Monday, February 28, 2022

Mayor of Garachico defends the funicular as a solution to the difficulties on the roads


The project, stalled since 2008, to connect the upper neighbourhoods with the town, is pending analysis within the framework of the Sustainable Mobility Plan

The mayor of Garachico, José Heriberto González, hasn't given up on the launch of a funicular to connect the upper neighbourhoods with the town centre, the only viable option given the orography of the landscape and the alternative that it offers to the difficulties of the TF-421 road. This route is the only option to get in and out of Isla Baja when sea storms force Adolfo Suárez avenue to be closed and it is the main connection between the coast and its midlands, but the complexity of its curves, the narrowness of the roadway and the risk of landslides condition its use, despite being essential for the region.

The TF-42, which connects the municipality with that of Icod de los Vinos, also has serious risks of landslides and presents unfortunate conditions, which, in addition, endanger the safety of vehicles. Currently, the residents of neighbourhoods such as San Juan del Reparo, La Culata and Genovés, for example, have to travel to Icod and then return to Garachico if they want to go to the town. If they offer an alternative transport, such as the funicular, they could do it directly, he adds.

In December 2019, island director of Mobility, José Alberto León, agreed to review the project drawn up in 2005 by the Pico del Teide cable car company (with private and public participation of the Cabildo de Tenerife), which also carried out the investment. This undertook to restore and clean the area of ​​the of La Culata Cliff.

In 2008, it received the first approval and, the following year, Cotmac approved the Special Protection Plan for this last space, which included a 15-meter-wide corridor for this transportation system. But from that moment, the project stalled, despite the fact that it was always said that the layout was not rigid, but that it would adapt to what was established by the environmental impact study.

The initiative was stopped that same year, because some of the environmental reports were not favourable. There have been several attempts to unlock it, but so far none have been successful. Currently, it is pending to be analysed within the framework of the Insular Plan for Sustainable Mobility (Pimsit), confirmed from the Cabildo.

“I don't want to go against the technical reports nor do I want to put pressure on anyone. Nor does it touch any tree or any animal species or of geological or archaeological interest, but I think that a slightly greater effort of understanding must be made and if things have to be corrected, they must be corrected,” clarifies the president.

If it becomes a reality, it would be the first funicular in Tenerife "and that is an important tourist attraction in addition to the best connection between the town and the midlands", insists the president.

According to the project, it would have capacity for about 70 people and would be glazed to enjoy the views offered by the municipality.

Hotel overnight stays soar 764% in the Canary Islands in January and exceed 3.8 million

Stereotypical stock image of hotels and beach

Hotel overnight stays grew by 764.6% in the Canary Islands in January, compared to the same month last year, and exceed 3.8 million, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported on Thursday. However, they are still 31.2% below those registered in January 2019 when 3,823,413 were reached. Foreign tourists accumulated more than 56% of overnight stays in the country and the Canary Islands led the occupation of beds with 49.9%, with La Gomera leading the country with 67.7%, while hotel prices increased by 18%.

Likewise, Tenerife registered the highest number of overnight stays in January with a total of 1,456,164 and the tourist spots with the most overnight stays were Madrid, Barcelona and San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Gran Canaria). In Spain, overnight stays in hotel establishments exceeded 10.5 million in January, which means multiplying by more than four (+328.4%) those registered in the same month of 2021 (2.4 million overnight stays), but still it is 32.26% less than in 2019, when 15.5 million overnight stays were reached.

Considering the origin, the overnight stays of travellers resident in Spain reached 4.5 million, which represents 42.7% of the total, while those made by foreigners exceeded 6 million.

In January 2022, the average stay increased by 28.4% compared to the same month in 2021, standing at 2.8 overnight stays per traveller. The annual rate of the Hotel Price Index (HPI) stood at 17.5% in January, which is 28 points above that registered in the same month of 2021, and 3.1 points less than that registered in the month past. Andalusia, Catalonia and the Community of Madrid were the main destinations for Spanish resident travellers in January, with 18.5%, 15.5% and 15.4% of total overnight stays, respectively.

The main destination chosen by non-residents was the Canary Islands, with 56.8% of the total overnight stays. The next destinations for non-residents were Catalonia and Andalusia, with 12.3% and 10.5% of total overnight stays, respectively. After the Canary Islands, Madrid was the second autonomous community with the most overnight stays with 34.8%.

In January, 33.4% of the places offered were covered, with an annual increase of 129.6%. The weekend occupancy rate rose by 148.4% and stood at 39.1%.

Travelers from the United Kingdom and Germany accounted for 18.1% and 16.6%, respectively, of the total overnight stays by non-residents in hotel establishments in January. The British had not been the first market in Spanish hotels since February 2020.

Overnight stays by travellers from France, the Netherlands and Italy accounted for 7.4%, 7% and 4.8% of the total, respectively.

SECTOR PROFITABILITY

The average daily turnover of hotels for each occupied room (ADR) was 85.4 euros in January, which represents an increase of 37.3% compared to the same month in 2021.

The average daily income per available room (RevPAR), which is conditioned by the occupancy registered in hotel establishments, reached 33.7 euros, with a rise of 174.7%. In January 2021, the average income was 12.3 euros and in January 2019 it reached 44.6 euros. By category, the average billing was 191.8 euros for five-star hotels, 90.8 euros for four-star hotels and 66.1 euros for three-star hotels. Revenue per available room for these same categories was 79.9, 38.4 and 28.1 euros, respectively.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Trigger's Broom of Tenerife Carnival

The City Council presents the new sceptre of the Carnival queen

Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council, through the Autonomous Organism for Festivities and Recreational Activities (OAFAR), presented this Wednesday the new sceptre of the Carnival queen. An exclusive creation for Santa Cruz carnivals that will replace the current one, which dates from the second half of the 1960s. The new piece made by jeweller Juan Gil, luthier David Sánchez and wood turner Rubén Expósito, is made up of various stones that have been part of the costumes of the Carnival queens between 1979 and 2020.

