Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Going Native in Tenerife over the Festive Season

There’s always a lot going on over the Christmas period on Tenerife and never enough time to fit everything in. This year we were guilty of not even sending Christmas cards to some of our best friends, partly because after a number of friends and family chose the same week to escape Britain for Tenerife’s warmer climes we just ran out of time (a bit of a lame excuse I know).
Apart from the fact we were failures as friends, we enjoyed a varied and interesting festive period on Tenerife.

The Week Before Christmas
Christmas week saw two firsts for me; wild boar steaks at the Sabor Español restaurant in the Barceló Santiago Hotel in Puerto Santiago followed by getting locked in a toilet in Route 66. The first I enjoyed a lot, the latter not at all.

Sarah and Terry Lee from LiveShareTravel were exploring the island and discovering oodles of material for their website. They’d been staying at the Pearly Grey in Callao Salvaje and we met up at Garachico, halfway (sort of) between Callao and Puerto de la Cruz.
Our first two choices for lunch, El Lagar de Julio and Aristides were inexplicably closed with, in true Tenerife fashion, no explanation whatsoever – bad luck guys, you could have had Andy waxing lyrical about you on a popular UK travel site. Mind you, after seeing herself on the video taken at the Los Pinos restaurant Andy vowed she’s never going to wax lyrical on camera ever again.
After lunch we persuaded Sarah and Terry to have a quick look at the belén in the former San Francisco convent to play my favourite belén game ‘find the caganer’. But being a traditional Canarian scene and not a Middle Eastern one, the caganer was missing.
 A couple of days later with my mum, sister and her boyfriend Graeme we had much better luck at the exhibition of belénes in Puerto de la Cruz where we found not one, not two but three caganers. As a bonus one of them was doing something I’d never seen caganers do before (in the interests of decency that will just have to remain a mystery).

Christmas on Tenerife

On Christmas Eve we explored the banana plantations around Garachico in Isla Baja. Due to work commitments we haven’t been able to hoof it around Tenerife’s countryside on foot as much as we like, so it was good for soul, body and mind to wander off the beaten track again. The pit stop at the ‘unusual’ bar at the end of the walk resulted in me not only getting to drink from a bottle of cerveza but also to sip from the bloggers’ Holy Grail as well as the subsequent blog was featured on the Wordpress front page for a few days.

This year we didn’t manage to make it to Santa Cruz and La Laguna to see the Christmas decorations, but we did head up the hill to La Orotava where we were rewarded a magical display and a street exhibition of evocative metal sculptures by talented artist, Julio Nieto. Arriving at dusk was perfect as the fading light created the optimum conditions for viewing these dramatic works of art.
Boxing Day and it was another walk – from El Portillo to La Fortaleza in the Teide National Park. The highlight for me was climbing over a volcanic spur to be faced with La Fortaleza on one side, Mount Teide on the other and a broad sandy plain inbetween – it’s one of Tenerife’s many special vistas.

A couple of days later it was my birthday and an excuse to try out the sexy new Cofradía de Pescadores restaurant in Puerto de la Cruz. The seafood was fresh, plentiful and scrumptious and I vowed to return to try out the razorfish.

New Year and Tres Reyes on Tenerife
New Year’s Eve saw the annual grape wielding trip to Puerto harbour for a night of cava quaffing and dodgy salsa dancing (only by me I hasten to add). We had a relatively early one and ended up walking home via a pitch black dirt track through the bananas at 4.30am. It was a bit spooky, but the cava helped steady the nerves if not the feet.

We don’t normally go to the Tres Reyes parades on the 5th January. I could tell you that’s because it’s for the kiddiewinkles, but the truth is by that point we just want to chill. But this year we dragged ourselves to La Orotava… and it was a blast. I only took one hit to the forehead, courtesy of Baltasar who was launching sweets through the air as though he was trying for some sort of long distance throwing sweeties record.

The festive period ended with the first Tenerife Magazine meet up of 2011 which included social media expert and all round star Arantxa Ros. We chose the Cofradía de Pescadores again so that Tenerife Magazine’s southern representatives, John Beckley and Colin Kirby, could experience some northern hospitality and tuna steaks that were nearly as big as the plates they almost covered.

Of course this being Tenerife, this business meeting wasn’t like the often dry affairs we experienced in the UK. This was more sun, seafood, cervezas and smiles as we bitched about the bad, glowed about the good and generally discussed plans for Tenerife Magazine's world domination in 2011.

That's our festive season ‘Going Native’ style - good fun and keeps us up to date with what's happening across Tenerife.



Sarah said...

Thanks for the mention in your festive round up Jack!
After meeting you in Garachico we headed to the Spanish mainland and searched for the caganer in nearly every nativity we saw. We even sought one out at a Living Nativity in Arcos de la Frontera (probably a good job there wasn't one there though!).
We eventually spotted two and thought they were a brilliant, if very odd, addition to the nativity. So thanks for the tip off, clearly an unusual tradition that can only be advised of by a native!

Real Tenerife said...

LOL - having el caganer at a living nativity would just be taking traditions too far.