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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

petanque and petals

The third of my posts about Tenerife!  It’s all such an age ago too!  If only I could keep at my blogging instead of doing a lot of the useless stuff I do on the computer!  No I don’t play games – much -  but collecting and pinning stuff on boards is something I could cut back on!

Back to Tenerife then!  One of the main reasons – no, THE main reason my friend Peter goes out to Tenerife in the winter is that he’s passionate about petanque, and there are lots of Europeans taking holidays on the island during the winter months, and spending their afternoons playing at the Bel-ten, (or was it Ten-Bel?).  P1100895Tommy and Sandra probably introduced him to the Tenerifian “scene” in the first place and he is very happy playing with, and learning from, folk who have probably grown up with the game!   Some are very serious and rarely raise a smile, but even I managed to get a few grins and high fives when I occasionally threw a good boule!  My biggest and best moment was a high five from the French petanque champion – a lovely guy called Jean Pierre!  It was fun joining in, and  I enjoyed using some French in the attempt to find a common language amongst the players.  Most spoke some English, but a few Belgians and Spanish players only had a few words.

ten60 petanque We played several times, including in the competition held on the Friday of Carnival week when we were told to dress up in fancy dress!  Tommy’s and Sandra’s brains were picked and they produced a box of things they keep in their apartment for special events.  ten70c carnivalI picked out the Scottish saltire tee-shirt and a silly hat to match, while Peter chose a white Scottish tee-shirt, tartan ribbon and a “Jimmy” hat.  (Comes from the expression “See you, Jimmy”  supposedly used a lot in Scotland, especially in Glasgow, where all Scotsmen aten71a carnivalre thought to have red hair!!!!!  I’m trying to find the words for an English translation of “See P1110019you!” but I’m having problems with it.)  We did look a right pair!  I got some odd stares too and I discovered that the Scottish saltire is also the Tenerifian flag!  Fancy that! Their background is darker blue though.

At first we wondered if we were going to be the only idiots, but it turned out that quite a few folk had dressed up.ten71b carnival

The dark haired guy in the left photo is actually bald, but looked great in his dark wig.  ten71 carnival

The folk on the immediate left are Danish.

ten71f carnivalWe had a good time that afternoon, even if we didn’t win!    The final was played with everyone standing or sitting round the piste on the available plastic chairs.  It was quite a tense  game, but in the end the woman in the red tee-shirt and her partner won!ten016a carnival final

ten016b carnival final





Now, my title suggests I have more to say about my visit to Tenerife, and that is where I’m going next.  It was February, traditionally a dreary dull month back at home….. but here it was like the middle of a British, Scottish even, summer!  And were the flowers in bloom?  You bet!  Take a look at these!  I can’t name them all, but I’ll do my best… starting with the bougainvilleas!ten 115 flowers  They were everywhere!P1110263 

P1100901Aren’t they amazing!  even growing wild in the scrubland at Bel-ten (or is it Ten-bel?)

ten 117 flowers

ten47 flowers

ten85 plant






ten57 flowers






This was on the way to the cafe where we had lunch a couple of times.ten97 flower



ten98 christianos flowers




ten103 cactus




and this is a cactus!






and I think this is a bird of paradise plant.


ten89 flowers

and more bougainvilleas.




more cacti, below, ten83 cactus

ten79 breakfast at sunfower


It seems somehow shocking that these on Peter’s terrace are artificial – and not his!



ten67 parakeet


Yes, I know it’s a bird, a parakeet in fact, a rarely still one at that, but I had nowhere else to put it, so it’s here!  They were everywhere too, too fast to take pictures of normally, as they screech their way through the air at enormous speed!

ten 132 path to sunflower

and more bougainvilleas – even orange onesP1110463.








This was in Garachica where a volcanic eruption 300 yeats ago covered some of the village.P1110416


How beautiful is this with its two tone colouring! 

And this IS a bird of paradise flower along with another pretty red flower.P1110408

I must have loads more photos with flowers and petanque in them, but I think this is probably more than enough for today!  I may just have one more episode to write about, and that was our coach tour round the volcano, Teide (rhymes with Lady, I believe), down to the north coast and up into the mountains where the roads are SCARE-EEEEE!

