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There are few sights that can equal the emotion, spectacle and fervour of The Passion, played out by a cast of hundreds down the length of the Calle Grande in Adeje old town on Good Friday. Preperations have been going on all year for the Noon event, costumes are lavish and the series of tableaus depicting scenes from the crucifiction of Christ, are ready for the actors to play their parts with microphones broadcasting their lines to the packed roadside.
From the moment the Roman centurians lead the emperor, followers and horses, into the street, everyone is spellbound. The Last Supper, the betrayal, and the trial, all proceed the dramatic moment when Christ is forced to pick up the cross and carry it down the street to the point of crucifiction.
A giant screen shows the action to the crowds, and the local television transmits it into homes around the Canary Islands. The climax draws gasps, and a few tears, as Christ forgives his captors from the cross. The whole process takes nearly 2 hours as the greatest story ever told unfolds, and even the most cynical, can’t fail to0 be impressed by the sheer power of the Passion. Other similar events take place around Tenerife, but Adeje has made this into one of the most remarkable pieces of street theatre that you will ever witness.
Shrieks of pleasure, gasps of admiration and the frantic click of cameras rung out across Costa Adeje as a dream became reality. Yes, It’s official, Siam Park has arrived. The water kingdom theme park received its inauguration last night in the company of politiicians, business leaders and media from right across Spain. The 185,000 square metre site has been taking shape since 2002 and is a flagship for tourism in the south of Tenerife.
Crowds gathered outside awaiting the arrival of special guest the princess of Thailand, Maha Charkri Sirindhorn, to cut the floral ribbon, before that, the Bishop of Tenerife blessed the park as the crowds admired the imposing exterior. Once inside, the thai theme rang out loudly as colourful temples and guards, not gods, great care has been taken to show due respect to Thai history, dominated the skyline. Performers in traditional dress added a touch of style in the Thai village, the largest outside of Thailand, sealions lounged in the entrance pool and the longest and highest lazy river meandered through the parkas guests explored.
A party of local youngsters eagerly tried out some of the 14 rides, revelling in the warm recycled sea water. The towerÂ of power was theÂ biggest challenge with its 28 metre steep water chute, many looked on in awe through the glass tankÂ where the chute becomes a sealed tube whooshing the rider through a sea of fish and out into a splash pool. Similar thrills awaited on the dragon and volcano with an inflatable raft carrying riders through a maze of tubes and into another splash pool, life guards were ready for them to guide them to a safe stop.
As the sun set, the view over the park and beyondÂ Las Americas to sea, took on a magical light and guests headed to the 5,000 square metre imported white sand beach for the speeches byÂ local dignitaries. The torches burnt around theÂ wave pool, where man made waves of up to 3 metres will delight surfers, and the pagoda like restaurant was a focal point thatÂ along with 4 other bars and restaurants, will feed the estimated 7,500 visitors a day the park expects. Fireworks tore through the night sky to round off the evening, and many were already planning return trips with their families when the park opens to the public tomorrow, Wednesday September 17.
There is barely a ripple on the two outdoor pools but a small flat robotic cleaner glides across the floor of the olympic size 50 metre main pool ensuring a clean finish to go with the constant 27 degrees of the water. Looking down from the swimming level, the floodlight pylons of the 2 football pitches frame the view of La Caleta below and the clear Atlantic beyond. It’s going to be another hot sunny day, and perfect for pursuing sporting excellence.
This is the 56,000 square metre site of Tenerife Top Training, or T3 to its friends. The site has been supplied by Adeje council on a 25 year lease, and is in the final stages of development by Kurt Konrad S.L , financed by private money. Director Carlos Paulsen gave me a guided tour of the complex as workmen beavered away to have things ready to welcome the first eager sports enthusiasts at the end of August.
