The British Consulate Is Here To Help You

Every time I meet the British Consulate team for Tenerife I learn something new and helpful. I could have sworn it was a classy version of Girls Aloud or Pussycat Dolls as they took their places at the top table in the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre but their advice was music to all our ears.

Kicking off the new season of the Europeans Citizens Group, the consulate staff were introduced by Carol Salisbury, the new President of the former Ciudadanos Europeos. From left to right meet Consular Officers Monica, British Vice Consul Helen Keating, Penny Gomez, and Mary Suarez. For their purposes Tenerife refers to the province, that includes La Palma, El Hierro, and La Gomera so there’s a lot of ground to cover with two million visitors a year and 30,000 registered settled ex pats. That brings us to one of the hot topics for the consulate and the European Citizens – the padron. Registering as a resident of your municipality (Arona, Adeje etc) helps the councils to assess community needs. It gives you the right to vote in the council elections (coming up May 2015) and the big carrot is the 50 % travel discount between the Canary Islands and to mainland Spain, you even get discounts on theme parks and events.


Passports can be a cause for worry, resident renewals now all go through the UK and there are ways to avoid feeling stranded. A bit of flexibility is helping to untangle the backlog that built up over the summer, you can apply for a free temporary one year passport extension but only if your passport expired in the last six months or will expire in the next three months, you have not already applied to the UK, and you have at least three clear pages in the old passport. The consulate can also issue an Emergency Travel Document if your passport is missing, this will cost 95 pounds or 125 euros.


Helping the vulnerable is another key area for these dedicated people, especially if it involves minors, the hospitalized, crime victims, and those with disabilities. The consulate staff can liase with the main agencies such as police and medical to help repatriate or contact family back home via trained specialists. We can all take measures to make sure we are covered for the unexpected, residents need to register with the health system, the EHIC card is only valid for visitors but even with these safeguards travel insurance is still a cheap way to avoid expensive shocks.

British-passport
There was so much good information coming across at the meeting my pen was sizzling, the growth of social media means you can browse all these subjects and more at your leisure so save the contact points below that are aimed at Brits who are resident in Spain. The European Citizens group is itself an excellent network and all for just 20 euros a year per household – and they have a better social life than I have ever had! They regularly have interesting guest speakers, this time Ros Jeffrey of the South Tenerife Christian Fellowship gave a talk on behalf of She Europe, an organization that offers help and support to women in distress. The Fellowship have recently taken over The Living Room, a drop in centre in the nightclub heart of Playa de Las Americas, they have always done great work and can now continue to do so. Isn’t it good to know there are so many safety nets and generous people out there in Tenerife ready to catch you if you fall.

CONTACT POINTS
BRITISH CONSULATE www.gov.uk/world/spain
Facebook www.facebook.com/BritsLivingInSpain
Twitter www.twitter.com/Britslivespain
Tel 902109356

HEALTHCARE IN SPAIN
www.healthcareinspain.eu

EUROPEAN CITIZENS GROUP
europeancitizens23@yahoo.com

SHE WOMEN
Helpline 690964145

 

 

Motors Running And Tops A Popping In Adeje

There are some big, bold projects on the starting grid for Tenerife, none more so than the motor racing circuit at Atogo, San Isidro in Granadilla de Abona. My early morning destination was Adeje for a press conference update on the long proposed project and the Fleetwood Mac Grand Prix music was steering around in my brain.


FIT Canarias, the factory for tourist innovation was the very impressive host, the bright white office spaces are a relatively new tenant in the CDCTA tourism development complex at El Galeon. Eduardo Pintado Mascareno, the legal councilor of commerce for the Tenerife Cabildo (government) spoke at length and with some passion about the planned track and the benefits it would bring to Tenerife. Basically it’s taken a big push to get the idea to the stage where all the layout and technical designs are ready, the Cabildo has given its blessing to the project and just the difficult subject of finance has to be conquered.


Tendering is open for the 30 million euros investment needed and we were told there is strong interest. The Cabildo has always said it would chip in with the supporting infrastructure links, the south airport is just 2.5 kms away and the TF 1 motorway passes nearby . Of course the question of Formula One racing was raised again, the councilor said that would be the dream aim but realistically they were looking at top European racing at several levels on four and two wheels. You can take an in depth ponder at the special website, it’s a long term project that will take at least two years to build once the first digging starts but with a lot of faith and imagination you can almost smell the engine oil.


