Bioclimatic Houses in Tenerife

I’ve always enjoyed looking at houses, not with the intention of buying but because I’m nosy. With this in mind, we took a trip to the Casas Bioclimaticas at the ITER technological park and what a fascinating trip it was.

Tenerife is known for its wind, whether you’re into kite boarding or wind surfing so it is amazing to find this residential development of 25 homes located in an isolated but exceptionally peaceful area, between sea, mountains, and right next to a wind farm! They are also just a few minutes’ walk from several, practically deserted beaches.

To find this unique ‘village’, take the TF1 motorway towards Santa Cruz exit 51 or from Santa Cruz exit 52. Follow the signs and when you get to the industrial estate, stop at the barrier, give your details and they will let you through.

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The first stop is the Visitors’ Centre, itself a bio-climatic building, close to the houses. There you will find a cafeteria, shop and terraces where you can view the Wind Farm and Montaña Pelada in the distance. There is an exhibition area with a model of the whole ITER project, different kinds of renewable energies and some of the exhibits are interactive so you can ‘fiddle’.

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The centre and walkway are easy to negotiate on your own, but once a week there is a guided tour through the houses and this answers all your questions about renewable energy.

The project had an inspiring beginning. In the 1990s, construction in the Canary Islands was haphazard with little care for the impact on its surroundings. The Casas Bioclimaticas started as a competition with the idea of generating awareness about constructing homes in an efficient way. Architects from 38 countries submitted almost 400 designs and 25 winners were chosen. These designs allow experts to compare different solutions and decide which are the most efficient. The data is used to design environmentally friendly buildings across the world.

The houses were opened to the public in 2011 and were all individually designed, using recycled and recyclable materials. They are all 100% energy efficient, make maximum use of the available wind power and blend in with the landscape. The gardens are planted with only plants native to the island and there are small water features like ponds dotted around. The furnishings are all from local interior designers and the overall result is that each home has character and style.

Even though experimental all the houses are available as holiday rentals through the ITER who also run the wind farms either side of the TF-1 motorway. Tel:  922 747 758 or email casas.bioclimaticas@iter.es.

 

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

 

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Hiba Hiba – Los Cristianos

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Hidden away around the back of the Passarela Oasis Shopping Centre is Los Cristianos is Hiba Hiba. We have parked by this restaurant on several occasions, liked the look of the clean and chic décor and as we both like Moroccan and Turkish food thought because there is a lot of cross-fertilization in that area we would probably like Lebanese food.

We have eaten in the Balkonen in Las Americas, but being in a popular resort did wonder if the food there was adapted to meet tourist tastes. However, when we suggested eating at Hiba Hiba with friends one Saturday night it was fully booked. Not to be deterred we thought we would give it another go.

Because it had been a long day shopping we called ahead one Friday evening and asked if their €12.95 set meal was available as a takeaway. Fortunately, it was so armed with carrier bag we headed home to sit in front of the telly and hopefully enjoy a Lebanese meal.

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The menu is extensive and the Set Meal served between 5.00 and 8.00pm includes Hummus, Avocado, Felfel, and Baba Ganug dips served with Lebanese bread. A starter from a choice of four and a main course from six groups, so loads of choice.

I went for the Kibbeh, minced lamb with pine nuts for my starter and my main was the Shish Taouk, Cubes of marinated chicken breast in a peanut sauce served with Arabic rice. Jim didn´t fancy the set meal but went for the Red Pepper puree with nuts and honey and the Chicken with peaches served with Arabic style potatoes.

When we opened our cartons, they all looked delicious and we ended up sampling each other’s, so had a good spread of tastes. It was all well prepared and my chicken was particularly delicious and the rice I can only describe as aromatic with a hint of garlic and cardamom. (Unfortunately, I hit the record button when taking a picture of my plate, so that is captured from a video 😦 .) Moreover, Jim’s chicken although it looks a little messy was wonderful.

Although we didn´t experience waitress service Louise, from West Yorkshire, (that’s on the sunny side of Lebanon) who took our call and served us with our takeaway was lovely and couldn´t have been more helpful, explaining which dips were mild and which were extremely hot.

Next time we will eat IN the restaurant, I am already looking forward to the Lamb with Plums, as readers know I love fruit with my meat.

You don´t always have to eat ‘local food’ and having such a diverse and richly varied restaurant scene as we have in Tenerife is yet another reason we love the island.

For news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog
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Los Cristianos Carnival – 17th to 27th March

Thousands of people enjoyed the splendour of the Carnival of Santa Cruz and while it may be the biggest on the island and nothing can quite compare in size, here in the south, Los Cristianos is preparing for its own spectacular event.

At 4.00pm on 26th March, one of the most anticipated events in Arona’s calendar will take place – the Coso Apoteosis. This year’s theme is Las Vegas, but that is only a rough guide, there will no doubt be the annual favourites like Elvis and Michael Jackson joining the likes of Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe.

The streets of Los Cristianos will be festooned with colour and fantasy as locals and visitors alike will be proudly wearing their costumes for the occasion.

Prime viewing spots are bagged early, last year more than 50,000 people watched the main parade. And while preparation down by Paloma Beach may look chaotic, there is a system, thankfully known to those with clipboards who direct performers to assembly points.

