In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now since 2004 when I left Higher Education, which for me had become too much of a graduate processing factory to be meaningful. Tenerife is wonderful, a sub-tropical eternal Spring amazingly within Europe, and with a language and culture that is simultaneously different and familiar. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I find that the climate here, with its generally steady humidity and gentle temperatures, is just about perfect.
I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the top edge of a mountain village a kilometer high overlooking the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards who are now so used to us that they have to be shuffled out of the way as they teem to us for titbits, whether cheese, fruit, or particularly eggs! One thing I particularly love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, and in Spring the air is filled with the heady scent of the blossom on the fruit and almond trees, and after the blazing heat of summer, to be surrounded by autumnal colour and leaf shedding while the mist rolls up the barranco is a glorious relief. Another thing I especially love is the light, which is different every day. Here’s a typical photo, from outside the house looking down to La Gomera. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!
We are now in our tenth year here, and I have spent my time indulging a longstanding interest in houses and homes, investigating everything from interior design to physical construction, the rhetoric of sales techniques, and particularly, the legal aspects of the property market, as well, indeed, as most aspects of the expatriate experience in Tenerife. If I see myself as anything, it is as an advocate 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 dream, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope that this site will be helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening in Tenerife, as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved in being a resident or property owner here.
Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated news and events posts; 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); Tenerife Sur current and tomorrow’s weather; and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais.
COPYRIGHT: I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content belongs to me. Although facts are not subject to copyright law, my wording, opinions, and translations, are. Readers are welcome to take text without asking permission as long as they name me as author, and wherever possible, provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to take anything and use it without crediting me, please ask in advance.
A body found in a barranco in La Gomera corresponds to 56-year-old Briton Richard Michael Lee, says the Guardia Civil. Mr Lee disappeared on 7 October while on a walking holiday alone to San Sebastián. His clothes and belongings had been left in his hotel room and it was feared that he had suffered an accident but no trace of him has previously been found. The body discovered this morning was in a very inaccessible area, and was recovered by helicopter. There was no evidence of any violence, so it does indeed appear that the poor man was the victim of a tragic accident.
It’s been held before, but never in the south. La Noche de Caridad Anual (annual charity night) will this year be held at 7pm on 29 June in the fabulous Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque, a Disneyesque fantasy castle of a hotel that has won awards throughout the world, frequently being voted best spa resort in Spain, if not Europe. The charity in question is the burns unit of the Gambo Hospital in Ethiopia, which has an agreement with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for research: the hospital has some 150 beds and serves around a million people.
The event is sponsored by El Corte Inglés and registered charity (ONG) Optimismo en Acción, and is described as an exclusive combination of top fashion labels, sophisticated music and art, buffet with cocktails, all in the most luxurious settings and in aid of course, of solidarity with the most needy in the world. Now it’s being held in the south it is also expected to attract a great number of other nationalities, perhaps primarily Russians, along with the Canarians who traditionally support it.
Numbers are limited and tickets cost €55. If you would like to go, they can be bought from “It’s” in CC Plaza del Duque; in Tez Tour and Interventure Property in CC Fañabe Plaza; in Nathalie Tours in Las Chafiras; and in the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque itself on the day of the event if tickets remain. They can also be purchased online – see the instructions on www.optimismoenaccion.org: this is also the website on which one can track the bank movements of the charity so as to have full confidence in the probity of the event and the cause itself. Any further information, please contact Ignacio Rosillo on 696 685 996.
The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a concert in south Tenerife once again in its third chamber music cycle. The performance is on 20 June at 8.30pm in the Valle San Lorenzo cultural centre. Entry to the concert is free, and those who attend will hear the following programme:
Update 18 June: A promise given yesterday by the Tenerife Cabildo that it will provide the abattoir with €200,000 to clear the backlog of workers’ wages has been met with total scepticism. The abattoir workers say they are not convinced by the promise and that the strike will continue if May’s wages are not in place by the 27th of June. The Cabildo minister for Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca, José Joaquín Bethencourt, says that the strike is unjustified because the payment will be made very soon – depending on bank negotiations. Rubén Bonilla, member of the abattoir’s works committee, however, says that the Cabildo has already “guaranteed” the payment previously – and that the employees were still waiting for it, and so they had no faith in the Cabildo’s ability or willingness to pay.
That lack of faith is understandable, indeed, since Sr Bethencourt’s vague promise of money “soon” was accompanied by the equally vague comment that the future of the abattoir would have to be “discussed” because “one has to adapt to current circumstances”. Sr Bethencourt blamed the abattoir workers for their “astronomical” pay demands and said that they should be reasonable given the exigencies of the market, which have resulted in low profit margins and reduced consumption. Unions say that these “sky high wage negotiations” saw rises in workers’ income from €600 to up to a maximum of €1,000 per month – €12,000 or so per annum. I’m not sure how many would agree with the Cabildo that this is unreasonable, particularly when we see Canarian municipal politicians’ salaries in the tens of thousands - accompanied by claims recently that it’s not enough and that “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys”.
