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COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Festivals in Tenerife and other large gatherings are still not able to be held with social distancing and other restrictions still in force. Events listed here, therefore, are subject to cancellation or change without notice. Such circumstances are beyond our control.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tenerife approaches one car per inhabitant

Deserted roads are becoming harder to find

On the Island there are 819 vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants, a little more than the average for the Canary Islands (802) and there are also more than driving licenses

In Tenerife there are almost as many motor vehicles (cars, buses, trucks, vans and motorcycles) as there are registered inhabitants. As of January 1, 2021, there are 818.9 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants on the island, only one point less than the pre-pandemic year. In the Canary Islands, the average is 802 per 1,000 inhabitants, with the islands of La Palma (907), El Hierro (857) and Lanzarote (836) surpassing Tenerife in that percentage. Vilaflor, for example, has an average that far exceeds its number of inhabitants (1,477 per 1,000).

From these statistics we have to extract that of the 818.9 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, in Tenerife, 560 are passenger cars. These data, as of today, are even more conclusive, because if we remove minors (14% of the population) and elderly people who do not have a driving license, the evidence is clear: there are more cars on the island that people who can drive them, even adding to the tourists who can be on the island every day, for which they have a fleet of around 30,000 cars.

With more than 840,000 registered vehicles and 1,550 kilometres of road, Tenerife is not prepared to withstand such a density of vehicles. If all of them, let's say only 800,000 (they would add up to 3,200 kilometres long, with an average of 4 meters with a vehicle) hit the road on the same day, they would not fit. With all those vehicles, placed in single file, they would reach the round trip distance to Seville or they would reach Paris as a single line.

INSULAR MOBILITY PLAN

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Cabildo is working on the drafting of the Insular Plan for Sustainable Mobility of the Island of Tenerife (PIMSIT), through a process of citizen participation, with the aim that Tenerife has a instrument that serves to plan and manage how we will move around the island in a sustainable way for the next 20 years. At the starting point of the project, it is detailed that no less than 72.9% of transfers on the island are made by private car, while public transport, despite having 500 buses and 40% of them renewed, does not even reach 10% (bus, 4.7%; tram, 2.6% and taxi, 1.5%), the rest move on foot (18.3%). In this analysis it is said that urban sprawl constitutes a difficult and costly access for collective transport modes) and understands that mobility would be improved with the completion of the island ring road and the North and South trains, despite the fact that the president island, Pedro Martín, has recently said that now guided transport is not a priority on the island.

Any minor accident on the TF-1 leads to endless queues, there are almost no possible escapes

In that same analysis, the sections of the San Isidro-Adeje and La Orotava-Santa Cruz highways are included as the points of greatest automobile congestion. And it is that for a long time now, not only has there been talk of the endless queues of the TF-5 from Guamasa to the capital, with 17 links that supply vehicles to a motorway trunk that does not support such a density, greater than 4,400 cars/hour, something similar, but in a shorter time slot, than what is happening at the Guaza junction, on the TF-1, where almost 100,000 vehicles circulate a day, with great congestion between seven and nine in the morning, when workers from the outskirts of Arona, and others coming from the southeast and the metropolitan area are beginning to arrive at what is considered to be the tourist area and, therefore, economic motor of the island. The soon start-up of the Oroteanda-Las Chafiras link will relieve these traffic jams and the completion of the third lane should put an end to them.

A report, which the Civil Guard Traffic division delivered to the Cabildo in 2018 to decongest the highways of Tenerife, proposed that heavy vehicles do not travel on Friday afternoons, and establish two Bus Vao, one on the TF-1 and another on the TF-5. That same report also details that only Madrid and Barcelona exceed the island in the total number of buses. In total vehicles, Tenerife has a density that is 3.5 times higher than the national average, the second after Pontevedra.

Monday, January 24, 2022

The resurrection of Nazareth: the Güímar dragon tree sprouts in the Buen Retiro

The drago of the Colegio Nazaret in Güímar

Back in July last year, it was announced that Tenerife had lost one of its most emblematic dragon trees (Dracaena draco), located in the patio of the Colegio Nazaret (today Colegio Santo Domingo) in Güímar. Said to be the third oldest, at around 150 years old, it had already been reported that it was sick and the prognosis in August was that it could not be transplanted due to biological problems and the damage caused by its collapse. 

