It is a wedding planning company in Tenerife. Usually assisting couples from abroad, also available for locals.
Barefoot Bride is your best friend if you are planning your wedding in Tenerife. We organise and style the wedding, deal with suppliers, negotiate prices, plan the budget, coordinate the wedding day and take care of all other wedding aspects’ which you don’t even consider. We listen to your visions and dreams and then use our experience, contacts and passion to create a truly magical and unforgettable wedding in Tenerife.
Your wedding can be combined together with a honeymoon. Tenerife promises sunny days almost all year round, with guaranteed fantastic mood and weather. It truly is a paradise for a wedding.
This stunning island simply has everything you could possibly need for your perfect wedding day. Tenerife offers best climate in the world and no rainy season as such. Hence, you can have a lovely barefoot beach wedding here even in the middle of winter – the temperature here rarely drops below 20 degrees.
Tenerife also offers many stunning locations for your big day – beautiful beach clubs, glamorous hotels, golf clubs and unique churches. The atmosphere is very relaxing, local Canarien people – nice and friendly, food is fresh and delicious. It is great idea to combine your wedding to the honeymoon too – Tenerife has so many stunning places to visit and interesting things to do, that you will guaranteed enjoy every minute of it!
What is included into Barefoot Bride’s services?
Partial or full planning, depending on each client’s desires. Partial, if only little help is desired such as assisting on the wedding day or if you simply need an advice. Full if we decide on planning the entire celebration together incorporating aspects such as budget, options available, venues, reception, general assisting and more.
We are here to help with every aspect of your wedding – paperwork, venues, ceremony, flowers, photographer, musicians, entertainment, transport, budgeting, styling, even accommodation and your honeymoon, if you wish so. We love taking the exciting journey of wedding planning with you – from creating the concept of and working all the way through to your “I do’s…”. The option of partial planning is available too for couples who only need a bit of guiding or perhaps just the coordination of the wedding day to ensure everything runs smoothly. The best thing to do is just to drop us a message with your request – we do offer a free consultation.
Why hire a wedding planner?
If you don’t live in the island, you need someone who knows people and places, even simple things can turn out to be stressful when planning by yourselves. Wedding planner shares contacts, and thoroughly helps throughout. The bride, who usually is responsible, can spend more time enjoying the planning process. The stress free atmosphere is very important during the actual wedding day.
Although planning a wedding is exciting but it definitely might get a little stressful at times. We believe it is essential to hire a wedding planner especially when planning a destination wedding – you simply need someone who perfectly knows the best places and people. Professional wedding planner is here to make your life easier and planning process as easy and enjoyable as it can be. We see more and more brides getting really stressed while planning their big day and actually forgetting to enjoy it! But at the end, this day is supposed to be about happiness and celebrating your love, let the planner to take care of the rest, trust it to the Barefoot Bride.
What is the normal procedure of THE day?
There are really a lot of options. Let me give you a few examples.
In the morning beauty specialists arrive to bride’s villa or hotel and does her hair, make up, etc. while she is enjoying a coffee or chilled glass of cava. The car arrives to pick her up and brings her to the ceremony where the groom and all guests are already waiting. The venue is decorated with beautiful flowers and the ceremony takes place on the sandy beach, under the romantic wedding arch, enjoying the sunshine, ocean views and the sound of live guitar. After your “I do’s” you have a little wedding photo-shoot in the most stunning spots in Tenerife while your guests are chilling listening to the music in the beautiful venue drinking champagne. After the photo-shoot you continue with romantic dinner enjoying the sunset or maybe hire a boat and celebrate with your guests watching whales or dolphins swimming just next to you?
What if I’m on a low budget and what is the average I’m looking to spend in Tenerife?
Barefoot Bride, like any other wedding planner, knows on what to spend or save money. For example choosing a cheaper or more expensive photographer can be crucial to your wedding budget. Photography is massively important, however you need to be sure you will be happy with the final results. Having an honest wedding planner usually saves more money.