The act was presided over by the mayor of the city, José Manuel Bermúdez, who was accompanied by the Councillor for Fiestas, Alfonso Cabello; the director of the Carnival, Enrique Camacho; and the craftsman Juan Gil and his team.

In his intervention, the mayor recalled that "tonight the Queen's Gala would have taken place if we had respected the traditional dates of our Carnival before omicron appeared and to replace it, in a modest way, what we have done is present a new sceptre. Carnival is our sign of identity, it is a feeling that is deeply embedded in the hearts of our people. For me, one of the most beautiful things that there can be as a chicharrero is to deliver the sceptre to the queen of the Carnival”. "Linked to the Carnival is the largest associative movement that this city has, almost 10,000 people, who need their performances, so it is key that they can have an objective such as rehearsals and competitions," added Bermúdez.

The Councillor for Festivities, Alfonso Cabello, stated that "it is a privilege to be able to have an exclusive artisan element that will be delivered for the first time at the Election Gala to be held this June." According to the person in charge of OAFAR, "the sceptre perfectly represents the idiosyncrasy and the feeling of the Santa Cruz festival".

Juan Gil, creator of the new carnival baton, acknowledges that "from the first moment this piece has been a real challenge, in which I have tried to capture the Santa Cruz festive heritage, combining the brightness and illusion that this celebration exudes". He also referred to the "multidisciplinary work with the craftsmen David Sánchez and Rubén Expósito, essential to have made the creation of this unique piece possible".

The sceptre has a length of 42.3 cm and is formed in its upper part by an element reminiscent of the añepas, a symbol that represents the power of the Mencey (Guanche Kings). This element is made up of 7 pieces with 6 welds made of sterling silver with sheets between 0.7 and 1.2 mm thick. The central body is a cold fusion by casting high-density epoxy resin on an African Makassar ebony support that brings together the stones of the different carnival reigns. The lower part is made up of 5 pieces joined by 4 welds, also in sterling silver with 0.6 and 1.2 mm sheets that show a design inspired by the traditional Canarian ring. Both this section and the central body show a turning to the axis and another eccentric that allows you to achieve a transition from circular to oval section.

The costumes that have contributed an element of their precious stones to the new sceptre are: “Tangerine Dream” (1979) by Justo Gutiérrez and Leo Martínez; “Frivolous Paris” (1983) by Miguel Ángel Castilla; “Tajaraste” (1987), “Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile” (1988), “Miss Dior” (2007), “Bewitched” (2009), “In Wonderland” (2010), “One Hundred Years of History” (2011) by Leo Martínez; “Pim, pam, pum… fire” (1993), “Diva” (1994) and “Palabras Mágicas” (1995) by M&M; “Manila Yerichana” (2000) “Wednesday of the full moon” (2004), “Touching the skin of the sky” (2005) and “The Chariot of Glory” (2006) by Juan Carlos Armas; “Láchesis” (2003), “The Golden Age” (2008), “Empire” (2012), “Volare” (2013) by Santi Castro; “Powerful Amazon” (2014) and “White Sand of the Desert” (2016) by Daniel Pages; “Áurea” (2015), “Madame Soleil” (2017) and “Renacida” (2018) by Jorge González; “La Nuit” (2019) and “Sentir” (2020) by Sedomir.

El Ayuntamiento presenta el nuevo cetro de la reina del Carnaval (Via)

Now, lovely as it is (better picture here) - no detraction is intended and the symbolism and re-use of elements is inspired - HOWEVER, as there was no carnival and no new carnival queen last year, Santa Cruz instead elected three Guardians of the Sceptre at the virtual only gala. So if the sceptre that the Guardians of the Sceptre have been elected to guard until a new queen can be chosen in 2022, isn't the sceptre that will be presented to the new carnival queen in June, doesn't this (presumably accidental irony) make it into something of a Trigger's Broom Paradox (Ship of Theseus for the academics) or is that just me?

Tenerife closed 2021 with the second highest number of employed in the last eleven years


Tenerife closed the year in 2021 with a significant improvement in both employment and activity in all productive sectors. At the end of the last quarter, the number of employed persons was almost the same as in the same period of 2019, achieving the second highest number of employed persons in the last eleven years.

This is stated in the Insular Bulletin of the Economic Situation for the fourth quarter of 2021, which was presented, Tuesday, by the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín, and the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santiago Sesé, and confirms the consolidation of the economic recovery that began after the pandemic.

Pedro Martín highlighted the good evolution of the main economic indicators, highlighting the recovery in employment, with 18,500 more employed, adding up to 397,580 workers on the island. Likewise, he emphasized the 4.4% increase in the number of companies registered with Social Security, with 1,134 more businesses than a year ago, up to 27,073 companies, 759 less than before the crisis.

"We have closed the year 2021 with a remarkably good situation, from the point of view of employment. In the last quarter we have had one of the best employment data of the last eleven years: the number of unemployed people has decreased and the number of employed people has increased registration in social security, which is a good indicator of where we can go in the coming months," said Pedro Martín.

In this context, the president highlighted the support that the Cabildo de Tenerife provides to the self-employed and to the small and medium-sized companies most affected by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. "To date we have supported more than 6,342 companies and freelancers who have been granted aid for a total amount of 7.3 million euros and we are processing the request for aid worth nearly another 7 million," he added.

A YEAR OF GROWTH

Santiago Sesé said, "2021 has been a year of growth, and it is important to take advantage of this moment of economic momentum to bet on exciting and innovative projects that result in an improvement in the island's competitiveness".

Likewise, Sesé has also highlighted "the great potential of the island in the creation of sustainable businesses, based on the blue and green economy, taking advantage of existing resources in an efficient and responsible manner. Finally, the chamber president ended his speech highlighting the importance of public-private collaboration "as a fundamental key to the development of our economy".

