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Walkers, markets, San Telmo and all things Puerto! 

Tenerife recently hosted an International Walking Festival, a series of organised walks in some of the most popular areas of the island.

It was spread over five or six days, with Puerto de la Cruz at its epicentre, acting as base camp, if you like. So how did it go? Was it a success?

To be honest, I haven’t a clue. The festival was certainly billed as a main event, be-forehand, I mean. There was great expectation and plenty of banging of the drum, but after the event, where was the feedback?

Interested in walking myself, I was eagerly waiting for it, yet there was precious little, with most of the social media sites ominously quiet about it. Perhaps it wasn’t the event it had been ‘bigged up’ to be.

Being, as I have already said, keen on walking, I should, I suppose, have gotten involved, taken part, gone on a couple of the hikes. However, the problem is, as I have admitted before, as far as walking is concerned I am just too unsociable, even selfish to the extreme. I need to start when I want, set my own pace, take breaks only when I am tired, and of course, to plan my own route.

So it is not for me, the organised outing, the complete package which comes with guide, who sets the pace quite rightly so to match the ability of the least able-bodied of the group. No thank you, the very thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat, all those pointed hiking sticks in one place, someone is bound to trip, there will be an injury.

Don’t get me wrong, I do recognise there is a need  for the guided walk and I am sure there is a demand, there are certainly enough companies in Puerto, offering just that, all year round. Enough said, I have already gone slightly off track, but thankfully am not completely lost.

So having not taken part and sadly bereft of any official comment, I am left to make my own conclusions as to the festival’s success. My only physical measure of the level of participation being  a head-count of how many people I noticed walking around the town in hiking boots, wearing back packs and wielding the aforementioned sticks, and I have to concede there did seem to be far more than usual. Just one more comment and then I will move on, I promise. It did strike me as odd that with Puerto being the ‘hub’ for this festival that the Information Point, the nerve-centre of the whole operation, you would assume, was housed in, what is best described as a glorified garden shed, sited opposite the town hall. Does that create the right impression?

Market event

Let’s look now at another example of the art of over-selling an event, this time a market, over two days, a weekend. Billed as a low ‘Low Cost’ market, it was claimed to be the last chance to buy articles at these prices. What would have been called an ‘End of Line Sale’, where ‘Everything Must Go’ back in the UK or at least that was the expectation. The reality, as is more often than not the case, was something quite different.

There were eight to ten stalls, local shopkeepers by the looks of things; all trying to offload what I have to say was a quite diverse range of products. This was accompanied by the almost ever present  extremely loud music,  interspersed at timely intervals  by a young lady with a microphone, a loud voice and a lot to say for herself, who I believe was the entertainment, apart from a bouncy castle for the kids that is. Suffice to say the whole event managed to hold my interest for at least thirty seconds until I moved on to somewhere more interesting, and quieter.

There are, however, a couple of worthy comments I would like to make. Why, in a concrete slab hugging, pedestrian walkway loving, town like Puerto where there are umpteen suitable squares in which this event could be staged, did the powers to be decide to close off one of the few remaining  central squares where if you are extremely lucky you might just find a parking space. More importantly though, why if the town council can sanction a  market like this can they not overcome the obstacles to see the return of the very popular Artisan market which was  held in Plaza Europa  on Sunday mornings  until they fell foul of same  council’s regulations and permissions, that is. Seems wrong to me!

That footbridge

If you read my last column, surely there were a few of you; you will remember, hopefully, my rant about our local footbridge, the one that isn’t finished.  Well now I am happy to report the day after this newspaper hit the newsstands work on the bridge recomm-enced.

A pure coincidence, of course, I am not for one moment trying to claim to have influenced the decision. I wouldn’t dare to think my articles are compulsory reading for the powers to be at the local council. However, they may well browse the rest of the paper to see if their picture appears in it. After all they are not known to be influenced by public opinion. Take San Telmo as a perfect example. So, yes, work has recommenced, two men and a welding torch have been on site, on and off, ever since, fashioning some railings out of metal tube. In fact by the time you read this, fingers crossed, the bridge might actually be finished.

San Telmo

As I have mentioned it, perhaps I should utter a few words about San Telmo. I didn’t intend to,  as to be honest this project is  dragging on so long I have become quite  bored  with it, so just a couple of sentences. The media machine was very quick to announce “The new San Telmo Promenade is finished and open”. I suppose it must be true as several of the island’s dignitaries have posed for photos on it.

The statement isn’t wrong. The new part, with the ‘jutty out overhanging the sea  bit’, is finished and indeed open, but if the photographers taking the photos had just done a 180 and took another shot there would have been a far different story to tell. So, guilty of stretching the truth somewhat, just over half of the whole walkway is open, there is still a long way to go. However the beach area is to open on 1st April, so by the time you read this hopefully it will have.

Street lighting

One day last week a council pickup containing three men and a ladder arrived in our street. It is a very rare sight indeed. They were here to check the street lighting. It did remind me of the old ‘How many men does it take to change a light bulb’ jokes, because in truth that was exactly the scenario. One to go up the ladder, one to rest his foot on the bottom rung and one to smoke, use his mobile and to chat to passersby, the Supervisor, I assume. Our street and those surrounding were left in darkness for three nights after their visit. It took a phone call to get them back, but they did return post haste to correct the fault, which after all was of their own making.

Town hall changes!

Changes have been made at the town hall. The little office to the left as you come in the front door, the one where you get copy documents and letters date stamped.  You know, the one with two little windows with pull down blinds, which are so easy to hide behind. Yes, that’s the one, only the windows have gone, replaced by a counter, much more accessible. Now frontline, customer facing staff, now really are, it’s much more customer friendly, or at least that is the impression it gives. What an improvement, a woman’s touch no doubt about it. Now if only they would open afternoons, forget it, it is never going to happen.