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 ten years that have gone in an astonishing 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

Christmas & New Year programmes 2014-15

Update 19 December: There will be New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout Tenerife, one of the foremost being in the Plaza de San Sebastián in La Caleta, Adeje. Most other towns, though, will themselves have music and dance from around 10.30 pm to welcome in 2014, with the lucky grapes and champagne often provided at midnight as the chimes of church bells ring out. And, of course, there’ll be the fireworks at midnight! I’ll post posters whenever I see them, but for the moment, above is Arona’s for Los Cristianos’ New Year’s Eve party, from 11pm outside the Cultural Centre.

Update 5 December: San Miguel’s Christmas programme is now available – above is the English and German version.

Update 2 December: Guía de Isora has now unveiled its Christmas programme HERE.

Original post 28 November: This Christmas is already underway with Adeje’s announcement – first again! – of its Christmas and New Year 2014-15 programme of events. These start next weekend with the Christmas market postponed because of the winds from today, in the Las Torres car park by the fountain roundabout just down the road from Mercadona. Apart from this and several other mercadillos, the main Christmas market in Calle Grande takes place on Saturday, 13 December, between 5pm and midnight. For the rest of the programme, see the Ayuntamiento’s website HERE, or click HERE for a pdf in English. I’ll post other local programmes as they become available.



The Christmas lottery in Spain

YouTube Preview Image

Update 19 December: Just a reminder if anyone wants a ticket that the draw for the Christmas Lottery is on Monday 22nd, and will be televised live and streamed on the official website HERE. Mucha suerte a todos!

Update 14 November 2014:  Well it’s a great advert this year, a real tear jerker … the guy who didn’t buy a ticket at his local bar where they won … and turns up to find that the bar is a winner, and he missed out … and ordering a coffee and getting charged €21 … because the owner has bought him his share …

It could be you, as they say …

Update 22 Decenber 2013, 9am: If anyone wants to watch live, click HERE  … it’s started already.

Original post 16 December: I’m often asked about the Christmas lottery – El Gordo – which is drawn just before Christmas every year with much fanfare. The tickets have a number and each is divided into tenths – décimos – which cost €20. So what you are buying for €20 is one tenth of one ticket. But, tickets come in “series” of up to around 200, which means each number is sold that many times, and the total prize money for any number is divided between the series. Therefore when a number comes up, the prize it wins is divided between the series, and then further divided down the décimos. To win the whole prize for a number, one would need to buy not only the ten décimos that make up the whole ticket, but every ticket in a series. A décimo costs €20, and a whole ticket €200 … for the whole series, you’d be talking up to €40,000!

The overall prize is enormous – we are talking 2.24 billion Euros this year! This is the biggest lottery of them all, hence its name – El Gordo – but this enormous prize is the total prize pot. So, for example, you have a décimo of number 12345 and there’s a series of 160 for that number. Then suppose it is drawn in fourth place, and the prize for fourth place is €200,000. So, you’d need to divide the prize of €200,000 by 160 (number of tickets in the series), which would give each ticket €1,250. You have a tenth of that ticket, however, so you’d actually only win €125. Most people who win the really big prizes actually win around half a million euros … not so much the “fat” prize they might have been expecting!

El Gordo is marketed as tradition, and the whole thing is made magical, with the draw, which takes hours in total, televised live, lots of gold coloured decorations, big magical ball drums with singing children withdrawing the numbers, and so on. But the chances aren’t great when you take into account that you have to match the number and then – if you have a décimo – win only a tenth of what that ticket is worth, which is the value of the total prize for that number divided by the number of tickets in the series all bearing the same number. The décimos cost a not insignificant €20, too, and the prizes are actually worse than some other lotteries. Really, what makes El Gordo the real “fat one” is that it’s a massive revenue-generating exercise for the government. And, of course, winnings are now taxed!

I wouldn’t wish to put anyone off buying a piece of a dream for Christmas, and El Gordo certainly has that fantasy feel about it, but I would say that the best bet is a Bonoloto ticket. These cost virtually nothing, have really comparatively quite decent prizes for winners, and the money goes to charity! An alternative is the primitiva … much cheaper to play and bigger individual prizes!