The Island Councillor for Employment, Socioeconomic Development and Foreign Action, Carmen Luz Baso, recalled that the preparation of this Bulletin "is part of the close collaboration between both institutions and that it also includes the development of more than twenty activities aimed to improve and promote the productivity and competitiveness of the business fabric".

Among the projects that will be developed in 2022, Tenerife Licita and the internationalization programs stand out, together with the meeting of bidding companies, basic export assistance program, entrepreneur training, and the +45 employment program or the Dual FP.

BALANCE SHEET

Despite the impact of the Ómicron variant in the month of December, 2021 ended with an improvement in practically all the indicators of supply and demand and in all sectors of the economy. This important boost has not yet made it possible to cushion the entire impact of the pandemic on the economy and employment, obtaining results, for the most part, below the figures achieved in 2019.

As a result of the above, the unemployment rate decreased by 4.45% in 2021, standing at 20.14% of the island's active population, while the number of Social Security affiliations Social Security stood at 359,463, which is 23,699 more than a year ago, with an increase of 7.6% in the general scheme and 4.4% for the self-employed.

This increase affected all sectors, especially hospitality (14.7%), transport (6.5%) and commerce (4.4%). Although the sectors that have recovered, and even surpassed, the affiliations prior to the pandemic (2019) are agriculture, construction and 'other services'.

In the case of Commerce, the year ended with 6,656 commercial companies registered with Social Security, 87 more than at the end of 2020, an increase of 3.3% in employment, to 67,606. A recovery in consumption is observed fuelled both by the spending of residents, favoured by the improvement in employment and tourism spending.

In Agriculture, December ended with 1,596 more workers, up to 9,997 affiliates, and 657 fewer unemployed than at the end of 2020. Likewise, the number of registered companies grew by 28 to 1,012. In the absence of data for the month of December, banana exports increased by 3.3% compared to the previous year, in sharp contrast to the 3.2% decrease recorded by the average for the Autonomous Community.

In the case of Industry, the number of companies remains stable, with a slight rise of 0.2%, to 1,305, and employment stood at 16,298 55 more than in December 2020. Gross energy production increased by 4.1% if compared to the same period last year, while the available electrical energy, that is, the internal demand, increased by 8.1%.

Despite a decline in the fourth quarter, all the indicators for the Construction sector closed the year with better results than before the health crisis. The number of companies increased by 152 (6.7%) to 2,437 businesses in the month of December, an amount that exceeds what existed before the health crisis. At the same time, the sector ended the year with a total of 22,517 jobs, 1,180 more than in 2020 (5.5%).

In Services, the sector ended the year with 22,319 companies, which is 952 more businesses than a year ago and 863 fewer than before the pandemic (December 2019). The year 2021 ends with 321,220 registered jobs in the services sector on the island, 18,122 more than in 2020. The very positive behaviour of the labor market in the hospitality industry stands out, motivated by an increase in the number of tourists (2,762,750 tourists, 43% more than in 2020) as well as overnight stays in both hotels and apartments. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Night of the Comparsas

Comparsa Los Cariocas 2019

In a normal year, when there was no pandemic to contend with, the first Saturday night of carnival in Santa Cruz would host the comparsa dance troupes' Rhythm and Harmony, part show, part parade and part contest. This year, of course, it hasn't been possible to hold such events this month and carnival is to be held in June, when it's hoped that the Rhythm and Harmony Contest will be the finale of the carnival on Sunday, 26 June.

Meanwhile, here is the recording of the program, La Noche de las Comparsas (The Night of the Comparsas), part of the Virtual Carnival Program 2021, at which "Quimbara", by Tropicana, was chosen as the best performance of recent years.

Santa Cruz lists 1,324 of the city's buildings with architectural values for protection

Pigeons in a plaza in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Santa Cruz Protection Catalogue, made up of 1,665 elements, of which 1,324 are buildings with architectural values, begins the process for final approval. 

The schism between the Cabildo de Tenerife and the Santa Cruz City Council on account of the stoppage of the demolition of three buildings in Miraflores, closes today with the approval of the draft of the new Protection Catalogue by the Governing Council of Urbanism, after agreeing its composition with the Consistory and the insular area of ​​Historical Heritage.

Although the route that remains for this document is still long, more than two years for its final approval, at least there is already a consensus between both administrations to protect 1,665 elements, of which 1,324 are buildings with architectural values, including the three buildings that unleashed the war between Cabildo and Ayuntamiento.

"We are facing a draft Catalogue that has to pass a simplified environmental assessment, which will be carried out by the Government of the Canary Islands, and, from there, those are the numbers, 1,665 elements to be protected, of which 1,324 have architectural values," pointed out the still councillor of Urbanism, Carlos Tarife.

As detailed by the mayor, “we have made the Catalogue in consensus with the Cabildo. As soon as the evaluation is passed, we will take it to initial approval, a new period of allegations and from there to final approval. I hope that in two years it will be ready.”

The Catalogue includes buildings ​​as well as urban spaces and elements of archaeological, ethnographic or paleontological heritage. Also, the areas of urban environmental protection, the network of traditional paths and trails, unique elements, such as fountains, monuments and sculptures, and monumental trees and groves and unique flora. The proposal agreed with the Cabildo has extended the temporal scope of the study, so that all the historical periods through which the city of Santa Cruz has passed are collected, from the first settlements of the 16th century to contemporary architecture, reaching the year 2000.

Among the list are some elements that have been the protagonists of another catalogue, that of Francoist vestiges. Thus, the Monument to the Fallen is granted environmental protection and the Market of Our Lady of Africa, as a whole. The Monument to Franco is not listed. As Areas of Urban Environmental Protection, to those already known, such as García Escámez, the Cepsa neighbourhood and the Sitjá Passage are added.

Friday, February 25, 2022

10 things you will miss today on the first Friday of Carnival in Santa Cruz

From the Opening Parade on Friday, 1 Mar 2019

Today, if it weren't for the pandemic, it would have been the first Friday of Carnival on the street in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. If the sanitary conditions allow it, the Carnival will arrive in 2022, but in June. Until then, what will we miss the most?

