Thursday, February 25, 2010

89 ~ Goats in La Vera

goats in barranco Goatherder in the ravine (click)

A goatherder is seen with his flock in the barranco or ravine in the area of La Vera in the north of Tenerife. Although there seems to be little vegetation there, it is customary for goats to graze alongside wandering roosters and hens. The above photo was taken in November 2009, whereas the one below, taken yesterday, February 24 2010, shows the same ravine much greener after the recent rains. A lone goat lay there with her kids.

barranco Feb 2010
goat & kidsA welcome sign shows that part of this area pertains to the villa of La Orotava, whereas the rest is part of Puerto de la Cruz.

signIn recent years, the shop fronts have been painted bright colours, in contrast to the grey, unpainted concrete block facades seen in past times.

coloured facades
cactus balcon

church steeplePlumeria Alba blooms alongside geraniums and cactus in a street planter.

planter And in my garden, the pruned roses are sprouting beautiful leaves, now dusted with sulphur to keep the mildew at bay.

rose with sulphur And the rhoeo seems to glow in this morning's sunshine.

rhoeo Rhoeo Spathacea

And like a diva on her chaise longue, Bibi sits on the porch in her chair observing the world between catnaps.

That's all for today, thanks for visiting and ¡Hasta la vista!.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

88 ~ Spring Weather

patio rainWind, sun, rain and all at the same time. Our Tenerife weather feels like spring. Some mornings are chilly enough to see the steam rising on my tea.

tea steamBibi watches the birds through the open window.

Bibi 1
dove on chair They are waiting for their food and when there is none they take it from the cat's dish outside. Or come close to my window and look inside, waiting for me to fill the food tray.

dove 2
dove 3 An interesting sight for a cat, and so close.

bibi looks
Later when the rain has stopped I can go out into the garden.

canna Canna

brunsfelsia Brunsfelsia

stag's horn Stag's Horn

Bibi follows me and gives a morning kiss to her friend Tigger, who lives in our garden.

bibi & tigger
We're so lucky to have such mild temperatures and next week they will be between 23 to 26°C (mid 70s F). Makes one feel sorry for those up in Europe where there is still heavy snow and temperatures below zero.

But I'm so pleased to see that my former city of residence, Vancouver, Canada is having such wonderful sunny weather for the Olympic games. The usual Vancouver rain has stopped for these exciting events allowing the world to see just what a beautiful city it is. I'm enjoying watching the games on Eurosport TV.

There is a good link here on for watching them on your computer if you live in Europe, and you can catch up with podcasts on everything from the opening ceremony onward, with many of them in HD and full screen.

Wishing you a good coming week and ¡Hasta la vista!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

87 ~ Tenerife's Carnival Queen 2010

Reina Carnaval 1 Alicia San Juan McNulty
Reina Carnaval 2
Photos with kind permission from La

Last night's gala of election of Tenerife's carnival queen was themed History of Carnival in Tenerife, remembering the beginnings and ensuing years of carnival on the island and the various outstanding characters who have become so loved and familiar each year. Tenerife's carnival wouldn't be the same without the figures of Charlie Chapman, Cantinflas and Fidel Castro walking on stage and in the parades.

The show timing was brisk, by Tenerife standards, and the spectacle of hundred of islanders in their costumes was almost overwhelming, especially when the TV cameras gave closeup shots of the costumes worn by the murgas and comparsas. One could see the immaculate details of workmanship and materials that goes in to the confection of these outfits.

And when the elaborate costumes of the queen candidates began to emerge they were truly a feast for the eyes. Called fantasias or 'fantasies' they take many months to design and construct and in the last years have come fitted with wheels underneath to facilitate movement.

Now that the queen has been elected by votes with her four damas de honor (maids of honour), the carnival celebrations will move into top gear with parades, street dancing and sleepless nights for many.

Here's another popular carnival song "Chicharrero de Corazón" on a You Tube display of carnival posters over the last 47 years. Chicharrero has come to be used as a fond reference to an inhabitant of Santa Cruz or of Tenerife, the name originating from the fishermen of La Laguna, who in former times of hardship fished the Chicharro (Spanish link) or jurel which was often considered a meal for the poor. Nowadays I have seen chicharros for sale in the supermarket here.

