Tuesday, 31 May 2011

101 ways to dress a banana!

It may not be a largely known fact, but one of the main export products from the Canary Islands is the banana. There are plantations upon plantations of this tropical fruit on Tenerife. At the weekend the II Banana Festival was held in its honour.

As part of the Canary Islands Day activities, a competition was held to see who could create the best sculpture from bananas.....

A banana carnival? We're not quite sure what was supposed to be represented here as there was no title to this work of art.

Tribute to banana pickers
Banana High School
A local youth group had taken part and built the 'Banana High School' hoping to win the 500€ prize money to put towards expenses of a trip they have organised for summer. It wasn't the most elaborate sculpture but they certainly put the most effort into it and accompanied their work with a dance and song they'd invented for the occasion.

Canaries mermaid
I was surprised that there weren't more participants, especially as the prize money was decent. But maybe it's difficult to come up with ideas of sculptures that can be made with bananas?

How would you dress your banana? ;-)

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Canary Islands Day

Every region in Spain has its' own special day, which is generally a holiday, and is meant to celebrate the history and culture of that area. Today it's the Canary Islands Day!

The Canary Islands has a rich and varied history of settlers and invaders. It was also the last port of call to rest and restock for the adventurers going on to discover the 'new world'. Over the weekend, events and activities have been going on to celebrate and remember the history and traditions of the Canaries.

Canary Islands celebrations in Tenerife
In Playa de Las Americas a display was put on by local people to demonstrate the traditional music, dancing and costumes of Tenerife.

The musicians
The singers
The dancers
The thing that struck me most was that it seems that it's only the older generation that seem to be interested in keeping the traditions alive. Is the younger generation not interested in their collective past? What happens when those involved are no longer around or are no longer able to participate? I think that old traditions are important to maintain, especially in this age of globalisation.

Do you think that local traditions should be kept alive? Are there any interesting traditions in your area?

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 27 May 2011

On the beach: V

So we finally made it to Friday after a whistle-stop tour around some of the beaches on the Canary Island of Tenerife. Today our tour ends at what is considered to be one of the prettiest beaches on the island.

Just to the north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital, is the small town of San Andrés and its' fabulous beach, Las Teresitas. Nestled between green hills the golden sand stretches for about 1.5km. But hey, doesn't this beach look slightly out of place on a volcanic island?

Las Teresitas, San Andrés
Originally the beach was made up of the typical black sand which is common here. But during the 1970's it was decided to remodel and the golden sand was brought in from no less than the Sahara Desert (I suppose that there is plenty to spare!) which is what gives it the look it has today.

A massive breakwater stretches all the way across the bay which makes it safe to moor little fishing boats and which also means that the large waves never reach the shore so it safe for children, swimming and snorkelling.

San Andrés, Tenerife
That brings us to the end of a week 'on the beach'. I hope that you have enjoyed it and that it has stirred some feelings of holidays to come, or memories of holidays past. Enjoy the weekend and I hope that it is filled with fun moments and things that make you smile.

Hasta pronto!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

On the beach: IV

If watersports are your thing then the coastal town of El Médano is the place to go. It boasts the longest natural beach in Tenerife with about 2 km of fine sand. Generally the wind here is stronger than anywhere else and this has converted it into the main place to practice windsurf and kitesurf. Competitions are held here every year; last August (2010) one of the heats of the World Kitesurf Championship took place here.

There is plenty of space to sunbathe too without getting tangled in any of the lines from the kites. But when the wind is strong enough to surf, lying on the beach is not the most pleasant - unless you don't mind being covered in sand! The sand is firm, however, and good for walking or there is always the option of sitting at one of the terraces which back onto the sand and enjoying the view with a cool drink.

El Médano, Tenerife

The town itself has hotels and holiday appartments but not the feeling of an over-run tourist destination. It still manages to retain some of its small fishing port character. And even if the watersports on offer are not to your taste, it's always fun to sit and watch them for a while.

Kitesurfers and windsurfers comparing notes.

Kitesurfers, El Médano
Do you like to spend time at the beach doing watersports? Or do you prefer to watch and enjoy?