The transfer of dates to June by the City Council of Santa Cruz makes it not seem so impossible to celebrate the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2022. Starting from the first data from the exhaustion of the sixth COVID wave, as well as from the different opinions that the end of the pandemic is near, the option of having a party in the street is already something more than a mirage, "if sanitary conditions allow it".

Below, we mention some things that we will not do in the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, for now, and that we will be looking forward to before the end of the year.

1. GO TO THE CHINO AT THE LAST MINUTE FOR SOMETHING YOU FORGOT
If something characterizes the carnival-lover at heart, it is going to the Chinese shop to buy everything necessary to make their own costume. From January 1, the brainstorming begins, whether chicken or peacock, zombies or superheroes. Of course, the costume is prepared the day before.

2. BURN YOUR FINGERS WITH SILICONE PUTTING THE LAST DETAILS TO THE COSTUME
At every Carnival silicone becomes an essential. Four sores are nothing compared to a fun, well-fitting costume. Although of course, at four in the morning, after crossing the old San José street five times dancing and looking for those who have been lost, the silicone loses its strength.

3. MEET AT THE HOUSE OF ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS TO DRESS UP ALL TOGETHER
The party does not start in the street. From the moment the group of friends gathers, it is noticeable, it is felt, the Carnival is in the atmosphere.

4. GET DOWN BY TRAM TO SANTA CRUZ
Another tradition of the Santa Cruz Carnival is to go down by tram, and it is at this moment when one considers whether to go down with the platoon, because it is very early and the night is young, or whether to calculate the hours in which one can still move without a crush.

5. STAY AT THE DOOR OF MCDONALD'S
This is one of the strategic meeting points. It is more or less at the same distance for those who arrive by tram as for those who come by bus and it is the perfect starting point to plan the night. Here it is determined whether to start from the Plaza de España, from the old San José or whether to parade directly towards the Anaga.

6. DAWN PAPONAZO
After a night of partying, long runs and non-stop dancing, the paponazo (could this be a loaded baked potato?) has a special flavour. We cannot go home on an empty stomach and we have to stay in shape for the rest of the days of the best Carnival. 

7. STAY AT THE ORCHE
Every year El Orche cafeteria experiences the authentic revolution of Carnival. In an interview given to DIARIO DE AVISOS a few years ago, its owner claimed that "we succeed because the music is not just merengue or reggaeton, but we can play Nino Bravo at four in the morning."

8. TAKE THE BUS AT 6 A.M. WITH HALF THE COSTUME
It is also tradition to exchange parts of the costume or lose them along the way. When the time comes to return home, the one who was going to be Batman ends up as a bat man with butterfly wings and the one who was going to be Cinderella ends up being a princess with a cowboy hat.

9. CONCERTS IN LA ANAGA ALL PACKED
After these years of pandemic and with the corresponding health restrictions, we miss being in contact with other people, even (especially?) in front of the stage on Avenida de Anaga with everyone dancing and jumping to the rhythm of the music.

10. DANCING SURGE
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife without Marejada, is not carnival. This song is a classic, a theme that has flavor and encourages everyone who listens to dance.


Night of the Carnival Orchestras

Edwin Rivera at Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 5 March 2019

Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife should have taken to the streets tonight and it would have been the first night of dancing in the streets and squares, after the Carnival Opening Parade, had it been possible to follow the usual schedule - prevented, obviously, by the ongoing pandemic. So, while we wait to hear whether there will be any such events in the streets with carnival being held in June this year, here is the recording of the program, La Noche de las Orquestras (The Night of the Orchestras) made for the Virtual Carnival last year.

Auditorio de Tenerife offers a novel organ and percussion concert this Sunday

Organist Daniel Oyarzabal and percussionist Joan Castelló

The Auditorio de Tenerife, offers a new concert for this Sunday [27th] at 12:00: 'Organ and percussion, a world to discover'. This morning experience will be led by the organist Daniel Oyarzabal and the percussionist Joan Castelló, both natives of the Basque Country, who will offer an attractive journey through the most famous music of the last century and a half.

In recent times, a trend has developed to enrich organ concerts in auditoriums with other instruments with contrasting timbres that add variety to the repertoire of transcriptions of symphonic works, predominantly romantic, in which they assume the role of a whole orchestra. The musicologist Rosario Álvarez explains that “it is a way of offering a new vision of those scores well-known by the public, who are astonished and delighted to witness the transmutation of that sound world, which until now seemed immutable”.

This concert is offered in collaboration with the Royal Canarian Academy of Fine Arts of San Miguel Arcángel (Racba). The organ of the Tenerife Auditorium, built by the prestigious master organ builder Albert Blancafort and his team, is a 21st century instrument, unique for its design but also for its sound and registers. The sounds come from the 3,835 tubes that are housed in the walls of the emblematic Symphony Hall, which are managed from the stage by the console, with four keyboards, where the organist plays.

Daniel Oyarzabal has a long international career that he has cultivated for years with intense concert activity at prestigious festivals in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Joan Castelló is currently part of the Neopercusión group, is a professor at the Katarina Gurska Superior Music Center and is a professor at the National Orchestra and Choir of Spain.

Tickets can be purchased up to fifteen minutes before the start of the concert on the website www.auditoriodetenerife.com, at the box office Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and by telephone 902 317 327.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Two years since the lockdown of the H-10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel due to COVID-19

H-10 Costa Adeje Palace

The H-10 Costa Adeje Palace drew international attention after being isolated two weeks after the first contagion was detected in Tenerife and the second in the country

Two years have passed today since the world turned its eyes to the H-10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel, after an Italian client was infected with COVID-19. It was the first contagion in Tenerife and the second in Spain after the positive of a German tourist in La Gomera three weeks earlier. Immediately, the confinement of the hotel establishment with almost 900 clients and the fifteen employees who worked at that time, was decreed. For the first time, an entire hotel was isolated for a health reason, even before the World Health Organization declared the epidemic a pandemic.