Back out in Adeje I was shocked to see an old favourite missing from his post. The statue of the Guanche warrior was no longer perched on his plinth on the way into the old town. Instead it looked like one of the cages for the Christmas lottery, El Gordo, had been given a prime position. Closer inspection and the help of some information boards revealed it to be a sculpture called Sphere Solidarity by Juan Antonio Hernandez containing thousands of used plastic bottle tops. The promotion, Tapones Solidarios, aims to fill the container with the discarded poppers to help the charity Iraitza Association to recycle the tops and donate the proceeds to help people with physical or mental disabilities.


You can help Adeje to reach its target by dropping off collections of the bottle tops near the sphere. They need to have the recycling mark on them for number two or five, if Dorada bottles had such tops I’m sure I could have a go at filling it in double quick time. There was better news of the Guanche statue, he wasn’t guarding a fish pond in a councilors garden or being used as an advertising gimmick. Further down the hill I could see him partially obscured as he was being fixed into place on a large traffic roundabout. I’m sure he would approve of the cause.

Suso Turns On The Lights For CD Tenerife

Thankfully he is not as hairy as Russell Brand but the big sloppy hug from Suso after his 26th minute wonder goal was very welcome by under fire CD Tenerife coach Alvaro Cervera. The final 2-0 victory over Barcelona B was even more welcome, especially with a clean sheet and vastly improved performances all round.


Let’s rip the wrapping open and go straight to the cherry cream delight in this chocolate box of a win. Raul Camara picked up the ball on the halfway line and fed Suso on the left, yes the left. The captain danced inside luring two defenders to him, he feinted past one and made a mug of Patric who tried to tackle him, then picking the top corner of the goal he flighted the ball beautifully into the net for the first marker.


Maybe the coach is learning that his over loyalty to some players is not being repaid, the starting line up was a pleasing one with Ifran preferred to Aridane and Uli Davila not even on the bench. From the start the home play was more flexible, Ricardo unleashed a long shot that Ortola in the Barca goal did well to touch over. Suso spent more of the early part of the game on the opposite wing from his normal right and it worked wonders.


Barcelona B always have plenty of skills on offer, tucking in behind thee home defence they set up a good chance but Roberto made a commanding save. They followed up with an effort from deep but this one sailed high over the bar. Tenerife had another strong chance just before the break, a cross from the right came to Ifran but the goalie was awake and snuffed it out. Ortola was wandering far out of his goal at times and the invite was there for more goals – something to ponder in the half time break.


Aitor Sanz was back in control in midfield, Hugo Alvarez continues to improve at centre back, and Ifran looked the part up front, early after the restart he did well to beat three defenders but the shot wasn’t quite as clinical. The second goal arrived within a few minutes, a corner landed just nicely for Ifran to muscle in between the defence to turn and shoot in one movement. There was a hint of handball but we wont argue with that and neither did Ifran as he dispatched the ball into the net.


Juan Camara went close for Barca but Tenerife were still shining, even when some of the floodlights clicked off at our end of the ground. Thankfully the ref didn’t seem bothered, and this one had better sight than most of the blinkered officials we get. Aridane came on for Ifran who left to a generous round of applause, the out of favour number nine slotted in nicely and was even spotted helping out the defence at one point. Guarrotxena replaced Ricardo with little disruption to the flow as Suso continued to torment the visitors. Patric had a torrid time in defence and launched a scathing challenge on Guarrotxena that earned him a straight red. Barca managed a few late efforts, Gumbau had a pop from long range but it curled over the goal with Roberto ready to cover it.


The biggest cheer of the night from the 9,062 crowd was for Suso when he was subbed with a few minutes left, he richly deserved the ovation he got, a truly inspiring captain. His replacement, 16 year old striker Cristo Gonzalez won a couple of headers, it was nice to see him get some time, on the same day that our last home grown hot shot Ayoze grabbed his first Premier goal for Newcastle. Everyone was happy at the final whistle but we know it’s just a start, at least coach Cervera could get a sound nights sleep.