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

On the beach: III

The north side of the island of Tenerife differs greatly from the south. It is rich and fertile and is covered in pine forests, banana plantations and vineyards. But the coast is seriously lacking in beaches. This, however, is compensated by something that nature has generously provided - natural pools!

On the northwest coast of the island, the town of Garachico used to be one of the main ports on the island. It was were ships loaded with wine and sugar would had off on their journeys to America and Europe. In 1706 this all ended when one of the nearby volcanoes erupted and buried the town and the port. The lava travelled across the land until it reached the sea.

El Caletón, Garachico

The lava formed channels as it cooled in the sea water. The effect of the contrast between the black rock and the blue ocean is dramatic.

Natural pool, Garachico
The tide washes into the channels and constantly renews the water in the natural pools that are safe enough to be used for swimming.

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

On the beach: II

Just along from the town, and beaches, of Los Cristianos is Playa de Las Americas. It's not a particularly residential area, and those houses that managed to remain standing have literally been swallowed up by the rows and rows and rows of huge hotels. It is probably the most popular, and well known, tourist area - bright lights, loud music, bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. Which, in my opinion, must be the attraction here as the beach is, well, not that wonderful.

Playa del Camisón, Playa de Las Américas
The only sandy beach belonging to this area is Playa del Camisón - and it's artificial! Yep, they brought the sand here! But it is a safe beach for children as the water is quite shallow and calm with breakwaters on both sides controlling the waves.

Charco del Marqués, Playa de Las Américas
El Cabezo Grande, Playa de Las Américas
The rest of the coastline around this area is mostly rocky. Not great for sunbathing but fabulous for rock-pooling when the tide goes out! It's also a popular spot for surfers with the waves rolling in from the Atlantic with nothing to stop them until they reach the shore.

Las Verónicas, Playa de Las Américas
But I think that the main attraction in this area is the wide amount of entertainment. Bars and restaurants are open from morning until very late at night and are the main reasons why a lot of visitors to the island come here.

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 23 May 2011

On the beach: I

As we are rapidly approaching the end of May and the weather starts to improve, thoughts turn to long summer evenings, outdoor activities and holidays! Beach holidays are not everyone's idea of a good time but the beach definitely has something speacial which attracts. How can one place cater for so many different tastes? There's room for the sun-worshippers, the diggers and castle builders, the ball-games fanatics, joggers, swimmers, snorkelers, surfers..... and the romantics that sit with their toes dug deep into the sand, listening to the waves break on the shore and staring into the horizon.

So as Tenerife is the holiday destination for many, this week we'll take a short trip to some of the coastal spots. Starting with Los Cristianos on the south of the island. There are two beaches which both back onto the old town. One, Playa de Los Cristianos, is next to the harbour where small boats are moored and the ferries come in to provide connections to the other smaller nearby islands. And the other, Playa de Las Vistas, is on the other side of the harbour wall continuing along the coast. They are both sandy beaches and considered as the best on the south of the island.

Playa de Las Vistas, Los Cristianos

Playa de Las Vistas, Los Cristianos
The beach is busy here all year long as the temperatures average 23ºC in winter! And along the length of the beach there are restaurants and bars open all day every day so there's never any need to wander too far.

Do you enjoy the beach? What attracts you most?

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 20 May 2011

YAY! It's Friday!

Once again it seems that Friday has crept up on us and another weekend awaits. I find the best way to enjoy a weekend is by planning ahead. That way I know what I want to do and how I'm going to fit it in. There are no gaps and I feel like I've made the most of my 'free' time.

I have a few things in mind for this weekend but they haven't been shuffled about yet into a plan! That'll be done later, over a glass of wine, when hubby finishes work. (Unfortunately the place in the photo has nothing to do with my plans, but I love looking at it. *sigh*)

Lombok, Indonesia

Do you like to plan your weekends or do you prefer to take them as they come? What's on for this weekend? Whatever you're doing, and wherever you are - enjoy!

Hasta pronto!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Something to think about....

