Romería in La Orotava

It is almost June, the year is flying by, and once again, here on Tenerife the local folk will dress up in their finest costumes on 5th June to celebrate in La Orotava. Known as La Romería de San Isidro Labrador the festivities were first introduced in 1799 although in its present form it can be traced back to 1846 and like so many traditions of this kind, its origins are religious.

Originally, farmers simply carried an effigy of the saint down the cobbled streets to the church of San Agustín. The priest would bless the cattle before they returned in happy procession, socialising and having fun.

If this is your first experience of a real Tenerife fiesta then you should expect to be charmed by the generosity of the inhabitants who share local produce of wine, cheese, eggs and other goodies with friends and strangers alike.

View the procession of beautifully adorned carts pulled by massive oxen as they sway along the streets led by strong men in black fedora hats, white shirts, woollen breeches, and scarlet cummerbunds.

Image – Patricia Rodríguez

And enjoy much dancing by ladies in their traditional costumes of scarlet waistcoats, gipsy blouses and striped skirts over exquisite petticoats.  There is also plenty of singing to old fashioned guitars and percussion instruments, and amongst this sea of colour and sound, there is quite a lot of wine drinking.

06-Alice San Miguel Romeria5

The romería today is a spectacle of colour and merriment and if anything, is more popular than ever. It is, an occasion for everyone to share, to have tremendous fun and to lose themselves in the charms of a good old fashioned festive tradition.

Thank God for tradition!

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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Granada and the Alhambra

We tend to choose cities when taking short breaks and have previously visited some stunning places, Barcelona, Seville, however, Granada proved more than I was expecting. Before our visit, I didn’t know the first thing about it other than it was somewhere in Andalucía and it shared a name with a TV broadcaster (ignorant I know). To be honest, I thought it was all cathedrals and monasteries, which to an extent is true and of course, the Alhambra. Then, we visited…

Granada a former Moorish stronghold imbues Islamic traditions, it was the last Muslim city that fell to the Christians in 1492, so an old city with hints at ghosts of a different past but today, there is also a large student population, lending a youthful ambience and vibrancy.

Upon arrival, we walked in the historic cathedral district hidden within a maze of pedestrianised streets and witnessed the Moorish influence first-hand. The Cathedral is as large and impressive as any in Spain. We saw the Royal Chapel that contains the tombs of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand from the early 16th century and wandered through what for me was a favourite part of the city the ´Alcaiceria´ (old silk market) Here we browsed the craftworks on sale that include ceramics, marquetry, leather goods, glass lampshades, jewellery and lots more. Many shops sell the same items, but don’t be shy to haggle. There are plenty of places to stop for refreshments many having a truly Moorish feel as well as smell, from those puffing on a hookah.

We sauntering up to the bustling El Mirador de San Nicolas the place to go to enjoy fantastic views of the Alhambra – the flashing of cameras is relentless. It is worth climbing the slopes at the end of the day to watch the sunset and see the Alhambra dyed orange.

Of course, the highlight of our trip was a visit to the Alhambra Palace dating back to the 11th century and taking its name from the Arabic for ‘red castle’. The fortress set against the majestic backdrop of the Sierra Nevada is like nothing I had ever imagined even in the furthest corners of my mind.

Upon entering, we discovered a combination of perfect harmony, equal parts elegance and austerity. The Arabic architecture, the intricately carved details, blends naturally with the trickle of water, which is everywhere. With so much to entice from the soothing pathways, impeccably maintained hedges and pools to the centuries-old walls, turrets and views overlooking Granada, it challenges your visual senses with its rich colours, smells and sounds. During our visit, we crossed patios and rooms exquisitely decorated and full of symbolism, every inch of decoration has meaning.

It is impossible to capture in words the wonderland that is the Alhambra. Be it enough to know that people come from all over the world to enjoy this fascinating attraction and are not disappointed.

That night it became evident that nightlife is a big draw. We could have watched flamenco, a different style to that offered in Seville as there are small flamenco taverns dotted around the city, but as we needed to eat, we took a tapas tour through some of Granada’s lively squares.

Following previous blogs on our travels thorugh Spain we chose to stay at the Parador de Granada, a former monastery built by the Catholic Monarchs and the gardens and fountains evoke a past in which the Arab and the Christian intermingled. The hotel is enchanting, in keeping with the magic exuded by every corner of the city.

So that’s it – we ate, we explored, and if I haven’t made it clear already we fell in love with Granada. You could say that it has it all, interesting monuments, the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada lined with colourful buildings and filled with equally colourful people, the fusion of international cultures and cuisine. Put quite simply, Granada is enchanting! Would I recommend it? Absolutely and we will certainly return.