Talk again soon!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tenerifian style

I really did intend getting back to this before now!  I think this time I will show you some of the Tenerifian buildings I really liked.  There were masses of holiday homes: houses and apartments, churches….. and these old fishermen’s houses.  There aren’t too many of these left now.P1100919P1100910

I love the mountain view behind the old houses and stores on the right, by the way –  all very arid and volcanic!


ten 127 apartments

A lot of the buildings are made up of different shapes, like the semi circular balconies on the right of this photo, and the rectangular ones opposite them.ten89 balcony

I love this little pink balcony with its pillars and pergola, one in a row of them.

ten 128 balconies

ten79a next doorHere are some more pretty balconies.  The one on the left has been built on, extending the upstairs room.   Flowers are everywhere – right!

ten23 galletas pier end


This blue tower is a restaurant at the end of the pier at Costa del Silencio – not quite the end of the pier pavilion we think of in the UK.

and these arched doors lead to…..ten21 public loos

…..the public loos!  Not bad, eh?  You’re not allowed to go in if you are wet, presumably from swimming rather than the rain!  (It must rain there some time!)

ten29 modern apartments silencio

It seems to me that everything is tiled if it isn’t painted.  Even the ground round this lovely house is tiled.ten61 evening at sunflower

I love how bright and light so many of the buildings are.  This is part of the little complex where Peter had rented his apartment.ten52 calle sunflower

That’s Peter standing in the distance outside the apartment!

ten90 apartments

This house is nice.  I love all the trees and cacti in the garden too.ten90a apartments

I like that a lot of the buildings have some irregularity about them, and balconies aren’t always in rows.  Here, right, they are at differing heights – and there are the palms and the cacti again! ten98 christianos

This church is in Los Christianos, one of the big touristy towns, still reasonably quiet at this time of year,ten98d christianos

and these shops, cafes and restaurants with apartments above are facing the beach and  the sea beyond.ten98i christianos

Sadly this beautiful arcaded building had been deserted and left to fall into disrepair.  I think it had been a restaurant once.

P1110083Even these apartments at Medanos  had some character about them, and cafes and shops below them.

Just before I finish, P1110293I must show you some sandcastles made of black sand of course!  You can just see the red bucket the guy put out for your appreciation of his work!  He must spray the sand throughout the day, but I wonder how long each building survives?

Well, this has been a long time in the production.  I will try and do better next time!      Talk again soon.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Winter sun

I’d never ever thought of going to the Canary Islands – too hot, I reckoned, and probably filled with crowds of people, not for me really!  However, some friends from the Petanque group go out to Tenerife for the winter, and Peter was going out for a couple of months to avoid the cold over here, and to up his petanque game in the warmth of a Tenerifian winter.  We began emailing each other and sometimes talking on Facetime.  It all sounded really good there so when Peter suggested I go out to visit, I was very tempted.  Trouble was, I didn’t have a current passport!  It expired a couple of years ago, and I didn’t think I would need one for a while.  I explained the situation to Peter and said I would pass on a visit, but looking at websites and continuing our conversations, I was really quite keen to go – the weather sounded great, and there were sights to see and tours to go on, games of petanque to play too of course – so I decided to go ahead and fill in an application for the new passport.  If it came in time I would ask Peter if his offer still stood.  He was only going to be out there till the end of February, so there might not be time, but hope springs eternal, as they say, and sure enough, the passport arrived in good time.

Peter seemed pleased that I could go after all, so we fixed on a week, Wednesday to Wednesday, and in a week or so I was off on the plane direct from Edinburgh to Tenerife South.  It’s a four and a half hour flight, and no time change either.  Suddenly we were getting out first view of the island, with the ten003 closervolcanic peak of Teide (rhymes with lady!) looming above the clouds, sporting a bit of a snow cap. on the north facing side.  We skirted round to the south west and flying over the two tourist cities of Las Americas and Los Christianos, we came in to land just past Galletas, and Costa del Silencio.  Tommy and Sandra met me and soon we were on the road back to Silencio.  The views of the mountains were incredible, including Teide at almost 13,000 feet, the highest spot in Spain.

ten007 view from 17B sunflowerFrom Peter’s apartment balcony I admired the view of the mountain and the surrounding buildings.  ten010 cactiHow different for me to see all the houses brightly painted, the sky to be so blue and there to be palm trees!  I was already very taken with the place!   We had a walk around the area later and I began to get my bearings.  ten010 concrete bathersThe concrete bathers in their raised pool were amusing, heads lifted to the sun.  Later I would see them twirling round and round on the spot.  Such fun! 

Then we took a look in at the petanque pistes.  Still a few players about, in the afternoon sunshine. ten010a petanque Peter and I played here  often throughout the coming week. ten017 bougainvilea colonnade belten

Continuing our walk we passed this beautiful specimen of bougainvillea growing rampant on the wooden colonnade.  It’s a bit of a sad run down area, that might have been a great recreational parkland once.ten018 old cottage silencio

Down towards the coast we passed a couple of old fishermen’s houses, almost lost in the crowd of modern blocks, then on to the seashore withten019 cactus coast silencio its black rocky beach,


ten21 galletas harbour

the harbour with boats of all sizes and style, P1100915

ten22 galletas cactusten23 galletas pier end

and the pier, with its blue painted restaurant at the furthest end



ten24 galletas harbour

and more old cottages and fishermen’s stores on the far side.

ten25 galletas fishermanA lone fisherman was silhouetted against the sun,


and although there are modern apartment blocks here now, the sculpture of fishermen mending their nets ten26 galletas sculpture evoked a memory of the place it had once been.


More next time.  Talk again soon.