Normally we go for a long walk on Boxing Day, but as we had our friend Jo, en route from La Gomera back to the UK, and her dad, Brian arriving the following day we had spent much of the day cleaning, interrupted by a trip to the pub to watch a rather mundane Manchester United huff and puff their way to another 1-0 victory.

Fecindidad and Rainbow

Fecindidad and Rainbow

The ferry from La Gomera links up with a free bus service to Santa Cruz, so we arranged to meet Jo and Brian in the capital. Jo hadn’t seen much of Santa Cruz and her dad’s only experience of Tenerife had been staying in Los Gigantes, so it was a great opportunity to show them around the friendly city.

It was a glorious day and the city was looking at its best as we strolled through the La Noria district up to Parque García Sanabria, a ‘must see’ for visitors to the capital. One of our favourite sculptures in the park is ‘La Fecundidad’; however, Brian made us view the voluptuous dame in a completely different light by commenting:
“She looks as though she’s on the toilet.”
I did manage to capture a photo that I’d been after for some time – a shot of Fecundidad with a rainbow visible in the spray at her thighs.

Lounging by the pool

Lounging by the pool

After the park we wandered down to the newly refurbished Plaza España and basked for a short time on the smooth concrete shore of the plaza’s stunning new man-made pool, before having a quick look at what was left of the Castillo de San Cristóbal in the newly opened ‘mini’ museum underneath the plaza’s pool and heading back to the car park via the colourful Sunday rastro (flea market). Almost since the day we arrived on Tenerife, Santa Cruz has been undergoing facelift after facelift, so it was the first time we’d actually seen it without cranes, metal fences and convoys of construction machinery and I have to report, it is looking a gem of a city.

The following morning we took Jo and Brian to Tenerife’s most noble town, La Orotava. It’s only a five minute drive from the house and is one of the places we considered buying a house when we first moved here. Anyone who’s been to Tenerife and not visited this town hasn’t really experienced the ‘real’ Tenerife. I could wander its quaint old streets for hours and have done many times. It was immensely satisfying to show the town to two people who were as interested and fascinated by its quirks and grand architecture as we are. A rest stop for a barraquito at Casa Lercaro threw up a quirky photo opportunity as one of the mansion’s peacocks showed us exactly where the phrase ‘as proud as a peacock’ originated.

Vain as a peacock

Proud as a peacock

In the afternoon we wandered through the fair, past the harbour and into the streets of Puerto de la Cruz’ old town, stopping for a cervesa at the Ebano Café – one of the most pleasant spots for people watching in the town.
Jo and Brian are also big Man Utd fans and as they were playing Middlesbrough that evening, we ate an early dinner at Casa Mediterranea in one of the cobbled side streets behind Plaza Iglesia. We’ve been meaning to try this small restaurant for years; its menu has always looked interesting and a bit different from the normal traditional Canarian fare. The food was cooked to order by the restaurants personality Italian chef with Elton John glasses. Andy chose lasagne, Jo asparagus and cheese tortellini, Brian opted for steak on the rocks and I had tuna in a tomato, anchovy and olive sauce. Turned out he was an Inter Milan fan. As Man Utd play Inter next in the Champions League it was just as well he didn’t find out we were reds fans till after he’d cooked the meal which incidentally lived up to our expectations.

After enduring another 1-0 win for Man Utd we headed home and at Jo’s insistence (they were catching the 8.00 am bus from Puerto the following day), we celebrated my birthday at a minute past midnight by having a couple of shots of mango schnapps which one of Jo’s neighbours had concocted in his still. Can’t say I could taste the mango, but it was pleasant enough even if it did contribute to a groggy farewell to Jo and Brian at the bus station early next morning.

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