The Coso will feature bedecked floats and cars, children’s and adult queens, as well as drag queens with their respective courts of honour, musical groups, the winners of the costume contests and numerous famous characters. It is a spectacular, multi-coloured caravan full of fantasy and illusion.

Perhaps not on time, but eventually wagons will roll. The drummers set the pace, everyone falls into line, and the show we have all been waiting for begins.

Thousands of local people and tourists discovering carnival for the first time will enjoy an exciting and unbridled day full of fun and giggles, and the best atmosphere imaginable. It is all very impressive.

For those who still have any energy left there will be dancing and partying late into the night, then all that is left to do is bury the sardine!

When it comes to glam, Arona put on a great show. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the different events of the main Carnival of the South and you can find the full programme HERE

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Some Sacked Saints

I was checking information on Santa Ursula, the municipality in the north of Tenerife and saw a reference to the defrocked saint. It didn’t make sense. What could she have possibly done while wiling away her time in heaven to be demoted?

Then I remembered … in the 1960s, saints were removed from the liturgical calendar when the Pope decided some were only legends and therefore no longer worthy of the title.

Apparently Saint Ursula was a Christian princess whose father arranged for her to marry a pagan king. Although unhappy at the prospect, she set sail to meet him accompanied by eleven virgins. Here the account gets muddled as the virgins increase from 11 to 11,000! Quite how they all fitted on the boat is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, after being blown off course, they ended up in Cologne and were all killed. As far-fetched as it sounds, it inspired Columbus to name the Virgin Islands after the ladies. However, that wasn’t enough and the church decided she was only a myth. Except in Tenerife where her feast day is still recognised.

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Other demoted saints included

Saint Nicholas known for his extreme generosity and the prototype for Santa Claus also got the boot… I couldn’t give a rat’s **** he will always be Numero Uno in our house.

Saint George the hero who slayed a dragon was beheaded after ghastly things were done to him, but only according to myth.  AND dare I say an ‘A List Celeb’  Saint Christopher who carried the child Jesus to safely across a river also got the push. There just wasn’t enough evidence he existed. My relationship with Chris goes back a long way. My gran gave me a blue enamel medal when I was 7 years old and told me I would always be safe when travelling if I wore it. For years, it kept me safe but Chris must have fallen down on the job, as traffic accidents kept increasing so he had to go.

Many must have been shocked to learn their devoted saint was no longer a saint. So maybe we should just have a default saint; mine would be Saint Jude, the patron saint of Lost Causes.
At least he can take a sad song and make it better. 

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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The Oyster Catcher – Los Cristianos

Eating in Los Cristianos on a Saturday night is a popular pastime. It took us three attempts to find a restaurant that is not in the ‘pie, chips and cheap pints’ category. Our original plan was to meet friends at the Olive Garden Deli to try their curry, but when Barry and Ann were there, they saw the restaurant closed at 7.00pm. This was far too early, as it would mean eating around 5.00ish, so after checking out the menu online, we decided to try Hiba Hiba also in the Oasis Pasarella complex. On Thursday, I suddenly thought, what if they are full, so sent a message making a reservation, and sure enough, they were packed to the rafters and could only offer us a different day.

That meant Indian was off; Lebanese was off, what else was in that area?

Ah! The Oyster Catcher. It always looked a cut above the rest, but despite its handy location, and easy parking, I had never been.

When we arrived, we were greeted warmly, and on checking our booking, we were given a choice of tables, there were already several taken or reserved and we decided to sit inside. While waiting for our friends a waitress took our drinks order, and gave us a menu to read.

I asked the white haired man in the apron if he was Angel the owner who I had read about and he said he was. This was doubly confirmed when I watched him on the flambé trolley which is a speciality of the restaurant.

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The décor is bright and a touch traditional, the kitchen is visible which for us is important as there is nothing to hide and the service is charming, so far, this restaurant was ticking all the boxes.

It took us a while to decide what we wanted as the menu is extensive and there is also a specials board. What we didn´t realise is just how plentiful the portions were going to be.

I fancied the black pudding as a starter but I was told it was not Canarian, so both Barry and I opted for the prawn cocktail. Large fat juicy prawns on a bed of salad with fruit and a delicious sauce. Jim went for the garlic prawns that he was shown before they were flambéed, Ann was sensible and said she would wait for mains.

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We all had different main courses, these included liver and onions, gammon steak, hake and I went for the fillet steak. All meals come with a choice of potatoes and fresh vegetables. Once again, because it was going to be flambéed I was shown the raw meat and asked how I would like it. As we ate, Angel checked if everything was to our liking and particularly if my meat was cooked the way I wanted it – nice touch. We all enjoyed our meals they were simply delicious!

As said, the portions are generous, (I couldn´t manage all of my steak but it made a superb sandwich for Sunday lunch). Three of us were so stuffed we had to forego pudding but Jim had the flambé bananas that came with kiwi, strawberries, cream, and ice-cream. I don´t know where that man puts all the food.  Finally the complimentary caramel vodka rounded off the evening making it a resounding success.

Nothing makes me happier than simple food prepared to a consistently high standard, so this statement in the Oyster Catcher’s menu made me happy.

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We will certainly be back – in fact, I told our friends Rob and Mary that we would visit when they come on holiday however, I think we will be eating there long before then as it’s very hard not to like this establishment.

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