Things to do in Tenerife in August 2014

What to Expect

August is one of the hottest month in Tenerife, when temperatures sizzle and the only thing you want to do is laze by a beach and hope there is a cooling breeze.   At this time of year, the average temperature is 30°C for the south of the island with a few days hitting 40°C and night time temperatures don´t drop below 20°C but in the main average around 23°C.

In the north temperatures are generally a couple of degrees cooler so expect it to be on average 27°C or 28°C through the day with nights averaging around 18°C or 19°C. Chances of rain during your holiday are probably zilch!

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August Highlights

The 15th August is one of the most important dates on the island as it is the feast of the patron saint of the Canary Islands, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. The Virgin also known as Our Lady of Candelaria and La Morenita (Black Madonna has been prayed to for such things as epidemics, plagues, droughts and volcanic eruptions of Mount Teide). Pilgrims and tourists celebrate at this annual festival.

The Festival of San Roque in Garachico is celebrated on August 16 and thousands of visitors gather in the town to see the image of the saint escorted to his hermitage by carts, animals and musicians while the fishermen of Garachico conduct a maritime pilgrimage along the coast.

Apart from being the patron saint of Tenerife, the Virgen de Candelaria is the patron saint of Alcalá on the west coast and they have their own special celebrations every August. On 17th (the final day of the week long celebrations) there is a fireworks display. The show starts at around 10pm with a procession carrying the image of the Virgen to the harbour, followed by the fireworks at midnight.  Alcala has become known as the place to see fireworks in south Tenerife.

The people of Tejina, a district of La Laguna, have been honouring their patron, St Bartholomew’s on 24th August, for a hundred years.  This old tradition is a mixture of both old and new rituals where residents create giant hearts which are paraded through the town to intense but friendly rivalry between the districts of El Pico, Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo

Other Celebrations in August

3rd Pilgrimage of Hope in El Rosario.
3rd The Pilgrimage of Maretas in Arico
5th Day of La Virgen del Amparo in Icod
6th Patrons Party in La Matanza de Acentejo
10th Descent of The Beeches in La Guancha
17th Virgen de Candelaria in Alcala
21st San Joaquin in Fasnia
24th Pilgrimage of San Augustine in Arafo
24th San Bartolomé in Buenavista
28th to 29th Our Lady of Mercy in Fasnia
30th St. Augustine in Arafo
30th Our lady of good hope in El Tanque
31st San Roque in Vilaflor
31st Pilgrimage of San Isidro in Victoria Acentejo.

And last Sunday in August is the Fiesta for Santa Barbara in Icod – known as Baskets and Buns. The preparation of baskets has evolved over time these are decorated in the traditional manner with pulses and cereals, fruit and vegetables. The buns are made ​​with sugar figurines and decorated with multi-coloured ribbons. The procession travels from El Calvario to la Plaza de Santa Bárbara.

There are also dozens of outdoor concerts and of course these are FREE!!  So don´t miss the opportunity to party like a true Tinerfeños.

For weather & news updates around south Tenerife check Queenies Daily Snippets

Continued Page 2

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Chiringo Atlanticus – Los Cristianos, Tenerife

Jim and I recently met friends at the Chiringo Atlanticus for a long overdue get together and a spot of lunch. None of us had been before but liked the location.

1-1-capture1The restaurant is in a prime position at the port end of Las Vistas beach only a few minutes’ walk from the harbour car park of Los Cristianos. The terrace overlooks the beach so ideal for watching people soaking up the rays or enjoying the waves.  Looking in the opposite direction I could quite clearly see Chayofa, the village where I live in the mountains and from the rear terrace there is a view across to Palm Mar. We chose a table at the end of the terrace with nothing in sight except the wide, blue, Atlantic and the ferries heading to La Gomera.

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It is a busy restaurant that attracts many customers from the beach (if there is a drawback this is it as I don´t like eating sitting next to someone in minimum clothing and bare feet). However, it also attracts the likes of our group who want to enjoy a spectacular view with they while away a couple of hours over a few drinks and a spot of lunch.