 

Rolling Out The Thrills With The Roller Derby Girls

Lex Plode, Max Voltage, Lady Macdeath, Jackie The Ripper, and Sherry Bomb were whipping up a storm as they whizzed around the circuit with The Buzzcocks lending an edgy punk soundtrack. This was just the warm up of my first roller derby match and if those names weren’t intimidating enough there was always the seven officials including Bella Karlofa and Belle Anger. I had only recently discovered that this popular ladies sport wasn’t just confined to America and now I was seeing it first hand in Santa Cruz at the Pancho Camurria sports centre.


The visit of Batter C Power from London reeled me in and a few hours before the action I met Hannah Charles, AKA Baby Cheesus, near the London teams hotel by Plaza del Candelaria. The Welsh international explained some of the basics and the UK angle. “London Roller Girls is a big club with around 60 players and we play out of Crystal Palace but for this trip we’ve brought 11 players from the third team. Normally there are 14 on a side with five skating at a time, four blockers and a jammer that does the scoring by overtaking opposition players. “

My nearest points of reference to Roller Derby were following ice hockey, and the 1972 Raquel Welch film Kansas City Bomber but it was amore recent film that drew Hannah to the sport. “I saw Whip It three years ago and had to have a go, I was soon hooked. It’s great for all body types, I’m a jammer and that’s more about being nippy but the sport has a strong physical edge that I like. Broken legs and concussion can happen and there are always routine bruises.” Hannah showed off a shoulder bruise at this point but I was already enchanted long before that.

Tenerife was just one of many stop offs since Hannah took up the skates. “I went to Belgium last year with the Wales team, we finished fifth out of eight countries. London Roller Girls were the first non American entries in the World Club Championships last year in Nashville.”
I had also made contact with Tenerife Roller Derby and arriving at the Pancho Camurria for the warm up I had a chat with captain Mercedes (skating as Mercromina) who brought me up to speed on their history. “Esther Arrocha formed the team four years ago, she had played for Erasmus in Manchester and is now living and playing in London. Spain are playing in the World Championships in Dallas this December and there will be seven players from our club as well as Esther.”

There was a lot of preparation before the game started, the refs were marking out the oval track with tape, the teams were practicing their drills and slipping in their gum shields to go with the knee, elbow, and wrist pads. Mutual respect was high on the list too, the teams each skated a few laps to get the applause of the near 400 crowd and then swapped high fives as they filed past each other. Once the first 30 minute half started the niceties were at a minimum as the jammers (identified by a star on a helmet cover) tried to barge, dodge, and power their way past the blockers. Effectively there were two battles going on as the teams tried to shield their own jammer until they could break through and also keep out the opponents scorer.


The officials made sure safety was preserved with sin bin seats for offenders, and close attention to the furious action but there were medics with a trolley on the sidelines just in case. The Pancho Camurria also hosts boxing but it didn’t come to that and when skaters did crash there was an instant ring of refs around them as they recovered. It was quite technical, alert minds and bodies were definitely needed, my little pea brain was just about getting to grips with the scoring. Breaks in play for pack changes and new laps extend the game time to nearly two hours including a 15 minute halfway break.


Sadly my schedule meant I had to shoot across the city to meet the Armada Sur for the CD Tenerife game so I left at half time. It was long enough to get a taste of the dedication, skill, and passion of these players, there’s no big money for them, just late training around jobs and studying and paying for kit etc. The London ladies had to cover nearly all the cost of their trip over and undergo similar unsocial hours for training. Tenerife loves sport, with regular games the Pancho Camurria could be packed but it’s costly for other teams to come for friendlies. You can’t fault them for organization, they run their own drink and snack bar, produce a programme, and sell replica shirts and merchandise, they were even selling London shirts for their visitors, that’s a classy touch.


It was a close run contest, Batter C Power edged it by 153 points to 149 and the two sides enjoyed an after match party to cement the links between the clubs. Tenerife games are as and when they can arrange friendlies so if you want to catch the action or take up playing join them on Facebook at Tenerife Roller Derby. UK based readers can do the same via www.londonrollergirls.com

 

Predictable CD Tenerife Running Out Of Excuses

With such poor away form it has to be fortress Heliodoro at home but once again CD Tenerife rolled out the welcome mat, this time in a 0-2 defeat to Recreativo. Coach Cervera’s name was whistled before kick off and the doubters were louder when the final whistle went.

