How to Enjoy a Wonderful Wine Tasting Trip in the Stunning North of Tenerife

If you are staying in the south of Tenerife, such as in Pearly Grey Resort in Callao Salvaje, you may be forgiven for believing that the island is somewhat dry and arid. Sure there are plentiful palm tree-lined avenidas, some stunning natural landscapes such as the Masca gorge and incredible cliffs of Los Gigantes, and of course an abundance of beautiful beaches to relax on with the sound of lapping waves washing onto the shore, but in terms of plant life and greenery, it can appear a little lacking.

This is because the south of the island has indeed got considerably less rainfall during the year than the north, so as can be expected it’s more difficult for a wide abundance of plant life to survive. This is certainly not the case for the whole of the island though. There is somewhat of a north-south divide in Tenerife.

Generally, the north of the island is far greener and more verdant, with a huge abundance of plant life which you won’t often see further south. This divide extends to more than just the climate though; the north of Tenerife has a wealth of history and culture, and in many ways feels a lot more authentically Spanish and Canarian in appearance and culture.

In the past, when tourists headed to Tenerife they often used to head to the original resorts of Punta del Hidalgo and Puerto de la Cruz. With the growth of the resorts in the south such as Costa Adeje, Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes, Callao Salvaje and more, tourism in Tenerife has mainly shifted to the south.

While there is indeed much to see and do in the south, plus the weather is generally warm and sunny almost the entire year round, meaning sunbathing and swimming opportunities any month of the year, the north of Tenerife should certainly not be missed out on when you come to stay.

Luckily Viajes Nere Izerdie have you well covered with their wonderful wine tasting tour in the stunning north of Tenerife. Recently myself, John (owner of Tenerife Magazine) and Gemma (head receptionist at Pearly Grey Resort), were invited on this trip and had an absolute blast and also learned a great deal about the island. What could be better; fun and learning all rolled into one brilliant day out with friends.

After being collected in the morning from Los Cristianos by the friendly and professional tour guide Francisco, and Ivan the driver, we were transported aboard the comfortable and modern company tour bus to our first destination, the historic former capital city of Tenerife, La Laguna. Along the way, Francisco explained in perfect English (and Italian for the Italian guests) the history of La Laguna and other information about the island.

At first, it was difficult to tell exactly where Francisco was originally from as he spoke Spanish to the driver, but also perfect English and Italian to those on the excursion. We later found out he is originally from Tenerife, but had spent a number of years as a child in Surrey, hence his brilliant and ever so slightly posh British accent!

Both during the journey to La Laguna and upon our arrival and subsequent wandering around as a group, we learned a wide variety of fascinating historical facts about the city. San Cristóbal de La Laguna (the full name of the city) which is widely shortened to La Laguna, acquired its name from being in the valley of Aguere, where a large lake once existed (Laguna is lagoon in Spanish). The city was founded between 1496 and 1497, following the conclusion of the conquest of the islands by Alonso Fernández de Lugo, becoming the capital of Tenerife, and later the capital of the Canary Islands.

As you will see when you visit La Laguna, it is a very beautiful city, full of historical architecture, plazas and buildings, because of which it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, the only city in the Canary Islands to hold this accolade. If you have only ever stayed in the resorts of the south of Tenerife you will feel like you’re on another island as its almost completely different!

You’ll notice that the city feels a lot more culturally authentic, with large pedestrianised cobbled streets and colonial buildings that have been there for hundreds of years. It is a fascinating place to start your trip to the north, all explained perfectly by Francisco, including brief looks inside some of the historic buildings and courtyards, where you can see attractive gardens and parts of the buildings constructed from hardy Canarian pine wood.

A walk around the amazing city of La Laguna in the North of Tenerife is like taking a fascinating trip back in time! This was once the capital of both Tenerife and ancient capital of the Canary Islands, until Santa Cruz later became Tenerife's capital city. Today it is still considered the cultural capital of the Canary Islands and became a UNESCO World Heritage sight in 1999. It is an absolutely brilliant place to explore and learn about, where you will find sights such as this stunning courtyard with historical wooden architecture. You can visit the city as part of the excellent wine tasting tour with @nereizerdieexcursionestenerife! This trip is perfect if you want to learn more about the real Tenerife! ————————————————- 📸 @lumixuk 📍La Laguna, @visit_tenerife @thecanaryislands @spain ————————————————- ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ #guardiantravelsnaps #Tenerife #tenerifetag #travel #CanaryIslands #traveltotenerife #IslasCanarias #latitudeoflife #latituddevida #Spain #españa #explore #wanderlust #wherelumixgoes #lumix #lumixg #history #historical #ancient #tenerifemagazine #LaLaguna Espana #visitspain #VisitTenerife

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This is a world away from the hotels and apartments around Tenerife’s coastline. I would say if you want to see the real Tenerife and Canary Islands, then you absolutely must visit this historical gem of a city, the third largest of the Canaries.

