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Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting Creative at the Mirador de Garachico Restaurant

Creative cuisine is not something I normally associate with Garachico, or Isla Baja in general. There are decent traditional Canarian restaurants in the historic town on Tenerife’s north west coast, but they don’t often anything different from what I can get in scores of restaurants close to where I live between Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava.

Getting Creative at the Mirador de Garachico Restaurant

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Traditional yet Trendy Tasca Matul in La Orotava

We discovered two things after deciding to eat at Tasca Matul on Saturday night.

The first was that getting from the Puerto de la Cruz side of the TF5 to the La Orotava side of it on foot is no easy task.

The second is that there’s an increasing trend in restaurants, in the north of Tenerife at least, to take traditional Canarian menus and inject new and more sophisticated life into them; it’s a Canarian menu, Jim, but not as we know it.

Traditional yet Trendy Tasca Matul in La Orotava

Walking the Samarines Coastal Path Behind Candelaria Basilica

It’s a tough act to follow, the magnificent basilica church standing proud over its square, and the statues of the Guanche kings looking in from the promenade. Candelaria Ayuntamiento (council) have risen to the challenge and are promoting seven great walks to unlock nature’s wonders along the coast and inland.

Walking the Samarines Coastal Path Behind Candelaria Basilica

Murder and Mystery in Vilaflor

It’s even more intriguing when you learn the 17th century construction is one of the most important historical buildings in the south of Tenerife, and yet it’s got a ‘se vende’ sign on it. An article in a Spanish newspaper about the house, La Casa de los Soler, had me wondering if its past had anything to do with its anonymous current state and uncertain future.

Murder and Mystery in Vilaflor

Naviera Armas ferries affected by wild seas

Naviera Armas has cancelled its Tenerife-La Gomera and Tenerife-El Hierro routes for today due to the bad sea conditions which have forced the closure of the mooring area in Los Cristianos harbour. The Tenerife-La Palma connection, scheduled for 6.30pm will leave instead from Santa Cruz. Tomorrow’s Tenerife and La Gomera routes scheduled for 11.30am a 2pm are also cancelled.

Naviera Armas ferries affected by wild seas

Domestic violence: Tenerife cabildo helps over 2,000 women and children in first half of 2014

Statistics show that 86% of those who attend are Spanish nationals, and 60% are unemployed. The high percentage of “Spanish” is partly a function of the island’s demographics, but also partly lack of knowledge among immigrants of the services available.

Domestic violence: Tenerife cabildo helps over 2,000 women and children in first half of 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 25 to 31 August

The last week of August should be hot and sunny with some light cloud providing a bit of relief toward the weekend. There is an outside chance of showers but they will probably go unnoticed on the coast. A yellow weather alert for wild seas affects the south, east and west coasts from Tuesday. These normally only last a two to three days at most.

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 25 to 31 August

Where To Buy Local Wines in the South of Tenerife

I can’t fathom the distribution system, the main outlets all stock the same names, so why it’s difficult to find a particular one I can’t say, but happily there is much more local wine available now in the south, and not just in the traditional outlets in the north.

Where To Buy Local Wines in the South of Tenerife

Friday, August 22, 2014

Arts and crafts in Tenerife

There are several arts and crafts fairs coming up. Adeje’s and Alcalá’s were in May, but Vilaflor’s is on 30 August, and Guía de Isora’s on 14 September (link), the same day as one in Icod de los Vinos. Also in north Tenerife there is one in Buenavista del Norte this Sunday, 24 August, and a major and quite famous one in Pinolere above La Orotava on 5, 6 & 7 September.

Arts and crafts in Tenerife

Five Top Burger Bars in the North of Tenerife

It’s no secret that I’m a foodie. Whether I’m tucking into posh nosh at Lucas Maes or El Rincon de Juan Carlos; enjoying a taste of tradition at El Calderito or El Pimentón or finding fabulous value for money at Otelo‘s or in some guachinche, food is one of life’s greatest joys for me and I won’t be sold short on it. So when I fancy a burger, I’m not going to settle for some cheap and nasty, frozen, tasteless piece of homogenised rubbish. When it comes to what to put in a bun, quality counts, and here in the north of Tenerife we’re lucky enough to have some great burger places. These are my top five…

Five Top Burger Bars in the North of Tenerife

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The ten oddest corners of Tenerife

A donde vamos hoy (Where are we going today) has published the ten oddest corners of Tenerife (link). I don’t think it needs much translating even though it’s in Spanish … the names are clear, and the pictures show what these quirky places are all about. What a wonderful and interesting island this is!