Igor Arnaez came in for Raul Camara at left back and Suso was back in the starting lime up but too much of the home play relied on playing the ball up to Suso on the right, Recreativo soon picked up on this and closed him down quickly. The last thing we needed was a howler from keeper Roberto but after 11 minutes a break on the right found Joselu with a tight angle view of the goal. Roberto should have had it well covered but the shot trickled through his gloves and into the net.

Tenerife were poor, the passion of the derby game was nowhere to be seen and several players were cruising, Vitolo is still playing way below his experience and salary and Aridane might as well have stayed in the dressing room. At least Roberto pulled himself together and made some important saves, he tipped the ball over from a Joselu corner, that came from a near own goal by Carlos Ruiz, luckily for him the ball bounced the generous side of the goal. Whatever happened to the dominant and commanding central rock of last season, maybe he is missing Bruno, aren’t we all.

Visiting goalie Galvez had little to do, Tenerife had no cutting edge in front of goal, Uli was playing more of a striking role but looked lost. Cervera had to do something at half time, a double change saw Aridane gave way to Guarrotxena and Igor depart for Ricardo and it helped the balance a little. Tenerife found some spirit at last and made some good creative moves only to see them flounder at the feet of our forwards. The second goal seemed inevitable, after 67 minutes Recreativo pounced on a weak ball from Ruiz and opened up their right side to give Rios an easy task to slip the ball past a stretched Roberto.

Former Tenerife coach Oltra was enjoying his return but it was hard to take for the 8,155 crowd. Ruso got a run out for Uli after 74 minutes but he didn’t look much better, the lack of goals is a big worry this season. Galvez did get some work to do in the visitors goal, Moyano had one of the better chances with a headed duel against the leaping keeper but it was all too little and too late.

One coach left the field with his reputation further enhanced in the eyes of the home fans while the other is starting to run out of friends. Osasuna away next week is a toughie and another ghost from the past, Nino, will be waiting to pile on the agony – as always we hope for better things.

 

 

Only The Toughest Tackle Teide Xtreme

This was a day of extraordinary athletes, nature had designed the most unforgiving of all courses and as the sun rose over Guaza Mountain some 200 sportsmen and women lined the shore of Las Vistas beach in Los Cristianos. Five hours, twenty seven minutes and fourty nine seconds later Kevin Thornton from Galway, Ireland, burst across the Teide Xtreme finish line as the winner but Tenerife was every bit the star as the drama unfolded.

A tractor resurfaced the beach in the half light and the water lapped at the feet of the eager athletes as 8 am approached. The swimmers splashed into the waves, some in cut off wet suits and others in shorts and steered across the bay via the marker buoys as support boats and surf board mounted stewards watched over them. Two laps of 850 metres was the opening challenge with a few toes full of sand as they rounded a beach marker before submerging again.


It was amazing how soon they spread out and even more impressive how quickly the leaders came bounding out and up the sand to the promenade and on towards the transition zone. Competitors had arrived from 13 countries and must have been impressed at the slick organization of Tenerife Top Training. Everyone knew where their bikes were stationed with cycling kit neatly laid out alongside for a lightning strip down to dry basics and a new layer of lycra and helmets.

Triathlons are booming world wide but few countries can match the beauty and rugged resistance of the roads leading up into the hills and villages on the 96 km second stage. I boarded the press bus and we shadowed the cyclists as they climbed through Guia de Isora and then pulled ahead for a stop at Bar Las Estrellas at km 34, one of the top up points for the hot peddlers. Teams of volunteers handed out bananas (Canarian of course) water, isotonic drinks, and energy bars and mopped up the empty water bottles that just missed the bins as they slowed their pace a fraction.