Overnight, the media planted themselves in front of the hotel's façade, shielded by a spectacular police deployment; European, national and local television cameras directing their targets at the tents of the field hospital in the reception hall and towards any balcony in which some movement of tourists was detected.

Nieves López, head of the bar sector and one of the fifteen people who worked that night, admitted to this newspaper that there was a "continuous battle inside the hotel, but we all took a step forward and said: 'we have to get out of this". Vanesa Méndez, a cook, remembers that at that time the virus had only been detected in Italy and La Gomera: "We did not know how it spread or how infections occurred."

The employees earned the sympathy of the customers with their professionalism. In addition to the encouragement that they transmitted through the corridors, dining rooms, gardens and swimming pools, they also received thank you notes and even children's drawings that appeared hanging on the walls.

The total number of those affected by COVID-19 in the hotel was seven (six Italian citizens and one British), which highlighted the success of the strategy used in those two weeks of isolation to contain the contagion and of the health team, formed by 13 doctors, 42 nurses and 10 logistics management technicians.

The employees keep an indelible memory of the last day. “At midnight, when the quarantine ended, many customers came to the bar, took off their masks and threw them in the air all at once. Then they went out for a walk applauding the health workers and the National Police who were standing guard. It was a beautiful image."

More customs of Lardy Thursday

Barbeque of pork products

Today we're more interested in how to eat without gaining weight, so it's hard to understand how eager our ancestors were after eating, and the importance that it had for them.

We have already forgotten that when we speak of Lent (a word whose meaning fewer and fewer can account for), we are referring to an institution that had to do with eating - or more specifically with not eating - making a virtue of a necessity, and above all, by making those who lived in abundance suffer, thus equalising them with the poor.

The very celebration of Carnival, whatever the remote origin of the word and the party, became the farewell party for meat. Hence, they tried to enjoy it as much as possible on those days; not only because they were going to continue into 40 days in which religion was going to prohibit them from eating meat, but also to get even for the long meat fasts that poverty imposed on them throughout the year. 

The terms carnestolendas (meats that have to be removed) and carnestoltas (meats that have been removed) speak clearly to us about how Carnival has been understood by our culture. Well, going into the raw material of the festival, which was meat, the medium-length version of Carnival (one week) was instituted. Jueves Lardero (Fat Thursday or Lardy Thursday) was invented to solemnly start the batch of days when you had to take the opportunity to gorge yourself on meat, so as not to miss it during the imminent Lent.

Lardero is an adjective from the old lardo, which is the bacon or fat (also called the tallow or animal lard). Let's not lose sight of the fact that, after all, it refers to the least valuable part of the animal, with which, however, our grandmothers were capable of real culinary wonders. It comes from the Latin lardum or lardium, the word the Romans called bacon and lard. 

Now, the usual meaning of bacon is the fat meat of the pig; that came to be synonymous with pork. And this was what particularly characterized Jueves Lardero, the abundant consumption of this meat or its secondary products. Typical of this day, for example, was the pork rind omelette, which was eaten in the fields, especially by the children who went to school, for whom this was a day of great celebration when they began to show off their costumes. But this is just the last bastion of a party that had better times. In their moments of splendour, they were seen in the streets and especially in the markets, and they went from house to house, the first comparsas of the Carnival, asking for meat or whatever they could give, to celebrate this meal. This became rooted and institutionalized in such a way that in many places it was customary on this day for the owner of the factory or workshop to pay the workers a meal based on pork. And around this celebration were the first combats between butchers and fishmongers and the first dances and parades of Carnival.

Batatas asadas rellenas de champiñones (Mushroom Stuffed Roasted Sweet Potatoes)

Batatas asadas rellenas de champiñones (Mushroom Stuffed Roasted Sweet Potatoes)

The batata (sweet potato), also known as boniato, is a tuber similar to the potato but that has nothing to do with it in terms of flavor. The sweet potato is sweet and orange in color. Its color is due to the large amount of carotenes it contains, which makes it a great antioxidant. Its glycaemic index is moderate, so it can be consumed regularly. Despite being rich in carbohydrates, it has very few calories. Sweet potatoes are used in both sweet and savoury recipes. This time they will be roasted in the oven, with a mushroom filling.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 leek
150 g of mushrooms
Herbes de Provence (thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil)
Salt
Black pepper
1 egg

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180º. Choose two sweet potatoes that are about the same size and shape. Place them on parchment paper on a tray and roast until tender. The time will depend on the size you have chosen. Those of a medium size and take about 25 minutes. Prick them with a knife to check that they are done inside.

While they are roasting, prepare the filling. Finely chop the onion, leek, and garlic clove. Sauté them in a pan with a little olive oil.

Also chop the mushrooms until they are very small, add them to the pan. Sauté a few minutes until they are done. Remove from heat and reserve.

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and open them in half lengthwise.

Remove the flesh of the sweet potatoes, taking care not to break the skin.

In a bowl, mix the flesh of the sweet potatoes with the sautéed mushrooms. Add a little salt, ground black pepper, and sprinkle with a mixture of Provencal herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. To give it a creamier texture, beat a small egg and add it to the bowl. Mix well.

Fill each skin of the sweet potato with the mixture that you have prepared and before serving, place them in the oven for 10 minutes so that they are warm. Also if you wish, sprinkle with a little cheese on top and gratin in the oven or under the grill.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Las Burras return to Güímar as an exhibition

Elisa García Dorta won the poster contest in relation to this unique Carnival show, which will be relegated to the burning of the sardine, without an audience, on March 4

Since Javier Eloy Campos rescued it in 1992, Las Burras de Güímar has become one of the most unique Carnival shows on the island of Tenerife. Between the history and the legend of a municipality as attached to mystery as Güímar, Las Burras form part of the oral tradition at a time that takes us back to the Inquisition, under the fight between the Devil and the Archangel Saint Michael, in a representation full of fire and colour that filled the Plaza San Pedro, except last year due to the pandemic.