One would have hoped that in the current circumstances – i.e. in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, even in economically hard times and in a remote corner of Europe – the concept of a decent day’s pay – or even any pay - for a decent day’s work was a concept recognized to be as natural and normal as the sun in the sky. Apparently not. Workers say they’ll lift the strike and return to work when they see money in the bank. I for one don’t blame them.
Original post 15 June: The 42 employees in the Matadero Insular, Tenerife’s only abattoir in La Laguna, have gone on indefinite strike because they have not been paid since January. The workers say that when they failed to be paid in May, and were then told that June’s extra payment was not going to be made – and indeed that there was no money to pay them for the rest of the year – it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and so they decided, in desperation, to call the strike.
The island’s abattoir workers are hardly coining it in, earning less than €1,000 a month, and without even those wages coming in for the last four and a half months they are in dire straits, many of them now fearing eviction because they have got behind with their mortgages. A major part of the problem seems to be that the abattoir is dependent on the Cabildo, and there is no public money. Privatization is a possibility, but sources say that with meat prices so low there is little commercial appetite for such a business. Meanwhile, the fresh meat shelves could start looking quite thin.
Those who know me have all heard about the Corner family, comprising Mr & Mrs C, and Miss & Master C, and the Rose family who live in the original cottage wall under an ancient rose bush that has refused all efforts to dislodge it, and also Joe Smallweed, the cross lizard with the brightest coat imaginable (hence Joseph of the dreamcoat and Smallweed, the little ball of bitterness, from Dickens’ Bleak House). Many are also familiar with the giant lagarto of El Hierro …
but none of them come close to the largest lizard in the Canaries, which is found in Gran Canaria. Some building works have uncovered a whole tribe of them, and the local Ayuntamiento has authorized their transfer to an area where their survival will be guaranteed. Some 500 have been moved to fincas with walls and orchards full of fruit trees … paradise for lizards! I don’t have permission to post the photo, but have a look HERE! Simply amazing. There’s also a video above of the GC lizard.
Update 17 June: And now, the sunbed issue is in the Courts. Councillor José Antonio Reverón (not the former mayor, who is José Alberto González Reverón) had just finished testifying in the Caso Arona (the latest in which scandal saw some 20-odd senior Arona Ayuntamiento officials have their corruption case trials confirmed and their appeals rejected just the other day), when he put what we might call the sunbeds case in the hands of the public prosecutor with a denuncia for corruption. Some are now just totting up the numbers of corruption cases in the Courts involving the Arona authorities. The sunbeds case is now popularly known as Caso Arona 5 …
Update 14 June: And so it continues. After sectioning off a part of the beach for private sunbed users, a move that subsequently saw rapid backtracking amidst allegations that the sunbed concession had repeatedly been deemed illegal, it now seems that this summer will find Arona’s Los Cristianos and Troya beaches without any sunbeds or umbrellas at all.
Apart from the questionable contracts, it appears that no money has been coming in to the council from the concession for over a year, leaving a financial hole in the council’s coffers of, in total when all services are taken into account, around €2,000,000. Moreover, the Ayuntamiento’s General Secretary confirmed that when the current contract expired – at the beginning of 2012 – the contract required the sunbeds to be removed.
The municipal legal chief says that the whole thing must now be put out to public tender according to recognized procedures, and insisted that the council brings to an end the current “irregular situation”, a situation evidenced by numerous reports issued since early 2011. With just a week or so now to go before the summer period formally starts, the chaos on Arona’s beaches shows no sign of improving. If anything, it is just getting worse and worse.
Update 29 April: Is Arona to be condemned for ever to live in the shadow of incompetence and maybe even worse? After the fiasco of the sectioned-off beach for the concessiary to exploit, it now appears that the contracting service of the Ayuntamiento has warned the environment department at least 26 times that, on the basis of technical reports, seasonal services on Los Cristianos and Troya beaches, and the sunbed concession on Playa de las Vistas, should be suspended because they are being run illegally. A report from the municipal Contratación service dated 25 March is categorical: “Since 7 February 2011 there have been 26 warnings that there is no legal basis for the provision of such unauthorized services and they should be ordered to be suspended”. And of course the lifguards …
What does it take … ?
Update 18 April: It seems that the Ayuntamiento is having second thoughts about putting up notices about “exclusive use” of parts of Playa de las Vistas because they are “rather aggressive”. Concejal de Medio Ambiente, Antonio Sosa, said that the council was now seeking alternatives to the notices, but not to the rule itself, because “that is specified in the conditions drawn up by the Ayuntamiento”. While announcing this, Sr Sosa also confirmed that his department had spoken with the Dept of Costas: it was a formal matter, he said, to which a solution is being sought. Why do I get the distinct feeling that Arona has overstepped the mark here, and that it’s more than just an issue about “notices”?
