In Tenerife

Welcome To Janet Anscombe in Tenerife

In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in rhetoric, law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now for an astonishing ten years that has gone in a flash, after finding Higher Education had become little more than a processing factory for successful graduates who would be in debt for decades, or unsuccessful ones who were set up by the system to feel like abject failures after being encouraged to aspire to a level of education that was simply beyond them. Tenerife was our holiday home from home before 2004, and the obvious place to choose to retire. It is a sub-tropical haven with a pretty much year-round Spring climate and a language and culture both exotic and familiar. For anyone who wants to stay in Europe but in a place with a buzz, and who has rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and so needs steady humidity and kind temperatures, it is just about perfect.

I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the edge of a mountain village a kilometer above the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards who now clearly consider us protection and food source combined. We have to resist constant demands for more egg mayonnaise, and shuffle them out of the way as they run at us for more banana now please! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think expatriates’ bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is heady with blossom scent from fruit and almond trees, and in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see autumnal colour and falling leaves while watching the mist rolling up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of, looking out over the sea to the light show over La Gomera that is different every day. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!

Over the last decade, I have spent quite a bit of my time indulging my interest in houses and homes, particularly interior design but also architecture – ancient architecture was always one of my favourite sidelines in work. My main fields, however, of rhetoric, law and politics have been the launchpad for considerable research into modern Spanish law and politics. If I see this website as having any function beyond that of personal enjoyment, it is as a source of advocacy for anyone thinking of moving here, or actually living here and struggling with bureaucracy and legalities. Ideally in such a place, people would be stress free and fulfilling their ideal of “living the dream”, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope this site is helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening here as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved for resident and visiting foreigners, and their rights and responsibilities.

Please investigate the tabs across the top of the page. They lead to information and advice on being legal, owning property or living here – there are also a few private sales for those looking to buy property – as well as questions and answers on a wide range of related topcis. There are links to pages on everything from the rights of consumers generally to those of patients in the health service in particular, and from keeping dogs to donating a body to science! Under “Useful Stuff”, you’ll find some Spanish vocabulary, links to jobs available for English speakers, books written about Tenerife, essential places to visit, readers’ photos, how to stay safe in heat and water, and a full calendar of “what’s on” with links to detailed information about events.

Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated posts about news and events; for earlier items, just look to the right and click on the main news link or on a particular date in the calendar  (just hover over a date and it will show you the posts made on that day). The right hand column also has buttons to “follow me” on Facebook, Twitter or by RSS feed; a search box to help locate news items or information of interest; links to recent comments made by readers (please do express opinions or ask questions – just click on individual headlines to find the comments box); and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais. The final tab at the top of the page is to Links and Laws, a whole range of legal, official, practical and inspirational resources for anyone with an interest in this wonderful island I call home.

COPYRIGHT: Apart from press releases or where expressly stated otherwise, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or the source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Readers are welcome to take text without permission as long as they expressly name and provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to use anything without crediting me in this way, please ask first.


Latest news and events in Tenerife

Click HERE for the What’s On Diary

Ebola: the current situation, measures being taken, and reasons for Spain to be optimistic

I’ve had now quite a few emails expressing concern and requesting information about the Canaries’ proximity to Africa and the current outbreak of ebola there, so thought it was time to post on the situation.

Fernando Simón, director of Spain’s Health Department’s Alerts and Health Emergencies Coordination Centre, has said that a national protocol has been in place since March to coordinate the regional governments’ responses to a possible ebola outbreak, and to monitor ports, airports and the country’s borders.

To date nine possible cases have been intercepted, two of which became “suspected”, and in the event neither was ebola, though one of these two activated the emergency protocol in the Valencian autonomous community at the end of June. Luis Enjuanes, virologist at the National Biotechnology Centre said, indeed, that although no guarantees can be given that ebola will not arrive at Europe, the disease is not airborne, which means that its propagation through direct physical contact will be restricted and localized, giving enough time for specific control measures to be put in place upon identification.

One main concern from those who’ve written to me is the risk of infection from illegal immigrants. Again, Fernando Simón seeks to reassure, saying that there aren’t any boat arrivals to speak of these days, but the occupants of those which do arrive are “subjected to a protocol”. Equally as important, the journeys undertaken normally last a sufficient time for symptoms to be showing by the time of the crafts’ arrival in Spanish territory.

These symptoms are flu-like (fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches) in the initial stages, which can take up to three weeks to become evident. This is followed by sickness and diarrhoea, and subsequent deterioriation of internal organs along with haemorrhage from orifices including eyes, nose and ears, and under the skin. Needless to say medical advice should be taken immediately if there is any suspicion at all of infection, but do let us try to keep this in proportion.

At present there is no suspected, let alone confirmed, case in Spain. Arrival is unlikely, not least because there is no direct air link between Spain and the countries in Africa currently affected. Should it arrive, contagion would be restricted and localized. Illegal immigrants are few and would likely be showing symptoms on arrival, and even if not, themselves become part of a protocol. And there is already a national protocol in place coordinating Spain’s response and ongoing monitoring of the situation where the disease is active.