As happened then, this year, despite the arrival of the anti-COVID vaccines, the Las Burras show as such cannot be held, everything being relegated to an exhibition format, although on this occasion the burning of the sardine, which will take place on the night of March 4, will take place, but without an audience and can only be followed through streaming.

The Exhibition Hall of La Cochera art gallery, in the Fonda Medina, will mount an exhibition that opens on Friday, February 25, at 7:00 p.m., and will remain open until March 4.

The Las Burras poster has been the result of an open contest organized by the council's Tourism department and 500 euros was awarded to the winning proposal.

The Cueva del Viento had 12,499 visitors last year despite the Covid limitations

La Cueva del Viento

Currently 30 weekly guided tours are organized in Spanish, English, French and German

The Cueva del Viento received 12,499 visits in 2021, despite the limited capacity established by the health authorities for this tourist resource, managed by the Cabildo.

The Island Councillor for Museums, Concepción Rivero, explains that "the visitor data confirms the interest that the cave arouses among tourists who visit Tenerife and also among the local population, so we have had to adapt to the circumstances so that our visitors could get to know the cave in a safe way for everyone in accordance with the health situation.

Rivero details that the Cueva del Viento reopened to the public in mid-February and, little by little, its visitors increased. "The arrival of the Ómicron variant was a new setback, but currently we have increased the routes to up to 30 a week to be able to meet the demand of people who want to discover one of the most important volcanic tubes in the world."

Last year, a total of 1,226 guided tours of the cave were organized in Spanish, English, French and German. In addition, an investment of more than 37,000 euros was made for the improvement and modernization of the Visitor Centre, the comprehensive cleaning of the entrances to the cave and the acquisition of two nine-seater vehicles to transport visitors to the entrance of the cave. “We continue to work on new improvements, such as the creation of an adapted visit for schools, with the idea of ​​doubling the number of visitors this year and offering more than 1,900 routes”, indicates the island councillor.

Located in the municipality of Icod de los Vinos, the Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind) is the longest volcanic tube in Europe and sixth in the world. Originating from the lava flows from Pico Viejo, located next to Mount Teide, it was formed 27,000 years ago and its name is due to the significant air currents that occur inside it.

It is a unique place because its galleries extend over three superimposed levels, it has numerous ramifications that have not yet been explored and it presents a great variety of structures of primary origin such as lava stalactites, lava waterfalls, lateral terraces or lava lakes. Added to its physical beauty is a high ecological, scientific and archaeological value, as it is the home of unique species, such as the underground loboptera eyeless cockroach, and houses remains of Guanche burials and fossils of vertebrates already extinct on the island such as the Houbara or the giant rat and lizard.

Visits to the cave, can be made by reservation via www.cuevadelviento.net 

Prices at time of writing, are 20 euros for adults and 8.50 for children over five years of age, although for Canarian residents the price is reduced to 10 and 5 euros, respectively.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Carnival 2022 in La Orotava (25 Feb - 6 Mar)

Francisco Linares García, Mayor of La Orotava, presents the Program and Poster

The programming will be face-to-face and virtual through http://carnavaldelaorotava.com and social networks. Among other things, there will be festivals, contests and exhibitions.

La Orotava Council presented, on Tuesday, February 15, the program and poster announcing the town's 2022 Carnival festivities. "It is an austere but worthy program for the townsfolk to enjoy," stressed Mayor Francisco Linares, who pointed out that, despite the health situation that we have been going through since 2020, the objective is to keep these traditional celebrations alive and support all the groups related to carnivals and that have miraculously survived.

For this reason, he expressed his gratitude to all the local carnival groups and encouraged them to continue with that involvement and effort, since they are the true protagonists, while encouraging families and La Orotava residents to enjoy the events that are carried out with the proper health protocol. 

He also congratulated the young poster designer, Javier Díaz Amador.

The delegate of Fiestas, Alexis Pacheco, stressed that the program of events, due to the global pandemic, will take place in this edition both in person and virtually. "In this edition there is a somewhat more complete program than last year, but we hope that in 2023 we can have a little more normality and recover events in the streets."

The virtual program started on Tuesday 15 when the registration period opened for the children's costume contest, for voting between February 26 and Tuesday March 1.

The face-to-face events begin on Friday, February 25, at the Teobaldo Power Auditorium, with the gala "Around the world in Carnival, you choose the destination", dedicated especially to designers who will present costumes with the theme of the world's carnivals, and which will then be exhibited, from Sunday February 27 to March 6 at the Sociedad Cultural Lieco de Taoro, and be voted on electronically.

The gala will also feature various performances and can be followed live on social networks and television. To attend in person, tickets are necessary. 

On Saturday, February 26, the photo exhibition of the Piñata Dance will be inaugurated at the Casa de la Cultura de San Agustín, organized by the cultural group La Escalera and the town council.

On Tuesday, March 1, a holiday in La Orotava, various events will be held, such as the traditional exhibition of old cars that is celebrating its XLIX (49th) edition. On this day, in the afternoon, the Teobaldo Power Auditorium will host a festival presented by the Canarian humorist Kike Pérez and in which there will be performances of carnival groups.


Monday, February 21, 2022

Winston Churchill in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Winston Churchill with Aristotle Onassis in Tenerife in 1959

On February 21, 1959, at half past eight in the morning, the yacht Christina, owned by the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, arrived at the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

A large number of onlookers came to the South Pier to see one of the best vessels of this type that had arrived at the port. She was 99.06 meters long and had a seaplane and a car on board. This luxurious yacht had cabins to accommodate 14 guests, in addition to the private owner, those for his secretary, a sergeant from Scotland Yard, who served as his escort, and the 42 people who made up the crew. The billionaire was so cranky that the boat, the seaplane, and the car all shared the same colours: white and blue.