A wedding in Tenerife is such great idea for couples, who would like to save money. While lots of couples spend over 15,000 or 20,000 euros on their Wedding Day elsewhere in the world, you can have a beautiful wedding here for just a few thousand. We normally suggest a starting budget of 1000 euros. It is all about choosing your priorities – the best photographer on the island, food, and activities during the wedding day, fancy wedding venue or maybe all of the above? A good wedding planner always can advise you how to save and can often offer you a better deal so it is definitely the best option just to get in touch and discuss your budget with the planner.
Does Tenerife necessarily mean beach weddings?
Not necessarily, what about a stunning hotel with ocean views, impressive golf course, romantic church or maybe a yacht? The sky is the limit when planning the wedding and we are always glad to see couples willing to do something different and unique.
Will there be other people at the beach?
Most likely. The beach is a public place, and although you get a permission, you cannot ‘rent out’ the beach. But finding a quiet place with less people is very realistic.
How long in advance should I start planning? What if I’m spontaneous?
Due to long and difficult paperwork over here, most couples choose to get a beautiful and emotional blessing in the island. Then, the wedding can be organised quite fast although if you have your dream venue I would advise to book a year in advice – most popular venues get booked up really quickly. Otherwise, 6 months is definitely enough to plan a beautiful wedding.
Short of time and want to get married just in few weeks? We would happily plan that too.
What if we want to party all night long?
I see a lot of couples deciding to celebrate in the villa with their friends and family. It is great choice because there are so many stunning villas here in Tenerife with private pools and spacious gardens. A few nibbles, champagne, sunset, private swimming pool and all your dearest and nearest – doesn’t it sound like a perfect wedding’s evening?
We can help you to decorate the venue nicely and your guests can stay there too.
What is your advice for the bride to be in Tenerife?
Consider your wedding in autumn, winter or spring – it is really nice to escape cold weather in your home country and temperature stays perfect all year round. Stay for a least a few more days after the wedding – there are so many things to do and to see. And most importantly, find a right person to guide you during your wedding planning process. Here in Barefoot Bride we enjoy making a personal connection with our couples and are always so excited to work with each and every couple!
Today, we are meeting the director of the company Renata. A long term resident in the Canaries, with banking background and prolonged experience in real estate field. She will answer usually tackled questions, when it comes to buying real estate in Canary Islands.
What is Island Home?
A team of experienced real estate agents with one set goal; to help people find home, or a property for investment.
How much do your services cost?
It’s all FREE from consultation to buying.
Does it cover all Canary Islands?
Currently, mainly Tenerife, as we are based here, but covers all Islands. If someone asked for help in sister island, I would pack my bags and go!
Why home in Tenerife / Canaries?
Mostly because of great climate all year round. It’s ideal for holiday or just spending cold winter months. Whether it’s to raise kids or to spend retirement. The islands are full of friendly people surrounded in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s completely stress free.
Is it a good investment? Why?
It is. The islands circulate large amount of tourists 12 months a year. There is no such a thing as season, which means, once you own property, you can offer long and short term let all year round.
What area and type of property would you recommend if buying as an investment?
It really depends on a budget. Anything from studio flats to large private villas. I have recently received a few requests on renting rooms, I don’t specialise in lets, but it’s just a proof that anything you buy, pays off.
Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Costa Adeje are usually the best areas.
Why buy a property in a hotel complex?
It’s good as you may be offered a fixed monthly contract, so you won’t need to worry about renting it out, it also attracts more people, with facilities such as swimming pools or entertainment and more.
What is your price range?
Anything between 50.000- 1 million euros. It depends on area a lot.
What is the buying process in Tenerife?
First step is a consultation where we discuss the budget and criterion, then we look for properties and once chosen, we reserve it. Finally we sort out the documentation and in presence of notary, seller and buyer exchange keys to a bank cheque.
Not all properties are listed on the website, it’s best to contact us, so we can start searching accordingly to your requirements.
NIE (tax identification number) and Spanish bank account are necessary for the procedure. We will help you with all necessary documentation. It only takes less than one day to have NIE and bank accounts sorted.
Is it possible to buy from abroad?
You can reserve chosen property, but you will need to be in presence to buy. We offer meeting online, and we do as much as possible over distance if necessary.
How long will it take for me to become a legal owner?
Once you choose a property, it will only take about a week.
How much mortgage can I get?