The ten oddest corners of Tenerife

Puertito de Güímar wine fest Friday 22 August

The coastal village of  Puertito de Güímar will host the third Gran Fiesta de los Vinos de Tenerife tomorrow, Friday 22nd. The event celebrates Tenerife wines and there will be tastings on offer courtesy of some 18 bodegas from all over Tenerife. The wine fest will be held in the plaza de Las Indias and surrounding areas from 8pm until 2am with glasses of wines costing €1 and tapas €2. Can’t get much better than fabulous wines and tapas for six hours of an August evening next to the sea!

Puertito de Güímar wine fest Friday 22 August

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Getting to Know Traditional Tenerife Restaurants

Understanding there’s a difference between Spanish and Canarian cuisine helps, but that isn’t the end of it. Canarian restaurants come in various shapes and guises. Knowing what the sign above the entrance to a restaurant means can help newcomers to the world of Tenerife dining negotiate their way around quite a diverse range of eating experiences.

Getting to Know Traditional Tenerife Restaurants

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tráfico speed control campaign this week

Tráfico has announced a speed control campaign for this week lasting until 24 August, and focusing on conventional roads rather than motorways. Tráfico says that at least 350 deaths a year could be avoided if everyone complied with speed limits, and that someone knocked down at 80km/h has no chance of surviving the impact, whereas at 30km/h the risk of death is reduced to just 10%. This campaign will, as normal, use support from local police forces for checkpoints.

Tráfico speed control campaign this week

Noche Azul in Los Cristianos 22 August

Arona Town Hall has announced a promotional evening in Los Cristianos for this Friday, 22 Aguust. Noche Azul will see the town centre transformed into an entertainment and commercial venue between 7pm and midnight, with over 100 businesses taking part. The measure is, clearly, intended to bring business into the town, but it should be good fun too for visitors and residents.

Noche Azul in Los Cristianos 22 August

Monday, August 18, 2014

From Net To Plate At Cofradia De Pescadores in Los Cristianos

The lone fisherman dangling his rod off the Los Cristianos quay could only dream of landing fish as big and tasty as the two lubina (sea bass) that basked on my plate. The casual angler was probably still in dream mode when the local fishermen went out in the early hours to continue the trade that Los Cristianos was founded on. Restaurant Cofradia de Pescadores offers the best of the catch but although in a prime position, the partly closed gates to the whale and dolphin excursion ships and the boat repair yard tend to put people off entering the heart of the landing zone.

From Net To Plate At Cofradia De Pescadores in Los Cristianos

The Strange and Beautiful Hearts of Tejina

All around me people are hurling insults at each other. The crowd sways this way and that… and I’m stuck in the middle. If I was anywhere else I’d be concerned that I was about to be caught in the middle of a mass brawl.

But this is Tejina (the one near La Laguna, not the one above the south west coast) where shouting abuse at your neighbours shows you love them really.

The Strange and Beautiful Hearts of Tejina

Friday, August 15, 2014

Banana Products in Tenerife

If you’re as ancient as I, you’ll remember Frank Sinatra crooning, “There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.” I’ve wondered, driving around the Canary Islands, if I couldn’t somehow fit the words, “They’ve an awful lot of bananas in Tenerife” to the tune, but the syllables are all wrong. Still the sentiment works.

Banana Products in Tenerife

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Avant Garde Design in the North of Tenerife

Living in the north of Tenerife, traditional Canarian architecture is everywhere. From traditional hotels and quaint courtyards to restaurants in historic buildings, the cities, town and villages are peppered with building façades that resemble the flanks of a Friesian cow. In the midst of all that island tradition, modernity can either complement or jar and one man’s architectural gem is another’s eyesore. These are just some of the designs that work for me.

Avant Garde Design in the North of Tenerife

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sit-in announced for tomorrow at TFS and TFN, with ratification of strike action at end of August

Many will be aware that unions have called for industrial action at the end of this month in Tenerife’s airports. At present, all that is clear is that it will take place – in some form still to be clarirfied – between 27 and 30 August. Today, however, both north and south airports have announced that there will be a sit-in tomorrow between 8am and 8pm in protest at Aena’s privatization. Unions have called for a final decision to be taken at the end of the sit-in to ratify strike action at the end of August.

Sit-in announced for tomorrow at TFS and TFN, with ratification of strike action at end of August

Monday, August 11, 2014

Have You Tried Gofio Amasado on Tenerife?

As for the taste, well like many things where gofio makes up the main ingredient, it’s probably an acquired one. Gofio amasado is quite dense, you don’t need to eat a lot of it for it to be filling – it’s ideal peasant food. In fact I read one recipe where the Canarian author compared it to the Lord of the Rings’ Elven bread.

Have You Tried Gofio Amasado on Tenerife?