Then the muscles and sinews got stretched a little further as we followed the climb through Chio and across the edge of Teide national park to Retamar at 2,200 metres high. It was a cloudless day and the volcanic landscape looked magnificent, talking to competitors later it was clear that even in their heightened state of race focus they appreciated the wonders that spread around them. Sadly on the downward stretch, back marker Carmen Hernandez Paez lost control of her bike on a corner between Las Lajas and Vilaflor and fell knocking her head on a wall. Although she was rushed to hospital she died later, a very sad accident on an otherwise smooth day. I was impressed by the level of stewarding by the volunteers, police, and Civil Protection, each junction, village, and crossroads we passed was well manned for the entire route.


Heading down through Arona, I thought we might get back to the coast way ahead of any riders but within minutes of arriving at the transition point Kevin Thornton came whizzing into the enclosure, dismounted, changed clothes, and was off for the 21 km run, three circuits of the promenade between Las Vistas and Playa el Bobo. It was early afternoon and even the keenest sun worshippers were opting for the shade or the sea but these athletes are a tough bunch and pushed themselves for the final stage. Back at the transition point the countdown had begun with Kevin Thornton strengthening his lead and burning off the kms on the way to the finishing arch. As the leading group turned into the final stretch, others were still evolving from bikers to runners and continued chasing their personal goals as a crescendo of cheers greeted the winner.

It was a tremendous achievement from Kevin Thornton, shaving nearly ten minutes off last years inaugural time. I managed a few words with the winner, he hardly seemed out of breath. Recovering from collarbone and achilles injuries he had only booked his place a couple of days before after a Seville comeback event was cancelled. It wasn’t a bad way to celebrate a first ever visit to Tenerife, the water bottle he clutched was soon emptied but he looked good for a lap of honour. As a spectacle it was a fabulous day, big respect to everyone who took part and those who made it all possible. As a promotion for Tenerife it had everything, a Canadian magazine journalist was among those lapping up the action, our island is perfect for such high octane events, I can hardly wait for next year.

Yoga For Life Makes Waves In Los Cristianos

Anyone taking a Saturday evening stroll along the promenade at Las Vistas beach was left in no doubt that the supporters of this years Walk For life campaign are fighting back against breast cancer.

It’s the tenth year of the Carrera Por La Vida and they have really set their bar high with ten big events to raise money and awareness of the continuing fight. You can’t fault them for organization, the rallying call was answered by in large numbers with many opting for a pink influence in their clothing. Blimey they even managed to get a backdrop of pink flowers to underline their point.

I arrived just before the main event started and Will Appleby was laying down some soothing sax tunes to relax the gathering crowd. The fund raisers were on the case selling raffle tickets, shirts and other souvenirs and even the high summer like temperatures had subsided a little with a bit of cloud offering some shade. Yoga instructor Aldo Ananda Singh eased everyone into the session with some gentle breathing and chanting before adding movement and rhythm to the mix.


The sedate chug of the inter island ferry and the calm swish of the waves made good background music and it was good to see that the remains of the days sun worshippers joined in. Everyone was soon at full stretch with several men joining in, breast cancer has decimated many families and it’s important that everyone recognizes the importance of the fight. There was no short changing the instructors, the sun might have been winding down after a busy day but the yoga kept going for well over an hour. The end of session glass of cava each, donated by Wimpen Leisure, was the perfect salute to a good evenings work by all.


There is no time for resting on the achievements of the last nine years, the next two events are the Golf For Life at Los Palos course near Las Galletas on 12 October, and Dance For Life on 16 October brings the action back to Los Cristianos, this time at the Plaza del Pescadora. You can find more information at www.carreraporlavida.com

CD Tenerife Chew Up Las Palmas And Spit Out The Feathers

All the suffering of recent weeks performances was brushed aside as CD Tenerife re-discovered their pride, character, and team spirit to beat Las Palmas 2-1 at home after going a goal behind. It will go down as one of the great derby performances, the odds against a home win were stacked as high as Mount Teide. No one personified the proud, beating heart of the team more than goalie Roberto, the Icod born stopper stepped up to reclaim his gloves after an injury to Jacobo and his emotions were raw after his father died in the week. He shed a few tears after topping a brilliant game with a stunning injury time full length dive.

