The Tenerife Week in News from Simply Red & Sir Norman Foster’s Luxury Hotel to Noisy Costa Adeje

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

Simply Red and Simply Delicious
The big event this week in Tenerife was the Simply Red concert in Costa Adeje. Most of the 10000 crowd seemed to have a great time, but aspects of the organisation and the length of time Simply Red were on stage came in for some stick.
Mick didn’t get to see much of Tenerife, something that he was criticized for on one web forum ““ someone visiting Costa Adeje not venturing outside the resort? Seems unthinkable. But apparently he did at least sample some Canarian wines during his brief visit as well as developing a liking for papas arrugadas.

Rent-a-Cop”¦Car
Don’t expect a quick reaction time from the boys in blue in Puerto de la Cruz at the moment. The Central Sindical Independiente y de Funcionarios (CSIF) claim that the Policía Local in El Puerto only have one police car at their disposal”¦and it’s rented.
On a brighter note for the town, tourism figures were boosted following a sudden influx of visitors wearing stripy jumpers and carrying sacks with “˜swag’ written across them.

Bus Stop Art Exhibitions
If you happen to spot someone who looks as though they’re vandalising bus stops with a can of paint spray, don’t immediately call 112. For a start, in Puerto de la Cruz the police would probably have to catch a bus to get to you and secondly, it’s probably graffitist & graphic designer, Iker Muro. Tenerife’s bus company, Titsa have asked Iker to give some bus stops an arty makeover. So far paradas in Taco and Icod de los Vinos have been transformed into urban works of art. Of course if the person happens to be spraying ‘José hearts Alicia‘, then they probably are a common, or garden vandal.

Tenerife Luxury Hotel to be Designed by Sir Norman Foster

One of the World’s most renowned architects, Sir Norman Foster (Wembley Stadium and “˜The Gherkin’ in London amongst many, many more) is to design a new luxury hotel in Guia de Isora according to the municipality’s mayor, Pedro Martín. It’s thought that the hotel, which includes another golf course, will be constructed near the Abama. At least if it’s designed by Sir Norman it might blend in with the surroundings a bit better”¦on the other hand have you seen the “˜Gherkin’? All these proposed luxury hotels sound very nice (actually they don’t; for god’s sake, leave some of the island in its natural state) but I wonder how much research and planning has gone into how they’re going to fill them.


We’ll Fight them on the Beaches

After the mayor of La Orotava, Isaac Valencia caused quite a stir, and a lot of debate with the Cabildo, by announcing that La Orotava’s Ancon and Los Patos beaches were going to be closed to the public just as summer hit its stride, there’s been a complete U-turn. Following an announcement that funds will be made available to carry out some urgent safety work, it was declared last week that the beaches will remain open. Good news for the nudists and surfers who use them and even better news for those who do both.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…
The community of neighbours in Costa Adeje who are putting pressure on the local authorities to do something about the noise levels coming from pubs and clubs in certain areas of the resort. I sympathise with people who simply want some peace and quiet to sleep at night, but isn’t this a bit like the people who move to Glastonbury then start complaining about the festival? It’s not as though there was a quaint little town there which was engulfed against its will by nasty hotels and leisure establishments. Costa Adeje is after all purpose built for tourism and tourist resorts by their very nature include bars and clubs.

The comment that made me laugh the most was that the peace and tranquillity which has characterised Costa Adeje for years is being threatened. Actually, I think you’ll find the real peace and tranquillity went when a hulking great tourist resort was developed there.

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Psychotic Puppets, Swimming Goats, A Guanche Revival & TIT of the week – Tenerife’s Week in News to June 27

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of our pick of the news stories of the week in Tenerife

Juicy news was a bit thin on the ground this week. People were too busy watching that which can’t be repeated, the ‘F’ word, and enjoying musical and traditional fiestas to do anything newsworthy. But this is Tenerife; there’s always going to be somebody doing something that could only happen here. So thanks to two of the island’s mayors for livening up a quiet news week.

A Night of Magic on Tenerife ““ Midsummer Madness
Despite council cuts and a reduced programmes of events to celebrate the ‘Noche de San Juan‘, thousands upon thousands of people took to Tenerife’s beaches on Midsummer’s Eve to participate in ancient traditions which included jumping over bonfires, bathing in the sea after midnight and consuming shed loads of alcohol. More than 20,000 revellers packed the beach in Puerto de la Cruz, covering the sand in bodies all the way from the town to Punta Brava. The following day saw a tenth of that number (and a few hundred nervous billies) turn out for one of Tenerife’s more quaint traditions; el baño de las cabras (bathing of the goats) in the town’s harbour.