Individually. If you wish to buy from for instance UK, Germany, Belgium etc., you can get anything up to 60%. If you work in Spain, you will get up to 80%. It is always best to have personal consultations with different banks, which we also help with. .
Experienced and qualified team of paragliding pilots, fully insured institution, flying attraction in Tenerife.
About a pilot Denis
How long have you been paragliding for? How did you start? And why?
I’ve been doing this for 14 years, started when I was 15 with my father who also flies. I’ve spent 5 years flying alone, then started tandem flights. I never lost the joy of flying because every flight is a new start.
Unlike para-motors, there is no distracting noise, no motor, no vibration, no other construction, it is all natural. You only hear the wind. It’s also comfortable and feels like sitting on a sofa at home.
Why choose paragliding while on holiday in Tenerife?
It is a truly interesting attraction, definitely worth trying for completely new sensations. Paragliding is the closest humans can get to the feeling of flying like a bird, gaining height in thermals; hot air waves. It is a fun, safe way to experience flight in its simplest form.
You simply lay out a wing on a mountain, inflate it over your head like a kite, run a few steps and before you know it you’ve stepped off into the sky. Once in the air, a pilot is able to maintain and even gain altitude using lifting air currents and thermals. Landing a paraglide is extremely easy. A pilot simply steers it into the landing area, and glides down for a very gentle touch down back on to earth.
If it is safe, the client is offered to take over control and try steering. We also offer performing acrobatic flights for better sense of G force for those hungry for adrenaline.
Is it safe?
Yes, it is, and it is safe for all ages. We are a team of responsible pilots who perform no more than 3 flights a day so pilots don’t get tired. We care about our customers and their comfort. Paragliding is also safe for disabled people and children, we provide special seats for kids.
Landing is just like jumping of the chair, it does not require much effort at all. The scariest part is usually a take off, but once up in the air, people normally relax and once landed wish to fly again.
Our customers are fully instructed prior to the flight. There’s always a reserve parachute in case of emergency landing which is highly unlikely. Fear is a sense of precaution so it is absolutely normal to be afraid.
Be cautious of illegal, uninsured companies, who offer cheaper services. There are quite a few here in Tenerife. They offer launching from higher, but insecure hills for additional price, later adamantly selling videos and photos for a double price. So don’t be fooled by cheap low-quality services, as later you will end up paying more. Safety first.
What height is it possible to get up to?
Depending on weather conditions and the type of flight, it is possible to get up to around 1.5km.
How long does the flight take?
Standard flight from Taucho or Ifonce, takes about 20 minutes, Height Performance flight takes about 45 minutes, but overall it takes around 2 hours. A VIP flight from Izana at the Teide National Park takes longer and it usually depends on weather conditions. For VIP flight there should be at least two people flying, so be ready to provide 4-5 hours of your day.
How much does it cost?
You can find prices in our website www.skyparafly.com. We are about the quality. It’s always best to buy directly through the company you’ve researched rather than an excursion selling agency.
What is seen from above?
It depends, in good weather conditions you can see anything from Los Cristianos to Los Gigantes, beautiful Adeje gorges, hills, sister islands La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma.
Is it cold above? What should I wear?
Depends on a season, warm in summer, cooler in winter, jumper and sports shoes are advised. Not to worry if you forget a jacket, we will provide you with one.
Skyparafly pilots speak in Russian, Lithuanian, English, French and Spanish languages, so wherever you’re from, they will talk to you.
For a special Christmas and New Year treat, Tenerife Magazine caught up with Raico Rosenberg, Tenerife’s gifted landscape photographer whose sensational images have occasionally graced our Facebook page, leaving us all open-mouthed in wonder.
Not only did Raico share his passion for photography and let us showcase some of his amazing photos, but he also gave us some priceless tips for capturing Tenerife’s extraordinary landscapes AND is giving TM readers a 10% discount on his 2013 calendar if you quote TM2013. We think that would make a rather splendid Christmas present for anybody’s stocking ““ don’t you?
TM:Hi Raico. Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to Tenerife Magazine, we have been huge fans of your work for some time now. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, first of all allow me to thank you for this great opportunity.