This year’s draw for El Gordo takes place on 22 December (link to buy a ticket online). The Christmas Primitiva draw takes place on the same day: the prize is €9.5m and tickets cost €1.50 (link to buy a ticket online). Bonoloto draws are on 23, 24, 25 and 27 December and the exact prize is to be announced, but will be up to €5m, with tickets costing €2 (link to buy a ticket online). Whichever lottery you participate in, I hope your lucky number comes up!

PIT 2014 – 25th anniversary for children’s Christmas Fair in Santa Cruz from Friday

pit2014 (500 x 270)

Update 18 December: Just a reminder of the children’s fair in the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz which starts tomorrow. There are so many things on offer here, as every year, and the ice rink is a great attraction as well. Just €8 for entry.

Original post 15 December: The Tenerife Cabildo has announced the annual Parque Infantil y Juvenil de Tenerife, PIT 2014, in the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos on the left on the motorway spur and main road down towards the Santa Cruz auditorium. It’s the fair’s 25th anniversary, and there’s a dedicated website HERE with all details of attractions, which include an ice rink, as last year. The fair runs from Friday 19 December to Monday 5 January, with opening times usually between 10am and 8pm most days (individual days vary) – it’s even open on Christmas and New Years Days. Tickets can be bought online on the official website and cost €8 (free for pensioners and children under two years old).


German walker dies in Teide national park

Photo: 1-1-2 Canarias

Photo: 1-1-2 Canarias

Emergency services including two helicopters were in action this lunchtime in rescue efforts for a German walker who suffered a heart attack while  hiking in the Teide national park. Sadly, the efforts of SUC paramedics and a GES search and rescue team were in vain, and the man died this afternoon.

Guía de Isora’s 5-star luxury hotels

Update 18 December 2014: It’s been some seven years in the pipeline, but Guía de Isora Ayuntamiento is today ecstatic after the 5* Villa de Erques hotel project has been unblocked. The hotel, which will be just inside the municipality’s boundary near the Marazul complex, will supplement Guia de Isora’s exclusive 5* hotel market, complementing the Abama and Melía hotels which straddle Playa San Juan and Alcalá respectively.

National private investors have now committed to the purchase of the plot of some 165,000 square metres for the construction of the luxury hotel which will offer 744 places. The council’s tourism minister, Héctor Gómez, said that it had been his lifetime’s dream and that the council’s planning was already in place for the development. There would still be some administrative work to do, he said, but this dream was now going to be a reality. Excellent news for a municipality which is becoming known as a conference, spa and gastronomy area without equal in Tenerife.

Update 6 January 2011: Guía de Isora has now approved the construction of two luxury hotels on the Playa de San Juan coast. The approval was given on Tuesday 4 January in the first Junta Local de Gobierno of 2011, The first procedural stage will last several months while authorizations are acquired from the various public administrations involved, including the Tenerife Cabildo and the Canarian Government. This is some years away yet, but it is at last underway.  DA

Original post 19 July 2010: The Ayuntamiento of Guía de Isora is planning another luxury hotel to the side of the Abama. The architect is to be British multi-award winner Norman Foster and the owner is the Bahía del Duque group. The new hotel will be constructed in Los Maguenes and will incorporate, like the Abama, a golf course and villas.

Guía de Isora is gradually converting itself into one of the leading touristic areas of Tenerife. There is still a long way to go, but the idea is clear: a commitment to luxury hotels and villas to improve the environment around the developments and create stable employment in the sector.

Guía de Isora already counts with two five star hotels. The Abama, of course, in Playa San Juan and the Meliá Palacio de Isora in Alcalá. The Plan General to consolidate the municipality’s touristic development was approved at the end of last year.

Further luxury tourist accommodation is also planned for the area, including additional villas for Abama, and there are to be developments in Cueva del Polvo, near Playa de la Arena, and on the Costa San Juan.