However, it's being kept alive together with a "brother" in the 18th century mansion; the botanist who saved the Hermano Pedro tree has taken on its conservation.

"We can't celebrate yet, because it still hasn't taken well, but green shoots can be seen," says Mario Díaz, owner of the spectacular Buen Retiro, a mansion in Chacaica, Güímar, which was the residence of the family of Delgado-Trinidad, marquises of La Florida in the 18th century, referring to the centenary dragon tree (more than 130 years old) that he transplanted in August on his land after having collapsed in the courtyard of the Nazaret school (today Santo Domingo) just a hundred meters away. Although he remarks that he is not a Catholic, he does not mind that there is talk of a resurrection: a botanical resurrection.

It must be remembered that technicians from the Cabildo de Tenerife considered it impossible to recover the drago on August 19, a month after the collapse it suffered in the schoolyard. They explained that it could no longer be saved due to biological problems and the damage caused by the fall in July, according to the island councillor for Natural Environment Management and Security, Isabel García. So it was hopeless. It destiny was to dry up, which is the death of vegetation. The report compiled by the Cabildo stated that "transplanting a dragon tree with its root ball in good physiological condition is not the same as replanting a fallen dragon tree with serious pathologies and in an unfortunate state of conservation." “Even the possible rooting of its arms is also very limited, given that the branches lack aerial roots, the experts added in that opinion.

However, a week later, at the end of August, Mario Díaz received the donation by the nuns and placed it, thanks to a huge crane, near the main garden of the former Buen Retiro hotel, now converted into a music museum. Precisely with violin music, Mario received the dragon tree from Nazareth, convinced that music would make it grow. 

And even if it hasn't grown, at least it hasn't died.

"I don't want to get into controversy with the technicians of the Cabildo, I just tried to make an effort to save the drago and for now it has been worth the effort, although it is still early, because although it is seen that it has begun to sprout, it is still the same it is not well rooted," says Mario Díaz cautiously, who recounts that "at first I watered it, but I remembered that a botanist advised me not to." In addition, the co-owner of the Buen Retiro, together with his sister Elsa, -his family acquired it three decades ago from the nephews of the Marchioness of Florida- has taken care to receive advice from prominent botanists, such as Miguel Torres, who just two years ago saved the well-known tree (esquisúchil) that Brother Pedro planted in 1657 during his stay in Guatemala, in addition to contracting the company Biogarden for the maintenance of this Dracaena Draco whose seed is the same as specimens such as that Mario Díaz already had in his mansion: "They are contemporaries, it could be said that they were brothers," he highlights, recalling that his was planted by the Marchioness of La Florida before she died, without issue, in 1927.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Festivity of San Antonio Abad in Los Silos

Image of San Antonio Abad in the Former Convent in Los Silos

The Fiestas of San Antonio Abad in Los Silos would normally include the Feria del Ganado y Artesanía (Livestock and Crafts Fair), but of course, once again, the pandemic is not allowing these busy, crowded events to go ahead. 

The only event mentioned by the town hall is a concert this evening by timple master, Domingo Rodríguez "El Colorao" in the former Bernadine convent of San Sebastián, however, it's advertised, necessarily, as being limited capacity.

So we can merely offer you some pictures from a now distant visit to this delightful festivities and a short video from the last ones to be held normally in 2020, to keep the memory alive and the hopes for a return to these wonderfully social events in future.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

There are three times as many dogs registered in Puerto de la Cruz than there are children


There is currently no general pet registry as the laws themselves indicate that it must exist in each of the municipalities, but in Puerto de la Cruz, it has been found that there are three times as many dogs registered in the municipality than there are children.

Puerto de la Cruz council signed an agreement with the veterinary college last week to improve the care of animals in the city, as reported by the council itself on social media. The Animal Welfare area, directed by Alberto Castilla, states that this agreement demonstrates the municipality's commitment to animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

At the signing of the document that commits both parties, the Mayor Marco González and the Councillor for Community Well-being Flora Perera were also present, along with the President of the Canary Islands Veterinary Council and President of the Tenerife Veterinary College, María Luisa Fernández. The mayor wanted to value the effort of the area to continue taking essential steps to update the presence of animals in the municipality.