I was born and raised in Tenerife and went to Wingate School in Cabo Blanco where I picked up my English and then furthered my education in the UK at University. Whilst growing up in Tenerife I learnt to Speak fluent English, Spanish and German. I also became very proficient at French and Italian during my time at University. When I was younger my parents had refused to buy a TV for our home so I always spent most of my free time outdoors spear fishing, hiking around and doing plenty of surfing. I”M thankful now because I believe it has enhanced my experience with nature which I attempt to reflect in my images. Outdoors in the wild I feel completely adept and agile.
I currently work as a telecoms technician for PH Electronic in Costa del Silencio. I enjoy it quite a lot since it means I”M mostly outdoors where I feel most comfortable. It also helps me finance my very expensive photography hobby.
TM:When and why did your passion for photography begin?
It started at a very early age from the moment I picked up a camera and became mesmerized by the creative possibilities. Growing up I had become frustrated at the lack of decent imagery of Tenerife, most came in the form of simple postcard shots. Unfortunately my peers deemed it an overall expensive hobby so it wasn’t till about 2008 when digital photography became so much more affordable that I purchased my first DSLR (digital single-lens-reflex). I had never done a photography course in my life and the learning curve was very steep but taking digital pictures is free and fortunately my endless passion fuelled my drive to excel. I would spend hours reading magazines, researching on the internet and bought many books on the subject. It wasn’t till 2010 that I met Michael Bolognesi (a veteran concert photographer from the late 80s) and my photography took a great leap forward. Michael was now a successful restaurateur with a passion for landscape photography so together we undertook many photographic projects and trips abroad. This resulted in perfecting our knowledge and techniques dramatically, taking our photographic skills to levels we had only dreamed of and even further.
TM:What is it about Tenerife that makes it such a special place to photograph?
Apart from Tenerife having an incredible climate it has possibly some of the most diverse and photogenic landscapes all packed in a relatively small 2000 km2 (785 sq mi). It also has more than just sunny beaches where the sand varies in colour. There’s the Las Cañadas natural reserve that takes my breath away each time I”M up there as it looks like it’s from another planet. Up there we have the unique tajinaste flowers at the end of May, vast fields of colourful flowers in spring, snow in winter, pine forests and endless volcanic shapes. In the northern tip in the Anaga Massif we have a lush laurisilva forest, volcanic pumice shores in the south, the mighty cliffs of Los Gigantes and the list goes on endlessly. The good thing is that is all within a very affordable 4 hour flight from Europe.
Sadly I must add that I’ve met quite a few people from abroad who have lived here for decades and have never really explored the full beauty of the island.
TM:Many photographers seem to favour early morning for their landscapes. is there a time of day or season on Tenerife that you particularly enjoy capturing?
Absolutely, photography is all about capturing light. The best times are sunrise and sunset. The light at those hours transforms dramatically. This “golden light” not only makes everything much more visually pleasing but is also a very exciting experience to watch how some of nature’s most dramatic spectacles of light unfold in the sky. I love getting up early in the morning to chase light.
TM:What camera(s) and equipment do you use and why?
I use a Nikon D300s with 12megapixels which is an absolute gem. The D300s is classed as a semi-professional camera and becoming a bit out of date in digital terms. Despite this its image quality and capabilities are more than enough. It’s all down to image quality and most of all the person behind the lens. Cameras don’t take pictures, people do.
I also use a good selection of lenses that allow me to achieve maximum image quality. For my landscapes I have a healthy selection of LEE filters, handmade in the UK and ridiculously expensive! Although in the digital age many landscape photographers blend exposures in Photoshop to produce a final image I prefer to use my filters for many reasons, its a bigger challenge and a much purer process in my eyes.
TM:Do you have any tips on techniques to use when photographing landscapes?
Certainly, landscape photography is all about patience and having lots of free time! Investing in some neutral density filters is definitely worth it to balance the exposure between the sky and foreground. I would recommend a set of Cokin filters to start off with. Another filter that is imperative for shooting landscapes is a polarizer that will come to good use in Tenerife. A polarizer will not only saturate colours but also eliminate haze and unwanted reflections. A sturdy tripod is a must. Overall try not to invest in cheap gear, it will only weigh your progress down and be heavy on your wallet as you will have to shell out again later on.