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 11 to 17 August

The forecast is for almost wall to wall sunshine in the south and south west, whilst the north and east will be mainly sunny but with cloudy spells and a chance of rain. We’ve said it many times and will say it many times more, but ‘a chance of rain’ in summer means the lightest of showers… if that. We’re hoping that the forecasters are right with the rain predictions as this is the week that a lot of Canarios take to the hills for their annual pilgrimage to Candelaria. It’s also the week when there are often forest fires (make of that what you will, it’s something that doesn’t tend to get linked… officially) so any rain at all should help reduce the risk. It looks like we’re all going to experience a heatwave next weekend with temperatures jumping into the low 30s, thankfully after the pilgrimage is over.

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 11 to 17 August

Searching for Drago Trees on Tenerife

The legend goes that when Hercules went head to head with a dragon in the Garden of Hesperides (maybe not quite head to head as Hercules only had one whereas the dragon had 100) and came out victorious, from every drop of dragon blood spilled a drago tree grew.

The question is, as there would have been a lot of blood gushing across the Garden of Hesperides, subsequently resulting in many drago trees, why is there only one decent specimen left in the modern day Garden of Hesperides, i.e. Tenerife?

Searching for Drago Trees on Tenerife

Public holiday this Friday, 15 August

Just a reminder that this Friday, 15 August, is a Canaries-wide public holiday for Asunción de la Virgen, so banks, and most offices and many shops will be closed.

Public holiday this Friday, 15 August

Friday, August 08, 2014

Funky and Beefy, Blanco Burger Bar in Puerto de la Cruz

First impressions were that Blanco Burger was certainly attractive with quality decor – all primary colours with a clean and pleasing-on-the-eye design that succeeded at being both simple and creative. It felt like a comfortable space, helped by good music and staff that seemed happy, almost ecstatic in their work – singing along to the sounds.

Then came the innovative ordering process.

Funky and Beefy, Blanco Burger Bar in Puerto de la Cruz

How Los Cristianos Got Its Name

Do you ever wonder about place names? As a child, I remember being fascinated to learn the origin of my hometown, Blackpool’s name, (yep, it had been a black swamp). When I first came to Tenerife there were all these mysterious names, like Las Galletas or Guia de Isora. What did they mean, I wondered.

How Los Cristianos Got Its Name

Fest Costa San Miguel & Retorno de San Blas

San Miguel Ayuntamiento’s tourism department has organized the third “Fest Costa San Miguel”, an event held in the main hotels along the Costa San Miguel and which aims to promote the area’s cultural heritage and familiarise residents and tourists with local folklore and traditions, which will be held on 22, 23 & 24 August. Entry is free.

Fest Costa San Miguel & Retorno de San Blas

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Airport Strikes to Cause Misery

WITH tourist figures and airport arrivals at record levels, the last thing Tenerife needs is a summer of travel disruption.

But unless a late deal can be agreed, there will be a raft of staff walk-outs at both airports over the next few weeks. And that will cause summer-holiday chaos.

Staff unions are up in arms at the proposed sale of 49% of AENA, the national body in charge of airports and air navigation in Spain.

Airport Strikes to Cause Misery

Blowing in the wind!

THE Canary Islands’ renewable energy for wind farms will increase dramatically over the next few years.

Today, 7.6% of the Islands’ power comes from this source, and it will jump to 11% in 2016.

And, says the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, it’s just the beginning. Officials are looking to increase the reliance on wind energy in the Archipelago, and a new power “auction” will be introduced.

Blowing in the wind!

Eating in an Authentic Guachinche

The thing about authentic guachinches is that they aren’t quaint or picturesque. They don’t normally have wonderful views and there are certainly no frills. The attraction is they are fascinating and fun places to eat and the food is usually good, honest fare. They are also about as authentic a Tenerife dining experience as you can have.

Eating in one is for people who really want to venture off the beaten track.

Eating in an Authentic Guachinche

Los Abrigos beer festival 9 August

It’s now an annual event that has people asking about it months in advance! This year’s Los Abrigos beer festival – now the 5th year it has been held – is this Saturday, 9 August. Again, it will be held in Calle La Marina, the walkway around the harbour, between 11am and 11pm. Around a dozen restaurants and cafes will be offering beer, wine and tapas for €1, all to the background of live music. 

Los Abrigos beer festival 9 August

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Valley Views and Tasty Food at El Calderito de La Abuela

Literally translated as ‘Grandma’s Cooking Pot’, El Calderito de La Abuela sits on the crest of the La Orotava valley in the small neighbourhood of Cuesta de la Villa in Santa Úrsula.  From its cosy dining room, views spread right across the valley and along the north west coast as far as Buenavista lighthouse, and you can watch the sun sink behind La Palma and cast its pink dye over Puerto de la Cruz.

