Thursday, December 31, 2009

78 ~ Happy New Year to All!

midnight lanternHappy New Year and Feliz Año Nuevo

Here it is customary to eat twelve grapes at midnight, one on each stroke of the clock!

There was a hilarious incident one year in Madrid when the main plaza, the Puerta del Sol, was crowded with merrymakers waiting for the clock to begin striking the midnight hour. The clock is televised nationwide and folks at home watching their TVs are preparing to eat their grapes along with the rest of the country.

However someone in Madrid had forgotten to slow down the mechanism that controls the chiming of the clock, as is done for each New Year, so people have time to down their grapes, one for each stroke.

The result was that the clock struck the hour at a furious pace while the grape eaters were unable to keep up despite stuffing in the grapes at a speed enough to cause many to choke.

It later became an anecdote that would be recounted with hilarity as people remembered that night when the twelve 'uvas de la suerte' ...grapes of good luck, didn't quite make it on time that year!

Here now are some photos taken from the TV after the clock struck midnight.

Midnight in Madrid and the crowds at the Puerta del Sol, Madrid's main plaza:

midnight madrid
puerta del sol
And midnight in the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria and Tenerife:

gran canaria
midnight tenerife The four above images were taken from TVE and Canary television, with thanks.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and a safe, healthy and prosperous year 2010!

Oh yes and don't forget that it's customary here in Spain to put on RED UNDERWEAR for New Years Eve!

Drive safely and enjoy yourself...¡Hasta la Vista!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

77 ~ Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

blue tit A Blue Tit this morning

This morning I could have gone through the garden singing that old song from from the show Oklahoma...Oh What a Beautiful Morning...because it would have been very appropriate with sun shining, balmy warm air, twittering birds flying around the palm trees and many roses in bloom. Yes it's December 29th but it feels like spring here.

Here's what I saw while meandering around the front garden.

Iceberg Iceberg

iceberg 3
Queen Elizabeth Queen Elizabeth

blue basket flower
Strelitzia Strelitzia Reginae

strelitzia 2
rheoe Rheoe

composite Bibi follows me so closely underfoot that I sometimes step on her toes. But this time she's content to just lie and watch.


grüss an aachen Grüss an Aachen

gold medal Gold Medal

gold medal 2

brugmansia Brugmansia

Barcarole Barcarole

Tigger Tigger loves the sun

As I write this, it's Tuesday evening and Bibi has just jumped on my desk...and she's soaking wet, so it must be raining outside now. That's the best way to have the weather I think...a beautiful sunny day and a soft rain at night to water the garden. Now where's a towel so I can dry you off Bibi.

Have a lovely rest of the week and drive carefully!

I'll finish here with the beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy singing "What a Wonderful World".

¡Hasta La Vista! Sharon.

Photos were taken with a Canon EOS 30D DSLR and 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Friday, December 25, 2009

76 ~ Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas today, December 25, from Tenerife, Canary Islands!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

75 ~ Tenerife at Christmas

poinsettias 1
market Xmas treeHere it is already December 23 and like many, I don't know how time before Christmas has passed so quickly! This morning I went down to the municipal farmers' market in Puerto de la Cruz to have a look around and pick up some fresh vegetables for the next festive days.

Above is the Christmas tree in the center of the main floor. Here are some images of the bountiful produce, exotic fruits and tempting displays of vegetables that I saw there.

market 1 uvas market 2 I was so tempted to buy one of these boxes of luscious dates from Medjoul, Tunis. The stall owner gave me a taste and they were so big, soft and sweet! But at 16 Euros a box I didn't buy. Now I wish I had!

dates 1 dates 2 Perhaps I'll run back in the morning to buy them. What a Christmas treat - better than chocolate!

market 3 And some unusual things as well. I had to look up OCUMO (Xanthosoma Sagittifolium) as I had never seen them before:

ocumos And here are Yuccas (background) and in the front are tree tomatoes, called Tamarillo (Solanum Betaceum):

yucca and tamarillo And it wouldn't be a Tenerife market without the delicious local potatoes, called papas here, which have a knobbly appearance and are ancient varieties, some found only in Tenerife and the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia.

The best are the papas negras, yema de huevo, dark outside and golden inside with a wonderful flavour. Translated that egg yolk potatoes, referring to both the outer and inner colours. They are the most expensive of all. I bought a large bag of them!

papas Here is the bag I bought. Sunglasses are for scale.

papas negras my bag And the ubiquitous tortilla Española, or Spanish potato and egg omelette is here as well, being sold by the piece. It was making me hungry!

tortilla Outside, a few days ago I was wandering around the town and came upon this giant ferris wheel, installed in the area by the harbour where traditionally a Christmas fair with midway appears at this time of the year. Truly the biggest I have ever seen.

Ferris wheel Poinsettias are everywhere the municipal gardeners can find a spot to put them. They really do dress up the town and are a treat for visitors who come down from snowy Europe.
Here they are in the Plaza de la Iglesia, the garden by the main church in the town center, near the plaza.

poinsettias 3 A living statue is seen here, posing without moving a muscle. What a way to earn a few coins, standing still for hours. However when I put a coin in his basket, he moved and thumped his wooden staff, making a gesture of thanks.

living statue The garden of this downtown hotel is always colourful.

garden Hotel Principe The cafes on the main Plaza del Charco are favourite places to stop, have a coffee, read a paper and people watch.

plaza cafe And sitting by the water of the center fountain is another pastime here in this mild climate.

pond in plaza charco And here to end is the Sussex Carol, one of my favourite Christmas carols. Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season everyone. May you enjoy the love and warmth of family and friends at this time!

King's College Cambridge 2008, Sussex Carol arr. Philip Ledger:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

74 ~ Let's Go Walking

view over oceanView over Northwest Coast

Come and join me for my daily walk. Something new I know....I'm always saying I must get out every day for a brisk hour long walk. It used to be a daily custom which needed reviving. No running, no jogging, just walking at a quick pace and stopping once in a while to take a photo. After a few days of doing this one can accumulate quite a few photos. So let's go out and enjoy the Tenerife sunshine now, especially since it may rain this coming weekend.

view over PuertoPuerto de la Cruz

Let's walk along the seawall overlooking the town. Below is the Martianez Beach and The Lido.

couple looking down
If we keep walking we'll come to some open ground.

looking over sea

agave americanaAgave Americana

Lagartos are sunning themselves on hot rock walls.


dragoDrago (Dracaena Draco)

euphorbia cactus Euphorbia Cactus

apartments Back to a shopping centre to buy bread.
But I have to stop and take a photo of that amazing hat!

manniquib with hat Roses and agave are growing here.

agave attenuataAgave Attenuata

roseLook at that cherry streusel cake!
And those Berliners (jelly doughnuts)!

cherry streusel cake
Well I'm keeping to my diet, but will take some home for my cake-loving man!

in bakery

hotel pool
Another beautiful day here in Tenerife.
The winter vacationers must be happy sunning by their hotel pools.

Thanks for your visit and hope to see you again soon...

¡Hasta la vista!..... Canarybird


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