Original post 17 April: Arona Ayuntamiento has reserved a section of Playa de las Vistas for those who want to hire sunbeds and sun umbrellas from the resident concessionary company. The general public will no longer be able to use it without paying for a sunbed, and anyone who just wants to put down a towel will have to use the non-reserved part of the beach. These areas are expected to become rather packed in the height of summer, and criticism of the council’s move is widespread.
Despite such criticism, however, signs in both Spanish and English will soon bear witness to the privileged section reserved for those who are prepared to pay for sunbeds, and expressly prohibit leaving a towel or other belongings on the beach. Arona says the service is profitable, raising 1.3 million Euros a year for the concession less just 110,000 paid to Costas. That’s good for the council, of course, but not so good for the many people who actually want to use the beaches without being charged for the privilege.
Tenerife has its own bonfire night, on the eve of the annual midsummer fiesta of San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist). On St John’s Eve, 23 June, Tenerife is lit up with bonfires and fireworks, and many visitors often think that a summer fire has started early. It will be no different this year, so expect to see plenty of smoke swirling above the hills throughout on Sunday.
The celebrations are far from restricted to the inland villages, however, with fires and parties on many beaches – particularly popular ones are held in El Médano and Los Cristianos, but the most spectacular will again be the celebration at the fiesta’s namesake beach, Playa San Juan. If you are near one, you might even see some people jumping over the flames three times, a rite considered to be purifying and lucky, representing a burning away of the leaper’s problems.
In Guía de Isora, the 24th, San Juan Bautista’s Day itself is a public holiday, but the largest actual celebration takes place in Puerto de la Cruz, where goat keepers from the hills above the town bring their flocks down to the coast to bathe them in the sea in the early morning. This Baño de Cabras (bathing of the goats) is a tradition that is said to date back to pre-Hispanic times, making the animals literal scapegoats whose purification in the waters will bring good fortune on their keepers and the local community.
Wherever you celebrate la Noche or el Día de San Juan, I hope you have a great and safe time.
For more information in English see Don Quijote.org
Update 16 June: The Canarian Government is to allocate €15,000,000 to enable the TF1 extension between Adeje and Las Manchas in Santiago del Teide to be completed, the Tenerife Cabildo Roads Minister, José Luis Delgado, has confirmed. The money will come from increased borrowing which will be approved by the national government before the end of June, an approval which would release some €200,000,000 in total increased debt to the Canaries. Sr Delgado said that he was confident that 2014′s budget would allocate a further €15,000,000 for the project so that the road should be open to traffic at the beginning of 2015.
Update 19 April: The Canarian Government’s Public Works minister, Domingo Berriel, has said that the motorway extension between Adeje and Santiago del Teide is too important and strategic a project for the economic development of the island to be allowed to lapse, and that it will go ahead this year despite the cuts in public funding. His comments were backed up by Tenerife Cabildo Vice President Carlos Alonso, who confirmed that the Public Works Department would find some formula over the next few weeks to allow the works to be resumed. Two possibilities that seem promising are to finance works under regional deficit, or to increase the aval conditions to provide better guarantees for contractors to continue. However they do it, they’re looking at works resuming “in a few weeks”.
Update 17 March: In January, works were “just waiting for a signature”, but now, in bad news for our infrastructure and our employment statistics, the TF1 extension and connection between Adeje and Santiago del Teide is officially paralysed. All that will be done for the foreseeable future is the placement of a bridge underneath the village of Tejina. Apart from this, the nine subcontractors of UTE Adeje-Santiago del Teide are collecting plant and material because, in their own words, “the chief of works has said that it’s finished”.
The announcement was made by Agroexcavaciones Prieto and González Casañas, two of the businesses affected. Benjamin Prieto, owner of the excavation company, said that the cessation of works in respect of the most important road infrastructure in Tenerife could leave some 200 workers out of a job, and added that they had been given to understand that the works would not go further because of the lack of funds, and had been told only to stop, with no information about when works might resume. González Casañas confirmed that “they are blocking the exits and handing over materials”.
The problem lies in the cuts in funding from Madrid to the Canaries for its road investment. Described as brutal, 2013′s funding was reduced by 74% from 207 to 54 million Euros. Mayor of Guía de Isora Pedro Martín, however, said that despite the cuts, the works could go ahead given the right priorities being drawn up by the regional Parliament. He described the lack of funds for the extension to be finished as “nonsensical”.