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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A guide to eating places in Tenerife

Once again Tripadvisor is responsible for the idea behind this blog.  I rarely recommend restaurants because everyone has different tastes and expectations, however, what does surprise me is that few people seem to realise the number of different types of eateries we have on the island. Restaurants are part of our culture but many have different names so what do you expect when you enter each?

Restaurante

A proper sit-down restaurant like any other in the western world. The customs and protocols are pretty much the same too.

Horno Asador

The name literally translates to roasting oven. Huge chunks of meat or suckling pigs are placed in dishes and slid into the oven or onto an open grill. These eateries are very popular with tourists and locals alike due to their authentic feel.

Terraza

Canarians love to eat outdoors, so you will find ‘terraces’ everywhere. Most have an indoor dining room, but due to the weather, people prefer their meals under awnings, umbrellas, even trees as they eat and watch the world pass by. In the holiday resorts, these establishments tend to be clustered together and have similar menus.

Tasca or Tapas Bar

These are everywhere.  They can be grand or grotty with floors covered in paper napkins, but these are where the locals go and are often the best, or they can be the bar of a proper sit-down restaurant.

tapas-to-tantalise-your-tastebuds-in-barcelona

Comidas

Want a cheap meal of wholesome fare? Head for a comidas here you will find taxi drivers, police, etc. this is where the local workforce go and penny for penny you will find the best deals.

Guachinche

Quintessentially a shed, garage or a room in the family home where the wife of the winemaker offers simple food from the family kitchen to accompany the wine produced on the land.

So next time you are out and about, look for the signs, you are bound to find something that suits your taste.

(Images various from internet)
For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  

 

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Garachico sculptures

Regular readers of this Tenerife blog won’t be surprised to see that following on from my visit to Garachico I now have the excuse to show you a number of sculptures that can be found in the town.

There are lots of busts to famous people but the only one I had heard of is in the town square Simon Bolívar the founder of Bolivia whose mother was born in Garachico. However, busts aren’t my thing; I like big bold pieces so the rest of the list really impressed me.

The Fish is a sculpture dedicated to the local men of the sea and is a symbol of local cuisine.

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Moreover, to the women fishmongers of the town, is this lovely steel sculpture.

Called ‘Monument to the Immigrant’ I like to think it is dedicated to all of us who live on this beautiful island.

This obelisk is a reminder of the volcanic eruption of 1706 an event that marked a long period of economic decline in the town.

garachico sculptures 5

There’s even a statue to celebrate putting those dastardly Brits in their place. It commemorates the Derrame del Vino that took place in 1666 when local wine growers poured gallons of wine down the drain, in protest to the British monopoly of Canarian wine.

Probably the most recognisable is Tensei Tenmoku (door without door) that overlooks the sea.garachico sculptures 1

 

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Something on the Side

Tenerife has many things to be proud of and one of them is definitely our fruit and vegetables.

We are people who like good food, that also means the accompaniments that go with our meals. The cuisine may be simple but the variety and quality of the products is important. I have mentioned in the past traditional foods and recipes of the islands and my opinion now is more than ever that our fruit and vegetables take an awful lot of beating.

Tomatoes

Canary tomatoes have an intense red colour and are sweet to taste. A salad would not be complete without them but they also play a leading role in many Tenerife recipes whether in stews, sauces or just to eat on their own.

Bananas.

Wherever you look on our island, you will find banana plantations. The Canary Banana is unmistakable. Its flavour is unique, simply delicious, and unparalleled. It looks different, as it is small, yellow with black spots and inside a delicate cream colour. Although the most common way to eat it is fresh, it is also useful in the kitchen where it can be fried, barbequed turned into delicious cakes, preserves, mousse, and ice creams. It also makes a delicious liqueur.

Chestnuts.

Chestnut are still part of our landscape, mainly in the north of the island. The sweet smell of roasted chestnuts in our streets tells us that autumn has arrived. However, it is during the celebration of San Andres that chestnuts play an important role. On the 29th November, the wine cellars in Tenerife open their doors to taste the new wine which is always accompanied by chestnuts and a good mojo.

Potatoes

Undoubtedly, the potato is the star of our cuisine. It is to Canarian cooking what Mount Teide is to Tenerife. Grown in huge qualities we have more than 20 varieties which include “papas bonitas” (pretty potatoes) and “papas Quineguas or Chineguas” (King Edward potatoes) and my favourite “papa negra” (black potato) which is small, round and has a yellow centre. It is always expensive and the best way of preparing is in papas arrugadas for something completely different to anything eaten in the rest of Europe.

(image diario informacion)

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  

 

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