Finally, a project which had stalled for a luxury hotel – the Villa de Erques – is now under new ownership and is expected to go ahead.

The mayor of Guía de Isora, Pedro Manuel Martín Domínguez, said that the future of the borough was not in apartments, because there were other tourist areas catering for that market. Guía is going very much up-market, with developments of luxury and quality, and in a co-ordinated style that will benefit everyone. DA

Shhhh … new Citizens Security Law will fine insult or abuse against Spain and its “officials”

Update 18 December 2014: This new law, called the “ley mordaza” (gag law) was passed last week despite opponents saying that it would take Spain back fifty years. Such arguments together with public protests saw off the proposed strict abortion law, but one aspect of this new law is that such public protests will now be subject to fines of up to €600,000! That is the fine prescribed for unauthorized protests outside “public service” buildings.

Apart from restricting protest, the new law bans the public from taking photographs or videoing  the police when they could be endangered – a clause clearly open to the widest possible official interpretation – and fines of up to €30,000 are now in place for those who do so. Another clause open to very wide interpretation is that of being disrespectful to uniformed officers: anyone showing a “lack of respect”, whatever that means, can be fined €600 for the privilege of venting their frustration.

The law was passed narrowly, but passed it has been because of the ruling PP party’s majority in Parliament. It will now go to the senate for final approval, but its passage through the upper house is secure because the PP has a large majority there too.

Original post 30 November 2013: In a new law that has been approved by cabinet and is currently starting its process through Parliament, Spain is legislating against “offenses against Spain”. The new Citizens Security Law will see fines of up to €30,000  for “insults or abuse” levied against the country or its officials. “Insult or abuse” is deemed to include shouting, carrying placards, protesting, or demonstrating, even joining a picket line is specified, as is helping prevent an eviction.

Only the other day someone was sentenced to two years in prison for placing a custard pie on the head of a politician. The protester was deemed to have “humiliated” the woman in the course of her duties. He will not go to prison as a two year sentence for a first offender results in the sentence being suspended, but if that is the force of existing legislation, one wonders how severely the ruling conservative party envisages the need for the new law.

The Parliamentary opposition, together with liberty groups, have denounced the measures as repressive. Some use stronger language, but that strong language is likely soon to become illegal on the grounds that it is insulting or abusive. Greenpeace España spokeswoman Sara del Río said that the government was breaking the rules of play in a democracy, and commited the organization to a public awareness campaign to ensure that Spaniards raise their voices against the Bill.

The voices already ranged against the Bill have at least achieved the reduction of the proposed penalties. Originally, the law called for fines of up to €30,000 on those who take part in a botellón, and up to €600,000 for those who organize demonstrations without a permit! Fines for those crimes have been dropped to €1,000 and €30,000 respectively.

The actual object of the law seems to be the anticipated increasing protests from independence-minded regions like Catalonia which want to break away from Spain, but it seems to me that these measures are a real step backward in a democracy that really is still in its childhood, if not actual infancy. How long before even this personal opinion is censored because it’s “abusive” or “insulting”? Well, early next year is when this law is likely to come into force, so we won’t have long to wait to find out.


Boxing Day piano concert in Los Cristianos

Hungarian concert pianist Krisztina Fejes will be performing in the Infanta Leonor auditorium in Los Cristianos on Boxing Day, Friday 26 December. Tickets for the concert, which starts at 8.30pm, cost €8 and are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 2pm from the Los Cristianos Centro Cultural, or from the auditorium box office from two hours before the concert on the day itself. The programme is:

Béla Bartók
Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs Sz.71, BB 79

Fréderic Chopin
Grande valse brillante :
Do sostenido menor op.64.No.1
Re bemol mayor op.64 No.2
La bemol mayor op.69.No.1
Si menor op.69.No.2
Mi menor op.posth

Franz Liszt
XI Rapsodia húngara en la menor
VIII Rapsodia húngara en Fa sostenido menor

Turismo’s draft regulation for private rentals

Update 16 December: HERE is an English translation of the draft regulation. Please note that this is my own translation, and so as such it is not “official” (it is also my copyright!). I have tried to make it sensible in English, whilst conveying the actual spirit of the wording. Please do bear in mind that it is not only an unofficial translation, it is also regulation in draft – this is what we could call “a working document”.

