Archive for August, 2007

I have a friend who insists that when she was a girl her family holidayed in France near a small village where free wine was dispensed from a standing pipe in the village square and you could just wander along with your bottles and fill them up whenever you liked.
I’d have hot-footed it to this town had my friend been able to remember, even vaguely, where it was. As she couldn’t, it became to me a French urban myth and the stuff that only dreams are made of. Until last week that is.

I went to the Romería San Roque in a little town called Garachico on the north coast of Tenerife. I’ve been to many fiestas since moving to Tenerife almost four years ago but I’ve never been to a Romería before and I was completely unprepared for what took place.
In an impossibly quaint town on a warm Thursday afternoon in August, hundreds of people gathered in traditional Canarian dress, both sexes and all ages. The streets were lined with flags and bunting as they usually are for fiestas and there were loads of stalls selling CDs, T-shirts, wicker baskets, jewellery and mechanical toys to name but a few.
But the best thing about the Romería, was the Romería itself; a whole series of floats, each pulled by a team of two oxen and packed to the gunwales with people in traditional costume playing music, dancing, drinking and handing out FREE grilled prime cuts of beef and pork, skewers of kebabs, sausages and spare ribs from barbecues mounted onto the back of the floats as they slowly paraded through the narrow streets.

As well as the meat, there were boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, small cakes made from ground corn known as gofio, bread rolls, peaches, melon slices and lemon pears being thrown to waiting hands, through open windows and onto crowded balconies. One such ‘missile’ of a nectarine nearly broke the nose of an elderly Canarian woman sitting behind her open window right next to me.
And to wash it all down?
Barrel after barrel of vino del país (a strong, fruity, locally produced red wine) from which plastic pipes and ladles dispersed a never-ending supply of FREE WINE to anyone who held out a cup, a glass, a beaker or a bottle.

This is no urban myth. This is simply the wonderful people of Garachico sharing the bounty of their harvest with their friends, family, neighbours and complete strangers alike…qu’el bon idée!

Read more about the San Roque Romería in Garachico…

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The other day whilst I was in Santiago del Teide having a look at the trail of destruction left by the Tenerife forest fire, a deluxe silver convertible with a car rental sticker on its bumper pulled up beside me.
“You don’t happen to speak any Spanish, do you?” The driver asked. “The car’s making a funny noise and I haven’t a clue what this means.”
He pointed to the dashboard where, very cleverly, the on-board computer was telling him what the problem was. Unfortunately for him it was in Spanish. As it turned out it was telling him that his gear box was on the blink.

It was just one of those unexpected incidents that can happen when you hire a car in a foreign country, but it suddenly occurred to me that although we’ve written a guide to discovering the island by car; we aren’t, as yet, providing any advice relating to actually renting a car on Tenerife. With over 100 car rental firms on Tenerife to choose from, it can be a bit of a daunting task which I remember only too well from my first visits to the island.

To rectify this, and help visitors make a more informed choice in the future, we’ve included an independent on-line guide to hiring a car on Tenerife on our Real Tenerife Island Drives website. So, to help us I ‘d like to hear from people who’ve rented a car on the island.

What I’m especially interested in is:

  • If you collected your hire car from the airport, was the process quick and easy?
  • Were there any unexpected charges, or ‘add-ons’?
  • Was the car’s petrol tank full, or was finding a petrol station the first thing you had to do?
  • Did you feel that the car hire firm were friendly, service was good and there weren’t any communication problems?
  • Was the car in good condition?
  • If you had an accident, was the car hire company supportive in helping you deal with it?

Also feel free to leave any other comments that you feel would help visitors to Tenerife make the right choice when hiring a car.

Thanks very much for your help.

P.S. There’s at least one car hire company on Tenerife who have their customers’ overall holiday experience in mind and that’s Poul’s Autos. If you book on line with them you get a FREE copy of Island Drives, but only if you ask for it.

N.B. All or part of your comments may be published and credited on Real Tenerife Island Drives website

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