Sara Capelli, manager of the College of Veterinarians of Tenerife, considers “the involvement and encouragement on the part of the municipalities essential. Pets are, from now on, another part of the family, with their rights, which indicates that we must train the staff of the town halls, the police, the municipal technicians, etc., and instil in them that sensitivity is no longer a choice, but is reflected in the law. That changes everything." 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Cabildo awards contract for resurfacing Nelson Mandela Avenue, TF-211, in La Orotava


Maybe not the most enthralling news of the week - unless you're a civil engineer - but did you realise that La Orotava even has an Avenida Nelson Mandela (Nelson Mandela Avenue)? Wonder if there's a Casa Nelson Mandela, where El Chico Del lives?

The Governing Council of the Cabildo de Tenerife has awarded the contract for the resurfacing of Nelson Mandela Avenue, in the municipality of La Orotava. The deterioration that the busy TF-211 - which connects the TF-5 highway with the town - presents at this point with important cracks in the surface, potholes and peeling, requires immediate action.

Minister of Highways, Enrique Arriaga, points out that “the works have a budget of 381,120 euros and an execution period of three months. With them, he adds, "not only will the surface layer of the road be replaced, but the accessibility and safety of pedestrians will be improved with the conditioning of pedestrian crossings and the relocation of a bus stop."

Island Director of Highways, Tomás Félix García, explains that "the works include the improvement of the existing drainage". The zebra crossings will significantly improve road safety on this avenue through which an average of 21,000 vehicles circulate daily.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Largest known snowfall on January 20, 1979

The largest known snowfall occurred on January 20, 1979

The second fortnight of January 1979 was a carousel of fronts and squalls from the west and southwest with intense rainfall in the archipelago. In the centre of Gran Canaria, in the Barranco del Gofio, Tejeda, a man was dragged by the floodwaters, causing his death. The Port of Los Cristianos in the south of Tenerife was totally destroyed by the storm. The town of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was flooded when the Santos ravine overflowed. 

The largest known snowfall occurred on January 20, 1979, on the summits of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and La Palma. In Tenerife, above 1,000 m, reaching in some points up to 5 meters thick. In Izaña 957 l / m² accumulated, almost all in the form of snow. That month up to 15 days of snowfall were registered. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Fiestas of San Sebastian 2022 in Adeje

Playa de la Enramada, Adeje Marc Ryckaert, CC BY-SA 4.0

The council of Adeje, through the Culture department, led by María Clavijo Maza, has informed the public that, given the current level of health alert, there will be no cultural or festive events: no blessing or presence of animals in Playa de la Enramada, on the occasion of the festival of San Sebastián, co-patron saint of the municipality. This year, like last year, only religious functions with limited capacity will be held. The main mass, which will be celebrated on Thursday, January 20 at 12 noon, will be broadcast via the council's social networks, as well as by the municipal radio station, Radio Sur Adeje 107.9 fm.

On Wednesday, February 19, mass will be held at eight in the evening and on Thursday the 20th, in addition to the central mass at twelve o'clock, two more homilies will take place, one at nine in the morning and another at six o'clock in the afternoon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Santa Cruz Carnival 2022 to be held in June


With the original date of the carnival inauguration now less than 10 days away, it was inevitable that Santa Cruz Carnival 2022 would be postponed. At last night's Zoom meeting, attended by 103 people: organisers, representatives of the carnival groups, etc., it was decided that it will be June or nothing. The intended dates are from Saturday, 4 June to Sunday, 26 June, with no details yet of which events will take place on which days. 

Mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, says the change in the dates is due to the rise in infections caused by the sixth wave of COVID and, is a way to “save” the celebration. Other cities have already set the precedent, such as Valencia with its Fallas or Cádiz with its Carnival. Now it is the turn of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which has decided to move the Carnival to June

With the arrival of the sixth wave of COVID, as explained by the mayor, they have had to make decisions, always to guarantee the safety of people, while also being able to celebrate a party in which more than 9,000 people are involved. “At the moment, the data has taken us to level 4, and the forecast of the Government of the Canary Islands is that Tenerife will continue at that level until the end of the month. That makes going back to rehearsals in the short term practically impossible, and, even if the alert were lowered to level 3, it would still be very difficult to maintain the group meetings,” said the mayor.

