Motorbikes and beer – a perfect day in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

cofAs much as I love nature, hiking and the beach, I am starting to crave city life. So I when I read in the local paper that there is a beer festival in Santa Cruz, I convinced my mum it’s time for a girls day out. After all, how can two Germans ignore a beer festival. Impossible! And a little window shopping has never hurt anyone.

Tip: if your not fluent in the lingo simply check out the local expat papers. There is always something happening on the island, fiestas  and cultural events take place in many villages all around the year.

So off we went by bus which was less than an hour (so not much difference to getting from A-B in London).

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital for Tenerife and more importantly joint capital with Las Palmas for the Canary Islands. Since I visited the first time nearly 12 years ago it’s exponentially grown to a city that can hold it’s own with other major cities in the world.

I personally like to stop by the African Market (El Mercado Nuestra Senora de Africa). It’s a food and  flower market and simply the best place to get a good treat. It’s less then 10 min walking distance from the coach station connecting you to ever part of the island.

From there simply head over to the city centre and explore the small historic alleys, escape the heat in one of the parks or venture up by tram (Line 1) to La Laguna.  Its historic centre is a World Heritage Site since 1999. La Laguna is also where you find the University of the Island and consequently a vibrant student community including bars and cafes.

But this time we were in pursuit of beer;  €3 entrance with the first beer is included, live music and food trucks, what’s not to like. admittedly du to Dorada sponsoring the festival there wasn’t much variety in beer flavours but we generously overlooked this.

When we arrived at ‘Plaza de la Alameda del Duque de Santa Elena’ (directly near the peer)  we found ourselved in the middle of a large motorcycle gathering. Motorbike clubs are popular on the island and you can often see groups of varying sizes cicrling the winding roads. However, this time it felt like everyone who owns a bike was there. It was an impressive spectacle and I swear some of the bikes were real monster machines. I swear you either need a step to get on it or be The Hulk to even hold this thing in an upright position.

One day I really need to get my motor cycle licences!

t turns out this was a rally for ‘Queremos un circuito de Velocidad en Tenerife’. Apparently for years people trying to get a propper racing track to support and grow the sport but more importantly to boost the motor industry on the island. If you speak Spanish check out their facebook group. I think it would be fab. It such a popular pastime here and would defiantly be boost for both locals and tourists.

All in all we had a lot of fun, got slightly tipsy and even managed to get some shopping under our belts.

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Relaxing at El Médano beach in Tenerife

 

Tenerife is my home from home. My parents decided to swap cold Germany for the Canary Islands almost a decade ago and since then I am on the island at least twice a year.

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Many come to enjoy the beaches and its all inclusive packages in the South along Playa de Las Américas and Los Cristianos or to play golf. If so that’s ok but you are unlikely to see any of the beauty of the island. I personally prefer the quieter and authentic parts of the island without the Las Vegas style theatres and full English or Germans bars.

My parents live in the South not far from El Médano (aka “The sand dune”). It’s the wind and kite surf mecca of the Island and very close to the South Airport. You can see it’s coast and famous Montaña Roja (“The Red Mountain”) from the plane during decent.

My mum and I have developed a perfect ritual when in town. First we have a coffee and sometimes breakfast at one of the little beach bars overlooking the bay. Once we’ve gathered our strength we start walking along the 3 km coast into the attached nature reserve, crossing over until we reach Playa La Tejita. Once we return, we choose the beach bar that offers the perfect angle to ogle the wind and kit surfers.

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Playa La Tejita is located on the opposite site of Montaña Roja. The sea is a bit rougher and if the stars align right you might see whales (although I have yet to be so lucky). Because it is more secluded, it’s less busy and there are no shops and only basic facilities. There is one bar at the opposite edge of this cove (at least another 15min walk). It’s also the official nudist beach so be prepared for the sights 😉

 

 

 

If you want the perfect view over the entire coast, take the hike up Montaña Roja. If you are reasonable fit it’s not a difficult walk. But I would recommend proper shoes and a hike before midday and maybe not necessarily on day with strong winds. Mum and I hiked it a few years back (see images below).

 

 

 

This time around we just took a walking with a family friend although with the extreme wind we had a real work out. I am still finding sand in places where no sand should be … Our reward – seeing great waves.

(prints available for some images)

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Beside beaches Tenerife has great hiking trails and outdoor rock climbing. I am here for a few weeks and should certainly take a few hikes. Just keep an eye on my next post and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For more videos subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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A stroll through East London

It’s too nice to sit at home right now, so I took a little stroll through East London from London Bridge to Waterloo.  Check out the sights for:

  • St Dunstant in the East Church Garden
  • Borough Market
  • The Crossbones Graveyard
  • The closed Southward Library
  • The graffiti tunnel in Waterloo

St Dunstant in the East Church Garden.

It’s supposed to be a little oasis of tranquillity near Monument. Sadly I miss-timed my visits as it was lunch hour, which meant office workers  and tourist groups all had the same idea. But I definitely will go back on a quieter day.

 

Borough Market

Well it was lunch time after all

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The Cross bones graveyard

I used to work in the area and we always called it the prostitutes graveyard but it is so much more. It’s a place where London’s undesirables were buried – single women, paupers and a lot of children. It’s a mass grave that now lies beneath land owned by Transport for London. London is build upon the bones of the dead and there is hardly a place where not a plague grave could be found or some other history trinket. It’s always been like that. But I think it’s also the responsibility of us now to ensure we make space for the past and honour it. There is only so much certification a city can cope with before it becomes soulless. The local community in Southwark has been campaigning for years to give the dead some dignity and recognition. You can find more details on the Crossbones website.

The old Southwark library

Sadly like so many libraries in London this is now closed. I have no idea what they may turn it into (probably a pret) But it’s a nice old building.

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The graffiti tunnel near Waterloo station

It may not be everyones cup of tea but I like it.

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