Tenerife’s summer fiestas season is back with the return of the Virgen del Carmen

Update 30 July: Virgen del Carmen fiestas are held throughout Tenerife all through the summer. Guía de Isora has just released the programme for the one in Playa san Juan, which starts today. Please click on the image above to see it full size. Los Cristianos’ will be 1-8 September.

Copyright: Chuck Urmson

Copyright: Chuck Urmson

Original post 18 June: It’s midsummer, and Tenerife is pretty much on holiday now from now and through July and August, and over these next two months or so throughout the island there is a series of fiestas honouring the Virgen del Carmen – the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel who is the patron saint of fishermen. Perhaps the biggest celebration is in Puerto de la Cruz where tens of thousands will congregate on 15 July, whereas Los Cristianos’ celebration is particularly popular in the south – this year’s is 1-8 September. The same will take place, however, in most coastal towns and villages, albeit on a smaller scale.

The fiesta almost always involves a religious service followed by a ritual march with the Virgin’s statue being carried to the sea accompanied by musical bands and locals often in traditional dress. It is then loaded into a boat which sails around a harbour or stretch of coastline to bless local fishermen and their catches for the coming year. The event ends with the inevitable fireworks, and music, dancing and food – which last throughout the following three or so days, usually over a long weekend, though some, like Santiago del Teide’s, last a fortnight!.

Inland, the Virgen del Carmen is honoured for protecting and preserving the fertilility of Tenerife’s volcanic soil and its agricultural productivity. Our own village fiesta is in July, and I’ve posted descriptions of the utter chaos before, including how we are given our own bomberos truck which parks at the top of our little mountain road, and about the time they set our neighbour’s house on fire … see HERE, it’s called “Helmets and hosepipes time” for very good reason! Last year, one of the Catherine Wheels came loose and rolled down the hill, very much alight, chased by several fireworks “technicians” in something of a panic. There is a photo of one of the Catherine Wheels above, and more images from last year’s display HERE.

I’ll post dates for the more popular ones as and when I come across them. For the moment, Santiago del Teide has announced theirs as 3-17 July: click on the following thumbnails to see the programme fullsize. Wherever you watch or participate in this year’s Virgen del Carmen fiestas, have a great time!

FCO advice videos: keeping your passport safe

YouTube Preview Image

Just a reminder of the FCO advice videos page HERE, to which I’ve now added the one above. The Consulate says that is seeing a year on year overall increase in the number of Emergency Travel Documents that need to be issued in the Canaries due to lost or stolen passports, and the FCO has issued a video “ Enjoy Your Holiday” which is designed to raise awareness and increase safety. Those who do lose their passport can apply for an emergency travel document, and the links to do that are HERE.

Barranco del Infierno not to reopen this year

Update 29 July: Despite promises that the barranco would reopen this summer, it is now apparent that it won’t even be open again to the public this year. The conservation, management, signage and control of visitors of the 1,843 hectare protected natural space is organized by Adeje Ayuntamiento under a joint 20-year agreement with the Cabildo, signed last year, and it is the Cabildo’s environment department which is drawing up a viability study that could see the barranco reopen safe from rockfalls, and with the partly-ruined path repaired after being washed away during last December’s rains.

But it won’t be this year. Meanwhile, posters and signs are ignored by ramblers, as is the fence that was put up to stop people going in in defiance of the signs. No doubt because of expected forthcoming summer activities, council and Cabildo alike say that the barranco is closed because someone died there, a German hiker in 2009, and that entry into any officially-closed space is one of the criteria used when decisions are made to impose charges for official rescue operations.

Update 4 March: Just a month or so away from opening now, but people still treat it as though it were open already. In Tenerife, when the authorities say something is closed, they mean “officially” closed. In the UK, it appears, we’re used to things being made inaccessible when they’re closed, roped off, made impossible for us to hurt ourselves. It’s a cultural difference that might cost someone dearly because an emergency rescue is currently underway this afternoon to help walkers who have got into difficulties in the barranco. Charges are now made for such rescues if those needing rescue have been reckless, or ignored official warnings and signs. In this instance, at least three official rescue teams were involved.

Original post 2 January: The barranco del Infierno has been closed, officially anyway, to walkers since 2009 when a walker died in a rockfall. Since then, questions and rumours about when, or even whether, it would reopen have been plentiful. Now, however, Adeje Ayuntamiento has finally approved the administrative contract for the service of information and public use of the hiking trail; it was published yesterday in the Boletín Oficial de Canarias. Concejal de Obras y Servicios, Gonzalo Delgado, said that barring unforeseen problems the barranco should be reopened in three months. For conservation and security reasons, a limit of 300 walkers per day will be imposed.