JUNE OR NOTHING

Councillor for Fiestas, Alfonso Cabello, admitted that the "window of opportunity" to celebrate the Carnival is the month of June, but if the circumstances continue as currently, there would be no more possible dates, which would force its suspension.

The dates that Fiestas are considering are between June 4 and 26, but with nothing assigned to the different events, which is something that, he says, will be settled with the groups in face-to-face meetings that will take place Thursday and Friday of this week.

Likewise, he made special reference to the children: "We have to see when their contests are better for children's groups, because we understand that it is a month with exams." Designers are also the other group that can be most affected by the transfer of dates.

According to the mayor, it will be in the month of April, “after Easter”, when it will be possible to really know if the new dates are feasible. "For everything to fit together, the groups need to be rehearsing by April 18. If on that date we have another variant of COVID or there is a new wave, that will be when we will really know what is going to happen with Carnival," he said.

CONTESTS & GALAS HELD OUTSIDE

One of the things that the new dates will allow, with potentially better weather, is for the galas and contests to be held outside. This was pointed out by Bermúdez, who explained that "our intention is to create a carnival venue outside, as we did with the May Festivities."

The possible locations are the car park of the Parque Marítimo or the esplanade of the dock, where the Christmas Concert is held, both on the land of the Port Authority, with which the necessary permits would also have to be negotiated. In addition, in the month of June, the Fairground (The Tenerife International Centre for Trade Fairs and Congresses) already has its own programming, such as the celebration of two concerts, which would make the assembly of the stage and the events of the 2022 Carnival unfeasible.

In June, in principle, there will be no Carnival in the street. The mayor concluded his speech by pointing out that the idea, therefore, is to ensure at least the celebration of galas and contests. "If the evolution of the pandemic allowed us to go to a celebration in the street, which I doubt, believe me that nothing would make me more excited," he added. 

Almond Blossom Campaign 2022


Mayor of Santiago del Teide, Emilio Navarro presented this morning, January 17, a new edition of the Campaña del Almendro en Flor 2022 (Almond Blossom Campaign 2022), with a program that will integrate a large number of routes, events, contests, gastronomic route, agro-artisan market (as long as the health situation allows it), taking place from January 22 to February 20.

On 22 January there are short and long general routes and a route with pets. On 29 January there is a family route; on 5 February, a route with disabled assistance and on 12 February, a route for Lovers. 

There are also photography and story contests, plus a new edition of the gastronomic exhibition around the almond in which 22 establishments and businesses will participate and various gastronomic workshops.

Mayor, Emilio Navarro, pointed out that the flowering of the almond tree is one of the most important events in the municipality with great repercussions at island level. It is also a tourist product within their commitment to ecotourism. The various council departments have designed a very complete program of events so that visitors will enjoy the spectacle of the white and pink of the almond tree blossom that, together with the lava flows through which it passes, will leave a postcard recorded in the memory of those who can make it.

This year the routes are offered in Spanish only, which is a shame, but this hardly calls for complicated comprehension. There's a nominal charge of 5 Euros per person.

Registration for the routes is essential and must be done through this link.

Monday, January 17, 2022

History of a tradition: San Antonio Abad

The couple who bring out La Pionera every year are interviewed in the film

San Antonio Abad (Anthony the Great) is the patron saint of animals and farmers, amongst other things, and his feast day is held on the anniversary of his death, 17 January

The origin of the livestock tradition - in recent years the fair has gathered some 600 head - in Buenavista del Norte goes back to the year 1528, the date on which the beginning of religious acts around the image of the saint is marked, according to studies collected in the publication 'San Antonio Abad and his festivity', by the historian Álvaro Hernández Yanes, who in turn dates the beginning of the modern romería (pilgrimage) to 1979. 

In the absence of the celebrations of San Antonio Abad, due to the pandemic last year, the town hall of Buenavista del Norte made this delightful film (full 25 minute version), detailing the history of this tradition in the district, in an effort to keep the memory alive. 

In it, many of the regular characters of this fiesta are interviewed, in Spanish obviously, all familiar faces to me having spent almost a decade in the area and going to this fiesta regularly, talking about the importance of the fiesta and what it means to them. 

The films also include lovely footage of the views of the town itself and its surroundings, particularly Teno Alto and the El Palmar Valley and the infamous goats.

They've also posted videos of the previous fiestas and romerias in 2004 and 2005.

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