Playa Teresitas

Tucked discretely away in the southeast of the island and only a short journey from Santa Cruz is the quaint fishing village of San Andrés. Nestling under a stunning mountain backdrop, and boasting one and a half glorious kilometres of pristine, golden sand this is the location for one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Playa de las Teresitas.

Originally, a small rocky bay in 1973 the black volcanic sand was replaced with 270.000 tonnes of white sand imported from the Sahara. Complete with shady palms to emulate a Caribbean beach the sand slopes gently into the calm, waters of the bay. A reef protects the beach from high rollers, creating an idyllic swimming and snorkelling lagoon.

Tenerife’s most spectacular beach often features on postcards, but its surroundings are virtually undeveloped.

Even before the sun has risen, people young and old go to the beach for morning exercise. Why locate a sandy beach here? Well, if you were an island resident, wouldn’t you prefer to hide the best beach away – near to the capital, where you live and work?

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Adding a crunch – Potato Pancakes

I like potatoes and I particularly like them served as pancakes because they have all the lovely crunchiness of roast potatoes but can be prepared and served within 10 minutes.

0.5 Kilo potatoes
75gm Onion
Squeeze Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Cornflour
25grams porridge oats (to give crunch)
1 Egg
Oil for frying.

Put the potatoes, onion, lemon juice, cornflour, oats, egg and salt into a mixer and chop roughly.  Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add a heaped spoonful of the potato mixture, squash slightly to form a pancake and fry on both sides until golden and crunchy.

Put them on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil and serve hot. Yummy

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Hong Kong – La Camella

Hong Kong is the newest addition to La Camella. It takes the place of several eating establishments including one of my favourites Biblioteca an Iranian restaurant which lasted the longest on the corner as you enter the village.

I don’t normally cook on a Friday so we will eat out or have a takeaway. Having heard good reports of Hong Kong and having previously picked up a menu we decided a takeaway was in order.

For me its all about the duck…. Other than the duck, there is a large menu. Not knowing what to expect we also ordered Beef with Peppers and Ginger, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Noodles.

We assumed we would be eating the Peking Duck as a starter, so were surprised at the size of the portion. The silvers of meat and crispy skin served with the pancakes and all the usual trimmings was delicious and because of the quantity we didn’t want the other two meals! So into the freezer the went.

Since then we have eaten and thoroughly enjoyed both and each portion was plenty for two people, meaning that the €29 we initially forked out, in reality gave us 3 meals.  Despite being in the freezer once re-heated the chicken was mouth-wateringly tasty, packed with plenty of fruit, just the way I like it.  The beef, of which there was plenty had good slices of ginger, chunks of green pepper and just the right spiciness.

We will certainly be eating here again, probably in the restaurant. Hong Kong is superb value, combining low prices and exceptionally high quality food, – the décor may be modest but the skill in the kitchen isn’t !

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Adeje Pilgrimage

In Adeje, the Patronal Festivals conclude over the weekend, with a Romería on Sunday. Hundreds of pilgrims from the south as well as other municipalities come together to honour the patron saint of Adeje, Our Lady of the Incarnation and her two co-patrons St. Ursula and San Sebastian. As this is also the last pilgrimage of year in Tenerife, the event takes on a greater relevance, and there is always a high turnout.

On Saturday, there will be events in the Plaza de España followed in the evening by a street party with music. On Sunday, the last day of the Adeje Patronal Festivals, as in recent years, the day begins with a cattle fair where you can see the oxen and cows that will later pull the romeria wagons.

There will be a special mass in the church in the Calle Grande and offerings of locally grown produce to the ‘patrons’. Following mass, the traditional carts, pulled by oxen, representing different groups in Adeje, travel up the main street. The procession, held since the 70’s is accompanied by music and everyone is in traditional dress.

During the parade, food and drink are offered to all taking part as well as those who come to view. Each year, Adeje invites folk groups from across the region, to participate adding, if possible, to the good atmosphere that abounds.

