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 eleven years that have gone in an astonishing flash, after finding Higher Education had become just a processing factory churning out graduates in great debt or “failures” who had been pushed to a level of education that was simply beyond them and who’d have been better without a university education. Tenerife was our holiday home before we moved here, and its climate, culture and beauty pushed it to the top of the list of choices for where 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 making constant demands for cheese, egg, fish or fruit! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think northern European bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is perfumed with blossom scent, while in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see the leaves change colour and fall and mist roll up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of every mid-January, this old gnarled unsheltered almond tree outside my house looks virtually dead for most of the year, but off it goes, middle of every January, covering itself with blossom and smelling like heaven on earth! The other trees will be following suit any time now! The coastline is tiny far below and La Gomera is out there somewhere behind the tree and a bit of cloud. 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: Unless specifically stated otherwise, or where a news item has derived from a general press release, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or a source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Spanish law assigns liability for copyright infringement not just to someone who takes text without permission, but also to anyone who “induces or cooperates with” – or can control – the infringement. Readers are welcome to take text without permission on condition that they both 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

Emergency services searching for missing hikers

Update 11am: Thankfully the couple has been found alive and well, one of them with just minor injuries.

Original post: Emergency services are searching for an Italian couple who went missing while walking in the Teide national park. The disappearance of the 23-year-old man and 21-year-old woman was reported around 11pm last night. Involved in the search are a GES search and rescue unit, bomberos, Cruz Roja and the Guardia Civil. A helicopter joined the efforts at first light this morning.

TF1 extension saga – continued

Update 21 April: The Cabildo has announced that the 14.5km stretch of the TF1 extension between Vera de Erques and Las Manchas (Santiago del Teide) will open at lunchtime today. The entire stretch will be open to the public apart from one lane in the Bicho tunnel while repair works are finalised on the cracks in the banking at the Santiago del Teide end: the authorities say that these repairs are now a formality, however, and that the public can use the motorway with complete security. The final stretch, between Vera de Erques and Adeje, will open in the summer, and the bridge infrastructure is now in place, as seen in the most recent update below: all that remains is for the viaduct itself to be suspended from the arches, and that work is already underway

Copyright: Janet Anscombe – In Tenerife

Update 17 March: And below is a photo showing the placement of one of the two arches, now assembled, being swung into place over the barranco by a huge crane which has had to be specially brought in for the massive operation. Each arch weighs 120 tonnes, is 110m long, and has to be hoisted 55m into the air to be swung into place. It really is happening!

Copyright: Janet Anscombe – In Tenerife

Update 17 February 2015: Guía de Isora ayuntamiento says that the two 180m arches for the bridge over the barranco de Erques which forms part of the TF1 extension are now in Tenerife, and construction on the last remaining piece of the Adeje-Santiago del Teide stretch will begin next month. The bridge will be a 160m suspension design because the barranco de Erques is a protected area, and the size of the span meant that the infrastructure had to be made in stages in Italy and Cádiz. Each arch has been brought here in three sections, so six in total, and these will be transported to the barranco and assembled in situ. It is estimated that the process will take three or four months, becoming operational by the end of June, when the stretch is planned to be opened, as announced last November.

Update 25 November 2014: I imagine that most people’s response will be “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but an agreement has been signed today by the Canarian Government’s consejero de Obras Públicas, Transportes y Política Territorial, Domingo Berriel, and Tenerife President Carlos Alonso to finish the Adeje-Santiago del Teide stretch of the ring road motorway extension. The agreement will see €10m put into the works, €4m from the Cabildo and €6m from the the Canarian government. The stretch is expected to be functioning (maybe not fully finished but open to traffic) by the middle of 2015 in two parts - Vera de Erques to Santiago del Teide by end March, and Armeñime to Vera de Erques by end June.

Update 6 October 2014: The Canarian government says that its roadworks priority for 2015 is the completion of the southern section of the TF1, and that it has already set aside €6m from the public works budget for the El Bicho tunnel and the Adeje-Santiago del Teide stretch of the motorway. The government says that its commitment is based on the importance of the entire ringroad project, and will be fulfilled despite cuts at national level from €220m to €54m. The southern extension is currently the only works project that has a financial commitment for next year, and if works continue now as planned, will open in March 2015, and the sticking point of the barranco de Erques should see the first pair of arches for the viaduct in place by the end of next month.

Update 2 December 2013: Despite the timescales as posted immediately below, which saw the Icod-El Tanque extension completed next year and the Adeje-Santiago extention waiting until 2015, the Cabildo has now announced that the schedule and funding will be rearranged so that the south extension works will be brought forward, and the Adeje-Santiago stretch completed, in the main, in 2014. The Cabildo is now putting the change of schedule to the Canarian Government for final approval.