TM:What’s your view of photo apps such as Instagram, and trending techniques like HDR photography?
It all depends on the person. These different apps/techniques are simply different ways to be creative. I have done some natural looking HDR photos for many commercial architecture shoots with great success. HDR means high-dynamic range, a process where many different shots at different exposures are fused to create one single image with greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. The typical HDR look is often associated with a very dramatic, saturated and grungy look.
TM:Where else in the world would you like to photograph and why?
There are so many places to photograph in the world, too many to mention. In summer 2012 I did a trip to the west coast of USA with Michael and had a real blast photographing the wilderness there. Sadly most iconic locations were jam packed with photographers of all groups but fortunately we went off the beaten track and captured some images to die for.
TM: If you could only capture one Tenerife shot, what would it be?
I´d hate to say this but it would be Teide erupting!
TM:Where can people see/buy your landscapes?
At the moment I have a selection of my work at the Magma Centre in Las Americas which is part of the Ten-Diez.com project.
People can also visit my website where I have all my photos online with a 2013 Tenerife Landscapes calendar. I can give a 10% discount to Tenerife Magazine readers for the calendar with the following discount code: TM2013
TM:Muchisimas gracias, Raico y ¡Feliz Navidad! 🙂
Images of Raico courtesy of Michael Bolognesi – another excellent Tenerife landscape photographer
‘Ascent of the King, Rising in the Ocean” : A Trek up Mount Teide on 12/13 April 2012
A barely perceptible lightening of the horizon heralded the approaching dawn sunrise, and I told Hans, my new-found trekking companion, that I’d see him on the summit. Abandoning the Kilimanjaro porters” mantra of ‘Pole, Pole‘ (slowly, slowly) I shot off, passing the neon, caterpillar-like procession of head-torches that had overtaken us earlier. I felt a bit funny – the effect of altitude and sleep deprivation – but the thought that I must be less than 200 metres below the summit sped me upwards. Soon I was on the crumbling crater rim, and joining the handful of early summiteers on the highest point of Spain and at 3,718-metres (12,198 ft) the highest point above sea level among all the islands of the Atlantic.
It was well below freezing, but I’d come enviably prepared – thick mittens, a lovely pair of down trousers and a down jacket, which meant I could really enjoy the summit experience. Those less clothed waited restlessly in the biting, sulphurous air for the first rays of the new day. Surely enough, the warm, golden sun rose above the blanket of clouds, and in the other direction, the immense pyramidal shadow of Teide was thrown across the island, then across the Atlantic, where the islands of La Gomera and La Palma – my next destination – jutted enticingly. A striking sight, and one I was delighted to see was shared by Hans, who had appeared, with a big grin on his face.
The vast Las CaÅˆadas caldera was now lit-up. I tried to trace my journey from the hair-thin Cañadas road far below, but apart from the obvious upper cable-car station, most of the landmarks were out of sight, or too small or camouflaged.
I reflected upon some of the features I’d encountered in this vast promethean landscape – dazzling pumice slopes, giant lava runnels, car-sized lava accretion balls ( the ‘eggs of Teide’), the eerie Cueva del Hielo (Cave of Ice, which I’d eventually found and descended, discovering only a smattering of snow); and the homely Refugio de Altavista (3260m) where I’d met Hans and shared a leisurely supper and a hurried breakfast.
I also thought back to standing on the summit of that other, larger, African volcano, Kilimanjaro and the curious parallels with this one. In 1894, before the refuge was erected Teide was ascended by a German adventurer who five years earlier had climbed Kilimanjaro (5,895m). The explorer’s name was also Hans – Hans Heinrich Joseph Meyer – and following his Tinerfeñan adventure he compared the two magnificent mountains, calling them “two kings, one rising in the ocean and the other in the desert and steppes“.
The totality of this was wonderfully satisfying – I’d also stood on the roof of Africa, and now I was atop the sulphur-smoking King of the Atlantic!
Words and images by Jonathan Clarke – Tenerife Magazine reader and London-based Architectural Historian who enjoys hiking, scrambling and climbing (and hopefully canooing) in wild and wonderful places.
