On Sunday we arranged to meet our friend and neighbour, Nicole, for lunch at Faroles Restaurant behind Playa Jardín. It was the first time that we’d been at the beach since the monsoon floods turned the streets of Puerto de la Cruz into rivers so I was interested to see how much damage had been caused in the barranco (ravine) behind the beach which had been turned into a raging torrent during the monsoon rains which had taken the island by surprise.
The beach itself wasn’t as bad as I’d expected; a small part of it below the mouth of the barrancos looked as though it had been excavated by a JCB and mounds of sand and rubble broke up the usually smooth surface. Most of the beach was untouched and people were enjoying the warm winter sunshine much as they always do.
The main carnage was in barranco itself which looked as though a tornado had hit it and the saddest sight was the little cactus garden in the centre of the mouth of the barrancos – it was devastated. The neat little circle of cacti was almost unrecognisable and the whole area resembled a rubbish dump.
It wasn’t pleasant to see, but it could have been a lot worse; it was in some places on the island.
The funny thing about Tenerife, especially the north and even more especially on Sundays, is that you don’t get to dwell on things for long. No sooner had we left the disaster area than we turned a corner to be faced by rows of trestle tables laid out underneath the beach’s bandstand. Above the tables were strings of Finnish flags and sitting at the tables were a couple of hundred Finns –not a sight you expect to see on a Sunday afternoon in a Canarian town. I found out later that they were celebrating Finland’s independence from Russia which only happened in 1917… I didn’t know that until Sunday.
A Canarian band serenaded the celebrating Finns and that was a bit surreal in itself, but what really added a bizarre note to the whole scene was the choice of head gear worn by some folks at the party. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down quite fiercely and there was no shade so some of the Finns were using anything to hand as protection for their bonces. Many were using their napkins; at first I thought it was just some sort of crap national costume; others had umbrellas (no doubt believing the myth that it’s always rainy in the north of Tenerife in winter), but the prize for the oddest makeshift hat has to go to this guy.
Lunch was wonderful by the way. It was the first time we’d eaten at Los Faroles. Andy had hake in a salmon sauce and I opted for the Canarian favourite conejo in salmorejo (rabbit in a garlicky sauce). The rabbit was perfection on a plate; tender and with a strong gamey flavour. It was the best I’ve tried in Tenerife to date. When I mentioned this to the waiter he replied with no attempt at any modesty whatsoever.
“No, it’s not the best in Tenerife, it’s the best in the Canary Islands.”
I don’t know if that’s true, but I can definitely recommend it.