Unfortunately for those who live in the Tijoco-Tejina-Vera de Erques areas, it is their part – the ongoing seemingly insuperable problem with bridging the barranco de Erques – that will have to wait until 2015. The “main part” of the extension to be completed next year is the túnel del Bicho and the Vicácaro bridge. This means that the TF1, as far as traffic is concerned, will still end at Adeje, and resume at Tejina to continue on to Santiago del Teide (the so-called “chicken run” stretch), where it will find another gap awaiting completion through El Tanque.

I suppose we should really be pleased that some works are going ahead, but at some point they really are going to have to come to terms with bridging that Erques barranco … otherwise the whole extension will have been something of a joke.

Update 7 November 2013:  The Tenerife Cabildo and the Canarian Government have jointly announced funding for next year that guarantees the completion of the TF1 extension by 2015. Cabildo president Carlos Alonso said that the island would receive €146.7m from the regional government for road development, a sum which would permit prioritised works to continue despite “brutal” cuts in funding from Madrid. The road funding in Tenerife will be directed to completing the northern Icod-El Tanque portion of the ring road with funding of €131m; this should be open to traffic during the course of next year. The southern Santiago del Teide-Adeje stage, with total funding of €10m between 2014 and 2015, should be open in 2015.

Because this saga has been ongoing so long, I’ve split previous posts to make it less unwieldy on the front page. All previous posts are HERE.

The Small Society – Tenerife, Canaries, Spain

As I said HERE, as foreigners living in Spain, we can affect priorities and politics at a local level, and to do that, we need to have a grasp of how the country is actually organized in overall terms. I hope that THIS page will be helpful in explaining our “Small Society” place in the larger context of Spain as a whole … it’s like those Russian dolls!

The next post in this election series will look in more depth at the municipal level, which is what mainly affects us, and I’ve chosen Adeje as a good example of a well-functioning Ayuntamiento so as to see what it is that actually happens at local level, and why it’s so important for us all.

The famous Los Realejos fireworks 3 May

YouTube Preview Image

Although not a Tenerife-wide public holiday, Los Realejos’ Cruces & Fuegos fiesta on 3 May draws people from around the island and even further afield. The fiesta was granted National Tourist Interest status last month and so this year’s fireworks might be even more spectacular than usual! The display has long been recognized as the best fireworks display in Tenerife, and indeed, is now officially one of the best in the whole of Spain.

The whole fiesta is famous for being a competition between two streets in Los Realejos for the best firework display, a tradition that started, incredibly, in 1770. The Hermanos Toste themselves date back to 1788 and have a factory in Los Realejos, the only one in the Canaries that makes fireworks.

This year’s display will be broadcast live as usual and streamed from the Ayuntamiento’s website HERE from around 9.30 … the whole thing lasts for around three hours! This short video of 2011′s displays will hopefully give some idea of what to expect.


Meteor showers in the Canaries in 2015

Update 19 April: The second meteor shower of 2015, the Lyrids, will be visible this Tuesday and Wednesday, 21-22 and 22-23 April. There’s a chart HERE of where best to look out for them. Astronomers say that the best time will be shortly before dawn, especially on the night of the 22-23rd, but any time after 10pm on either night should be rewarding. Apparently they’re expecting this year to be a bumper one for the Lyrids.

Original post 5 January: The first meteor shower of 2015 was the Quadrantids, which hardly provided any show a couple of nights ago since the peak only lasted a few hours, and there was an almost full moon which didn’t set until just before dawn. With this year’s Quadrantids not giving the best show, below is a full list of this year’s other meteor showers. The next is the Lyrids in April:

January 3-4 Quadrantids
April 21-22 Lyrids
May 5-6 Eta Aquarids
July 27-28 Delta Aquarids
August 11-12 Perseids
October 8 Draconids
October 21-22 Orionids
November 4-5 South Taurids
November 12-13 North Taurids
November 17-18 Leonids
December 13-14 Geminids

Click HERE for full information on them all.


Sunday pilgrimage in Adeje will see thousands follow the virgin’s statue to La Caleta

It might not be one’s thing, but it’s a sight to behold all the same. And for the Adeje faithful, walking the statue of the Virgin Mary along the old path from the top of Adeje town to La Caleta is the fulfillment of a promise made generations ago, as well as a modern opportunity to celebrate the coming together of the people of the town.

The traditional Rogation of the Virgin de La Encarnación takes place this Sunday, 19 April, with the procession leaving Santa Úrsula Church at the top of Adeje town at 9am and accompanying the statue of the Virgin of the Incarnation down to the hermitage of San Sebastián in La Caleta. This was her first home, and the tradition of returning her to her origins began in the 16th century when her statue was moved from San Sebastián to Santa Úrsula to protect it from pirates.