Following a wander around the streets, we were led to the La Laguna food market where there was an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and other locally grown and produced food and drink products to buy. Here you can see the locals at work and see the produce for sale that is grown on the island. Of course, many of us enjoyed a quick coffee too, to keep us boosted for the rest of the trip.

After becoming fully caffeinated, it was back onto the bus to head further north than La Laguna to our next stop at the Bodega Presas Ocampo near the picturesque villages of Tacoronte and El Sauzal located in the Tacoronte municipality, where you will find the largest wine growing area in Tenerife. This is a verdant, beautiful area of the island that again, is completely distinct from the south. Due to the northerly aspect of this area which captures moisture from the prevailing northeasterly winds, you will discover a Mediterranean climate and landscape that is quite unlike the arid climate of the south of Tenerife and much of the rest of the Canary Islands.

During the bus journey, we passed by farms, old manorial buildings and a number of different vineyards, most of which enjoyed spectacular views out to the beautiful blue ocean. This was certainly the case for the Bodega Presas Ocampo winery, a pioneer of the Tacoronte-Acentejo Designation of Origin which we stopped at for a tour and wine tasting. The vineyard, where there were many different grape vines growing, had a wonderful view of the Atlantic ocean in the distance. There can be few more picturesque scenes than this beautiful rural scene in the northeast of Tenerife.

Inside was quite the contrast with an array of modern equipment for crushing the grapes, extracting the grape juice and separating the grape skin, rows of beautiful oak barrels for storing the wine, and a modern, efficient bottling machine. It’s clear that a lot of investment has gone into this family-owned business over the years.

Following an explanation of this process from Francisco and a knowledgeable worker at the winery, we were led to another room that looked like a kind of old-fashioned kitchen/dining room. Here we were all seated to be able to taste and enjoy the wine. We were given both a white and red wine to try, both of which were very tasty. We learned that the time from harvest to drinking for the wines produced at this winery is generally around two years, and this is the case for many wines in the Canary Islands due to the climate and type of grapes used. Therefore most wines from the Canaries are young varieties.

What many people probably don’t realise is how well established the tradition of wine production has been in the Canary Islands over hundreds of years, with the wine even being mentioned by Shakespeare in no less than 30 of his works, including some of his most famous plays such as Twelfth Night and Henry IV. This is because, during Shakespeare’s time, wine from the Canary Islands, specifically the type made from the Malvasia grape grown on the islands was regarded as one of the top drinks in mainland Europe at the time, including in England.

This led to an economic boom period for the islands, due to this substantial popularity of Canarian Wine, especially in England. Sadly this period of growth ended in 1649 when Charles II came to the throne in England which was a very important export market. His taste was for sherry and his courtiers and countrymen followed his lead, and the desire for Malvasia started to decline. Production was further hit with the growing animosity between Britain and Spain, meaning that Britain began to boycott Spanish wines in the late 17th Century.

 While wine production and international popularity has by no means reached the levels seen during that boom period, in the last decade interest in Canarian produced wines has started to rapidly grow due to their uniqueness, creating one of the most exciting wine regions to emerge in the last 10 years on the international stage. Despite the often rugged terrain, potential for volcanic activity, and strong winds which don’t seem to lend themselves well to a great wine production environment, there are some major factors in favour of the winegrowers of the Canary Islands.

 Probably the most important is that the grape vines can be ancient, sometimes literally hundreds of years old – therefore also having hundreds of years of complexity. This is due to the isolation of the region from the mainland, meaning that the disease phylloxera, a devastating root louse,  that ravaged grapevines across mainland Europe in the late 19th century never reached those of the Canary Islands. Incredibly phylloxera is believed to have destroyed 90% of the world’s grape vines, so the wines of the Canary Islands really are some of the most unique in the world.