Update 12 December: As posted below, and as promised before the end of the year, HERE is the draft regulation – a requirement of urban letting legislation – which affects private tourism lets in the Canaries. I have just received it from José Escobedo, and am posting it before I’ve really even had a chance to look at it in detail, let alone translate it. Please bear with me, but I thought many would appreciate seeing it at the earliest opportunity.

Original post 8 November: Canarian tourism minister Ricardo Fernández de la Puente will present on Monday the draft clauses for the regulation of private rentals which is forming part of the first-year revision of the tourism law. As I posted HERE, the regional government had agreed with Ascav to include regulation by the end of this year, benefiting both from appearing to concede to local demands for private letting, and from complying with national requirements to incorporate specific regulation in regional legislation. The lack of such regulation meant that the Canarian government had unwittingly put private rentals into a legal limbo, and Turismo is keen to rectify the omission.

It will be fascinating to see what this draft includes, but already we are being told that it will be modelled on – but not the same as – existing private rental legislation in the Balearics and Catalonia, and that which is planned in Andalucia. Moreover, it will involve some sort of registration system with a number to be used in all circumstances of rental activity, and a series of conditions to be met before properties can be registered. It remains to be seen how loose or restrictive these conditions will be, but for now, the Turismo minister has said that it was never going to be possible to please everyone, but that the government was attempting to get as much of a consensus as possible between the varying competing groups of the private rental sector and commercial tourism and hotel interests.

He continued that he was convinced that it was better for the sector to be regulated, controlled, and where guarantees were offered to customers, but also where legitimate business could not be undermined by unfair competition. After the draft has been unveiled, there will be the standard “public consultation” involving all tourism interest groups, including hotels, businesses, ayuntamientos, etc. The promise of regulation by the end of the year will be fulfilled, though it will be draft rules that are ready in time, not the final decree.

Circolandia Christmas specials

Last February it was a great success (link), and Circolandia – an artistic journey full of music, rhythm and humour that will transport the whole family into a magic world – is back with two Christmas specials in the Infanta Leonor auditorium in Los Cristianos. The two performances are at 6pm on Tuesday 23 December and on Thursday 25th, Christmas Day itself. Tickets are €10 if bought in advance from the Cultural Centre in Los Cristianos, or €12 on the day from the box office.

Cabildo-run Tierra Blanca animal protection refuge Christmas fund-raising party

Update 15 December: Just a reminder that this fund-raising event is this coming Saturday, 20 December between 2.00 and 6.30pm in Westhaven Bay in Costa del Silencio. There’s a link below to an event page on Facebook for those who are interested in more information or confirming attendance.

Original post 10 November: A Christmas party is being held to help raise money for the 464 dogs of the Centro de Proteccion Animal Tierra Blanca, and a celebration of a successful 3 three years for the centre and its hardworking staff and volunteers. CPA Tierra Blanca is Cabildo managed and funded by Cabildo and Tragsa, a national company comprising specialist emergency services businesses, and those involved in rural development and nature conservation.

Because Tierra Blanca is Cabildo run it is not a “charity”, either in the sense of an asociación or fundación (see HERE). Offcial advice from the Cabildo, however, is that any private person or organization can raise funds to purchase specific extras, like outdoor shelters or clinical equipment for the centre with the permission of the Cabildo. There is a dedicated Tierra Blanca bank account in the Cabildo for cash donations, whether small private ones, sponsors or monies raised at events. Any event that is held by a private person is attended by a representative of Tierra Blanca, and money raised is counted and paid into the dedicated account and receipted as such.

So, it’s an official organization, a genuine event, and an excellent cause. The party will be held on 20 December between 2.00 and 6.30pm in Westhaven Bay in Costa del Silencio, and there is an event page on Facebook HERE for those who are interested in more information or confirming attendance.

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
December 2014
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