The Adeje romería has a long established tradition and it will certainly be a special day when pilgrims and visitors alike gather to enjoy an explosion of colour, folklore, and cuisine in this fun filled family event.

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Pirámides of Güímar – Tenerife

On the coast, not far from Santa Cruz, is the bright, clean and cared for town of Güímar with its nice array of beaches, architecture, shops and churches that date back to the conquest of the island in the 15th century.

There is plenty to do in this area of undiscovered beauty however, aside from the appeal of a laid-back holiday spot the principle attraction of Güímar is its mysterious pyramids. These are in a park, set up by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian explorer, of Kon Tiki fame.  The park helps to demonstrate that pyramids with stepped sides and flat tops were built by the earliest civilisations on both sides of the Atlantic and that the same shapes appear repeatedly.  Is this phenomenon a result of contact between ancient civilisations?

The first similarity between the Güímar pyramids and those in Egypt are they are on the edge of town, next to the supermarkets, schools and apartments and not in some open space or desert.  The park is well signposted and there are a dozen or so parking spaces directly outside which will probably all taken, but if you continue a few metres down the road there is a large free car park opposite the school.

For €7.60 you get an information pack in English that includes a map.

There are wide pathways that lead through the gardens and around the six pyramids, smaller and nowhere near as grand as those in Egypt. They were originally thought to have been made by farmers clearing the land of rocks and rubble. Similar structures, known as “Morras” were found in many locations on the island; however, over time these have been dismantled and used as cheap building materials. Heyerdahl, established that the rocks had not come from the surrounding area but from the lava fields and the ‘heap of rocks’ were in fact pyramids similar to those constructed by the Mayans and Aztecs in Central and South America.  The recurrence of man-made pyramids and other structures such as ziggurats and temples is spread across the globe, from the Americas to the Middle East from Africa to the Pacific and although their purpose may vary, the construction is a common and widespread characteristic of past civilisations.

The recurrence of man-made pyramids and other structures such as ziggurats and temples is spread across the globe, from the Americas to the Middle East from Africa to the Pacific and although their purpose may vary, the construction is a common and widespread characteristic of past civilisations.

Beneath one of the pyramids, a group of archaeologists found Guanche artefacts in an underground chamber.  It is thought that the native Guanches hid here when the Spaniards came.  I had been told the pyramids were not particularly stunning to look at but I found them fascinating.  I found it particularly intriguing that from the way they are positioned they may have special astronomical significance.  All the pyramids have stairs on their western side that face the direction of the rising sun.  From the platform of the largest pyramid, a double sunset can be seen on 21st June, the Summer Solstice, when the sun sinks behind the mountain, then emerges again behind the next mountain before setting a second time.

In order to show possible connections between ancient civilisations it is worth bearing in mind that the current of the Atlantic Ocean flows westward from the Canaries; it is the same route taken by Columbus in his voyages. To prove this, Heyerdahl sailed from Morocco to Barbados, in the Ra2.  The Ra2, made from reeds, is the only full-size boat on display although at the time of our visit we could not see it as workmen were doing things with piles of rocks!!

There is a modern auditorium built underground and equipped with the latest technology that allows the viewer to watch a short film in their own language.  The film fills in the history of the pyramids and lasts about 20 minutes.  There is also a photo gallery and models of Heyerdahl’s  other boats in the auditorium.

In addition, the museum extensively covers Heyerdahl’s theories, the voyages.  There is a lot of information on these mysterious ancient buildings along with scale models of canoes made from reeds and images and sculptures found in South America depicting pale skinned men with beards unusual as the native Indians are dark with hairless bodies.

There is no definitive proof but many of the pyramids are located in islands implying there was contact between the inhabitants.  How did it occur – is it possible that at one point the Canaries were used as a stopover point on an ancient shipping route, after my visit to Güímar I certainly wouldn´t dismiss this theory lightly.

You need about 2 hours in the park to do it justice.  On your next visit to Tenerife, I would recommend you find time to pay a visit to the mysterious pyramids at Güímar.

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