Rather than hybrid vines that were grown in Europe by grafting European vines onto American rootstocks which were naturally immune, the grape vines in the Canary Islands are the original ungrafted varieties. To be able to taste wine grown from these varieties of grape is a fairly unique experience due to the rarity of these ungrafted vines. Added to this the year-round warm, sunny conditions are perfect for production all year round. It is fascinating taking a tour around a working winery such as Presas Ocampo, because you really do get a taste for this history of wine-making while you taste the wines and take in the tradition.

Following the tour and wine tasting, we all got back in the bus, feeling just that bit merrier, but also starting to feel slightly peckish to combine with the tipsiness of two glasses of wine on an empty stomach! Luckily we were on our way to a generous meal, of course with some more Canarian wine. We arrived at a rather amazing old fashioned bodega and tapas restaurant a short drive away where we had the option of choosing a tapas and wine lunch. While it wasn’t included in the price of the excursion, 10 euros was a very reasonable price, especially after we saw all the food.

 The first thing to mention though is how fascinating the dining area was. Downstairs as we walked in there was a large food and gift store with many different traditional products and souvenirs to buy. Upstairs was amazing though, as there was a very large dining area with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and around all of the walls were thousands of bottles of wine as a kind of amazing wine themed decoration.

 The tapas food consisted of many different plates including Canarian Potatoes with mojo sauce, calamari, croquettes with different fillings, bread and luckily for me, some food they prepared especially including garlic mushrooms and rice and vegetables. There were also several bottles of wine for all of us to share. The food was no frills but certainly satisfied our appetites as there was plenty of it at a very reasonable price. It also offered a good chance to sit and chat with some of the other guests on the excursion with us and find out their stories and experiences of Tenerife and the tour. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot too!

 Following the satisfying meal and more tasty Tenerife wine, we headed back to the bus to be driven on to the final stop on our tour of the North. Next we set off for a stop in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the modern capital of the island. Whereas La Laguna was the capital of the island from its foundation in 1496, this position was later switched to Santa Cruz in 1723 due to a declining population and economy during the 18th century.

Then between 1833 and 1927, the city of Santa Cruz became the capital of both the island of Tenerife and all of the Canary Islands. In 1927 it was decided that capital status of the islands would be shared between Santa Cruz and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

 Despite many historical buildings remaining present in Santa Cruz, especially in comparison to much of the south of the island, it is noticeably more modern in general than La Laguna with some very tall modern apartment blocks and some distinctly designed buildings, such as the amazing Auditorio de Tenerife. Despite these modern designs, it remains a very attractive city, which is perfect for a wander around and exploration, with plenty of gorgeous tree lined streets which are perfect to stop at for a coffee which myself, John and Gemma did.

 We had just enough time to finish our coffee, take some photos and wander around a bit more, before it was time to head back to the impressive Plaza de España, the largest square in Tenerife and the Canary Islands, with an artificial lake at its centre. Here Francisco and Ivan were waiting for us at the bus to drive us back to Los Cristianos.

Overall this is an absolutely brilliant tour which John, Gemma and myself all fully recommend. It was a lot of fun and offers a really great way to learn about the other side of Tenerife that many tourists never experience. If you are staying at Pearly Grey Resort then you can book this trip from reception, or alternatively head on over to the Viajes Nere Izerdie website (http://www.nereizerdie.com/language/en/homepage/) for all the details.

 We would like to offer our thanks to Viajes Nere Izerdie for sponsoring this trip for Tenerife Magazine and Pearly Grey Resort, and also to Francisco our wonderful guide and Ivan for driving us safely and comfortably around the island.

 

The Other Side of Tenerife

When someone says they’re going on holiday to Tenerife what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do you think of package holidays and Brits abroad? This is the reputation it seems to have, but in reality, there’s much much more to discover.

Most of the “touristy” areas of Tenerife are located in the south part of the island. If you are willing to venture on to the north part of the island you will find an abundance of history, culture and scenery to explore. Even though Tenerife is the biggest of the Canary Islands it is by no means very large. You can easily drive from one side of Tenerife to the other in just a couple hours. This makes it an ideal road trip destination.