The best places are not always the most famous. Sometimes you would love to enjoy that little restaurant near the countryside, or just visit some little villages inside the heart of the island, but”¦ What if they can’t speak English? What if I’m not able to understand them? That problem has an easy solution: now you can learn the language for everyday usage, the vocabulary or even how to move around easily. With lessons held in English, a comprehensive methodology and a friendly mood, you will learn fast and without much effort! Call now and set up a meeting, the first session is free! My name is Cristofe, I live in Puerto de la Cruz and I can drive anywhere in the north of Tenerife.
I’ve just returned home from my 3rd successive visit to the island of Tenerife. My wife and I love the place and we keep coming back for more. Our first visit was in 2007, but we returned once again in 2010 for our Honeymoon and then for a 3rd time this February. If you believe everything you read in the travel press about Tenerife you may be forgiven for thinking we had both lost the plot. Tenerife is portrayed as a bit of a tourist trap, full of beer-swilling louts making the most of their all inclusive bar whilst turning an unhealthy shade of maroon. In some parts yes, this may well be true.
However, if you look beyond the outer edges of these tourist hotspots you’ll find an island of superlatives. There aren’t many places that let you go from sea level to the highest point in Spanish territory in just a few miles. There aren’t many places that allow you to enjoy year-round warm sunshine in one part of the island only to find snow, rain or gale-force winds a few miles up the road. Tenerife is blessed by a variety of climates thanks to its dramatic terrain. As the landscape changes from one of dry, scorched soil and cactus (and Euphorbia plants…) to lush green grasses and terraced plantations, the towns and villages also change. Head to Santiago del Teide, Vilaflor or Oratava a few miles inland and you’ll no doubt wonder if you are actually still on Tenerife. The armies of sunburned tourists are nowhere to be found; the architecture changes from high-rise apartments and hotels to a mix of styles reflecting the island’s long history and the people are busy living their lives, doing what they do.
Keep heading uphill and you’ll reach the pine forests. The searing heat of the south is replaced by clean, crisp, and cool air and the road is enveloped in lush, green pine trees and clouds.. Keep climbing a little further and the trees suddenly disappear to reveal a landscape that wouldn’t look out of place on Mars. The national park is a sight to behold, with unusual rock formations, craters and lava flows from ancient eruptions and it boasts a 12,198ft centrepiece, Mount Teide.
This is the Tenerife I keep coming back to.
Words and images by Gavin Lewis – Tenerife Magazine reader, blogger & amateur photographer from Wales.
I”M standing in the hot sun of a Santa Cruz afternoon, looking over at the face of Carmen González, newly crowned Carnival Queen 2012, who’s chatting to Mayor of Santa Cruz, José Manuel Bermúdez (below, left), and Councillor for Fiestas, Fernando Ballesteros (below, right) in the garden of the Hotel Mencey. After the photo calls come the interviews and Carmen smiles through endless takes with a TV camera pointed at her and a microphone placed before her. Without the ornate make-up of last night’s Gala Election, the beautiful face of the 18 year old model betrays her tender years. But she’s beginning to look pale and a little uncomfortable.
“Carmen is feeling a little dizzy,” says her agent as she links Carmen’s arm and helps her to walk towards the shade of the hotel. “She’s going to get something to eat and then she’ll be back for your interview.”
The fact that Carmen is tired comes as no surprise to me. When I left the Gala Election at the Recinto Ferial at 1.40am today, Carmen was still on stage, in her full make-up and costume, mobbed by TV cameras and flash bulbs.
Looking refreshed and more relaxed when she returns, I ask Carmen what time she finally got to bed this morning.
“At 3am,” she tells me. “But at 6am I had to get up because I had TV and radio interviews.” In fact, she hasn’t slept much at all in the last two days, she admits, nerves keeping her awake the night before the Gala Election too. I”M sympathetic to her lack of sleep but she shrugs it off. In the excitement of the last 48 hours, being tired is a small price to pay she assures me.
