Related websites, more information…

Tourism in Tenerife: http://www.visitenerife.com/activities/Tenerife-Tourism/tourism-in-Tenerife.htm

Web Tenerife: http://www.webtenerifeuk.co.uk/index.htm

Tenerife holiday destination guide: http://www.spain-tenerife.com/UK/index.html

Tourism in Spain. Visit Tenerife in Spain. Travel to Spain and visitTenerife. Information for your Holidays in Tenerife in Spain on the official Spain tourism website :http://www.spain.info/en/ven/provincias/tenerife.html

The Canary Islands Tourist Office Website :http://www.canarias.es/canary-islands-spain/index.html

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Tenerife’s sounds and traditions

Music

An important musician from Tenerife is Teobaldo Power y Lugo Viña, a native of Santa Cruz and a pianist and composer, and author of the Cantos Canarios. The Hymn of the Canary Islands takes its melody from the Arrorró, or Lullaby, from Power y Lugo Viña’s Cantos Canarios.

Folkloric music has also flourished on the island, and, as in the rest of the islands, is characterized by the use of the Canarian Timple, the guitar, bandurria,laúd, and various percussion instruments. Local folkloric groups such as Los Sabandeños work to save Tenerife’s musical forms in the face of increasing cultural pressure from the mainland.

Tenerife is the home to the types of songs called the isafolíatajaraste, and malagueña, which are a cross of ancient Guanche songs and those ofAndalusia and Latin America.

Sound of the Canarian timple:

Traditional celebrations

Annual performance to honour “Our Lady of Candelaria” at Socorro Beach, Güímar

Carnival of Santa Cruz

Perhaps the most important festival of Tenerife, popular both on a national and international level, is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest (Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional). The carnival is celebrated in many locations in the north and south of the island, but is largest in scope in the city of Santa Cruz. Contests are celebrated, and the carnival includes bands of street musicians (murgas), groups of minstrels (rondallas de Tenerife), masquerades (comparsas), and various associations (agrupaciones). Once the Queen of the festival is elected, the first part of the carnival ends, and thereafter begins the actual street carnival, in which large numbers of people gather in the centre of Santa Cruz, with the carnival lasting 10 days.

Pilgrimages (Romerías)

The most traditional and widespread religious festivals on the islands are the pilgrimages or romerías. These events, which incorporate Christian and non-Christian elements, are celebrated by various means: with wagons and floats, plowing teams and livestock, in honor of the patron saint of a particular place. The processions are accompanied by local dances, local dishes, folkloric activities, local arts and crafts, local sports, and the wearing of traditional dress of Tenerife (trajes de mago).

The origins of these events can be attributed to the parties and celebrations held by the richest classes of the island, who would gather to venerate their patron saints, to which they attributed good harvests, fertile lands, plentiful rainfall, the curing of sicknesses and ending of epidemics, etc. They would thus give homage to these saints by consuming and sharing the fruits of their harvest, which included the locally cultivated wines. These have developed into processions to mark festivals dedicated to Saint Mark in Tegueste, where the wagons are decorated with the fruits of the earth (seeds, cereals, flowers, etc.); to Saint Isidore the Laborer in Los Realejos; to Saint Isidore the Laborer and Maria Torribia (Saint Mary of the Head) in La Orotava; Saint Benedict in La Laguna; Virgin of Candelaria in Candelaria; Saint Roch in Garachico; and Saint Augustine in Arafo.

Holiday of the Virgin of Candelaria

The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron of the Canary Islands feast is held two times a year, in February and August. The Pilgrimage-Offering to the Virgin of Candelaria is celebrated every 14 August in this event is a tradition that representations of all municipalities of the island and also of all the Canary archipelago come to make offerings to their patron. Another significant act of the feast of the Virgin of Candelaria is called “Walk to Candelaria” held on the night of 14 to 15 August in which the faithful make pilgrimage on foot from various parts of the island, even coming from other islands to arrive at Villa Mariana de Candelaria.