As I only had 4 nights on Tenerife I chose to explore two locations while I was there. I stayed in La Laguna for two nights and Garachico for two nights. On the drive from the airport to the first location, I stopped at Playa Las Teresitas. The photo above was taken from Los Organos viewpoint and shows how beautiful this stretch of beach is!

La Laguna is where the university is located and felt more residential. I enjoyed being around the locals and discovering the history of the city. Go to eat at Tasca 61. They use local organic produce to cook their homemade meals and serve wine and beer from nearby. If you are wondering where to stay, check out La Laguna Gran Hotel. This boutique hotel is a combination of old and grand with modern and minimalistic.

On the drive from La Laguna to Garachico, there are countless stops you can make. One of my favourites is Playa Jardin. I had never been to a black sand beach before!

Garachico is a beautiful seaside town with some pretty amazing coastline. Rock pools are strewn across the northern Tenerife coast but some of the most enjoyed, are the ones in Garachico.

In Garachico I stayed at Hotel San Roque. A historic stately mansion which has been restored into a luxury boutique hotel. The service at Hotel San Roque is impeccable. The hotel is filled with beautiful artwork and places to relax like their rooftop sun deck. My days were spent wandering the streets of the town and stopping every so often for some wine and tapas.

I know there is so much on the island I didn’t have time to see.  Masca and Mount Teide are just a couple of the wonders that have me yearning to go back to Tenerife.

If culture, scenery, authenticity, and escapism are more your thing you should definitely think about exploring northern Tenerife. In the south, you have a multitude of resorts and beautiful beach options. It all depends on the type of holiday you want, but I’m convinced Tenerife has something to suit everyone.

Text and photos by Lauren McGill (Owner of NY to Anywhere)

Check out more of her travels at www.nytoanywhere.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/nytoanywhere/

Festival Latino

Title: Festival Latino
Location: Plaza del Cristo, La Laguna
Description: A night of music and dance from 9pm with Gilberto Santa Rosa, and the Orchestras Maracaibo, Sabrosa, and Guayabo. Tickets 12 euros in advance or 15 euros on the night.
Start Time: 21.00
Date: 2013-05-11

Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers

Title: Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers
Location: Teatro Leal, La Laguna
Link out: Click here
Description: Texas born singer and songwriter Hannah brings her own brand of blues and soul to Tenerife. Show from 9pm, all tickets 10 euros, book via www.generaltickets.com or at box office 11 to 1 and 6 to 8pm weekdays.
Start Time: 21.00
Date: 2013-02-21

Petrol Price Rise & Trouble for Taxis in Tenerife News of the Week

Taxi Rank, Tenerife South Airport

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

Don’t step on the gas
In a move that seems to have taken just about everyone by surprise, the Tenerife Government have announced a levy on motor fuel on the island of up to 0.02 cents per litre. The tax increase which doesn’t affect other Canary Islands, is effective immediately. Unsubstantiated reports say that the tax has been put in place to help pay towards the maintenance of the island’s roads, presumably to try to counter the cuts in budget from the state. Apparently there’s no truth in rumours that Hollywood film-makers currently shooting scenes on the island have decided, after filling up their army of vehicles at local petrol stations, to change the name of their movie to the Ripped-off and the Furious.

Not exactly a case of love thy neighbour
Expecting councils to work together to benefit Tenerife is a bit of a pipe dream when you consider a decision taken by Granadilla de Abona Council this week. The council voted to lobby the Tenerife Government to prevent taxi drivers from neighbouring municipality San Miguel de Abona being able to work at Tenerife Sur Airport even though San Miguel taxis have been working the airport for the last 27 years. A spokesperson for Granadilla quoted technicalities in the Canary Islands Transport Act to defend the decision. But they can interpret legislation how they like until the cows come home, it’s simply just not neighbourly and comes across more like another example of the airport taxi mafia trying to have things all their own greedy way.

It’s quackers
Looks like it’s the end of the road for the duck pond outside of La Laguna’s permanently under repair cathedral. The local council have decided that the ducks pose a health threat and so the little pond will be replaced by a children’s playground. Although a children’s playground doesn’t quite have the same attraction as a quaint little duck pond, in truth it’s a good deal for the waddlers who will be relocated from their small enclosure to the green wide open spaces and much bigger pools at Parque de la Vega.