The residents promised that she would be taken home once a year, and so she has, with the tradition persisting over the last five hundred years or so. The people of Adeje also use the event to make promises to their patron saint in return for her protection from plagues, illness, famines – evidences of the agreement are listed in the Book of Miracles of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which can be viewed in the Adeje parish archives.

The event is always packed, and this year will be no different. Local security will be on on hand to assist if anyone needs it. Among those who will be carrying the statue will be the Porteadores de la Virgin and the Mujeres Adejeras con la Virgin, who take part every year and are now an integral part of the event.

The walk takes up to four hours to complete with a number of stops along the way where there will be musical, poetic and liturgical interventions. The first will be at Adeje Cemetery, where the departed are remembered. The procession then crosses the bridge over the motorway (expect minor traffic delays if you are driving at this time), and carries on to the Portón de la Virgin, through the stone arches near the police station, where there will be another stop.

The third break will be at La Era where walkers can also rest for a while before the last stretch of the walk which will see the statue received by Saint Sebastian, Adeje’s other patron saint. The two statues enter the church together where mass will be celebrated. The statue of the Virgin will return to Adeje later that afternoon.

As with many of Adeje’s religious festivals this is also a family event, open to everyone, resident and visitor, to take part. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, use an appropriate sun block and take water with you.


Canarian Food Fair Los Cristianos 25-26 April

Canarian food artesans will be putting on the 11th Feria de Alimentos Canarios at the Plaza del Pescador outside the Cultural Centre in Los Cristianos on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April. As usual, the event will comprise displays, exhibitions and offers of all sorts of Canarian foods, including cheeses, gofio, wines, honey, sweets, even fruits and vegetables, and herbs. Stalls will be open between 10am and 8pm both days. There is more information HERE for those who might wish to have a stall at the fair, but for the rest of us, it’s another opportunity to enjoy what has become a very popular regular Canarian food fest.


Tenerife – the Small Society

What would make you interested in an election? Many people are understandably turned off by negative politics, or even politics in their own right, by parties, candidates, campaigning, by right, left or centre, by “issues”, debates …

Would it make a difference if an election actually affected you? Personally? Directly? But thinking about candidates and parties often leads to the same conclusion, that none of it really makes a difference overall because, in general, it’s always more of the same.

And yet …

David Cameron talked in the UK’s last election of the Big Society. I think it’s useful to turn that on its head and think about the Small Society. What happens in our immediate environment is what matters to most of us, whether we’re interested in politics or not! And when we live abroad, away from our own society and culture, what happens in our immediate environment matters all the more because we’re out of our comfort zone, without our normal support networks, and where so much is confusing or unclear.

So, thinking in terms of the Small Society here in Tenerife, there are local elections coming up next month. As “foreigners” here, we only have a vote at local level, but really, that’s what matters most of all to most of us anyway – issues like particular roads, or schools, or provision for when we’re vulnerable or getting older, or what priorities our own specific area should really have. And in the Small Society, we have a part to play – because we are ourselves a part of it!

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll make a few information posts highlighting what local authorities do and can achieve, and how they form part of the greater picture of the country in which we’ve all chosen to live. Regardless of “politics”, let Cameron keep his Big Society. We are the Small Society, and we can make a difference.

Could you play a leading role in a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in Tenerife?

The Tenerife Cabildo, through the Tenerife Auditorium in Santa Cruz. has come to an arrangement with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group to produce Evita in Tenerife. A “casting” has been called for the leading and supporting roles. The production will be in Spanish under the direction of Jaime Azpilicueta. To audition for the roles of Evita, Ché, Perón, Augustine Magaldi and the Suitcase Girl, see the requirements and application procedure HERE.  The production will also need a range of singers between 20 and 30 years of age. The deadline for the casting is 22 April – apply with the form on the link to – and auditions will take place before the end of April.

Circolandia back in Los Cristianos

Update 14 April: And by popular demand, Circolandia will repeat the Circo de las Estrellas in the Infanta Leonor auditorium in Los Cristianos at 6pm on Sunday 10 May. Tickets will cost a bit more than last time – €12 if bought in advance from the Los Cristianos cultural centre (Monday to Friday, 9am-2pm), or €15 at the door on the night.

Original post 8 April: Circloandia has always been a massive success when it’s come to Tenerife, and now it’s back! The spectacular interactive show features 20 or so international artists – clowns, acrobats, magicians, and much more - from Russia, France, Brazil, Senegal and Spain, including award-winning Monte Carlo circus performers and a Guinness World Record holder! Oh, and Spiderman …

The show will be performed for one night only at 6pm this Sunday, 12 April, in the Infanta Leonor auditorium in Los Cristianos.Tickets cost €10 if bought in advance from the Los Cristianos cultural centre (Monday to Friday, 9am-2pm), or €12 at the door on the night.

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
April 2015
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