Culture and arts

Literature

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Antonio de Viana, a native of La Laguna, composed the epic poem Antigüedades de las Islas Afortunadas (Antiquities of the Fortunate Isles), a work of value to anthropologists, since it sheds light on Canarian life of the time. The Enlightenment reached Tenerife, and literary and artistic figures of this era include José Viera y Clavijo, Tomás de Iriarte y Oropesa, Ángel Guimerá y Jorge, Mercedes Pinto and Domingo Pérez Minik, amongst others.

Painting

During the course of the 16th century, several painters flourished in La Laguna, as well as in other places on the island, including Garachico, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz. Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana and Gaspar de Quevedo, considered the best Canarian painters of the 17th century, were natives of La Orotava, and their art can be found in churches on Tenerife.

The work of Luis de la Cruz y Ríos can be found in the church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia, in Puerto de la Cruz. Born in 1775, he became court painter to Ferdinand VII of Spain and was also a miniaturist, and achieved a favorable position in the royal court. He was known there by the nickname of “El Canario.”

The landscape painter Valentín Sanz (b. 1849) was a native of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes de Santa Cruz displays many of his works. This museum also contains the works of Juan Rodríguez Botas (1880–1917), considered the first Canarian impressionist.

Frescoes by the expressionist Mariano de Cossío can be found in the church of Santo Domingo, in La Laguna. The watercolorist Francisco Bonnín Guerín (b. 1874) was a native of Santa Cruz, and founded a school to encourage the arts. Óscar Domínguez was born in La Laguna in 1906 and is famed for his versatility. He belonged to the surrealist school, and invented the technique known as decalcomania.

“Cabeza de Toro” by Oscar Domínguez

Sculpture

The arrival from Seville of Martín de Andújar Cantos, an architect and sculptor brought new sculpting techniques of the Seville school, which were passed down to his students, including Blas García Ravelo, a native of Garachico. He had been trained by the master sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés.

Other notable sculptors from the 17th and 18th centuries include Sebastián Fernández Méndez, Lázaro González de Ocampo, José Rodríguez de la Oliva, and most importantly, Fernando Estévez, a native of La Orotava and a student of Luján Pérez. Estévez contributed an extensive collection of religious images and woodcarvings, found in numerous churches of Tenerife, such as the Principal Parish of Saint James the Great (Parroquia Matriz del Apóstol Santiago), in Los Realejos; in the Cathedral of La Laguna; the Iglesia de la Concepción in La Laguna; the basilica of Candelaria, and various churches in La Orotava.

Architecture

Tenerife is characterized by an architecture whose best representatives are the local manor houses and also the most humble and common dwellings. This style, while influenced by those of Andalusia and Portugal, nevertheless had a very particular and native character.

Of the manor houses, the best examples can be found in La Orotava and in La Laguna, characterized by their balconies and by the existence of interior patios and the widespread use of the wood known as pino tea(“pitch pine”). These houses are characterized by simple façades and wooden lattices with little ornamentation. There are sash windows and it is customary for the chairs inside the house to rest back-to-back to the windows. The interior patios function like real gardens that serve to give extra light to the rooms, which are connected via the patio by galleries frequently crowned by wood and stone.

Gadgets like stills, water pumps, benches and counters, are elements that frequently form part of these patios.

Traditional houses generally have two storeys, with rough walls of variegated colours. Sometimes the continuity of these walls is interrupted by the presence of stone blocks that are used for ornamental purposes.

The government buildings and religious structures were built according to the changing styles of each century. The urban nuclei of La Orotava and La Laguna have been declared national historical-artistic monuments.

In recent years, various governments have spearheaded the concept of developing architectural projects, sometimes ostentatious ones, designed by renowned architects–for example, the remodeling of the Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de Tenerife by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Other examples include the Playa de Las Teresitas project by the Frenchman Dominique Perrault; the center known as Magma Arte & Congresos; the Torres de Santa Cruz; and the Auditorio de Tenerife (“Auditorium of Tenerife”). The latter, by the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, lies to the east of the Parque Marítimo (“Maritime Park”), in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is characterized by its sail-like structure, which evokes a boat, and has become a symbol for the city and island, which makes Santa Cruz de Tenerife one of the Spanish cities with the most futuristic buildings.