Starting down at pool level, the setting is impressive, the backdrop of the mountains and palm trees is complemented by the freshly planted shrubs on the banked sides of the complex surround. Golf Costa Adeje is T3′s neighbour, and like them, T3 has used traditional old Adeje stone walls to give a natural feel to the complex. Both the main pool and its half size twin, are headed at one end by a large roll over cover that will protect them from sand and dust, and also hold the water temperature in overnight, there’s no point in wasting the energy that is soon to be produced by solar panels.
Sports treatment and therapy are very important to T3, the whole complex is linked by ramps and lifts to make it wheelchair friendly and the main pool has already been sampled by disabled swimmers, over for the recent championships in Santa Cruz. For the dedicated swimmer, a third hi tech pool hides below and uses cutting edge bio mechanics to study a swimmers strengths and weaknesses. Three cameras below, above and outside the pool, produce a 3D image on a giant screen, as the swimmer heads into a 2.5 metre per second water stream for a 30 second burst. This piece of kit is unique in Spain and one of only 20 in the World.
Back outside, on the way down to the football pitches, we pass the court areas, where 3 tennis courts are just along from 7 padel courts. Padel is a fast growing, easy to play game, invented in Mexico and popular in South America and Spain. A seperate grass area is set aside for goalkeeper training, but the main pitches are a newly seeded natural pitch and an artificial surface, both will be in use until 10pm thanks to the floodlighting.
Inside the main building, changing and shower areas are kept seperate for swimming and pitch users, there are also large physio and general exercise areas plus an all purpose zone that can be used as a conference centre. T3 will be open to the general public daily, but they will also be attracting teams and clubs that want to combine a holiday with some intensive training. The Jardin Caleta hotel, on the coast and clearly visible from T3, will provide the accomodation for guests, already several european sports sides have made bookings for T3.
In this Olympic year, and with Spanish sport enjoying a major upturn, the timing is perfect for the opening of a new sports centre where the science and sheer enjoyment of sport can combine, T3 has the most up to date facilities to cope with this demand and experts on hand to coach and encourage.
Fun, safe and entertaining, Aqualand combines a water park with a live dolphin experience of shows and close up discovery and education. It’s a perfect day out for families and a great way to cool down from the heat of the day. The park is just above San Eugenio, a short walk over either motorway bridge, or a cheap taxi ride. There is a series of free buses that pick up from around the main resorts of south Tenerife, just check the website, ask your hotel reception or pick up a leaflet at any information centre.
One inside, the fun starts to flow, the water slides are a great favourite and there are a lots ofÂ scary variations like the twister and tornado that are sure to thrill. The open pool areas are relaxing and spacious, and the kids are well looked after with the childrens castle, and trampolin. Families can enjoy the rides together and share the excitement and the refreshment of the water.
Aqualand has 10 bottlenose dolphins and they perform a dazzling show at 1 and 3.30 from Monday to Thursday and at 3pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These graceful animals will impress everyone with their intelligence and sense of fun. For a closer view, the dolphinarium gives a chance to learn more about these rare creatures and appreciate their endangered status.
FACTS AND FIGURES
To get a really great idea of the beauty that Costa Adeje offers, take a long panoramic view from the sea, on board a catamaran from Freebird Sailing. Based in Puerto Colon, Freebird have a fleet of crafts to meet everyones needs, and they are a great way to make new friends and learn a bit about Tenerife in a fun way.
The most popular trips are the dolphin and whale watching excursions. The Canary Islands are blessed with a third of all species of these creatures, either living here or passing through. They are magical and majestic creatures, and a trip to the Canaries wouldn’t be complete without seeing them close up in the wild. The Freebird crew will fill you in on all the species that you see and any other sea creatures that you may encounter, no two trips are exactly the same.
Some things do remain constant on Freebird trips, a light buffet and drinks, entertainment for the children, a stop just off a deserted stretch of coast to swim in the clear waters,sunbathing on the decks and sun nets, and the chance to buy a photo or video reminder of your special trip. As well as the main trips, there are special variations such as a party cruise with music, V.I.P trips for that bit extra, family days,a laÂ carte food trips and sunset voyages.
