This week has been a quite uneventful one really, but, before I forget, here are the photos from last Sunday’s stroll around San Cristóbal de La Laguna, usually known, simply, as La Laguna.
Since first coming to live in the Canary Islands 23 years ago, I’ve always been given to understand that the original capital of the island, following the Spanish conquest, was Garachico in the true north, but these days I so often hear that La Laguna was the original capital I begin to doubt my original information – but then there is more misinformation about this tiny island than you could believe, and tonight I am enjoying a glass or two of excellent Malvasia, so I will leave the scholarly stuff for next time. Whatever the truth might be, La Laguna was the capital of the island for a time, and now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Last Sunday, we hadn’t intended to visit the city, so this was much more a Sunday stroll than an inquisitive visit - but that is something which is most certainly on the cards for the near future. We parked (Sunday parking is easy peasy, unlike during the week, when the Tranvia is a much better option), close to these beautiful, old buildings. We assumed, judging from their state of disrepair, that they are on the edge of the Heritage Site, although they have clearly been colorfully decorated at one time. Some of them looked beyond repair, which is a shame. Modern buildings here are nicely and thoughtfully presented, but just don’t have the character, so let’s hope there is some money in some kitty, somewhere to restore these!
We turned out to be quite close to the Iglesia de la Concepción, whose local fame is second only to the cathedral a little further along.
Bad timing – they were just closing for lunch, but informed us that we would be able to ascend the bell tower at 3 o’clock. Now, since seeing a friend’s photos of the view from up there, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so there was nothing for it but to stroll some more until it was opening time.
One of the things which strikes you about the historical part of La Laguna is color. The old buildings have been restored and exude a homely kind of beauty which I usually associate with the Caribbean, or Africa. It’s odd, in a way, because gorgeous though it is, it doesn’t somehow, fit with the impression I have of this island. Really, I will investigate, but I have the feeling this owes more to modern fashions than to genuine restoration. I have, I hasten to add, ABSOLUTELY, no basis for saying that whatsoever, it’s a purely personal hunch, and a hunch, at that……I might be way off mark.
Whatever, it’s very pretty, and a very pleasant place to be. I never fail to feel outstandingly good when I am in La Laguna. We did call by the Tourist Information office on our meanderings, and this is the most gorgeous building, and is obviously lovingly restored:
We now know how to get more information – watch this space, coming soon – but overall there was a disappointing lack of orientation/propaganda for such a prestigious place. When I called into my local Tourist Information Office in El Médano recently I was just overwhelmed with all the information there, not only about the local area, but about the island, and that was even before I spoke with the lady who runs it, who is a living, breathing ad for her community and island, really, someone should give her a job in the Cabildo! She is charming, happy and helpful.
It might be because I didn’t know where to go (but, then, a tourist would know even less) that there didn’t seem to be a huge variety, or even much variety, of eateries to choose from on that main “drag” in the tourist office/cathedral/church triangle? I would love for someone local to put me right there? We ended up having a very nice sandwich in Oh La La, a local chain which really caters more for the working, lunchtime crowd than for tourists. No problems with food or service, they were good – because I live here. Had I been a tourist/traveller I think I would have been disappointed that I wasn’t eating something “Canarian”. That said, we came across the most WONDERFUL ice cream place, where we positively inhaled passion fruit ice cream, which seemed to be the most perfectly apt thing to put down your throat on a hot day. I lose words here. It was sublime! Yesterday, a friend told me that I should have gone to a certain bakery in that area, and I have a feeling it might have been the same place…..yes, yes – I am slapping my own wrists for not getting the name – don’t worry – it was that good a return visit will not be so long away!
All stickied up from the ice cream we arrived back at the bell tower for our ascent, which proved to be physically way less than expected, and visually more rewarding -
AND – yes we WERE up there when the bells stuck – happily for us it was on the quarter-hour!
It was a most pleasant way to while away a Sunday afternoon, it filled the “whatever it is it was supposed to fill” , and left us with questions which, as we live here, we will be able to answer in the near future.
Now, as Shakespeare said, here’s the rub – suppose we didn’t live here, suppose we’d been tourists with a few hours to spend on the island from our cruise boat? But suppose that if we had been tempted enough, we would come back and explore the island more? Spend more tourist dollars?
One of the things I enjoy most in life is trying to put myself in someone else’s shoes ….. so, here I am, that tourist…..well, to be honest, I figure I’ve been there, done that, there is no incentive to return. It was nice and pretty, and I have a very nice impression of Tenerife, but exactly why would I want to come back and spend a week or two or even a month here? Hey – Mr. Melchior – I know the answer to that question …….. DO YOU??
So, what was last week like, apart from finally taking myself to the doctor’s to try to sort out the stiff neck that is? Errrrr……..it was kind of ordinary……for here.
With my dear friend, Maggie, staying up the coast with my goddaughter, her beau and her daughter, actually, seeing the amazing Palacio de Isora hotel, was, perhaps not so ordinary. Living here, you don’t really give much thought to hotels if you aren’t in the business, but I must say that it was exceptionally beautiful, the food though was good, but not to rave about, at least the meal I had there. So, here is a completely different view of tourism. whilst my much prefered journey would take me on a exploration of anywhere I was, I can quite understand the need for a worn-out, Western worker, with sufficient disposable income, to just chill and be calmed, to have the need to work out all those kinks life in the cubicle implants. Strange as it may seem for someone of my mindset, I can understand the need to chill and forget the outside world……..and having observed the hotel from a certain distance ….well – it wouldn’t do that for me, pretty though it is.
The rest of the time with my friends/family was barbecuing, a wee time on the beach (i.e.not enough on account of my neck!), and the compulsory stuffing o ourselves at Otelo in Adeje……one day, I will go there, (with ordinary people, not gluttons) and actually finish the pile of chicken they bring!!! This time we left one. One, I ask you, one piece of chicken. Wouldn’t you have thought someone could have eaten it????? As we left the huge, silver moon rose on queue over the ragged peaks which shelter Barranco del Infierno………..of course it did – it was …… I didn’t have my camera!!
So, the week has been a mixture of sloth and pain. I now, officially, award full marks to the medical center in El Médano. I have to admit I’ve been procrastinating (well, that’s a game with me, anyway) about changing over from the Los Cristianos center. That’s because I felt virtually invisible the last time I was registered there – which is, actually, probably a step up from the way I felt as a patient in Los Cristianos (stupid foreigner I suppose would cover the attitude – I except one, particular nurse from that remark, I doubt she’ll ever read this, but if you do, my friend, you will know who you are – and you are a blessing to mankind). Anyhoo, procrastination being my demeanour of choice it was a no brainer. Last week I had to, though, and wow but it went well – lovely receptionist lady and very efficient, appointment within 24 hours and a doctor I could feel confident about (is bonding too strong a word??) OK I know I was a spoiled brat with private insurance for a long time, and all of this is only what people normally have to put up with. Still, my experiences with the broken wrist last year were worthy of stories from Third World countries. I think I didn’t comment on them at the time——very frustrating to type with one hand.
So – the week still has one more day to offer. What will it be like? I am smirking, but it might be the Malvasia …. wait and see!
Author’s Note: this post was written whilst slightly inebriated, but the author has few doubts that she will stand by the contents on the morrow, even though they may be politically incorrect. She also reaffirms her right to consider these ramblings as personal opinions, and has no affiliation to anyone/thing other than her own conscience.