File:Auditorio de Tenerife 013.JPG

The Santa Cruz Auditory

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A canarian balcony with an inside yard

Tenerife’s Gastronomy

Fish

Due to the geographic situation of Tenerife, the island enjoys an abundance of fish of various kinds. The species that are consumed the most are the Combtooth blennies (viejas), as well as sea bream(sama), red porgy (bocinegro), gold lined bream (salema), grouper (mero), and various and abundant types of Thunnus. The Atlantic mackerel (caballa), sardine (sardine), and Jack mackerels(chicharros) are also consumed frequently. Moray eels (morenas) are also eaten, usually fried. Most seafood is cooked simply, usually boiled, or prepared “a la espalda” (cut into two equally-shaped pieces along the spine) or “a la sal” (baked in salt). These dishes are usually accompanied by mojo (a local sauce) and wrinkly potatoes.

Meat

The typical festive meat dish of marinated porc tacos is a very popular dish prepared for town festivities in ventorrillos, bars and private homes. Rabbit in salmorejo, goat, and of course beef, pork and poultry are also regularly consumed.

Canarian wrinkly potatoes

The fish dishes along with the meats are often accompanied by wrinkly potatoes (papas arrugadas). This is a typical Canarian dish which simply refers to the way the cooked potatoes look. They are boiled in their skins, in water with lots of salt, and the water is allowed to evaporate, leaving a salty crust.

Wrinkled potatoes

Mojos

Mojo, a word probably of Portuguese origin, describes a typical Canarian sauce, served as an accompaniment to food. The sauces come in a variety of colours, flavours and textures, and are usually served cold, often in separate dishes, for the diner to choose how much to apply. Green mojo usually includes coriander, parsley, and garlic; whilst red mojo is piquant, and made from a mix of hot and sweet peppers. A wide variety of other ingredients are also used, including; almonds, cheese, saffron and fried bread. Mojos are served with most meat, and some fish, dishes, and are often used on potatoes, or bread is dipped into them.

Mojo

Canary mojos (sauces)

Cheeses

One of the latest studies has revealed that Tenerife exports about 3,400 tons of cheese per year, representing about 50% of the output of the island, and about 25% of the entire Canary Islands.

After the conquest of the Canary Islands, one of the first commercial activities to be started was cheese production. The sale of cheese provided the inhabitants with an income and cheese was even used as a form of currency for exchange and sale, becoming a crucial product in agricultural areas of the island.

Cheese grew to become one of the most commonly produced and consumed products on the island and is regularly served as part of a starter course or as a snack. Farms at Arico, La Orotava andTeno produced a variety of cheeses, including soft cheeses, cured, smoked and were mostly handmade. Today the main product is goats cheese, although certain amounts are made from sheeps or cows milk and according to the Registro General Sanitario de Alimentos, the general health registry, around 75 different cottage cheeses are produced. The cheeses of the Canaries have generally received good international reviews, noted for their sweetness which differentiates them from certain other European cheeses. In particular, Tenerifan cured goats cheese was awarded best cheese in the world final of the 2008 World Cheese Awards held in Dublin, Ireland.

Cheeses from Tenerife now have a quality mark promoted by the Fundación Tenerife Rural, to standardize their quality in an attempt to publicize the qualities of the cheese and improve its marketing.

Gofio

Gofio is one of the more traditional elements of cooking on the island, It is made with cereal grains that are roasted and then ground. Increasingly used to make a gofio on the island is wheat although there are other types, and they are often made with chick peas. Relatively common is a mixed-type with wheat. It was served as main food to the guanches even before the Spanish conquest. In later times of scarcity or famine it was a staple of the popular Canarian diet. Today it is eaten as a main dish (gofio escaldado) or an accompaniment to different dishes, meats, fishes, soups, desserts. Some famous cooks have even made gofio ice cream, receiving good comments from the critics.

Gofio escaldado

Confectionery

Confectionery in Tenerife is represented and strongly influenced by La Palma, with confections like bienmesabeleche asadaPríncipe Alberto,frangollohuevos molesquesillo, etc.