Valley Views and Tasty Food at El Calderito de La Abuela

Forest fires 2014

What fires there have been so far have the stamp of carelessness or arson about them, and this morning is no exception. For the second time in a month, there is a fire in the same area of the Güímar valley, and bomberos are currently working near the Los Monjes recreational area to get it under control. 

Forest fires 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

Wine Tasting at the Award Winning Bodegas CHP

A month ago I wrote a short blog on here about the Bodegas CHP Balcón Canario wine winning double gold at the San Francisco Wine Awards at the end of June. Oscar Hernández, fifth of six sons in the Bodegas CHP dynasty and passionate about the family’s wine trade, read the blog and invited us to come and visit the bodega. As few things ring our bell more loudly than being introduced to the best of the Canary Islands producers, we arranged to head along to La Reconda bodega in Candelaria to get to the roots of the family’s vinicultural success.

Wine Tasting at the Award Winning Bodegas CHP

Tasting the Past on Tenerife, Eating in Historic Buildings

For people who enjoy eating in places that have a quirky character that stretches back centuries, there are plenty of places on Tenerife located in grand and sometimes simple old buildings where dining feels that little bit special.

These are ten of our favourites.

Tasting the Past on Tenerife, Eating in Historic Buildings

Another tourism viral sex video – this time in Costa Adeje Sunblast festival

There was enough fuss in the national and international press when a Northern Irish girl performed oral sex on a group of youths in a bar in Magaluf, Mallorca, recently. This is not the sort of tourism we want, said a local mayor. Now Adeje is saying the same thing, after a couple were recorded on several mobile phones having sex in the open at the Sun Blast festival at the Golf Costa Adeje just over a week ago.

Another tourism viral sex video – this time in Costa Adeje Sunblast festival

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 4 to 10 August

The south and south west should be hot and sunny with the north being slightly less ‘hot and sunny’ and with some cloudy spells. The only place that could see any serious cloud is the east, but we just don’t believe that. Showers are predicted, but like recent weeks, if there are any most people won’t even be aware of them.

Weather Forecast for Tenerife from 4 to 10 August

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in August 2014

The hottest month of the year on Tenerife, but not oppressively so, just enough to enjoy feeling hot, hot, hot… as long as you don’t have to work.

Everyone slows down, chills out and lives life outdoors (even more so than usual).

Subsequently nearly all the events this month are open air ones. This is the month to let your hair down and dance in the sun.

The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in August 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

Driving home the texting dangers

This month across Europe, there are various new road-safety campaigns aimed at the usual dangers: speed, drink-driving, looking out for bikes and pedestrians – and especially texting!

On the whole, drivers in Spain resist the urge to go for the mobile. The latest research suggests that “only” 20% of drivers on Spanish roads text while behind the wheel.

In the UK that figure is 40%. America is 33% and the naughty Portugese register a head-shaking 59%.

But even 20% is too high. If you get caught using your phone, you can be fined anywhere from 100 euros to 500 euros. And you even run the risk of being banned.

The standard texting fine when driving in Tenerife is 200 euros. You will also lose three points from your licence.

Driving home the texting dangers

Tune in to Starmus – and Ask Hawking

THE Starmus Festival has announced another novelty for next month’s Tenerife convention with an Ask Hawking competition.

It is a new attraction which helps make this one of the most eagerly-awaited scientific encounters of 2014, with the Canary Islands as the worldwide meeting point for astronomy, astrophysics and space exploration.

Starmus takes a further step forward by allowing the public to put questions to one of the leading lights of contemporary science: Stephen Hawking.

Tune in to Starmus – and Ask Hawking

Fire-fighting cargo plane stands by to halt danger!

LA GOMERA this week received the cargo plane which will greatly help the Canary Islands in the event of major forest fires.

Government delegate Luis Molina was presented with the Air Tractor 802, which will be based on the island.

It will serve the whole archipelago, is suited to the specific conditions of the islands and has an impressive load capacity of 3,100 litres.

Fire-fighting cargo plane stands by to halt danger!

Gardens of Tenerife, Risco Bello Aquatic Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz

Going for long walks where there’s no shade is borderline madness in July and August. Which is where leafy gardens come in useful, enabling us enjoy nature’s gifts without getting seared like tuna on the barbie in the process.

Puerto de la Cruz is probably the number one spot on Tenerife for people who enjoy leisurely strolls through gardens. There are a few to chose from with Risco Bello, beside the former Hotel Taoro, being one of the more curious examples.

Gardens of Tenerife, Risco Bello Aquatic Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz

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