-We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of
dream to be weaving. And we all have some power
 to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.-

-Louisa May Alcott

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Something colourful for summer

As the weather warms up, it's always nice to add a splash of colour to a tired wardrobe. This year it seems that colour-block is all the rage, but I'm not sure that it's a good look for me. So, while wandering around the shops I picked up a few items that I hope will brighten up other outfits.

This top is really light and breezy with sweet ruffles around the neck. It's a fresh green colour which looks great with the black tailored shorts.

This flowery hot-pink dress is fab for warmer weather and will look good with either flats or wedges. I found all of these items in Zara, so it didn't cost me a fortune (always a bonus!).

Do you like the new colour-block fashion for this summer?

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Make-up bliss

I'm not a big user of make-up but I do like to have a few nice bits in my make-up bag, who doesn't? So the other day, with the excuse of looking for suitable birthday presents (hmmm!), I decided to treat myself.

The Lancôme 'Hypnôse: Custom-wear volume mascara' in colour 01 noir hypnotic, is an old favourite and one that I keep going back to whenever I need a new mascara. It's easy to apply, gives a nice finish and doesn't gloop or flake. Perfect.

My other little treat was a new find. It's a Clinique Vitamin C lip smoothie in colour 02 'nude-tritious'. A 'moisture-rich, high shine, antioxidant lip colour' (according to the box). All I can say is that it's fabulous! The colour reminds of the current celeb trend of 'nude' lips - makes me feel like I should be on the cover of a magazine!!!!

Have you treated yourself to something nice recently? Go on, you know you deserve it!

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 16 May 2011

What a weekend!

Weekends tend to be jam-packed full of activity. Why? Because that's the most time me and hubby get to spend together. But this weekend was extra special as we were celebrating hubby's birthday. Normally he doesn't have to work weekends, it depends on what's happening on site, but as fate would have it, he had to go in on Saturday morning. So I got up extra early to make him a 'full English' cooked breakfast (he really know it was his birthday then!) before he went off to work.

At lunchtime he was free to go. So he came back to freshen up and found this waiting for him:

Birthday cake
Isn't that a spectacular looking birthday cake? It had a sponge base and yoghurt mousse underneath the profiteroles and chocolate wedge decoration. I though it was pretty original and it tasted divine! Needless to say that there is none left - it was that good!

We spent the afternoon doing what we love most and that takes up practically all our spare time - with the horses! There is nothing more relaxing than being amongst such noble animals. Even if they are a lot of work and physically taxing, they are worth every effort and it is very rewarding.

Saturday night we were out for dinner. The towns of Los Cristianos (in the news recently for all the wrong reasons) and Las Americas in Tenerife are only 5 minutes away from where we are and they cater particularly for tourists. So there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. We decided on a Thai restaurant that we hadn't been to before. The food was good and it reminded us of our honeymoon (and all the food we ate!) in Thailand.

Starters: Thai rolls and 'Golden sacks' with sweet chilli sauce
Sunday turned out to be a totally equestrian day. We were participating in a dressage competition in the afternoon so we spent the morning gently working the horses and cleaning tack! After lunch we were back with the horses again to get ready for the competition and have time to warm up. Pre-competition nerves were evident! We've been training hard for the last 2 weeks in preparation so we were delighted when we both managed to come first in our respective groups!

Les Grands Parc, France
For some reason we'd forgotten the camera, this photo is from a competition we did last year at Les Grands Parc riding club in La Baule, France. We had to celebrate with a bottle of birthday bubbly and a film! The perfect end to a lovely weekend.

How was your weekend? Did you enjoy it?

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Modern surroundings for classical music

For some reason the post I did yesterday seems to have totally vanished into thin air..... So I'll try and do it again!

Ok, so it's not the Sydney Opera House but the Auditoruim (Auditoria de Tenerife) in Santa Cruz is major tourist attraction. Designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, construction started in 1997 and was completed in 2003. Set away from the town centre, next to the dock area, it stands majestically on the coast with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. It is now the home of the Tenerife Philharmonic Orchestra.