Wines

Viniculture in the archipelago, and especially in Tenerife dates back to the conquest, when the settlers brought a variety of vines to plant. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wine production played an important role in the economy, and many families were dedicated to the culture and business. Of special mention is malvasía canary, considered the best wine of Tenerife and at the time one of the most desired wines in the world, being shipped across to the major warehouses of Europe and America. Writers such as William Shakespeare and Walter Scott make reference to the wine in some of their works. Tenerife has 5 main wine growing regions. These include Abona, Valle de Güímar, Valle de La Orotava, Tacoronte-Acentejo and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.

Economy of Tenerife

Tenerife is the economic capital of the Canary Islands.Even though Tenerife’s economy is highly specialized in the service sector, which makes 78% of its total production capacity, the importance of the rest of the economic sectors is key to its production development. In this sense, the primary sector, which only represents 1.98% of the total product, groups activities that are important to the sustainable development of the island’s economy. The energy sector which contributes 2.85% has a primary role in the development of renewable energy sources. The industrial sector which shares in 5.80% is a growing activity in the island, vis-a-vis the new possibilities created by technological advances. Finally, the construction sector with 11.29% of the total production has a strategic priority, because it is a sector with relative stability which permits multiple possibilities of development and employment opportunities.

Tourism

Tourism is the most prominent industry in the Canaries, which is one of the major tourist destinations in the World.

In 2005, 9,276,963 tourists (excluding those from other parts of Spain) came to the Canary Islands. Tenerife had 3,442,787 arrivals that year, excluding the numbers for Spanish tourists which make up an additional 30% of total arrivals. According to last year’s Canarian Statistics Centre’s (ISTAC) Report on Tourism the greatest number of tourists from any one country come from the United Kingdom, with more than 1,600,000 tourists in 2005. In second place comes Germany followed by Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Italy, France, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland.

Tourism is more prevalent in the south of the island, which is hotter and drier and has many well developed resorts such as Playa de las Americas andLos Cristianos. More recently coastal development has spread northwards from Playa de las Americas and now encompasses the former small enclave of La Caleta. After the Moratoria act passed by the Canarian Parliament in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, no more hotels should be built on the island unless they are classified as 5 star-quality and comprise different services such as Golf Courses or Congress facilities. This act was passed with the goal of improving the standard of tourism service and promoting environmentally conscious development.

The area known as Costa Adeje (Las Américas-Los Cristianos) has many world-class facilities and leisure opportunities besides sea and sand, such as quality shopping centres, golf courses, restaurants, waterparks, animal parks, and a theatre suitable for musicals or a Congress Hall.

In the more lush and green north of the island the main development for tourism has been in the town of Puerto de la Cruz. The town itself has kept some of its old-harbour town charm mixed with northern European influences. Still, the tourist boom in the 1960s changed the outlook of the town, making it cosy and cosmopolitan at the same time, and a favourite for the more mature traveller (notably the German and Spanish tourist).

In the 19th and most of the 20th century large numbers of foreign tourists came, especially British, showing interest in the agriculta of the islands. With the world wars, this sector weakened, but the start of the second half of the century brought new forms of tourism. At first emphasis was on Puerto de la Cruz, for the kindness of the climate, and for all the attractions that the Valle de la Orotava concentrated, but following the attraction of the sun and beaches, around 1980 was born the tourist boom of south Tenerife, where emphasis was on cities like Arona or Adeje, shifting to tourist centres like Los Cristianos o Playa de Las Americas, that today house 65% of the hotels that were on the island. Tenerife receives more than 5,000,000 tourists every year, of the canary islands Tenerife is the most popular. However, this data also reflects the large quality of resources that tourism consumes (space, energy, water etc.)

Tenerife offers for tourists

Agriculture and fishing

Since tourism dominates the Tenerifian economy, the service sector is the largest, but industry and commerce contribute 40% of the non tourist economy.[65] The primary sector has lost its traditional importance in the island, to the industrial and service sectors. Agriculture contributes less than 10% of the island’s GDP, but its contribution is vital, as it also generates indirect benefits, by maintaining the rural appearance, and supporting Tenerifian cultural values.