First Maratón Internacional Santa Cruz de Tenerife 16 November

Everyone’s heard of the Las Galletas half marathon of course, but now, the Tenerife marathon! The first Maratón Internacional Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be run on 16 November in Santa Cruz itself. The race will be divided into three different length courses, of 8, 21 and 42 km, all passing through or by the city’s main squares and monuments. For those wanting to take part  the full website is HERE: prospective runners should note that there is a discount for registration by the 31st of August, after which entry fees rise. The same website also contains many details of the race and events of interest to those who just want to be in at the first of what is likely to become a major annual national event in marathon running. The marathon also has a Facebook page HERE, and a twitter account HERE.




Missing El Médano man found

Update 5pm: The search has been called off because, thankfully, the man has been found alive and well on dry land, and was not in need of any assistance. 

Original post: A search and rescue operation has been going on throughout the night around El Médano, say emergency services, after a man’s disappearance. Local reports say that a helicopter was circling all night, and that the lifeboats Salvamar Tenerife and Salvamar Alpheratz have been out, along with the lifeguard jetski. Police have also been stationed at Bocinegro. 


Loro Parque’s gorillas

Loro Parque has released the following video of its social group of Western Lowland gorillas. The parque set up its enclosure - Gorilla Villa – in 1992 in collaboration with the European endangered species programme in order to create a “genetic reserve” for this imperilled animal. There has been much negativity about this park lately and although the concerns behind it are genuinely held and legitimate, the excellent environmental work that this park does can be overshadowed, if not forgotten. It’s important to remember the species they are helping to preserve, and in some cases, survive what would sometimes be certain extinction. YouTube Preview Image

Meteor showers in the Canaries in 2014

Update 26 July: It’s mainly going to be visible in the southern hemisphere, it seems, but the Delta Aquarid meteor shower will be visible between now and early August, peaking on Tuesday and Wednesday, 29 and 30 July. Best time to see them is apparently an hour or two before dawn, and although somewhat faint, there will at least not be a very bright moon for them to contend with, and it will have set in the early evening anyway. The Delta Aquarids will be closely followed by the bright Perseids which can be seen much nearer midnight until dawn with a peak around 10-13 August.

Update 22 May: It’s not a regular meteor shower, but astronomers are saying that we might have to add one to the list if predictions are correct. Tomorrow night is expected to be the peak night of the anticipated Camelopardalid shower, so named because the meteors will radiate from the constellation Camelopardalis in the northern hemoisphere, coming from Comet 209P/LINEAR, discovered in 2004. If the meteor shower indeed takes place, Canada and north America and Europe will get the best view, but we should still see some here in the Canaries. Best time is actually for early birds on Saturday morning, between 6 and 8am. More information on this potential new meteor shower HERE.

Update 22 April: Just a reminder that the Lyrid meteor shower should be visible tonight if cloud cover allows. Experts say that although the peak was last night, it is the thinner moon tonight that makes viewing towards the north east optimal late tonight.

Original post 2 January: The first meteor shower of 2014 will be the Quadrantids, which should be visible best between midnight on Thursday and dawn on Friday. Astronomers say that this shower might be the best of all those we can expect to see this year. The full list of this year’s meteor showers is:

  • January 3, 2014 Quadrantids
  • April 22, 2014 Lyrids
  • May 5, 2014 Eta Aquarids
  • July 29-30, 2014 Delta Aquarids
  • August 10-13, 2014 Perseids
  • October 7, 2014 Draconids
  • October 21, 2014 Orionids
  • November 4-5, 2014 South Taurids
  • November 11-12, 2014 North Taurids
  • November 17-18, 2014 Leonids
  • December 13-14, 2014 Geminids

Click HERE for full information on them all.

Arona to cull bird pest population

Arona Ayuntamiento has announced that it is going to issue a contract for a private company to cull bird pests throughout the municipality. The initial contract will be for a year, but the council will extend if necessary until it is clear that the control has been effective. Environment councillor Antonio Sosa said that the measures were necessary because of the increase in population numbers of pigeons, doves and other street species, which represented a threat to public health since such birds are known to transmit diseases including salmonellosis, pulmonary alveolitis, and chlamydia, quite apart from any damage and economic losses they caused, and the bad image they gave visitors.

The council said that the areas which will be treated as a priority will be gardens, pathways, pedestrian walkways, public parks and the areas around schools in Los Cristianos, Arona casco, La Camella, Valle San Lorenzo, Buzanada, Cabo Blanco, Guaza, Las Galletas, El Fraile, Costa del Silencio and Playa de Las Amércias, as well as in any particular points that might become evident as affected.

There is no information as to how these culls are going to be carried out, but it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination. Councils in Tenerife are not renowned for excessiveness of care when treating with chemicals, and many pets and strays have been affected by careless poisonings in public spaces. I would expect this problem to increase in Arona over the next year. Be careful with animals …

Spanish Highway Code

There are always heated discussions, arguments and debates about Spanish traffic law, and driving skills, and whether they have the first idea of what Tenerife’s roads are like or whether anyone who wrote the law ever tried to get around Los Cristianos roundabout … but there is a Spanish “Highway Code”. I’ve added the link to the links page, but it can be downloaded HERE as a pdf file or in an e-pub version, or bought in a paper version from the same government link.

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
July 2014
« Jun