Although the menu looks like one of those brightly coloured cheapo types that many places use to attract holidaymakers, don´t be misled. The prices are certainly reasonable, the quantities quite large, but the food is definitely better than the images on the menu suggest. The staff are friendly, service is quick and the food ranges from a snack to a delightful salad, a full meal or what I spotted drifting by a delicious looking paella – seafood is the speciality here and going by the size of the prawns on the guy’s plate who was sitting at the next table I am not surprised, they were HUGE!

Our lunch was fine – nothing spectacular but it was only a snack however my barraquito was first class as was the ice cream dessert. A light lunch, a couple of white wines, a couple of beers and a couple of waters at under €10 per person including tip…. The views alone were worth that.

I have heard that at weekends the restaurant features live music but you have to get there from 6.30 or you won’t get a table and although it is typically Spanish they manage to get people singing along and dancing.  Sounds like a visit at sunset could be worth making.

 

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Still Faffing in France

After leaving Carcassonne and the herd of tourists, the following day after breakfast, we went to Lagrasse a picturesque medieval fortified village in the ancient Cathar area. Lagrasse is one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’ (Plus Beaux Villages) and sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

We wound our way through the countryside until we hit town and parked up.  We walked up the hill to the bridge and gazed at the river as it sparkled in the sunshine (yes, the sun was shining and it was warm).  We crossed the footbridge to look in the Abbey, then back over the old bridge into town. We continued to tour the narrow streets and decided Lagrasse rightly deserved its Plus Beaux Villages title not just for the 14th century covered market, the 12th century bridge, many medieval houses and the 8th century Benedictine Abbey but for the small and interesting bits and pieces that are dotted around the cobblestone streets. Pretty water fountains, silly signs and lovely flowers wherever you look.

The village is now home to numerous potters and artists and many were working in the sunshine, sawing huge joists of wood while renovating their historical old houses but still keeping the ancient facades. We finally stopped at the Cafe de la Promenade; most of the cafés are on the wide and shady Bvd de la Promenade along with a few shops.  We were charged over €5 for two very sorry cups of coffee and felt ripped off by the grumpy owner who was laying tables for lunch.  Anyway, we decided a picnic was in store so went to the “Ronde Des Pains” Boulanger Patisserie. We bought two quiches and two gooey cakes for the same price as the coffee – now we knew we had been ripped off!   Across the street amidst the art galleries and medieval architecture were a group of young people sitting in the shade of a plane tree and enjoy a pleasant drink and making music. Wish we had found this little cafe earlier and stopped here to watch the world go by.  Anyway after a couple or three hours it was onward and upward towards another Beaux Village – Castelnou.

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It is true I am a dizzy blonde!

I have excellent health and the only thing I can remember visiting the doctors for in the past 9 years since we moved to Tenerife is an inhaler for my breathing problems that are connected to my sinuses so nothing worth worrying about.  I was, therefore, rather concerned when a few weeks ago I turned over in the middle of the night only to feel I was falling out of bed. The room was spinning around and I felt as though I would be sick.  It was from what I remember a little like a hangover but I haven´t had one of those for a long time!

The next morning I woke and the image was still vivid but I assumed I had been dreaming however, when I went to get out of bed the whole room again began to spin around and I staggered to the bedroom door and immediately banged into it.  There was no way I was going to attempt the stairs. The horrible sensation felt as if it lasted several minutes but it was probably only a few seconds.  Again I passed it off, however when I had several short episodes of intense dizziness throughout the week, I began to worry. Because I am never ill, I have never bothered to look up symptoms for various ‘common’ conditions that my friends have so I immediately thought did I have problems with cholesterol, high or low blood pressure or was it something more sinister.

In the end, the dizzy spells were occurring so frequently that I decided to check Google and I am convinced that I have the following…..