Agriculture is centred on the northern slopes, and is also determined by the altitude as well as orientation: in the coastal zone, tomatoes and bananas are cultivated, usually in plastic enclosures, these high yield products are for export to mainland Spain and the rest of Europe; in the drier intermediate zone, potatoes, tobacco and maize are grown, whilst in the South, onions are important.

Bananas are a particularly important crop, as Tenerife grows more bananas than the other Canary Islands, with a current annual production of about 150,000 tons, down from the peak production of 200,000 tons in 1986. More of 90% of the total is destined for the international market, and banana growing occupies about 4200 hectares. In order of importance; after the banana, come tomatoes, grapes, potatoes and flowers. Fishing is also a major contributor to the Tenerifian economy, as the Canaries are Spain’s second most important fishing grounds.

A banana plantation from Tenerife

Industry and commerce

Commerce in Tenerife plays a significant role in the economy which is enhanced by tourism, representing almost 20% of the GDP, with the commercial center Santa Cruz de Tenerife generating most of the earnings. Although there are a diversity of industrial estates that exist on the island, the most important industrial activity is petroleum, representing 10% of the island’s GDP, again largely due to the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife with its refinery. It provides petroliferous products not only to the Canaries archipelago but is also an active in the markets of the Iberian Peninsula, Africa and South America.

Tenerife’s geography and climate

Geography

The oldest mountain ranges in Tenerife rose from the Atlantic Ocean by volcanic eruption which gave birth to the island around twelve million years ago. The island as it is today was formed three million years ago by the fusion of three different islands made up of the mountain ranges of Anaga, Teno and Valle de San Lorenzo, due to volcanic activity from Teide. The volcano is visible from most parts of the island today, and the crater is 17 km long at some points.

Geology

Tenerife is a rugged and volcanic island sculpted by successive eruptions throughout its history. There are four historically recorded volcanic eruptions, none of which has led to casualties. The first occurred in 1704, when the Arafo, Fasnia and Siete Fuentes volcanoes erupted simultaneously. Two years later, in 1706, the greatest eruption occurred at Trevejo. This volcano produced great quantities of lava which buried the city and port of Garachico. The last eruption of the 18th century happened in 1798 at Cañadas de Teide, in Chahorra. Finally, and most recently, in 1909 the Chinyero volcano, in the municipality ofSantiago del Teide, erupted.

The island is located between 28° and 29° N and the 16° and 17° meridian. It is situated north of theTropic of Cancer, occupying a central position between the other Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera and La Palma. The island is about 300 km (186 mi) from the African coast, and approximately 1,000 km (621 mi) from the Iberian Peninsula. Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands archipelago, with a surface area of 2,034.38 km2 (785 sq mi) and the longest coastline amounting to 342 km (213 mi).

In addition, the highest point, Mount Teide, with an elevation of 3,718 m (12,198 ft) above sea level is the highest point in all of Spain. It comprises about 200 small barren islets or large rocks including Roques de Anaga, Roque de Garachico, and Fasnia adding a further 213,835 m2 (2,301,701 sq ft) to the total area.

                                                                                                                            Formation of Tenerife

Orography and landscape

The uneven and steep orography of the island and its variety of climates has resulted in a diversity of landscapes and geographical and geological formations, from the Parque Nacional del Teide with its extensive pine forests, juxtaposed against the volcanic landscape at the summit of Teide and Malpaís de Güímar, to the Acantilados de Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants) with its vertical precipices. Semidesert areas exist in the south with drought-resistant plants. Other areas range from those protected and enclosed in mountains such as Montaña Roja and Montaña Pelada, the valleys and forests with subtropical vegetation and climate, to those with deep gorges and precipices such as at Anaga and Teno.