Start Tearing Up Your Maps ““ Tenerife Might be Going Guanche Again
Miguel Zerolo, mayor of Santa Cruz, put the cat amongst the conquistadors by suggesting political reforms that would see Tenerife lose 22 of its 31 municipalities. His plan to radically change the face of Tenerife as we know it would involve going back to the age of the Guanche and reintroducing the nine kingdoms that existed before the conquistadors arrived. These would be Anaga (Santa Cruz & La Laguna), Abona (Fasnia, Arico, Arona, San Miguel de Abona & Granadilla de Abona), Taoro (Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava, La Matanza, La Victoria, Los Realejos & Santa Úrsula), Daute (El Tanque, Los Silos, Santiago del Teide, Buenavista del Norte & Garachico), Tacoronte (Tacoronte & El Sauzal), Icode (San Juan de la Rambla, La Guancha & Icod de los Vinos), Güímar (El Rosario, Candelaria, Arafo & Güímar), Adeje (Guía de Isora, Adeje & Vilaflor) and Tegueste (Tegueste & part of what is now La Laguna).

Zerolo’s rationale is that it would save 30 million Euros in annual salaries alone. The question is however, how much would the resulting chaos cost? This relatively recent embracing of Guanche heritage is admirable except for one tiny little detail, the people of Tenerife are more likely to be descendants of the people who wiped out the Guanche, rather than the Guanche themselves. Hello irony.

Want Some Gear to Make You Feel Good? – Dealing Gofio on the Streets of La Laguna
Tourists in La Laguna might be a bit bemused when they ask for directions at the city’s tourist offices when they’re given a 25g bag of powder and told ‘try this, it”ll make you feel great”.
In an initiative to promote Tenerife’s gofio industry, 10,000 bags of the toasted wheat are being handed out to visitors. Each bag comes with instructions in Spanish and English and after drinking it, mixed with milk, it seems you’ll be able to climb the tower of the Iglesia de la Concepción, skip up the Anaga Mountains with ease and swim in the Bajamar pools.

Speaking English on Tenerife
A lot of people believe that just about everybody speaks English on Tenerife ““ it’s one of the island’s urban myths. Outside of the main tourist resorts, English isn’t widely spoken at all which is why there were queues outside the School of Languages in Los Cristianos last week. Some prospective students even spent the night in sleeping bags outside the centre in order to secure a place on the next English language course intake.


Watching Someone Beat Someone Else to Death with a Club Won’t Harm Your Child

Good news for fans of Gorgorito, a sort of Spanish version of Punch and Judy, who is a favourite at the May fiestas in Santa Cruz. In an interview with the Diario de Avisos, child psychiatrist Pedro Ródriguez stated that watching Gorgorito batter hell out of people at a puppet show once a year wouldn’t turn children into club wielding psychopaths. He omitted to mention, however, that it would make them believe that they were living in 1965 and that they’d be seriously traumatised when they grew up and realised it was the 21st century everywhere else.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… The incredible Isaac Valencia in La Orotava.

You’re enjoying yourself at the local romería when some inebriated bloke pushes you off the pavement and hurls insults you. This sort of behaviour is unusual at Tenerife’s fiestas, so it would come as a bit of a shock, especially when the perpetrator turned out to be the town mayor. Isaac Valencia, mayor of La Orotava, is no stranger to news headlines, but his latest escapades, as told to La Orotava courts by the woman who was the subject of the alleged assault, defies belief. She described him as being red faced and intoxicated as he shook her and tried to grab the object which seemed to enrage him; bizarrely a Canarian flag.

Sort of makes John Prescott seem like a pussycat. So far there’s no comment from La Orotava’s controversial mayor. The alcohol may have worn off, but I”M not so sure about the red face.

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Headline Tenerife ““ The Week in News to June 13

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

Flowers in the Rain ““ Corpus Christi in La Orotava 2010
The unthinkable happened. After a blisteringly hot day previously, the weather turned fickle and rained incessantly on La Orotava’s Corpus Christi parade. The only water the flower carpets are normally drenched in during the day of the flower carpets is the spray from alfombrista’s watering cans. That changed this year as the heavens opened for the first time since 1942 and even prayers to the local saint, San Isidro Labrador couldn’t work miracles and stop the rain.

However, you’ll notice from the picture of this year’s main flower tapestry in full sunshine, that here at Tenerife Magazine we can.

The Sweet Smell of Santa Cruz
It was good news, bad news time this week for visitors to the capital Santa Cruz. The good news came as a representative of the Dirección General de Calidad del Aire del Gobierno de Canarias announced that the oil refinery CEPSA was going to implement plans to eliminate up to 90 percent of the sulphuric odours emanating from their refinery. The bad news was that
we’ll no longer be able to blame that unpleasant smell in the car as we drive into Santa Cruz on CEPSA for much longer.