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  Tiny solid fragments that float about inside the ear cause it.  Thinking back I had a pain in my left ear for a couple of days which may have been a slight ear infection but it quickly cleared, so I thought no more about it.

What happens is the fragments brush along the delicate hairs that line the ear canal and this sends confusing messages to the brain that causes intense dizziness. The vertigo typically lasts for 10-20 seconds and usually no longer than a minute, then goes away completely until the next new episode.  It is triggered by a change in head position so getting out of bed and rolling over in bed are common causes of the dizziness which can also be accompanied by the feeling of wanting to be sick which can last for around an hour. In most cases, the symptoms clear away within several weeks or months. However, you may have recurrences months or years later.

I still have BPPV but I did find these simple exercises of moving the head into various positions over a few minutes can cure or at least help. This treatment uses gravity to move the tiny fragments away from where they are causing problems and once I have done these I have no further problems for several days.

If you have BPPV you may wish to try these. If you are affected by the left ear copy the images below, if it is your right ear that is causing the problems, then turn the head in the opposite direction.  You should find immediate relief but if not wait 15 minutes before repeating. I suggest doing them in the middle of your bed because the first time I tried I toppled to one side, (that image alone would have been worth a photo shoot) but once you know what to expect they are worth continuing with.

Capture

It would seem that while BPPV may be unpleasant the cause is not serious.  Women are affected about twice as often as men and it becomes more common the older you get. (I hate being old I have yet to find a single benefit).

For weather & news updates around south Tenerife check Queenies Daily Snippets

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Restaurante Fortuna – Los Cristianos, Tenerife

When Suzanne a former neighbour came on holiday last week she told us she had had a lovely meal in Fortuna Nova in Los Cristianos.  I was surprised because when she lived here, like many ex-pats she rarely ate in the resorts.  As I had been tasked with the job of choosing the next restaurant for our quiz team treat I thought we might give this place a try.

We met at Christine’s house at 7.30 and when I said where, Peter twisted his face, I’ve eaten there and it’s not my favourite place – well what about El Gomero, oh no he said I don´t like eating with the police and taxi drivers.  Then Andrew piped up, our son and his friend often eat at Fortuna they swear by the lamb.

OK Peter you are outnumbered. So we head off and as we are going along inside the underground carpark, a voice says the restaurant is just about overhead.  No! said Jim it is out the far end – confusion reigned.  We parked up, and walked out heading to the Church Plaza, then down the pedestrianised side street Calle Juan XXIII.  Halfway down we saw Fortuna (no Nova).  Do you do lamb I asked – yes said the owner, our speciality and the best in town.  What about Fortuna Nova – that also belongs to us but is near the Culture Centre. So as nobody had actually eaten at this restaurant before we thought we would give it a try.

The above 3 images are taken from the internet and show where we ate, the owner of both restaurants and the one we originally thought we were going to which has a better outlook.

So back to eating in a side street – it wasn´t half bad, admittedly the view was far from exciting but it wasn´t boring as plenty of people wandered backwards and forwards. A couple of looky looky men stopped to chat and a holiday maker on the next table came to check out their ‘Rolex watches‘ He realised we actually knew these people so was happy to spend time bartering with them.  I don´t know whether he finished his deal as at that point our garlic bread arrived.

02-DSC04492Four of us ordered the half leg of lamb, @ €15, it came with mixed vegetables or red cabbage. Three had it with cabbage and one with vegetables.  One had fish of the day which was sea bass and came with salad and we had a selection of Canarian, boiled and roast potatoes with onions.  My only criticism is that the meal came with too much gravy, I like quite a dry plate. However it was cooked to perfection, fell off the bone and there was so much that nobody could eat it all so we each came home with a doggy bag. The only word is outstanding.

We had a couple of waters, one con and one sin gaz, a couple of beers and a bottle of wine. Everyone rounded of the meal with coffee in various guises.  I was told by the owner that the baraquito was yet again “the best in town” and it was excellent, we had two of those, an Irish coffee and a couple of cafe con leches.  The whole bill was under €115 which for the amount of food and the faultless service plus the four Baileys and a brandy which were on the house, we thought was excellent value.