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                                                                                                          Güímar’s Malpaís (badlands)

Massifs

     

                                                                                                                    View of Anaga massif
                                                                                                
The Anaga massif (Macizo de Anaga), at the northeastern end of the island, has an irregular and rugged topographical profile where, despite its generally modest elevations, the Cruz de Taborno reaches a height of 1,024 metres. Due to the age of its material (5.7 million years), its deep erosive processes, and the dense network of dikes piercing the massif, its surface exposes numerous outcroppings of both phonolitic and trachytic origin. A large number of steep-walled gorges are present, penetrating deeply into the terrain. Vertical cuts dominate the Anagan coast, with infrequent beaches of rocks or black sand between them; the few that exist generally coincide with the mouths of gorges.
The Teno massif (Macizo de Teno) is located on the northwestern edge of the island. Like Anaga, it includes an area of outcroppings and deep gorges formed by erosion. However, the materials here are older (about 7.4 million years old). Mount Gala represents its highest elevation at 1342 metres. The most unusual landscape of this massif is found on its southern coast, where the Acantilados de Los Gigantes (“Cliffs of the Giants”) present vertical walls reaching heights of 500 metres in some places.

                                                                                                                                 Teno massif

The Adeje massif (Macizo de Adeje) is situated on the southern tip of the island. Its main landmark is the Roque del Conde (“Count’s Rock”), with an elevation of 1001 metres. This massif is not as impressive as the others due to its diminished initial structure, since in addition to with the site’s greater geologic age it has experienced severe erosion of its material, thereby losing its original appearance and extent.

Valleys and ravines

Valleys are another of the island’s features. The most important are Valle de La Orotava and Valle de Güímar, both formed by the mass sliding of great quantities of material towards the sea, creating a depression of the land. Other valleys tend to be between hills formed by deposits of sediments from nearby slopes, or simply wide ravines which in their evolution have become typical valleys.

Tenerife has a large number of ravines, which are a characteristic element of the landscape, caused by erosion from surface runoff over a long period. Notable ravines include Ruiz, Fasnia and Güímar, Infierno, and Erques, all of which have been designated protected natural areas by Canarian institutions.

File:Orotavatal.jpgValley of La Orotava

Coastline

The coasts of Tenerife are typically rugged and steep, particularly on the north of the island. However, the island has 67.14 kilometers of beaches, such as the one at El Médano, surpassed only in this respect by the island of Fuerteventura. On the northern coast are frequent pebble beaches with black sand, while on the south and south-west coast of the island, the beaches has sand typically much finer and clearer with lighter tones

File:Las Teresitas2a.jpg

Playa of Las Teresitas, San Andrés

Climate

Tenerife is known internationally as the “Island of Eternal Spring” (Isla de la Eterna Primavera).[38] The island, being on a latitude of the Sahara Desert, enjoys a warm climate year-round with an average of 20° – 22 °C in the winter and 26° – 28 °C in the summer and high sunshine totals. The moderate climate of Tenerife is controlled to a great extent by the tradewinds, whose humidity, principally, is condensed over the north and northeast of the island, creating cloud banks that range between 600 and 1,800 meters in height. The cold sea currents of the Canary Islands, also have a cooling effect on the coasts and its beaches and the topography of the landscape plays a role in climatic differences on the island with its many valleys.

Major climatic contrasts on the island are highly evident especially during the winter months when it is possible to enjoy the warm sunshine on the coast and experience snow within just miles, 3000 metres above sea level on Teide.[33] There are also major contrasts at low altitude, where the climate ranges from arid (Köppen BWh) on the southeastern side represented by Santa Cruz de Tenerife toMediterranean (Csa/Csb) on the northwestern side in Buenaventura del Norte and La Orotava.[39]

The north and the south of Tenerife similarly have different climatic characteristics. The windward northwestern side of the island receives 73% of all precipitation on the island, and the relative humidity of the air is superior and the insolation inferior. The pluviometric maximums are registered on the windward side at an average altitude of between 1,000 and 1,200 metres, almost exclusively in the La Orotava mountain range.[33] However, although climatic differences in rainfall and sunshine on the island exist, overall annual precipitation is low and the summer months from May to September are normally completely dry. Rainfall, akin to Southern California, can also be extremely erratic from one year to another.File:