Well done Adeje
Adeje is the latest Tenerife council to make it possible for residents to be able to apply for certificados de viajes (the document required for residents to be able to travel at discounted prices) online and at no charge. More and more Tenerife councils are trying to make life a bit easier for their constituents by utilising the internet in this way, whereas some other councils are still asking “What’s the internet?’ However, this being Tenerife, making official documents available online doesn’t always make life easier for the consumer. See our TIT of the week below.

And finally the TIT (This is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… a total lack of co-ordination.
It’s hard to say who’s at fault with this week’s TIT of the week as it seems to involve heavy lashings of a few Tenerife quirks. A group of travellers from La Laguna found that their certificado de viajes downloaded from La Laguna Council’s website was dismissed as not being valid by check-in staff working for Air Europa. To be able to board their flight to Madrid, the Laguneros had to cough up the full amount of the air fair.

La Laguna Council insists that the document is legal and in their defence, plenty of other Laguneros have travelled using it without experiencing any problems on Iberian and Binter so it appears that Air Europa may be the ones who have got it wrong.

However, that’s of no real consolation to the people who lost money because of the mix up. Shouldn’t what is and what isn’t considered valid have been agreed between the Tenerife Government, local authorities and airline companies in advance? Maybe we’re asking too much to expect that sort of level of planning, organisation and communication.

Mickey Mouse Disney Show

Title: Mickey Mouse Disney Show
Location: Pabellon Santiago Martin, La Laguna
Description: Everyone loves Micky Mouse. La Magia de Mickey is a huge stage musical based on the rascal rodent and friends. Fun for all the family from 26 to 30 September. Tickets from 9 euros at www.elcorteingles.es/entradas or www.cajacanarias.es
Start Date: 2012-09-26
End Date: 2012-09-30

Sell Gomera to the Germans & Spain’s Most Popular Park in Tenerife News of the Week

Mount Teide National Park, Tenerife

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

The Most Popular National Park in Spain is…
…Mount Teide National Park which was visited by 2,731,484 visitors in 2011. It feels appropriate that Spain’s highest mountain sits at the top of a list of its most popular National Parks. In second place is the stunning Picos de Europa in Northern Spain whilst Lanzarote’s Timanfaya bubbled under in the hot third position. Although the figures are impressive, they’re usually compiled by statistics taken at visitor centres so the actual figures of numbers of visitors to these incredible parks are probably much higher. Anyone who’s not a Teide statistic is denying themselves the pleasure of seeing one of the true natural wonders of the world.

Sell La Gomera to the Germans
Last week saw a right juicy political bust up in Spanish politics when Pedro Muñoz, the Mayor of Toreno, called Spain’s Minister for Industry, José Manuel Soria a ‘tonto del culo’ (a foolish ass) during a radio interview about the state of coal mining in his region. Not happy with simply insulting the minister, he turned his wrath against the Canary Islands saying that there was nothing more expensive or insular in Spain than the Canary Islands before going on to suggest that giving the Canary Islands back to the Moors or selling La Gomera or El Hierro to the Germans might help Spain’s economic state.
Unsurprisingly his statements caused outrage. After he’d calmed down and thought about what he’d said, Muñoz apologized… to José Manuel Soria. Looks like he’s standing by his views on the Islas Canarias.

Sales, Sales, Sales
The summer sales period started in Tenerife this week with not very high expectations from retailers who hope that they can at least manage to match last year’s disappointing figures. The sales kicked off with a high feelgood factor thanks to Spain being the only team in Europe with any depth of talent at the moment. But the pre-crisis crazy first day of the sales is a thing of the past with retail organisations reporting a decently busy start rather than a manic shopping battlefield. Traditionally the most frenzied sales period lasts for about two weeks and then it completely tails off prompting some to call for the period to be shortened from its September end date.
Hopefully companies moaning about lack of sales will this year cotton on to the fact that you need to actually drop your prices by a decent amount for them to be really competitive.

A Poor Quality of Life in Santa Cruz
A recent survey carried out by the Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) of 126 cities, thirty of them Spanish, revealed that Santa Cruz de Tenerife was considered to be one of the cities where people had the worst quality of life… and that was in the onion of people who actually lived there. Santa Cruz was 6th worst on the list, whereas the city at number 1 for having the worst quality of life was Las Palmas de Gran Canaria ““ the Canary Islands didn’t come out of this well at all. Parking, housing, unemployment, health, politics and cultural activities were all factors in how residents judged the quality of life in their city.
Incidentally, the place with the happiest residents in Spain was Pamplona, mainly due to people being satisfied with health services and education in their city.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Santa Cruz as it was one of the cities where residents felt the safest ““ personally I’d take that any day over having plenty of places to park the car.