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It wasn´t quite where we expected to be eating, but I would have no hesitation in recommending it and by the number of people who came and went while we were there even a Monday night is very popular.

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Baking with Soreen.

Unlike me, Jim has always been a fan of Soreen malt loaf.  It use to be the case that there was only one Soreen loaf you could buy but I have been told by my daughter, who is also a fan, that you can now get banana and chocolate chip and a whole host of other flavours.  I dread to think of what will go into the suitcase on our next visit to the UK. Whilst I don´t like the malt loaf ‘straight’ I did come up with a chewy cookie recipe which makes buying a loaf worthwhile.

1-Soreen cookies (3)

The Ingredients You will be able to make about 12 cookies with this mix.

200g Caster Sugar
100g Butter
1 Eggs
175g Plain Flour
90g Soreen Original Loaf (or any other Soreen Loaf)
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, then beat in the egg. Add the vanilla extract, the baking powder, salt and flour. Chop the Soreen loaf into small pieces and stir into the flour.

5-Soreen cookies (2)

Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture on baking sheets. Bake for about 10 mins at 180c they are still soft at this stage but will harden up as they cool although we like them slightly chewy in the centre. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving

3-Soreen cookies (1)Now the following recipe I got from the Soreen website but thought I would share for those who like me are not a lover of malt loaf but do like Flapjacks

Chocolate Soreen Flapjacks

Ingredients
1 loaf of Soreen Original malt loaf
100g butter
25g caster sugar
200g porridge oats
150g dark chocolate
5 tablespoons golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180c

Put the butter in a pan and over a low heat stir until it melts. Once the butter has melted, add the  sugar, then spoon in the golden syrup. Mix until you get a gooey paste. Add the porridge oats and stir well.

Next it’s the star of the recipe, the Soreen loaf. Cut this into small chunks and plop it into the mixture.… stir again. Evenly spread the mixture into a pre-greased baking tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Check to see if the flapjack has turned a lovely golden brown. Leave it to cool.

Melt the dark chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of hot water. Keep stirring all the time so no lumps or bumps pop up.  Pour the hot melted chocolate on top of the flapjack and leave to set. The chocolate needs around one hour to set. Once set it’s time to grab your knife and cut yourself a rather large slice of your very own Chocolate Soreen Flapjack. Yum!

 

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Faffing around in France

After cavorting around Catalonia and spending time dallying with Dali we left Spain and headed for France.  Our original idea was to stop briefly in Béziers after seeing it on one of those ‘A House in XYZ’ TV programmes. The impression given was of a pretty town with a church perched high on a hill overlooking the river Orb, the reality after a bit more research suggested it was little more than a grey town with horrendous traffic jams.  We, therefore, decided when almost at Narbonne to give it a miss and head straight for Carcassonne.

The last time we visited the city was 2007 and as we enjoyed it then, we thought we would see whether it had changed.  Firstly it should be pointed out that ‘Carca’ as the locals call it, is actually a city within a city. There is ‘Le Cité’, the ancient fortress and then there is the lower town, Bastide Saint Louis, a small charming and pretty, workaday authentically French town dating back to the 13th century.

Bastide has an array of restaurants and cafés and some quite nice shops. It’s easy to wander around, because like most fortified towns it is set out in a grid and several streets form a pedestrian zone, making strolling along looking at the shops even easier.

We arrived in a blustery spell of rain and cold winds and checked in to our hotel. It was on one of the many new ring roads around town that was home to numerous commercial centres.  Initially we thought it was hard to find but then realised it was just two roundabouts with a short stretch of duel carriageway between from Le Bastide and three roundabouts and a continuation of the duel carriageway from the walled city.  It was clean and very comfortable so we booked a second night.