The Demolition of Tenerife’s Coastline
Anyone living near the coast on Tenerife must be going through very nervy times at the moment. Thirty houses on the coast in Arafo and Güímar are due to feel the wrecking crew not so much knocking on their doors as knocking down their doors to make way for improvements to the seafront at Playa de La Viuda and Play de Lima. Apparently part of the improvements will include a nice new promenade for people to stroll along. How lovely for them and much more important than having a house to return to at the end of their stroll.

Double Park to Your Heart’s Content on Tenerife
A slip up of banana skin proportions was revealed this week when a draft for a new traffic law had the complete opposite of the effect it was supposed to have. The law was intended to make it easier for police to tow away cars that violated parking regulations, but instead was worded in such a way that meant that only town mayors and not the local police had the power to authorise gruas to tow cars away.

Apparently if the police tow away your car at the moment, you can insist it’s returned and be reimbursed for any cost ““ yeah right, I’m not going to rush out and test that little claim.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…

The person in the Cabildo responsible for coming up with a bright plan to make the volume of traffic between the north of Tenerife and Santa Cruz flow easier during morning rush hour. Anyone with half a brain could see what the outcome was going to be when it was announced that one of the lanes heading north from Santa Cruz was going to be reversed and turned into a lane heading into the capital Santa Cruz between 6 and 10am on Thursday 10th June.

There were no surprises the following day to read reports that there was absolute chaos on the road between Tacoronte and Los Rodeos (the area where the trial was taking place) with queues stretching back for miles.

Bemused commuters reported that a journey which normally took fifteen minutes took an hour and twenty five minutes during the trial. A big success then.

Why don’t the Cabildo consult someone who actually possesses a modicum of common sense before they proceed with plans that even the residents of Loro Parque could tell them were doomed to failure?

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Street Gardening ““ The Corpus Christi Flower Carpets

Ever since Leonor del Castillo y Monteverde decided in 1847 that it might be a nice idea to put some petals on the ground outside her house for the evening Corpus Christi procession to walk over, every June the streets of La Orotava have been transformed into urban floral works of art.
This year the streets are scheduled to blossom on Thursday June 10th.

The show-stealer of the festival is the 850 square metre volcanic sand tapestry which fills the plaza outside the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). Created from soils collected within Teide National Park, the intricate religious iconography usually commemorates a special event or delivers a powerful moral message and is never anything less than awesome.
But spectacular as it is, the tapestry is not the only display at this vast Tenerife flower show.
The streets that surround Iglesia de La Concepción and form a circuit between the church, the Town Hall and Las Casas de Los Balcones are transformed into beautiful carpets of rainbow coloured petals.
From early morning until after the evening Corpus Christi procession has completed its journey to the church, the whole town is imbued with a fairytale atmosphere of what I can only describe as “˜joy’.

Preparing the ground
Preparation for the day begins months in advance with deciding the theme for the carpets and designing the giant tapestry. At this stage it’s all very hush, hush and when work begins on chalking the outline in the Town Hall Plaza, barriers and screens are erected to keep prying eyes at bay. But by the time the big day draws close, the secret’s out and most of the screens disappear.
If you want to see something really special, head up to La Orotava on June 9th as the master alfombristas (carpet makers) put the finishing touches to their masterpiece; it feels a bit like watching Da Vinci complete the Mona Lisa.

On the day itself, work begins early laying out the streets into grids, each allocated to specific groups, families and individuals, many of whom have had the same “˜plot’ for generations. The Monteverde family still create their carpet outside Casa Monteverde as they’ve been doing for 163 years.

Sowing and growing

The best time to arrive at the Corpus Christi flower carpets is around the midday mark. By that stage, most of the designs have been either hand drawn onto the pavement, or large metal or wood frames have been laid ready to be filled. Sacks lie filled with kaleidoscopic palettes of cut petals and the aromatic seeds which create the town’s very distinctive Corpus Christi perfume, and the streets are a hive of petal and seed laying activity.
Following the narrow one-way route marked out by string barriers, crowds swell as they meander the circuit, experiencing Rolf Harris “˜can-you-tell-what-it-is-yet?’ moments as the designs take shape.

To get the best view of the magnificent soil tapestry, head inside the Town Hall, make your way to the first floor and join the crowds waiting to get onto the small balconies overlooking the plaza.