The song has become a favourite around carnival time, calling those who are chicharreros or islanders through to the heart, to pick up the drum and go into the streets because the carnival has begun.

I love this carnival music and I hope you do too!

¡Hasta la vista!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

86 ~ Carnival in Canaries

hechizadas A member of the female murga Las Hechizadas (The Bewitched)

It's that time again when the world celebrates carnival, or carnaval as it is written in Spanish. And next to Rio de Janiero, the Canary Islands has some of the world's most extravagant carnival celebrations.

This year the activities run from January 26 with the selection of candidates for carnival queen until February 21, ending with the traditional antique car show and final fireworks display.

Carnival photos here and above credited to the official Tenerife Carnival website.

Los Bambones Murga Los Bambones

The murgas are popular satirical groups which create and sing irreverent protest songs about current local issues and political personages, to the accompaniment of noisy percussion instruments. Competitions pit different murga groups against each other for the best costumes and the sharpest wit in their performances.

Los Bambas Los Bambas, a childrens' murga

As well as a carnival queen chosen from a selection of young women, there is also a Reina Tercera Edad, a senior queen chosen from older women.

Reina Tercera Edad Reina Tercera Edad (Senior Queen)

Everyone joins in the spirit of carnival here, no matter what age. There is also a children's queen, La Reina Infantil.

Reina Infantil La Reina Infantil (Childrens'Queen)

Each of the seven Canary Islands celebrates its own carnival and there are many shows, parades and queen elections even in smaller towns. But the biggest shows are always that of the elections of Carnival Queen on Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the two largest islands, in the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria respectively.

Tenerife will elect her queen tomorrow evening in a grand televised gala.

Las Palmas already has a carnival queen, elected a few days ago. Here she is, in a spectacular costume of an indian princess in white feathered and bejewelled headdress, stepping out of an enormous Native American dream catcher.

Reina Las Palmas Photo credit to Las Palmas Carnival website

Here's the sound of Carnaval en Tenerife!

I will come back with more photos from Carnaval en Tenerife.
Until then, ...¡Hasta la vista!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fresh Snow on the Teide

teide snow After all that rain we knew we'd have this lovely sight! Teide as seen this morning from our front porch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

85 ~ Storms Over Canarias

storm cloudsWe were warned by the weather office that thunderstorms would be coming over the Canary Islands these past days and they were right.

Most islands have had torrential rain and in some parts, intense flooding, as was the case in Santa Cruz, the capital city on the east coast of Tenerife.

Here is a news item with photos from a British newspaper which show the water streaming through the streets of Tenerife. Some areas received as much as 200 liters per square meter. Luckily there were no fatalities. We're lucky to be living in a part that didn't receive the brunt of the storm, so our garden is still intact and thankful for the fresh rainwater.

Here's a video of the streets of Tenerife:

A more cheerful sight a few days ago was a bouquet of our own roses lying on the patio table. Our garden helper Antonio finished the rose pruning in record time and there were still so many in bloom that he lay them where I would find them. The many reds were La Sevillana and Heinzelmännchen, the multi-coloured was Granada, the white was Iceberg and the pink Sonia. I love them all.

rose bouquet We don't prune low to the ground as there is no frost here and I've found over the years that the rose bushes produce a much better display if they are cut to about one third of their normal height.

pruned bush This is Queen Elizabeth, a Grandiflora which doesn't like to be pruned low.

And new shoots are appearing almost instantly on other bushes pruned a week earlier.

rose shootsThe grapefruit tree is coming back beautifully although the new leaves are still affected by the blight that has affected all the citrus trees in Canary Islands.
The leaves curl and bubble due to an insect that breeds on the underside of the leaves.

grapefruit tree One of my window doves looks for food on the sill. I dare not put it in the bird feeder in the tree or it would be soaked. The birds don't like wet food!
The sun will probably shine again tomorrow. At the moment the temperatures are mild...21C (69.8F) and it's starting to rain again.

dove at windowHere's hoping you are having a mild winter. Thanks for stopping by.

¡Hasta la vista!


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