Tuesday, 21 April 2009

A Great Little Restaurant on Tenerife – But Where is it?

Yesterday someone left a flyer for the Tasca La Marquesa restaurant under the windscreen wiper of my car. It sounds great. There’s a decent selection of tapas including chipirones (€2.50) and gambas al ajillo (€3.90); the set menu of three courses is only €7.90; a bottle of dorada is €1.20 and spirits with a mixer are €3; there’s even live music.

The only problem is I hadn’t a clue where it was. I scoured the flyer, but they omitted to include an address. There was a little street map with a big arrow pointing to the restaurant, but apart from the church and post office being shown there was nothing to identify its actual location.

Initially I thought that the restaurant was in Puerto de la Cruz. That’s where I picked up the flyer, so that assumption seemed reasonable, except that the position of the post office in relation to the church on the map made that impossible. I was baffled.

You might think that this was just an oversight, but it happens all the time. There is advert after advert on Canarian TV showing great looking food being served in atmospheric restaurants…but half of the time they fail to tell you where. I’ve seen numerous posters advertising bands, concerts, exhibitions and all sorts of things; the posters are packed with loads of juicy info, except the location of the event.

It seems basic common sense to me to include an address in publicity material, but sometimes it seems that’s a concept which hasn’t quite caught on here. There’s almost an assumption that everybody knows where everything is and what’s happening. It’s one of the reasons we’ve included a fiesta guide in Going Native in Tenerife with tips about where, when and what to expect. We missed lots of fiestas when we first moved here due to a lack of detailed information. Now we generally know what’s happening and when, but only because we’ve been and seen it for ourselves.

It’s a bizarre little characteristic which can make life frustrating for visitors and even ex-pat residents.

I eventually worked out the restaurant’s location, but only because I know the town well enough to have been able figure it out; it’s in La Orotava…I think.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Tenerife – Barren Rock or Garden Paradise?

There are still some people who consider Tenerife as little more than a hot barren rock in the Atlantic; some of these have even visited the island, but that says more about them than it does about Tenerife.
I’ve never had much time for people who spend their time between beach and bar and then complain that there’s not much to the place they’ve just visited.

Recently I was interested to read comments from British residents on Tenerife talking about things they missed about the UK. Two of the things quoted were snow and the advent of spring when flowers transformed the countryside. Seems reasonable enough.

It’s probably fair to say that Tenerife’s main attraction for the last forty years has been the weather. The guarantee of sunshine at any time of the year and winter temperatures which can be higher than some European country’s summer ones are an irresistible draw. But with this comes a perception, even amongst some ex-pat residents, that seasons here don’t vary much…and generally speaking we Brits like the variety that comes with each changing season (even though we do moan about them on occasion).
Once again, like so many things relating to Tenerife, perception and reality isn’t necessarily exactly the same thing.

Only a few weeks ago we were knee deep in snow in the middle of Las CaƱadas at the base of Mount Teide (okay, admittedly the sun was shining and it was lovely and warm); a couple of weeks later we were walking in the hills, trekking along cobbled paths bordered by the most wonderful display of rainbow coloured wild flowers heralding the arrival of spring.

It’s true that parts of Tenerife are arid and relatively barren, but it’s also true that an equal part of it is as lush as the Amazon rainforest and as green as an English meadow.

There’s a reason why the island was believed to be the Garden of HespĆ©rides, but you’ll have to ‘Go Native’ to discover it for yourself.