Update 31 January 2013: Works on the TF1 extension between Adeje and Santiago del Teide have been practically paralysed since September for the lack of a signature. So says Tenerife Cabildo consejero de Carreteras José Luis Delgado, who stressed that the stretch is almost finished, but that the installation of its two bridges is stuck for the want of authorization to begin which just needs the Canarian Government’s consejero de Obras Públicas, Domingo Berriel, to put pen to paper.
Delgado said that the papers in question had been on Berriel’s desk since September, and if money was what was really behind the delay, the works so far had cost over €150 million and would only require a further €20 million to complete. Money does seem to be the issue, indeed, since the Canarian Government’s budget for this year’s allocates only €100.000 for the ring road, an allocation that Delgado classed as “insufficient”, and an amount that might not even cover security, let alone works.
Update 3 September: Although there was doubt earlier in the year, the Canarian Government has now formally committed itself to providing funds to finish the motorway extension between Armeñime and Santiago del Teide. The works, which have been paralysed, originally had a completion date of the end of 2013, and the Cabildo says that the Government’s commitment makes that deadline feasible again. This is also when the motorway connection between Icod de Los Vinos and El Tanque comes into use, and so the dream of the Tenerife ring road is back on once again.
Original post 2 April: The completion of the Adeje to Santiago del Teide extension of the TF1 is in doubt after national Government cuts of 64% for road projects in Tenerife. Works on several other roads are also up in the air, the Canarian Government minister for public works, Domingo Berriel, has announced.
Apart from road users, of course, among the most affected will be the actual contractors who were allocated the projects, and who the Government now fears will seek compensation for the loss of some 130 million Euros in 2012 alone – the projects were due to run to 2017.
Apart from the TF1 extension, other road works affected by the cuts include the third carriageway between Güímar and Santa Cruz, the TF1 extension between Santiago del Teide and Icod and then on to El Tanque. North Tenerife is also affected in respect of the Via Litoral in Santa Cruz, and works on the TF5 between Ofra and El Chorrillo, and Padre Anchieta to Los Rodeos.
Sr Berriel said that the regional Government was studying the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court or even the Constitutional Court to contest the decision for breach of agreement.
Update 23 January 2012: The President of the Canaries, Paulino Rivero, has said that the TF1 extension between Adeje and Santiago del Teide, which forms part of the island ring road, will be finished in December this year, and open to traffic probably in the first quarter of 2013. The extension will be two lanes in either direction between Armeñime (Adeje) and Tejina (Guía de Isora) and to the new port at Fonsalía, and a three lane “chicken run” between Tejina and Santiago del Teide.
Original post 13 September 2010: It was quite impressive watching it on TV as the huge drill broke through the wall of rock in the presence of the President of the Canaries, Paulino Rivero. The “tunel del Bicho” is part of the extension of the TF1, and it connects the two fronts of the work currently making good progress in Santiago del Teide and Adeje.
The tunnel, near Arguayo, has taken 10 months to excavate and is just over a kilometer long. It will reduce the journey time between the two municipalities by 17 minutes. It has cost 30 million Euros, slightly over 20% of the entire cost of the motorway link, which will eventually form part of the ring road around the whole island.
Around 90% of the route of the present section is now excavated, and the connection for the road down to the new port at Fonsalía will start shortly. ABC
Update 16 June 2013: Loro Parque has sadly announced that Vicky, the baby orca born last August, has died. The cause of her sudden death is still unknown, but vets and experts are working to find out the cause. They had noticed a change of behaviour over the past few days, it seems, and brought in outside specialists, including the chief vet from Sea World in the USA. Loro Parque says it is very sad indeed to lose Vicky, just 10 months old, and a playful and intelligent animal who won the hearts of the entire Loro Parque team and the visitors who saw her during her life.
Original post 17 August 2012: Loro Parque is delighted to announce the birth of a new orca, only the second ever born in Spain, and an indication, says the park, of the well-being of the mammals in the Parque. Mum Kohana is 10 years old and this is her second baby, who weighed in at 152 kilos after a 2-hour labour assisted by Loro Parque vets, biologists and trainers. Moments after being born, the new arrival swam instinctively to the surface to take its first breath. It is said to be strong, and very energetic, and makes everyone associated with the Parque very happy, said Miguel Díaz, chief orca trainer.
Update 16 June: There was a real turnout for the triathlon this morning by the looks of it, and there are some fantastic photos of the event HERE - thanks to Sir Old Golfer Bill for the link, and for the above photo too. Fantastic images which really bring it all to life.
It’s for hardcore athletes all right, but it’s also a great spectacle for the less energetic! The annual El Médano triathlon takes place on 16 June from 9am, with several hundred taking part and, no doubt, just as many if not more lining the routes to watch the 1.5 km swim, followed by a 40 km cycle race, and ending with a 10 km foot race. Gruelling is not the word! For further details, the official website is HERE.