Tall and slender with straight, long dark hair and the sort of face any aspiring model would kill for, Carmen Gil González has a grace and ease of movement that comes with her profession. Still in her final year at school, Carmen is hoping to combine a successful career as a model with her studies. Modelling since the age of 13 years and turning professional at the age of 16 years, it’s an ambition that she’s managing to balance well at the moment.
When the judges gave their long awaited decision 13 or so hours ago and the name of Carmen Gil González rang out around the vast stadium as the 2012 Carnaval Queen, it was an emotional moment for Carmen and the tears flowed. I asked her if she had managed to come back down to Earth yet:
“I”M not quite back on Earth yet,” she laughs. “I”M still getting there!”
Carmen’s winning costume was ‘Imperio’, a stunning interpretation of the splendour of the Roman Empire, designed by Santi Castro (with Carmen, above) which combined elements of a chariot and centurion helmets in luxuriant feathers of the palest blue radiating out from a gold and silver chariot adorned with sapphire and diamond costume jewellery, lions and the Imperial eagle. Like a cross between Boadicea and Helen of Troy, Carmen rode her chariot from its epicentre, dressed in an elaborate gold and bejewelled headdress, some strategically placed jewels in gold braid, and very little else. Although the event was held indoors, I couldn’t help but wonder if she hadn’t been just a teeny bit, well, freezing.
“Yes!” she admits, her face animated by laughter. “At first when I put my costume on backstage I was really cold but once I had the full costume on I forgot about the cold, and the emotion took over,” she says. “I have bruising here and here.” Carmen points to her hips where the harness with which she pulled her costume sat. “But I felt neither cold nor pain, nothing!”
Weighing in at an incredible 300 kilos (over 47 stones), it seemed to me that the stage at the Recinto Ferial must have seemed like an awfully large space for a slight young girl to pull that weight around and the bruises would seem to confirm that fact. I ask Carmen how much of a struggle it had been.
“Yes, it’s a very big stage to pull a costume around,” she confirms. “Imperio is a big costume and I was worried about being able to pull the weight successfully around the stage. But on the night, with the emotion, the audience and the applause, it felt like no weight at all.”
The ability to “Wear’ a costume as if it weighed nothing at all is one of the most important aspects of being a candidate for Carnaval Queen and the girls who are chosen to represent the designer and the sponsors have to be able to move as if they are a part of the costume and to look happy and relaxed as they do so.
The spectacular show which surrounds the election of the carnival queen in which the 12 candidates are introduced to the audience and the panel of judges, is a cabaret of epic proportions spanning almost four hours. As candidate number one, Carmen was first to appear on stage. I ask her if that made for a very long night.
“Personally, I was glad to be the first onto the stage,” she tells me. “I didn’t have time to get too nervous, you know. It only felt like a long time waiting for the second time to go out because I had to wait through all the other candidates and the whole show. But I liked being first.”
As an only child in her home in La Laguna, Carmen is used to being first, and now that she has realised her dream to become Carnaval Queen, she has a busy year of engagements ahead of her, representing Santa Cruz de Tenerife in events and promotions both at home and abroad. I have no doubt that Carmen will be an excellent ambassador for Tenerife, she’s a delightful young woman who’s beauty goes deeper than her flawless surface and here at Tenerife Magazine we wish her the very best for her year ahead.
“Those are our founding fathers“, says Ken pointing to the row of three portraits looking down on us from their elevated status above the bookcases of the reading room. “Pointing them out is what we begin our school tours with, if we can keep the children quiet long enough to hear us.”
Keep them quiet? In a library? Surely that’s a given. But there’s no wall of silence here in the English Library in Puerto de la Cruz. Where you might expect covert whispers there’s a quiet buzz of conversation and where you might look for bespectacled librarians despotically maintaining strict cataloguing systems, you’ll find sections that shift wholesale to make way for the ever-expanding DVD library, and a hand written note pinned to a bookcase that reads “Humour has been moved…”.
The English Library is not simply a repository for books written in the English language. For over a century it’s been a social hub for the British ex pat community for whom it has provided a source of knowledge, reading and entertainment along with a hefty helping of socialising, support and gossip exchange.
