Tenerife set for a White Christmas
After storms and strikes, let’s put aside the week’s woes and try to dunk ourselves in some Christmas spirit. Christmas lights are being erected and turned on across Tenerife’s towns, nativity scenes are springing up in shops and town halls and Santa Cruz and La Laguna councils are planning hours upon hours of festive entertainment to help make life for residents and visitors that little bit more jolly. But the icing on the cake and a sight that made us mouth a silent “˜wow’ was the vision of Mount Teide covered in snow following the storm. With snow forecast for the summit of Spain’s highest mountain for most of this week it looks as though a white Christmas is on the cards for Tenerife.
After the Storm
Anyone who’s seen Santa Cruz or Puerto de la Cruz the morning after an all night carnival street party will already know that street cleaners on Tenerife can perform the impossible. There’s little or no evidence that a couple of hours previously carnival hot spots looked as though a bomb had hit them. Similarly new arrivals at Plaza del Charco in Puerto de la Cruz, one of the areas hit hardest by the recent storm, would have been amazed to learn that 24 hours earlier the area had looked like a war zone with fallen palms and wrecked cafeterias. Even as the wind was still howling, blocked roads were cleared and re-opened quickly and efficiently. The authorities and the Tinerfeño public in general should be applauded for the incredible job they made of clearing up nature’s mess with the minimum of fuss.
Baby Boom at Loro Parque
Who knows what they’re feeding the animals at Loro Parque, but the second half of 2010 has seen a veritable baby boom in one of Tenerife’s most popular tourist attractions. Sea lions and titi monkey Miko in August, sloths Luca and Chuca at the beginning of October followed by an orca just over a week later. Then it was jaguar cubs Pimbo and Yagi, and last week it was the birth of four meerkats, one of the most popular creatures on the planet thanks to those fascinating BBC documentaries. It’s clearly a credit to the breeding programme at the park that there’s been such a boom in births. However, if there are any new parents-to-be out there looking for inspiration for a name for baby, I’m not sure Loro Parque is the best place to look.
Cruising in Santa Cruz
In a week full of headlines about chaos at Spanish airports it’s worth remembering that air travel isn’t the only way to journey to Tenerife.
It’s estimated that by the end of 2010 more than 383 cruises will have sailed into Santa Cruz Port bringing more than 674,000 passengers; a 16% increase on 2009. Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s ports are the fourth most visited by cruises to Spain after Barcelona, the Balearics and Malaga. After days of lounging by the pools on their floating hotel, what’s the first thing that a lot of passengers want to know on arrival at Santa Cruz? Where’s the nearest beach?
And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to Spain’s Air Traffic Controllers
The TIT award almost went to those people on Tenerife who, despite reports of devastation to the island’s agricultural sector, still insisted that the storm of the previous weekend didn’t warrant a red alert. Maybe not from whatever bubble they reside in.
But Spanish air traffic controllers were head and shoulders winners for making an epic error of misjudgement from their lofty ivory towers.
Popular holiday destinations were amongst the worst affected by the wildcat strike according to the president of the Spanish agencias de viaje (travel agents), AEDAVE with the Canary Islands and the Balearics being singled out. In Tenerife alone 239 flights were cancelled as a result of the strike.
Whether anyone believes the air traffic controllers had good reason to strike or not, picking one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year to stage their protest not only brought misery to hundreds of thousands of travellers but also put the boot in at time when Spain is in the midst of a crippling economic crisis.
In a country where unemployment levels are at 20%, public sympathy for air traffic controllers, who earn around €200,000 a year, is unsurprisingly thin on the ground.