Auditorio de Tenerife

I think that it fits perfectly into its surroundings. From a certain angles it looks like an ocean liner and the 'wing' over the top of the building reminds me of waves crashing onto the shore. I suppose that that is the good thing about modern art and architecture, it is open to interpretation and the imagination of the observer. What do you see?

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

In case of confusion.....

Last night hubby sat down to have a look at my blog. He said he loved the photos but that it was confusing and didn't make much sense. It's always nice to have a second opinion - even one as brutally honest as his!

I had a look and couldn't understand what he meant. It made sense to me. But then, of course it would, I wrote it. I know the whole 'behind the scenes' story and can make the connections. But now I realise that he's probably right. I enjoy doing my blog for me and, if I'm honest, I never thought that anyone else would be interested. But.....as I see that there are some lovely people out there that seem to be taking an interest, I think that perhaps an explanation is needed, in case of confusion!

All my life I've been a bit of a nomad. If I say that I've lived in 16 different towns in 3 different countries up to now, then it goes a little way to explaining it. The UK, France and Spain have been the places where I've set up my tent (not literally, you understand, I don't actually live in a tent but sometimes I think it would be easier!) but I've also travelled further afield to visit other places. And there are still a helluva lot of places still that I would love to visit.

At the beginning we moved every time my Dad got a new position with his job, and for the last 5 years I've moved with hubby because he works on industrial projects. They normally start out being for 6 months but tend to run on a bit longer. Sometimes I feel that I don't belong anywhere, but then, why not belong everywhere?

So the nomadic life has been with me forever and now it doesn't seem such a big trauma to pack everything up and move on to somewhere new. There are lovely people to be found in each place and I've loved living in every town that I've been up to now. Each place is special and has it's own special memories. And I'm getting to be quite an expert - I can find somewhere to live and be more or less settled and finding my way around in about 2 weeks now!

So this blog is really a place where I share my memories and photos of places I've been and, hopefully, my new ideas. A place where anything goes and everything is worth noting down. I hope that it doesn't sound confusing, but then, I suppose that life can sometimes just get that way.

Is your life straight forward? Or do you find it whizzing off at weird but interesting angles? Tell me your story, I'd love to know. I'm sure that I'm not the only nomad out there....

Flowers in the park

Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Monumental monuments

Right in front of the goverrnment building is the war memorial 'Los Caidos' (The Fallen). It's simplicity and lack of pomp and ceremony, to me, makes it more noteworthy.

Los Caidos monument
I particularly liked the bronze statues standing guard.

Hasta pronto!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

This weekend I've been out and about doing a bit of touristy sightseeing. This week I'll let you know what I got up to and if there was anything of interest worth visiting.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island of Tenerife and the political centre for the region of Tenerife which includes the islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma. It is also the main point of entry for goods and passangers arriving by sea.

The buildings are magnificent, the boutiques are chic and the street cafés are always busy. The historic centre, which also includes a large part of the shops, restaurants, and bars, is pedestrian only. So you can wander around looking up at the beautiful architecture without worrying about getting run over.

Cabildo Isular, Tenerife
The Cabildo Insular de Tenerife is the local government building. The views from the building are exceptional - the sea and port on one side and the city and mountains on the other. I'd probably spend most of my time gazing out the window if I worked here!

I'm sure the flag looks familiar - it's the same as the flag of Scotland!

Plaza de España, SC de Tenerife
The main square, right in front of the Cabildo buidling, is popular with local people and tourists. It is surprisingly calm considering that it is between the main town and the port. But a lovely place to sit in the shade and enjoy an ice-cream!

Hasta pronto!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Life's a beach!

With 8km of golden sand, the beach at La Baule is supposedly the longest in Europe. It is one of the main attractions for holidaymakers to this area and has activities to suit every taste from watersports to tournaments on the sand. In summer the local Polo club even holds some of its events on the sand.

Not a lot to be done when the mist rolls in from the sea

Activities to suit everyone
Of course, if energetic activity is not your cup-of-tea, then a romantic stroll along the shore listening to the waves gently breaking is a wonderful way to enjoy the beach.

Hasta pronto!