Hurtling up the autopista on a Sunday, take a peek over to where the sun glances off the creamy tips of the waves, contrasting with the misshapen rocks, spewed up from ancient volcanic eruptions. In summer the bays and nooks of this coastline are filled with families enjoying the sunshine and the ocean. Local families these days rarely bother with the tourist beaches of Playa de lasAmericas, and few with the beaches of Los Cristianos. On these more remote shores you can barbeque, put up day tents, take your dog, get a little drunk – basically, do all the things which tourism has made socially unacceptable on the posh beaches.
I did a wee post for Tenerife.co.uk a month or so ago about this theme, and wanted to take some pictures of Playa Grande in Poris de Abona to go with it. It wasn’t the busy Sunday scene I found, though, it was autumn and about an hour before sunset.
The beach was deserted, the little ice cream stand all locked up, and the only people around were a couple of hikers who passed by. It all looked much more seasonal than the island usually is. Tenerife’s “sub-title” is “Island of Eternal Spring,” and certainly on the south and south-west coasts people sunbathe all year round, so to observe such apparent bleakness on a good-weather day (I’d been roasting in Santa Cruz) felt strange. I suppose coming from Blackpool the idea of seasons is firmly entrenched in my brain. I remember Blackpool better off-season than high-season, because we avoided the summer crowds like the plague.
Clouds were beginning to descend from the hillsides, making the leggy, white windmills of a nearby wind farm stand out in contrast to the gathering gloom, and I was losing light fast for the photo I wanted, and yet I didn’t want to leave. The calm was taking hold of my brain; the slight chill, the persistence of the ocean trying to reach the shore, that lonesome sound of gulls circling and the sense of having the world to oneself.
Just along from the bay and the sand, the beach was littered with the cages which are used for fishing for pulpo, some of them twisted and rotting, and I wondered about why we are drawn to beaten-up, discarded objects and decaying mortar and peeling paintwork. Is it curiosity about the stories they might tell, or is it pity of the unwanted or some sort of respect for history?
This pretty little beach, surround by gnarled and almost sinister rock formations, is only 20 minutes, tops, from the famous beaches, yet it’s a thousand miles away in experience. You won’t find amenities, no lifeguards, no loos, nor bars even, but a sense of peace, at least on this occasion, which you have to travel much further to find in other places.