Our first day wasn’t exactly great weather for wandering around so we found a restaurant in the centre of the old town.  We were attracted by the prospect of the restaurants speciality, cassoulet, which is a traditional dish of white beans, sausage and duck. Fortified with a warming lunch which we lingered over by the open fire, we headed out to continue our tour but the weather was unbelievably cold and we eventually decided to head back to the hotel for an early night.

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The next morning with breakfast under our belts we headed for Le Cité. It was under 5 minutes in the car and straight into an almost empty car park, which considering it was now almost 11.00am was a surprise as we believe this attraction (because it is as much an attraction as a town) receives 3 million plus visitors each year.  Perhaps it was because it was still rather cold.  Nothing like the previous day but walking up to the cobblestoned entrance, I clutched my jumper around my shoulders against the strong wind. Once inside the portcullis there were only a handful of other visitors around.

Carcassonne puts all other medieval walled cities I’ve visited in the shade.  Just the sheer size of it is amazing. Touristy and over-restored but magnificent. A fairytale walled city of drawbridges, towers and fountains, secret gardens, courtyards, churches, ancient buildings, and delightful narrow cobbled streets where you will discover something new around  each corner.  Admittedly it is heavily geared to tourism, so expect the usual array of shops selling jewellery, souvenirs, fashion and “Cathar heritage”, but generally not as overpriced as I would have expected.   There were even a couple of rather quaint shops that sold beautiful tiles and wall decorations not available elsewhere. (Bought two then had the nightmare of figuring out how to get them home – Remember we are flying Ryanair!!)

We spent time wandering in and out of the shops and around between the walls. Come late afternoon we took our food and rested our weary feet in the courtyard of the church all the time dribbling gooey filling from our freshly made crepes.  By now the wind had dropped, the sun was out and the number of people around us had grown.  It was finally time for us to continue our journey, so back to the car which now had  several coaches parked around it. Hardly surprising, Carcassonne is quite simply a must see and we were more than happy to do the touristy thing and see it all – it was great fun.

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Best of British – Sausages

On Thursday morning, I decided to take a trip to Adeje town to visit the British Sausage & Burger Co’s shop.  I knew the product was good, as last week I had a home delivery of Pork and Apple and Pork and Stilton sausages, which were delicious.  I have also sampled the Lincolnshire and Cumberland as I was invited to a BBQ at the owner’s home before the shop opened. Whilst the people on that Sunday afternoon  didn´t all know each other, as a group they were similar in that the comments they made on the flavour, texture etc. of the food were honest and constructive rather than polite.  My OH, tried their ‘super burgers’ which he affirmed were exceptional and another guy Rob tucked into the chilli burgers.  He was warned not to smother this with chilli sauce and he looked rather dubious, as he said I have never had a chilli burger that doesn´t need sauce adding.  Well there is always the exception to the rule and sure enough, he declared “OMG they are so flavoursome you don´t need to add enhancements”.   Rob is now back in the UK and is still telling everyone how much he misses the taste of a ‘proper’ burger.

Anyway back to the shop.  I have noticed a few people saying they can´t find where it is located.  With my terrible sense of direction, I knew if I found it then it wasn´t as hard as some were making out.  Okay the Google map on the British Sausage & Burger website isn’t 100% accurate – it is like thousands of Google Maps, a bit out of date but it does show that the road is called La Vina and as it is a short road I don´t think anyone could get lost, not even me!

If you are driving, head right to the top of Adeje, and just before you reach the road that would take you up to Otello (the Chicken restaurant), take the turning with the canon on the corner and head back down towards town.  Halfway down on the right-hand side you will see a bar, El Cañon and the shop is directly next door.

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I was lucky to find a car parking spot opposite but I believe there is parking at the end of the road and also parking on the main road, Calle Castillo.

