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.

Check in for the next post. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For more videos subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Hiking in Las Vegas Tenerife

IMG_3308
My mum

My time in Tenerife is almost over. I have spent over a month with my parents and I am so glad mum has found her confidence back to go hiking. Just over 2 years ago she was diagnosed with MPN (myeloproliferative neoplasms), which is the name for a group of rare disorders of the bone marrow. Basically, mum produces too much red blood cells and her blood becomes like gel. In some cases it can lead to leukaemia.

Isibue
Me: isibue

To being we were all scared and my active mum couldn’t even make her own bed. It took ages to get a diagnosis but now she is doing fine.

So after 2 years, we decided to build up her stamina and see if we can’t get back into hiking. We’ve started with a few smaller walks and last week we tried our luck with Las Vegas.

Las vegas is a small village in the South of Tenerife. There are a few trails from as little as 4km to 11km plus (i.e. Las Vegas, Risco del Muerto, Pino el Guirre, El Molino, Las Vegas). We thought we give a 7km a go but it went so well, we went a little further. Mum was so happy and I am very proud of her. Check out trail suggestions  

Sights on route

IMG_3339
Old water mill

The hiking trail in Las Vegas isn’t hard but I do think offers something for everyone. The route varies in difficulty from simple paths over to rocky grounds, up and down hill and simple country roads. It can get very hot but there is always a tree with shade nearby.  I simply love the views over the valleys and the traditional rock farm terraces you can see all overs the island. Along the way, you’ll find signs about historic landmarks such as the food preservation ovens or the old water mill. The area is home to many birds, including a pair of falcons which are beautiful to watch when they circle above you. We spotted them a few times as if they were following us.

 

Village of Las Vegas

IMG_3360Once we descended and made our way off the mountain and through an old river bed (aka cactus valley), you’ll come by the area popular with rock climbers before you finally reach the village of Las Vegas. It’s a very small and as typical for every village here has its own church. Newly renovated, the little white building is placed at the top of the village and offers a magnificent view over the South coast.  Just tucked beside the church walls is a little restaurant La Tasquita de Las Vegas. There are only a few tables inside but the big garden is where you want to be. We managed to stayed ages hard work as you can imagine but beer, wine and nibbles is a must after the hike 🙂

Where do you like to relax? Let me know via the comments below. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebookor Instagram. For more videos subscribe to my YouTube channel.

IMG_2438
Ermita Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza

Dungeness exploration completed!

A while ago I set the mission to explore Dungeness. My friend and I wanted to spent 2 days at the famous coast in Kent, which apparently is the largest expanse of shingle on earth, to take pictures and find out about the people who live there. See objectives post.

However, for a while it looked like the entire trip was doomed. A day before we were about to set off our accommodation was cancelled. We managed to find something near by in Romney Sands (30min by train) but that meant we didn’t get a chance to chat to the people living directly at Dungeness.

The next blow came from the weather gods who sent pretty much the first and only rain in 2 weeks on the day we were heading to the beach. And I mean it was pissing down. Trapped in a caravan park all day, all we were able to do is to hang out in the pub and play snooker. Ok not a bad day overall but frankly not what we had planned.

Optimistic for a sun rise the next day we set the alarm for 4 am and then for 6,7 and finally 8am until the rain finally stopped. Honestly I was ready to call it a day and head back to London.

But we set off anyhow and after 8 hrs walking along the beach we were happy, exhausted and even managed to get a sun burn (at least I did).

I still want to find out more about the people who live on Dungeness. What you can see is that the few thousand residents are overwhelmed with 1 million visitors each year. It’s a bit like being the attraction in a zoo and happy snappy tourists point their camera directly into your bedroom window. This can’t be fun.

I personally took only a few images of houses and only when they were either not occupied or in respectable distance.

Instead I got obsessed with the decaying machinery and rotting boats that are littered all along the beach.

Enjoy the slide show below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Obviously we had to catch a ride back on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway, which again supposed to be the smallest passenger railways in the world. To be honest it is very small.

The objective: explore Dungeness

Objective 1: the photography away day 

It’s time to get out of town. I love London but sometimes this town can drive you nuts.

A friend and I planning to head for Dungeness beach in Kent. A strange desolate place that has been featured in various music videos (the Prodigy and Nicki Minaj) as well as in TV, film and advertising. It’s a nature reserve, a place of scientific interest, home to a tiny community and features a massive power plant. The Guardian described it once as, “where the wild west meets the post-apocalyptic”.  I had no idea such a place exists in the UK and less than 2 hours away from London. Just google image ‘Dungeness’ to get an idea.

Objective 2:  what’s it like to live on Dungeness 

Dungeness is private land and was bought in 2015 for £1.5m by EDF who subsequently own and run the local power station. My cynical mind questions how much good will it do for the local community. Surely EDF’s main interest is the plant and their business. According to an BBC article, “It was scheduled for decommissioning in 2018 but is now scheduled to remain open until 2028”.

The area gets roughly 1 million visitors a year, enjoying the landscape and checking out the small community (who pay lease and rent to the new owners). However, anyone planning to shoot for commercial purposes, including student projects and bigger organised photo groups will be asked to apply for permission from the new land managing trust and to pay a fee which can go up to £1200 for the day.

Now what bothers me is that the local shops and properties weren’t in the original deal. If you shoot for commercial reasons or film a Dr Who episode then I think it’s only fair to pay a fee but I wonder how much of it actually goes back into the community?

The truth is, only because you forked out expensive fees to take pictures on the land (especially as a student), you would still need the to ask the locals if they are ok with you taking pictures of their houses and shops – for free. Really what does the community get back from EDF? EDF’s Community Report for May 2017 states:

“EDF Energy maintains its strong ties with the local area through our Land Quality Management Team and continues to support the area through roadway improvements, signage, rubbish clearance and biodiversity improvement programs”

We will be staying with a local artist couple for one night and I hope they’ll be willing to have a chat about what it’s like living on Dungeness and what they think of the new owners.

 

Find out how it turned out.