Feeding and watering
As with all Tenerife fiestas, being a spectator can be almost as exhausting as participating so allow yourself the whole day to enjoy the festive atmosphere. Stalls sell a saliva-inducing selection of goodies to keep the strength up; chocolate coated roasted almonds, candy floss, hot dogs, burgers, chips, ice creams and a huge assortment of homemade cakes, biscuits and sweets.
In between circuits, head to the guachinche beside the Town Hall, take the weight off your feet and enjoy a “˜pincho‘ (savoury pork kebab) with a glass or two of local wine or a cold beer.
While you’re waiting for the final design to finish ““ it’s always the one right outside the Iglesia de la Concepción ““ sit in the small park opposite and avail yourself from its beer tent.

When all the carpets are finally complete, the alfombristas breathe a collective sigh of relief and of pride in the beauty that they have created. With aching backs and sore knees, they enjoy a well-earned glass of wine and wait for the Corpus Christi procession to walk over their carpets, scattering petals and seeds to the breeze.
Flower works of art gone in a few footfalls ““ it seems such a blooming shame.

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Framed ““ The Most Christmassy Towns on Tenerife

Well that’s Christmas over for another year. Your belt buckle needs loosening, your wallet has become a black hole and the only turkey you want to see in the next twelve months is the one where people wear a fez, drink mint tea and beat your bare feet with bats if you try to smuggle hashish.

Except that here in Tenerife it isn’t over. In fact it’s only just begun. In this topsy turvy land, Christmas begins with a big feast on Christmas Eve and ends two weeks later when the Tres Reyes (Three Kings) hit town and children wake up on 6th January to find if they’ve been good enough to warrant any pressies.

The good news for visitors looking for Tenerife deals is that they get to enjoy two Christmases”¦and the icing on the Christmas cake is that the second one comes stress-free.

The question is though, where are the best places to partake of some intoxicatingly sparkly Christmas spirit?

Here’s Tenerife Magazine’s photo guide to the four most Christmassy towns on Tenerife

Christmas in Puerto de la Cruz
In fourth place is Puerto de la Cruz. In truth, the Christmas decorations are a little disappointing this year in Tenerife’s first tourist resort. There’s a distinct lack of colour about the town, possibly because the giant wheel at the funfair nicked all the best lightbulbs. However, there’s still enough magic about to bring on some Christmas cheer.

Plaza Europa in front of the town hall: Gold, gold and more gold – clearly the colour theme in Puerto de la Cruz this year.

Thank goodness for the funfair and an injection of much needed colour.

Christmas in La Laguna
In third place is La Laguna. There’s a distinct Dickensian feel to the decorations in La Laguna helped by cobbled streets, historic buildings, Victorian style street lights and vendors selling hot toffee and baked potatoes from little carts.

Plaza del Adelantado, La Laguna: Pretty, if a bit understated.

This is much better: Street vendors and coloured sparkly balls ““ now we’re getting there.

Christmas in Santa Cruz
In second place is the island’s capital, Santa Cruz. Plaza España is remarkably understated, but the streets between Plaza de la Candelaria and Plaza del Príncipe are enchanting festive grottos featuring trees festooned with multi-coloured twinkling lights. The big bonus in Santa Cruz is that throughout the Christmas period, live music in the streets provides that special finishing touch. At any one time choir singing, jazz and even a Beatles tribute act add a musical soundtrack to the city’s festive scene.

The Circulo de Amistad building knows exactly how to dress for Christmas.

I bet you can’t walk down this street without humming Winter Wonderland ““ even if you are sweating at the time.

The Noria district: Palm trees and Christmas lights.

Christmas in La Orotava
The classiest town on Tenerife has come up trumps by also having the classiest Christmas decorations. For providing a healthy dose of good old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere, La Orotava wins by a nose. The life-sized belén in front of the town hall is hard to beat, but Plaza de la Constitución manages it with a gingerbread house bandstand, illuminated Christmas parcels and a tree-covered walkway with dripping icicles. A visit to the town is the perfect antidote for eliminating any Scrooge-like tendencies.

A life-size nativity scene outside La Orotava’s Town Hall. Can you get any more Christmassy?

“¦.well, this might just about trump it.

The Iglesia de la Concepción at dusk adds the perfect finishing touch to the nativity scene.

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Gran Lirica Concert

Title: Gran Lirica Concert
Location: Auditorio Teobaldo Power, La Orotava
Description: Change of day and venue for this classical mega concert. Soloists from Scala Milan, New York Metropolitan, and Berlin Opera will perform works by Verdi, Bellini and Puccini.Starts at 8.30pm.
All tickets are 45 euros and are available from El Corte Ingles, Tel 922285808, Caja Canarias cashpoints or General Tickets.

Date: 2009-12-25

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