While the Greek tycoon was in Casablanca, along with his wife Athina and other companions, he learned that Winston Churchill, 84, was on holiday at the Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh, with his wife Clementine and their eldest daughter, Diana Spencer-Churchill. Onassis took his seaplane and flew to the beautiful Moroccan imperial city to meet the former British prime minister. During the meeting he suggested that he accompany him on the trip that he was going to make to the Canary Archipelago, since in Tenerife he had to deal with certain issues regarding his fleet, Olympic Maritime S.A.

Churchill gladly accepted the invitation, for the Islands were familiar to him because his mother had been here on holiday and had told him of its beauty; furthermore, in 1941, when he was prime minister, Churchill had been the main protagonist of Operation Pilgrim (to occupy the Canary Islands if Franco allied himself with Hitler).

On February 18, the two families left the port of Safi, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, arriving at the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the 21st, at 8:30 a.m.

Sir Winston Churchill, after taking a look at the city, preferred to remain on board and said only to the reporters: "I am not in the mood for an interview with the press, but I greet this beautiful island and the Spanish people very cordially through the journalists".

Onassis went ashore, heading to La Marina street, to meet with Mr. Willian Lucas, director of Cory Hermanos S.A., the consignee of his ships in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

As William Lucas had known Churchill since 1949, during a trip in which they coincided on the Queen Mary, returning from the US, the president sent him a letter from London thanking him for the hospitality received in Tenerife.

The two ladies, accompanied by Mary Lucas, wife of the consignee, after touring Anaga Avenue and Rambla de Santa Cruz, headed to Puerto de la Cruz to enjoy that tourist spot and contemplate the beautiful valley of La Orotava.

As the ladies commented to their husbands on returning to the yacht about the beauties of the places they had visited, the illustrious visitors headed to Puerto de la Cruz in their Fiat 500 convertible, driven by Onassis. A white panama hat covered Churchill from the sun.

During the tour of the North Tenerife road they stopped several times to admire the landscape and the wonderful views of Mount Teide and the Valley of La Orotava. Upon arriving in Puerto de la Cruz, they were received by the mayor, Isidoro Luis Carpenter, who invited them to sit on the terrace of the Lido San Telmo pools, where, while they drank some whiskeys, Churchill smoked one of the cigars specially made for him by J. Cuesta in Havana. Onassis paid for the drink, leaving 1,000 pesetas as a tip for the waiter, an amount that tripled his salary for the month. Upon leaving the swimming pools, where Lago Martiánez is located today, a large number of English tourists were waiting for them on Colón Avenue, offering them an affectionate tribute in the form of applause, to which Churchill responded with a smile and with his fingers making the Victory vee.

They returned to Santa Cruz in the official car of the Civil Government, because the temperature had dropped at that time of the afternoon in the North of Tenerife. 

By nightfall they were back aboard the Christina. At 9 pm that night they offered a dinner to the local authorities, who were accompanied by their respective wives. The civil governor of the province, Santiago Galindo Herrero; the president of the Island Council of Tenerife, Juan Ravina Méndez; the mayor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Gumersindo Robayna Galván, and the assistant to the British consul, Eric Lionel Fox.

It was a pleasant evening, in which there were typical songs and dances, by Los Huaracheros and the Flores del Sur group. The event ended with a toast to the good relations between Britain and Spain. They also visited La Palma and Gran Canaria.

La estancia de Winston Churchill en Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Guamasa to host solidarity run on March 26

I CARRERA SOLIDARIA GUAMASA

The Paseo de Las Acacias de Guamasa will host, on March 26, the celebration of a popular run that will have up to four distances and in which even children under 8 years of age can participate. The event has the support of the Insular Athletics Federation of Tenerife and the Autonomous Sports Organization (OAD) of the San Cristóbal de La Laguna City Council.

The president of OAD Laguna, Idaira Afonso, stresses that the run "is a good opportunity to enjoy a different Saturday, doing a healthy activity in which the whole family can participate by running outdoors within the urban centre of Guamasa".

The 1 Carrera Solidaria GUAMASA will have four distances. The one reserved for kids under 8 years of age, which will be over a distance of 500 meters; that of children under 15 years of age, which will be run on a kilometre-long circuit; those over 15 years of age may choose to participate in two distances (3 and 9 kilometres).

The registration fee to take part in any of the races scheduled will be 10 euros, although those under 13 years of age will only have to pay half at the time of registration.

Those interested in participating may formalize their registration, in person, at the Intersport store located at Carretera General del Norte, 144 Los Rodeos. The opening hours for the public will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Or online at this site where there is also an option to donate £10 even if not taking part as the race is being held for the victims of the La Palma volcano, and whose proceeds will go to finance projects and services related to this natural catastrophe.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Monument to Franco, the last of the recognitions to the dictator in Spain

Monument to Franco

On February 19, 1966the inauguration of the Monument to Franco in Santa Cruz de Tenerife took place. This was reported in the edition of DIARIO DE AVISOS of February 22 of that year, in which it is detailed that, "at one o'clock on Saturday afternoon a brilliant and emotional ceremony took place in Santa Cruz on the occasion of the delivery, by part of the commission appointed for this purpose and chaired by the Civil Governor and Provincial Head of the Caudillo Movement, to the City Council of the capital”. The article continued detailing that “the aforementioned Monument, the work of the sculptor Juan de Ávalos, as is known, presented a brilliant appearance with all the fountains fully operational…” 

Fifty-six years after that event, the sculptural ensemble is still standing, defying the passage of time, and awaiting a final report certifying that it also contravenes the Ley de Memoria Histórica de España (Historical Memory Law), which will mean its removal from the streets of Santa Cruz, the last in Spain in which recognition of the dictator is maintained. 

