife didn´t let their guard drop. The Tenerife squad is shaping up well, another youth product, Jesus Belza, got a short debut in extra time to continue the range and versatility of the squad. Now in third place, the Santa Cruz team have more to give and it´s a pleasure to watch them mature.


Fasnia Moves Into A New Lane Of Progress

Two huge spits of rock attract fleeting curiosity half way up the motorway that links Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz – especially recently when they were partly covered. Walking the 6 km descent from Fasnia old town (see previous post) to the coast was tweaking my interest to fever pitch as the tight turns of the modern road revealed my familiar coastal refuelling point for CD Tenerife home games.

A flurry of work in the lower reaches showcased a new botanical garden being installed to admire plants and insects. An all action sculpture of Canarian wrestling made an informative focal point, and nearer the walkway under the motorway, an old water train showed how the life giving liquid was extracted from underground galleries. Preserving the past is high on the agenda with subtle changes being incorporated.


Emerging from the road tunnel, brought views of the black sand granules of Playa del Arico, and Playa Los Roques to rival the two rocky outcrops of Los Roques on the southern side of the cafe restaurants. There is much to stop and admire in this area as most of the traffic roars by unaware of the history of the gems below. Birds were swooping over the rocks, guardians of their colony. There is a small community of fishing families below the eye level of most visitors, and a transformation had just taken place.

The two beaches used to be linked but crumbling rocks and neglect kept the old houses and church hewn into the cliff, largely unoticed. Now it is possible to stroll around the edge of the biggest beach and onto the far beach, following newly concreted paths with wooden stair rails to ensure safe distance from the larger waves. The facelift has made it neater without changing the charm of the area, and a colourful mural from Roberto Rodriguez guides walkers from one gem of a view to another, complete with rock stacks and a small promenade.

The bigger beach is partly protected by rocky guardians but can still be prone to the odd roque wave. A hi tech safety capsule ca be quickly thrown into the sea from its holding post and expands into a flotation device. Perhaps the biggest change of all is about to happen, a new urbanisation of 40,000 square metres is proposed just inland from the beaches. Hopefully it can breathe new life into the area whilst keeping the character and history intact.


A Blessing Of Churches For Fasnia

Was the coast clear? Divinely so as the modern road flexed and wound down towards the eastern aspect of Tenerife. I had the perfect viewing point at the small ermita church on Fasnia mountain.

In my wake I had left the neat historical heart of the municipality with barrancos (ravines) parting the fertile land. Nature had left its mark over the centuries and in recent weeks the wild fires that swept Tenerife had raged too close for comfort. But Fasnia is a place with an eye on the future as well as a deep respect for the past.

Where the quiet back streets intersected, the Ayuntamiento (council) building stood proud opposite an eco agricultural centre. A poster proudly displayed an impressive range of locally grown potatoes, very timely as a potato shortage  was currently gripping the island due to colorado beetles hitching a ride on the small number of imported spuds from Egypt and Israel.

Further down towards the modern church of San Joaquin, a large park, and play area was receiving a blue modern coating to encourage young sports fans. The plaza surrounding the church was also a bustling social area with a bar and outside seating. The local football ground claimed a dynamic vista overlooking the sea in the distance to further enhance the charm.

From my lofty perch at the ermita it looked like a time curtain divided the view to the west as the Arico wind turbines whirred at a frantic pace. My downward gaze prepared me for the 6 km walk I was to undertake towards the coast. My brief visit had shown me solid roots of an established community, but I was soon to find that local pride was making a big splash on the other side of the motorway.