It was interesting speaking with Stu, who before moving to Tenerife was Head Chef in several high-end establishments in the South of England.  I asked him the best way to cook his sausages as I do mine in the oven.  He said that was fine but to add just a tiny drizzle of oil.  This is because NO FAT comes out.  The sausages no matter what other herbs or spices are added are all made from pure lean shoulder of pork. He is undecided as to whether to experiment by adding a tiny amount of belly pork to his mix but he will never resort to what many sausage makers do, which is use cheap cuts and a large slab fat plus bulking them with rusk.  I did ask why he wasn´t making chipolata sausages – I’ve tried but I’m not 100% happy with them was his reply.  It is because he is a perfectionist and at this time cannot get the correct skins that they are off the menu, but he is continuing to look for suppliers.  However his main criteria is that the products he purchases must be consistently good quality as what he is producing is an exact science and he is not prepared to compromise by incorrect measurements or inferior products.

He does not want to stick to just the basic sausages and has plans for many different flavours some exotic, some unusual and he is happy to take suggestions from potential customers who want to visit the Website and by completing the form he can see what your favourites are.

He also is happy to work with other ‘specialist’ companies whose products compliment his burgers and sausages.  If you produce chutneys or can supply freshly laid eggs, make your own cheeses or perhaps you are famed for making delicious hand-made game pies you should contact this young entrepreneur. Stuart is a nice personable young man, who is happy give customers the benefit of his knowledge both in making the fresh produce and in cooking in general.  I sound like his mum – but as you know I only have daughters not sons.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, I am looking forward to trying the tiny piece of Lorne I was gave to sample, as it is something I hadn’t heard of never mind tasted before. I also bought some Pork and Leek sausages which look divine.  Whoever would have guessed that in the land of cheap sausages and full English breakfasts there would be such a place where you can find the best of British.

Now I wonder could there be a market for chocolate flavoured sausages?

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Time Travel in Chirche – Day of Traditions

Every year, the small village of Chirche, in the municipality of Guía de Isora, organise a Day of Traditions to which thousands of people flock.

Chirche has Guanche origins, which we know from the archaeological traces still preserved, but its history as village dates back to the seventeenth century. The purpose of this particular festival is to act as a living museum for traditions that have virtually disappeared elsewhere on the island.

The ‘big’ day starts at 10.00am on the Sunday when the village inhabitants dress up in costumes of the first half of the 20th century and recreate everyday life of the era. The locals carry out household chores including how they made bread, prepared cereals, toasted grain or ground almonds.  As well as other domestic tasks, such as sewing and laundry at the old wash-house, visitors can see how the village folk threshed wheat, made roof tiles in the old tile ovens and how fretwork or basketry were made.

Around of the village you will see a corral with goats, the old school and children playing typical games of the period.  Several old houses, that are now uninhabited, will open their doors for the public to explore how the people of Tenerife decorated their homes and how they used to live.  There is also the chance to taste traditional foods like trucha (trout) and ‘mistela’ a tasty coffee liqueur.

For those looking to take home some of the flavour of the time, there is a market selling crafts, baskets and local produce including, liquor, honey and freshly picked fruits.

Thanks to Guia de Isora Tourism for use of the above images.
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Two way Sticky Ginger Dessert

This recipe is quite versatile, it can be either a cake that gets tastier and stickier the longer it stays in the tin or it can be a hot pudding served with lashings of custard. This is a very simple recipe, quick to knock together and totally irresistible.

Ingredients 
100g sugar
90g butter or marg
2tbsp Golden Syrup
1heaped tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp Baking powder
130g SR Flour
125ml Milk (or enough to make a thick batter.

If making a loaf it is nice to add a topping
75g  Icing Sugar
1tbsp Hot Water
1 scant tbsp Golden Syrup

Preheat oven to 160c.

In your mixer blend all the ingredients then pour into a prepared loaf tin or a pudding basin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack.

If you have made the loaf while it is cooling combine all the topping ingredients and mix until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the loaf while still warm.  When completely cooled store in an airtight tin or container. This loaf tastes even better the next day or after.

It should look like the loaf below, although that isn’t my picture, just one I have taken from the internet.

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