There’s always fun and games when the pios come to Tenerife, despite a scorching sunny morning, a car load of their fans experienced a full moon from our coach on the way into Santa Cruz. The pre game drinking session was interspersed with the burning of two stuffed pios, a little petrol and a few bangers helped them on their way, not sure what the police helicopter made of the plumes of smoke. The Heliodoro was decked out with fantastic tifo displays from the Frente Blanquiazul at our end, and the Zoneros behind the other goal, it was up to the team to match the mood.

Las Palmas sat top of the table, playing flowing football with plenty of goals but from the start the Tenerife midfield closed them down with Vitolo and Aitor Sanz on top form. Cristo and Guarrotxena both went close in the opening ten minutes with the pios looking very average but a defensive slip up let them open the scoring. Araujo out jumped Albizua to win the ball and slipped it to Aleman, his pass found Momo with space to score.

Tenerife were the better team and stuck to their guns, Guarrotxena forced a finger tip save from Lizoain as they kept the pios on the back foot. The leveler came from a Guarrotxena corner, as Tenerife attacked the ball, Araujo got in the way and diverted the ball into his own net. Pressure was the key, combined with relentless team work Tenerife strangled the visitors supply lines and set the pace. On the half hour Aridane put the ball in the net with a well measured header but the ref did well to spot it was offside. Suso was always ready to test the Gran Canarian defence and Aridane was an absolute menace to the back tracking pios.

There was a good buzz to the half time chat among the home fans and it got even better within minutes of the restart. Moyano carried the ball upfield, laid it off to Suso and he unlocked the back door before setting up Cristo to rifle in a quality goal. The pio fans faces turned a sickly yellow to match their banners, once again they had bottled their big moment. Tenerife looked comfortable, Roberto was commanding and the team never sat back on the lead. Ricardo replaced Guarrotxena, Maxi took over from Cristo, and Uli came on as Aridane departed to grateful applause.

Suso was tormenting the pios and was denied a goal by a high take from Lizoain. The stadium was rocking and the clock was ticking down. Four minutes of injury time was added to test the nerves, Las Palmas had a last ditch effort, first Roberto made a good block at the post and then in the final seconds he leapt across his goalmouth to touch away a certain goal. As the whistle went, the Tenerife players embraced and cheered Roberto, they knew how much he had poured into the game. Sometimes it takes an unexpected misfortune to pull players together, all through the game and in that emotional climax they were a team again.


The only let down was the crowd of 17,064, it should have been a 23,000 full house. Next Sunday it’s Leganes away, a lowly and very beatable team, it’s still early enough to make a big climb up the table, the belief is back and last seasons best form came after beating the pios.

 

Tenerife At The Centre Of The Sonic Universe

Long long ago when concept albums ruled and gatefold record sleeves were pretty much obligatory, stadium rock giants like Yes and Queen roamed the earth. Last night at the Magma Artes & Congesos in Playa de Las Americas there was a Jurassic Park moment as the Starmus Festival rounded off a brilliant week with Rick Wakeman and Brian May together in the Sonic Universe concert.


The hall was packed with some of the finest minds in science, astronauts like Charlie Duke of the Apollo 16 mission, and special guest Prof Stephen Hawking, one of the star speakers during the week. Starmus brought together many diverse threads related to astronomy and science, earlier in the week they gave a premiere to sci fi movie 51 Degrees. I spotted one of the films stars, Dolly Ann Osterloh complete with her own special co star peaking out from her bag.

Rick Wakeman has always been a showman and took to the stage in one of his trademark capes as he took his place behind his banks of keyboards. With such a back catalogue to choose from, Rick started with a dip into his solo LPs The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And  His Knights Of The Round Table,  and another historical work The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. In between the soaring music he referred to his own busy marital life, he’s had four wives including page three stunner Nina Carter. The great man surrounded himself with talented musicians that he has worked with through the years, Ashley Holt led the way with the vocals and guitarist Dave Coleman put in some dazzling solo breaks.


Fitting nicely into the science theme was a selection from another solo project Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. The concrete bunker style of the Magma was the perfect setting for such grand designs and things moved up a couple of notches when Brian May joined Rick on stage for a few numbers. Shrouded in the swirling smoke and sweeping lights at the back of the group was Rick’s son Adam playing more keyboards. Now an accomplished rocker himself, Adam had broken off from touring with Black Sabbath complete with Ozzy Osbourne – I bet that’s a lively tour. The proud father made sure his son got his time in the spotlight before borrowing his shoulder slung keyboard for a trip out into the audience.