Send Your Postcards in the Morning
Summer’s here and that means early closing for Tenerife’s post offices (Correos). From 1st July until the end of September, the Correos will close at 14.30 during weekdays and 13.00 on Saturdays.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dill
Next month sees the inauguration of the ‘Garden of Ashes” at the cemetery of San Luis in La Laguna. The cemetery which is the first of its kind in the Canary Islands will have aromatic herb gardens where people can scatter the ashes of deceased loved ones in an attractively leafy and tranquil environment. Apparently the garden’s creation is to encourage people to stop scattering ashes in Tenerife’s hills and in the sea which, believe it or not, is illegal. It would be interesting to know how many people have been ‘done’ for illegally spreading ashes.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦ Arona’s Mayor
It seems that hardly a week goes by without one of Tenerife’s mayors being held to account for ‘irregular’ activities. This week it’s the turn of Arona’s José Alberto González Reverón of the Coalición Canaria party. Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s Provincial Court has ruled that he should be disqualified from holding public office for a period of four and a half years for basically putting two people in good jobs in the town hall whilst completely ignoring the legal selection process.
The mayor will appeal against the decision on the grounds that he doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong. And therein lies the frightening aspect to Tenerife’s politics. These guys honestly do not believe they are breaking any rules which means they have no understanding or grasp of the laws and code of ethics that come with being part of the European Union and that the more savvy European nations adhere to.

La Gran Noche Del Wrestling

Title: La Gran Noche Del Wrestling
Location: Santiago Martin Sports Hall, La Laguna
Description: A big night of over the top wrestling in the American arena style. Starts at 8 pm, tickets between 11.80 euros (why?) and 35 euros from www.generaltickets.com/cajacanarias
Start Time: 20.00
Date: 2012-04-01

Strange Lights in the Sky & The Ghostly Museum in Tenerife News of the Week

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

Strange Lights in Tenerife’s Sky
According to scientific reports, a recent experiment conducted between the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma and the Observatorio del Teide here on Tenerife may have looked to onlookers as though the two Canary Islands were involved in an epic Jedi battle. Over the course of two weeks, luminescent green lasers were beamed across the 144 kilometres between the two islands as part of an experiment into using ultra-modern technology to track greenhouse gasses in order to better understand the Earth’s atmosphere.
The two observatories were chosen by scientists from Graz in Austria, York and Manchester because there are very few places on Earth where there are two peaks of sufficient height with the necessary facilities and with no obstructions in between.

Reports suggest the green lasers in the sky looked like scenes from Star Wars. However, despite having clear views of the sky between Tenerife and La Palma, the experiment went…well, you could say over our heads.

Ghostly La Laguna & the British Mediums
English speaking mediums seem to be in vogue in Spain at the moment. The bizarre Spanish TV programme Más Allá de la Vida features British medium Anne Germain conveying messages on air from the dead to members of their family. She does this in English which is translated into Spanish by the presenter. Presumably English is not only the business language of the world but also the universal language of the dead as well.

A British medium on Tenerife, Angie Freeland caused a bit of a stir this week by describing in detail the death of Catalina Justiniani at the Casa Lercaro Museum of History and Anthropology in La Laguna. In the 16th century, the young Catalina took her own life after being forced to marry against her will. Because she committed suicide, the Church refused her a burial and she was placed in a well inside the house where her unhappy ghostly figure still wanders the corridors. Allegedly without prior knowledge, Tenerife’s medium Angie Freeland described not only how Catalina died, but also where her body was laid to rest. The first you can easily find out by ‘Googling’, the second is only known to a few people ““ spooky.

Getting Back to Nature
Nice to hear that in the last year 1200 Cory’s Shearwaters were nursed back to health and returned to the wild thanks to the efforts of the Tenerife Government’s La Tahinilla wildlife recovery centre near La Esperanza. Anyone who spots injured birds on their travels around Tenerife should call 922 445 777 or even 112.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦The Case of the Tres Reyes
You can put postal prices up and tell the people that prices have gone down, you can even ban smoking in bars and the result might be a few grumbles before subservience is resumed…but what you can’t do is mess with the Tres Reyes (the Three Kings) on Tenerife.