It’s aÂ fantastic feelingÂ as the sea breeze ruffles your hair and theÂ gentle spray of the water refreshes you. The coastline will unfold in front of you and the full extent of Tenerife’s charms work their magic on you, it will leaveÂ you hungey to learn more about the romantically named coves, small intimate beaches and luxurious homes and hotels. It’s no wonder so many holiday makers chose to make the permanent move to Tenerife, if you check out this website, it will give you a few ideas of buying options around the south coast. Meanwhile the catamaranÂ eases back into port and another happy crew departs with a tresure trove of memories of Tenerife’s Atlantic coast.Â
From the mountains down to the Atlantic ocean, Costa Adeje is a wonderous sight, and there can be no more exciting way to see than from the air. As you pass through Adeje, a glance upwards will reveal shimmering swirls of colour as keen hang gliders soar down from their rocky lauch pads.
Adeje is perfectly suited to “parapente” due to the high mountain ranges and wide open landing areas near to theÂ shoreline. TheÂ deep undulating ravines are responsible for a terrific range of thermal currents for the gliders to tap into on their way down. One of the most popular local flight paths is from Taucho down to just beyond the town of Adeje, a drop of some 800 metres.
There are several parapente clubs that operate in the south of Tenerife and they can be found via the Canary Islands Federation of Air Sports web site. It is possible to arrange gliding lessons, complete with instructors and equipment hire, there are even tandem glides where an instructor can guide you down. So if you want to be a little daring, Costa Adeje will rise to the challenge, and reward you with some great memories and photos.
Visitors to the old town of Adeje sometimes find the steep streets a little testing, as for others, they just can’t wait to move on to something even more challenging. The Barranco del Invierno (Hells Gorge) is the deepest barranco in Tenerife and a wonderful 3,125 metre return walk of around 3 hours. The level of difficulty is about medium, there is no climbing, just some uphill walking and a few tricky crossings over the stream. All you need are some sturdy shoes, water, a camera and some common sense.
Adeje council are rightly proud of this famous walk, and are careful to look after it. There is a small entry fee of 5 euros to cover upkeep and 6 multi lingual guides out on the route offer help and information on the history and nature of the area. On weekends and holidays you may have to queue to go on the walk, as they carefully monitor the amount of people out there at the same time.
So, let’s delve down into the barranco and the past of Tenerife to see the true rural face of the island. The start point is at the top of the town at Calle Los Molinos, just past the old castle, where the canon is still on guard. Once on the tight winding path, the views are stunning as a low barrier is all that seperates you from a sheer drop on one side. The path is very testing with cobbles, loose gravel and stones, so you need to keep alert. As returning walkers reach you, squeezing against the rock side becomes habit forming but there are several small viewpoints along the way to take a breather and some photos or even eat a few sarnies. This is a good time to spot the old stone water channels that run alongside the path, they date back around 400 years.
Moving on, a stream starts to bubble up and run close by, sometimes the path crosses it, and depending on the recent weather, the stream can be quite fast. The steep sides of the ravine rise at this point and close in making the bird song eerie and resonant. A marshy clearing and a small waterfall, before the path moves on, and the river gets deeper, just before the climax of the walk.
Turning a last leafy corner, the sides of the gorge open up to reveal a large steep sided cave with rock stacks leaning inward. There is a patch of blue sky high above but a 200 metre high waterfall cascading down the cave wall from a gash in the rock, and into a pool by a shingle beach, is enough to distract any upward interest. It’s like being cupped in the hand of nature.
The cave opening is a good place to take a break before retracing your steps, and usually at least one of the guides will be there to explain the history of the area. Basically, 11 million years ago, 3 volcanic peaks were continually erupting but when they stopped 7 million years later, the lava flows formed the barranco. With that history lesson taken on board, the return hour and a half trip will seem like a mere blink of the eye. It helps knowing the familiar landmarks as you go back to the start, this time you can relax a bit and snap a few more photos of the lovely plants and flowers or the paragliders swooping overhead on the thermal currents.