The First Edition
The first meeting of British residents of Puerto interested in the establishment of a library is recorded in ‘the English Library, A Brief History’ as being in 1900 when a Mrs Boreham, resident of the town, decided to put her habit of allowing friends and visitors to borrow books from her extensive personal collection onto a more formal footing. Ably assisted by the Parson, Reverend Humphries and the then Vice-Consul, Mr Peter Reid, the first order of books was placed, the library was named and the terms of Constitution were laid down. The following year Colonel Owen Peel Wethered pledged a donation of up to £500 including the site for a new library building. After some controversy, the proposition was accepted and work began on the building in Parque Taoro which today still houses the English Library.
I first visited the library six years ago when I was dropping off some magazines. At the time I was astonished at the existence of such an institution which appeared to occupy some parallel universe of England in the 1940s, staffed by genteel Brits who painstakingly hand wrote every title being borrowed into large ledgers while discussing the weather with their equally genteel customers. I felt as if I’d walked onto the set of a black and white Sunday matinee.
Revisiting the English Library to meet up with Ken Fisher who, until standing down at the recent AGM, has been President of the library for the past two years, some things hadn’t changed. Books were still being entered into ledgers by hand and the staff and clientele still appeared on the genteel side but there were noticeable differences. In the main reading room the large table was occupied by several people surfing the net on laptops, the bookcases on the long wall were filled with DVDs where previously video collections of TV sitcoms from the 1970s and 1980s had taken pride of place and outside, tables and chairs were busy with coffee drinkers enjoying the beautiful garden and warm sunshine.
“Is the WiFi free?” I ask Ken.
“Oh yes. In fact we have a computer support workshop now run by Peter and Mike.”
I tell Ken about my last and only visit.
“Well we only got a telephone installed two years ago when I got elected as President. I insisted,” he admits. Heady progress indeed.
The Latest Edition
Under Ken’s auspices, the English Library has taken a leap forward and newly elected President, Brian Arnold (above), is confident the library will continue to go in the right direction.
“We’re becoming a wider thinking library,” Brian tells me. “Catering to the needs of the English speaking community and finding ways to make their lives easier. We have good links with the British Consul for example and we’re a research resource for those ex-pats who over-winter in Puerto and don’t have access to WiFi or computers.”
Brian recognises that the days of being purely a lending library are behind them and that the future is bleak for the printed word.
“I believe John Lewis were selling one Kindle every 30 seconds over Christmas,” he says. “You can’t compete with that.”
Installing free WiFi and offering computer self help workshops is just one of the ways the English Library is adapting to better meet the needs of its customers. An ever growing DVD lending library is another. Unfortunately it means that the reference library is becoming less and less used but there are still some classics in there, including all volumes of the first edition Oxford English Dictionary, and the library is a valuable resource for researchers and anyone who has an interest in the history of Tenerife and of Puerto de la Cruz. They also sell novels at 50 cents and one Euro – perfect for holidaymakers who haven’t yet discovered the joys of Kindle.
Financed entirely through subscriptions and fund raising events, the English Library is run by a team of dedicated volunteers who manage not only to keep the book lending and cataloguing efficiently but also organise two coffee mornings a week (Saturdays and Wednesdays), nine or ten guest speaker events over the course of the year, a couple of hog roast garden parties and an annual dinner dance.
Finding myself engrossed in conversations with friends old and newly acquired, time slipped all too easily away at the library and I began to understand why so many people found themselves drawn to its smiling faces and familiarity. It’s like popping round to a friend’s house for coffee and a catch-up and I suspect it won’t be another six years before I return.
Epilogue The English Library; Calle Irlanda, 5; Parque Taoro, Puerto de la Cruz; (0034) 922 383 098; open Monday & Friday 3pm-5.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday 10am-1pm. Annual membership €30, membership for those only resident for part of the year €12.
The next speaker event will be on Feb 23rd at 12 noon when guests will hear about the Churchill and Onassis visit to Puerto de la Cruz. Tickets €5 including “our world famous buffet” to quote Ken. Booking essential as all 60 places are invariably taken up.
Editor’s Note: Fresh from his revolutionising of the English Library, Ken Fisher will soon be gracing the pages of Tenerife Magazine with memories of life in Tenerife from 40 years ago. Watch this space, as they say.