Security parted the barriers and Rick Wakeman swept out into the hall playing the mobile keyboard on his way. One very surprised young lady was plucked from the crowd and taken onto the stage to play a few notes – what a moment for her. There was plenty more musical magic to come, Rick has been touring again in recent years with Yes and he picked one of their space themed tunes, Starship Trooper for the climax of the show with Brian May returning for a prolonged blast. The PHD has re-ignited the former Queen stars passion for astrophysics but he is still one of the rock worlds greatest guitar players.

It was a tremendous two hour concert, great nostalgia for old gits like me and plenty of new converts will be raiding the downloads to discover the past triumphs of Rick Wakeman, a frequent visitor to Tenerife since 1985. As the cheers rang out as the musicians took their final bow, Starmus supremo Garik Israelian was purring louder than any royal. It’s going to be an even tougher act to follow but the next Starmus Festival can’t come soon enough.

Rock Stars And Astronauts Gravitate To Starmus Tenerife

It started with short booming taps on the microphone as a hint that Professor Brian May was about to take the stage to deliver his lecture. Garik Israelian, the driving force behind the Stramus Festival is not just a professor but also a self confessed rock fan so he increased the tempo and it was quickly recognized and picked up as the opening beat of “We Will Rock You? That crossover between science, music, and art is what inspired 7,000 people to sign up for this years event, quite a quantum leap from the 60 at the inaugural Starmus back in 2011.

It was clear from the opening registration day at Abama Golf & Spa Resort (above) that the organizers had created a monster, but I could see it was one they were nurturing and directing well. This year saw a big increase in former cosmonauts on the VIP list as well as Nobel winning scientists from astronomy and related fields. Delegates and enthusiasts were drawn to Tenerife from all over the globe, a young lady checking in ahead of me had come from Bulgaria.


Before the serious science kicked in, I took the opportunity for a nose around the luxury resort, it certainly is flash, boarding the resort train I had a full tour down to the beach past the mirador and the views across to Playa San Juan. Locals still use the beach (they cannot be sealed off as private) but they have a long trek on foot and cannot use the sun beds and train. I bet later all the brightest minds in science would also be tempted to ride the train like a kid in a theme park.


In the main hall Garik Israelian (above) welcomed all and there was a media scrum to get photos of the big names, with Brian May the big prize closely followed by Professor Stephen Hawking, a real coup for the festival. It was an unusual mix of people as many tour t-shirts showed long standing allegiances to Queen and their famous guitarist. Brian May was well on his way to a PHD in Astrophysics before rock fame distracted him, years later he completed his thesis thanks to lengthy research at Tenerife and La Palma observatories.


The second day saw the action switch to the Magma Artes & Congresos centre just below Siam Park, but for once the big crowds were heading into the architectural icon. Brian Mays speech was “A Brief History Of Stereoscopy In Astronomy” and was delivered via the latest 3D giant screen with state of the art glasses for all us in the crowd. The glasses had plenty to focus on, not just Brian’s latest large multi coloured shirt, but also over an hour of amazing stereo produced photos of comets, asteroids, planets and volcanoes. The professor’s commentary explained the development of 3D imagery and its practical uses in measuring space sized distances and creating eye popping photos of new horizons. The Rosetta probe is currently orbiting a far flung asteroid and we were shown the newly downloaded images provided by stereo viewing techniques.


Our host didn’t quite have the same nimble command of the hi tech projector as he does of a guitar but his delivery was down to earth and easy to follow for those like me with just a loose grasp of science. It went down well with the experts like Richard Dawkins and Robert Wilson (above) sat just in front of me and the finish was greeted with a tidal wave of applause. There’s plenty more ground to cover as the delegates take in a star party up on Mount Teide and visit the observatories in Tenerife and La Palma. Then there is also the big Sonic Universe concert when former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman joins Brian for a musical blast. It’s all astronauts and rock stars in Tenerife these days.