Santa Cruz City Council recently reignited the controversy by announcing its intention to reinstate water to the monument's fountains after they'd been out of action for 20 years, but now that the monument has been declared illegal is it expected to be removed.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Puerto de la Cruz International Carnival 2022

Puerto de la Cruz International Carnival 2022

Due to the health situation, the city proposes a showcase of its carnival for its visitors, taking advantage of the unbeatable outdoor facilities of the Costa Martiánez Complex

From March 2 to 6, Puerto de la Cruz and its Costa Martiánez Leisure Complex will once again put on their glitter to celebrate their International Carnival 2022. In this way, the city fulfils the commitment it has, not only with the Puerto de la Cruz carnival groups, but also with the carnival celebrations of Dusseldorf with which it celebrates fifty years of a twinning that has been so beneficial in terms of tourist promotion of Puerto de la Cruz in throughout Germany, the city's main tourist market. 

“It is an opportunity that Puerto de la Cruz cannot miss”, said Mayor Marco González. 

González thanked the groups for their presence at the presentation ceremony, where there was a representation of the choreographic group Moana, the troupe Carabao Guayana, troupe Son Bahía and Grupo Wild Dance, "who have shown an unwavering commitment to their carnival." The mayor also invited the creator of this year's poster, chosen by public vote, the young illustrator, Jonás Emanuel, from Puerto de la Cruz, to explain what Wannabe symbolizes, based on the mythical Spice Girls. Emanuel highlighted the importance of maintaining this carnival for what it means for all the creatives who work for the carnival.

With the attendance of many well-known faces of the Puerto de la Cruz carnival who wished to support the municipal commitment to maintain this edition of the carnival, the celebration of the famous 'Mascarita Ponte Tacón' (Men's High Heels Obstacle Race) was also announced for March 4 in a "reduced but most spectacular version where both the stage and the staging will delight the thousands of fans of this, the most unique obstacle course in heels and platforms, only attempted by the bravest and most intrepid carnival goers," said the Councilor for Fiestas Alberto Castilla. 

Meanwhile, the apotheosis of the carnival (Main Parade) will also take place at the facilities of the Lago Martiánez Tourist Complex on Sunday, March 6.

Castilla outlined shows such as the Nights of Carnival that the city is preparing with the invaluable collaboration of all the people of the carnival, "and especially the groups that have made a titanic effort to defend not only what is their space for work, but also for the history they share with this city”. Puerto de la Cruz artist, Wycho Torres, is "already preparing staging that offers the most ground-breaking essence of those who make the carnival and this show a unique spectacle that no one should miss".

Tickets for the performances that mark these five days of carnival will be on sale in the coming days through the carnival website www.carnavalpuertodelacruz.es and their capacity will depend on the health situation prescribed by the Government. In addition, events can be followed on the social networks of the City Council in a special virtual program.


Queen, King and Children's Throne

The galas that everyone expects - to elect both the queen and the king, as well as the children's throne of carnival - are postponed until the end of August and the beginning of September, with the expectation that in those months the health situation will be normalized. Even so, this March 2, along with the proclamation, the 7 adult candidates and the 4 for the children's throne will be presented, who will opt for the titles this summer. For this, the definitive dates of the Summer Carnival were also announced, which will be extended to host these events and will take place from August 25 to September 11.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Papas rellenas de carne a la lagunera (Stuffed potatoes La Laguna style)

Papas rellenas de carne a la lagunera (Stuffed potatoes La Laguna style)

These La Laguna-style stuffed potatoes are a very simple dish.

Ingredients:

(For 4 servings)

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 600 gr. minced lean pork meat
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs

For the sauce

  • 75ml Of olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • saffron
  • Water

Method:

Mix the minced meat with the garlic and parsley very finely chopped, the eggs and salt and pepper. Knead well so that everything is mixed and let it rest while we prepare the potatoes.

Peel and wash the potatoes. With a corer or a hollower - melon baller perhaps - remove the central flesh from the potatoes, until they form one cm thick 'bowls'.

With a teaspoon fill the potatoes with meat.

(If you have meat left over, form some meatballs with it to serve alongside, or reserve for another meal. The potato balls that you remove with the hollower can be reserved to fry them and accompany another dish, or add them together with the stuffed potatoes.)

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and seal the potatoes on the side where the filling was introduced, so that in this way the meat does not come out when you cook them. Reserve.

In a mortar, crush the garlic and parsley.

Finely chop the onion and brown in the oil where you had sealed the potatoes, add the white wine and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add the saffron, the bay leaf and add back the stuffed potatoes, cover them with water, at which point add the crushed garlic and parsley.

Leave to cook until the potatoes are tender, if necessary adding more water. Check the seasoning halfway through cooking in case it is necessary to add a little salt.

Papas rellenas de carne a la lagunera 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Parliament asked again for the creation of an investigation into the Piedra de los Cochinos

Entrance to the gallery at Piedra de los Cochinos

Sergio Lourenso, a friend of the six people who died 15 years ago in the Piedra de Los Cochinos gallery, in the municipality of Los Silos, has again registered, last Friday, in Parliament a request to open an investigation commission in the Regional Chamber.

Parliament already admitted the proposal for processing in July 2017, there were two oral questions in committee and the request for intervention was even made in the applicant's Industry committee - with all the votes in favor except that of the Nationalist Group - but finally, due to the dissolution of the Chamber before the elections, there was no time. 

The subsequent outbreak of the pandemic also put aside the possibility of creating the investigation commission, which has almost 2,200 signatures in support.

The proponents say that 15 years later the reasons to promote it "are still valid", even more so when accidents and falls into wells continue to occur, with special emphasis on the island of Gran Canaria, where the Insular Water Council has admitted that there are hundreds of galleries and wells that are abandoned or their status is unknown.

The objective of the commission is to achieve "complete clarification" of what happened and to make recommendations and propose concrete actions to prevent a similar tragedy from repeating itself or in the event, "effective and respectful management" with the victims.

"From the beginning we have demanded truth, justice, reparation and forgiveness, and we continue to demand this with this initiative, addressed to a Parliament that has mostly turned its back on the victims throughout this time, and on an issue that we consider to be of general interest to the citizens of the Canary Islands, whom it represents", the request ends.

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