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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Cruz Changes Names of City Streets

Rambla de Santa Cruz, formerly Rambla del General Franco Koppchen, CC BY 3.0

Street names are changing this week, after the mayor signed a decree changing the names of eight (out of more than 100) of the streets with names that had something to do with the Franco era, in accordance with the Ley de la Memoria Histórica (Historical Memory Law.)

The names, which changed as of Thursday, are as follows:

Old Street Name New Street Name Translation
Rambla del General Franco Rambla de Santa Cruz Holy Cross Way
Avenida José Antonio Avenida Marítima Maritime Avenue
Avenida del General Mola Avenida Islas Canarias Canary Islands Avenue
Calle General Moscardó Calle Del Amor Love Street
Calle General Goded Calle Del Perdón Forgiveness Street
Calle General Fanjul Calle Del Olvido Forgetfulness Street
Calle General Sanjurjo Calle De los Sueños Dreams Street
Calle García Morato Calle De la Tolerancia Tolerance Street

The new names have been chosen partly in consultation with residents, but we can't help thinking that the choice of the last five of those street names isn't, entirely random or accidental. There are, of course, numerous opinions on this. There are those who think that changing the names is actually sweeping the bad stuff under the carpet; that once the names are taken off the streets, this ugly part of history will be forgot.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Things to do in Tenerife when it rains

When it what?!” I hear you cry…well yes, it can and does sometimes rain in Tenerife. Hugely inconvenient for anyone on holiday here at the time, but essential to agriculture, mains water supplies, health and sanitation, in fact the on-going survival of the island.

Of course, here in the ‘north’ we’re perfectly okay with rain; we see it as the ingredient that provides us with our beautiful tropical vegetation and consider the few occasions when we get whole days or even a whole week of rain as a small price to pay for our surroundings.

It’s said that Tenerife has one bad month of weather a year and it’s just a question of waiting to see which month that will be. But this year, it’s proving to be a November/December crossover and is teetering on the edge of being more than a month.

Given the appalling summer that Britain has just experienced and the continued downturn in the value of the pound, this unusual spell of ‘poor’ weather has led to an unfortunate set of circumstances. Many hundreds of Brits are finding themselves with two weeks in one of Tenerife’s southern resorts with no sun and a great deal of time on their hands. Naturally, the tendency is therefore to spend more time in bars, cafes and restaurants parting with more of their significantly reduced euros than they would normally do, and has in turn led to many people complaining that there’s nothing to do in Tenerife without the sun and that it’s far more expensive than it used to be.

Well, here’s a simple and cost-effective solution to the whole question of what to do in Tenerife when it rains…

Get out of your resort and explore.
There are endless possibilities of places to see and things to do that will cost you a fraction of what you’ll spend by killing time in resort bars.

Other than the cost of getting there, exploring Tenerife’s fascinating landscape and historic towns doesn’t have to cost a céntimo if you don’t want it to. But by leaving your resort, you’re automatically increasing the value of your euro anyway, so lunch, a cold beer, a coffee, soft drinks, ice cream all cost considerably less around the island.

There are some excellent museums on Tenerife. Not the sort that house exhibits gathering dust that will threaten a revolt from your offspring the moment the front door looms into sight, these are positive fun houses! Like the Museum of Science and the Cosmos in La Laguna which has hundreds of wonderful scientific puzzles to play with including lifting a Mini with just one hand, getting lost in the mirror maze and casting shadows on a wall that stay there after you’ve moved.

Then there’s the Museum of Man & Nature in Santa Cruz with its morbid collection of Guanche mummies, or the Military Museum in Santa Cruz in a working barracks which has a scale reproduction of Nelson’s unsuccessful attack on Santa Cruz amongst its arsenal of military paraphernalia.

And if you go on a Sunday, every museum has free entrance.

To make things really easy for you, the brand new ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ guide gives you a comprehensive insight into 38 different towns and villages across Tenerife and tells you the best bits to see and the best places to eat. Along with local food, best-buys and a guide to the island’s many colourful fiestas, ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ will tempt you to get out and discover some of the beautiful places that exist on Tenerife.

Make your holiday go further; see the island and save money while you’re doing it, then come back and tell me there’s nothing to do on Tenerife when it rains!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Public Holidays in Tenerife 2009


Public holidays in Tenerife, in 2009, are the following:

  • 1 January, Año Nuevo (New Year's Day).
  • 6 January, Epifanía del Señor (Epiphany / Three Kings Day).
  • 2 FebruaryVirgen de la Candelaria (Candlemas).
  • 9 April, Jueves Santo (Easter Thursday).
  • 10 April, Viernes Santo (Good Friday).
  • 1 May, Fiesta del Trabajo (Labour Day).
  • 30 May, Día de Canarias (Canaries Day).
  • 15 August, Asunción de la Virgen (Assumption of Mary) Fiestas in Candelaria.
  • 12 October, Fiesta Nacional de España (National Day of Spain).
  • 7 December, (in lieu of the 6th) Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day).
  • 8 December, Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception).
  • 25 December, Natividad del Señor (Christmas).

And as well as these 12 days established by law [1], there are also a further 2 days given each year as local holidays, which differ from one district to the next.

[1] That alone makes public holidays in Spain a different from Bank Holidays in the UK, where "There is no automatic right to time off on these days."

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ignacio the Iguana

San Antonio Abad 2008 - Los Silos
Apologies if he's a she

Once upon a time, the Fiestas de San Antonio Abad, held each year around the middle of January, attracted only farm animals. Over the years, pet dogs have also been brought along to the fiestas to be blessed by the preist and, now as appears to be the international fashion, the pet exotic animals turn up, like Sr. Iguana here on a lead, walking around the cobbled streets of Los SilosThe French call these NAC (for Nouveaux animaux de compagnie - new types of pets). Anyone know if there is a similar term in Spanish (could be the same: Nuevos Animales de Compania) or English (other than exotic pets)?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Follow The Route of Nativities in Tenerife

From the huge, life-size nativity outside the town hall in La Orotava.

The Nativity, Belén or Nacimiento is the most important of the Christmas decorations in Tenerife, where Christmas still revolves around the birth of Jesus.

There are specialist belenistas (nativity makers), contests and organised routes to go round and see them; private family nativities (some of which open their homes to the public), then there are regular public nativities in squares, such as the life-size nativity outside the town hall in La Orotava, (see above), in the Plaza de Candelaria in Santa Cruz, in shops and malls, such as La Villa in La Orotava, inside the Cabildo (Tenerife Island Corporation) building in Santa Cruz, in town halls, most churches (of course) and, even hotels.

These "Holy Model Villages" full of detail usually reserved for model railways, are fascinating to see and won't be difficult to find, all around the island.

Not every detail is serious mind you, as this and Jack Montgomery explains.

Most of the nativity displays will be available to see from around now, usually until Los Reyes (The Three Kings Day) on January 6th.