A brief ( well I say brief) overview and recap of the first few weeks

So… I have been here for  three weeks now so I guess it is time I dazzle the world with witty and erudite tales of my epic adventures and awe you all with basically the best photographs you are likely to see in a long long time. Only because of the subject matter of course. NOT for my peerless skills.

Arrived on the 15th of Jan, very late and went to bed. Excited yet? I know, madness.

I had a room in a Pension, but without the breakfast! No matter, downstairs is a little cafe who make the strongest espressos ever so all is well. Spartan to the extreme which is fine by me, cleaner than clean and run by really lovely people, but this is not Tripadvisor so I shall get on with it. As you can see the view of the electricity wires was spectacular, pit about the stuff in front of it though, some hills and a bit of water up front, oh well. I had three organic alarm clocks next door that made sure I woke up  when they did, I call them Yappy, Yappier and Barko. Bless.

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_DSC1793view from the window ( obviously) of the pension room, fortunately a small portion of the power line is still visible from this angle. _DSC1794

I spent the first few days just walking and walking around the city of Santa Cruz to get my bearings and the lay of the land.. I walked a lot of miles I have to say and that has continued. Santa Cruz is a city on a harbour and a hill, very steep hills and a busy shipping port with cargo and cruise ships, not a particularly touristy place and not usually advertised as such which is nice as there are not the throngs of groups that can take the uniqueness away from a place. There is a big oil refinery up the road as well so it is an interesting place. Dorada,the local brewery is up on the hill towards La Laguna.

Looking forward to a bit of cheeky Urbex in the old abandoned Bullring here, Plaza De Toros.. I know of a way in …sshhhhh….and I am going to get in there as soon as I can, it is too busy in town with Carnival now with many people around but… all very low key it will be .)

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I am learning quickly that there is a huge water problem here, desalination is a big thing as there is not a lot of fresh water on an island this small, so with high volumes of tourism and the constant flow of people, predominately in the south of the island, this is definitely a major issue here, something along with the rubbish removal and recycling that I wonder about. more on that later. ( yay you say)

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Not cruise ships, clearly!

_DSC1972_DSC1797Santa Cruz is a pretty busy port and is that an oil rig on the left?

 

The Auditorio is a really cool building, designed by Santiago Calatrava who designs a lot of bridges, apparently there was some unrest about it though, some folks were not big fans but that happens everywhere there is a new “landmark” type building.. dunno, I really like it though. It looks like a ship with a wave crashing over it.. covered in thousands ( I really want to know how many) pieces of white mosaic tiles and it’s quite a sight. (Click circles for larger images)

 

Few more pictures of Santa Cruz and La Laguna, I will go further afield in subsequent posts.

There’s an art project on the rocks in front of the Auditorio called Cien Caras, 100 faces and it is portraits of musicians and composers on the rocks, it’s really great, here.. have a look:

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There is a fabulous sculpture map they have put together from the Exposición Internacional de esculturas en la Calle 1973-74 so many of the sculptures date from then and are magnificent pieces of modernist work, Joan Miro, Henry Moore and others adorn the streets and parks of Santa Cruz. As part of my mapping and sound recording work I have started to create a sound map of the sculpture tail, I am visiting every sculpture and recording audio clips on or as close to the pieces as I can get… one is in a giant roundabout so a bit hard to get to… as of today, Feb 1st, I have done about 25.. also included some other public sculptures that will go on the map.

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click circles for larger images

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So all the photos and sound recordings will go on this map here at zeemaps, it is a work in progress so check back every so often if you are interested.
Carnival is fast approaching and the city is getting ready for that so it is all abuzz right now.
Here are a couple of random pictures from around Santa Cruz

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Also I have been exploring the areas on the coast around Santa Cruz and La Laguna, as it is a pretty small island nowhere is far and they have a seriously good bus system here that goes everywhere, Manchester’s patchwork and disastrous public transport mashup could learn a good few things from these guys that is for sure. The drivers are daredevils, whipping the Guaguas around corners and down hills at heart attack inducing speeds while having a little natter with someone up front, all very chilled… for them and slightly terrifying for me, I think just me.. everyone else seems fine.
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So, getting back to the point, yes.. on these green comets I am able to get all over the island really quickly so have been to Punta De Hidalgo where they have the coolest lighthouse I have ever seen, it’s all rocky and volcanic and people find little alcoves in the rock and lay around, no one disturbs each other and if you find a spot with someone in it you just move on and give the their space. There are natural swimming pools here, Piscinas y Charcos

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I went down a hill and walked around the coast for a while and had lunch in this place hanging over the ocean then walked more until I got to the little strip of bars by all the resorts, German people make up the majority there for some reason.

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so next I got back on the guagua and went to Tacoronte, got off and walked for a few miles down some seriously steep hills… my knees are still annoyed with me.  Went through some little towns, El Sauzal being one and then found a park on the cliffside, terraced and in there is a little bar, actual paradise on the side of a hill. Parque Los Lavadores

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That’s enough for today…. stay tuned for part two….

 

Ok, so yeah… for my next small foray into the corners of the island I wanted to see about some wine and bit of history ( I do love a good museum as many who know me will attest) so again I boarded the green comet, this time to Icod de los Vinos. They have a wine museum there, also a few other really nice things. These are not important, ( ok, they are a bit) there is a wine museum. The Museo Malvasia.

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Well, I say museum.. it’s a lovely shop with wine, wine tastings and ham, of course there is always ham thankfully. When I went past there was a large group of tourists having the tasting and receiving a bit of a talk on the area, I stuck my head in the door for a sec but thought I would wander around and come back later. Glad I did, there was no one at all when I went back so wandered around the garden .. sat and had lunch and wanted to stay there for ever basically.

They have a famous Drago tree here that is purported to be over a thousand years old and the people of the town live and die by it. It flowers once every 15 years and every so often, every 2 to 3, when this happens people get very worried and fear for its health. It is not a tree but a spirit, a part of the town and revered.

I was talking to two ladies who work in the Museo De Malvasia and they told me there is a big Cuban connection here, in fact one of them is Cubana. It is said that the Guanche language is dead and gone but not really, there are still people who speak it, at least in part and we talked about this and they told me a couple of words, I forgot to write them down so don’t remember.

 

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I’m going ..to the beach……. more later 🙂

Back now… well that was.. um… interesting, on a few levels. Read the exciting and riveting tale of this adventure HERE but down the page a bit.. of course. it doesn’t warrant top billing, besides that would not be in chronological order anyway so yeah, down the page a bit.

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