This week the Tenerife Government announced that due to the economic crisis, the Tres Reyes would not be arriving, as has been the tradition for years, at CD Tenerife’s Heliodoro football stadium in Santa Cruz. They might as well have lit the blue touch paper and stood back.

Outrage and uproar ensued in the capital and even the promise that some of the money saved (around €40,000) would be put to a new Christmas event, a lavish parade full of surprises, was not enough to quell the discontent.

What followed was a few days of emergency meetings before it was announced on Monday that the necessary financial support had been found and the children (whatever their age) of Santa Cruz would not be denied their traditional Christmas treat.

They won’t arrive by helicopter and it’s unclear whether the entrance fee will still be 1 Euro but the chicharreros can worry about that closer to the time ““ all that’s important for now is that the Tres Reyes gig at the Heliodoro is back on. Christmas in the capital has not been cancelled.

José Abad, 400 Works Of Art In Santa Cruz and La Laguna

In their faces and demanding a reaction, the street sculptures of José Abad took their place in the shopping heart of Santa Cruz. Bargain hunters stood and scratched their heads, children prodded and poked them and even dogs were wary of offering them an impromptu shower. This was just the advance party for an invasion of 400 works of art by a La Laguna artist who at 69 years old has unleashed his intricate genius on his own doorstep.

Eros, Formas Y Azar (sexual behaviour, form and change) is the provocative title of a lifetime’s collection being displayed until 28 January at two galleries in Santa Cruz and one in La Laguna. At first glance the sculptures in front of Plaza del Principe look like they have been there for years, the iron used in Josés’s work gives it that stark weather beaten look making it more approachable than a bright shiny new addition. The sexual symbolism in one of the more striking pieces caused people to do a double take, all part of the intended effect.

Intrigued I made the short move into the Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, the bank’s Obra Social division are supporting the season as they do with many arts projects. The smaller works were no less impressive, and spread over the two floors of the display area the sheer scale of the artists work became apparent. Roughly split into subject zones, the work ranges from building designs through animal studies like Gatos Enfrentados (below) and even a few traditional portraits. Unlike previous exhibitions this one overflows into the downstairs large high ceiling display room where African and baroque works are big, bold and carved in wood in painstaking detail like Retablo de San Blas.

Back upstairs a video room shows an interview with the artist unlocking some of his inspirations. José Abad embraced all the arts including poetry, theatre, and painting but it was sculpture that captured his imagination and led him to study in Perugia, Italy and Madrid before exhibiting his work across mainland Spain. José pioneered outdoor sculpture in Santa Cruz, Las Palmas, Malaga and Cadiz and there are several trails of work in the Tenerife capital.

Suitably impressed by the first indoor display I thought I would see what the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes could add to the mix. The pink rooms of the gallery behind Plaza Principe made a contrasting backdrop to the smaller close up earlier works from the mid 1960’s. José’s eye for detail and the odd surprising twist were again in evidence but base materials like wood and metal were once again his starting point for expression.The Sala de Arte Juan Cas in La Laguna completes the gallery based collection and wasn’t joining in the exhibition until a week later but it contains the most up to date works, much of it untitled, and a selection of written charts.

Sculptures with a subdued industrial look hardly sound exciting but José Abad adds plenty of mischief and humour to his work and they are all visually stimulating. Maybe taking them all in at once could lead to artistic indigestion but they are here for a few months so dip in and learn a bit more about a home grown Tenerife talent.

FACT FILE

José Abad ““ Eros, Formas Y Azar 17 October to 28 January 2012

Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz

Monday to Wednesday 11 to 1 pm, and 5 to 9pm

Thursday and Friday 11 to 1pm, and 5 to 8pm

Saturday 11 to 2pm, and 5 to 8pm

Entry Caja Canarias clients free, residents 2 euros, others 5 euros

Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Calle Jose Murphy, Santa Cruz

Tuesday to Friday 10 to 8 pm

Saturday & Sundays 10 to 3 pm

Closed Mondays

Entry Free

Sala de Arte Juan Cas

Plaza de la Concepcion, La Laguna

Monday to Friday 11 to 1pm and 5 to 9pm

Saturday 11 to 2pm and 5 to 8pm

Entry Free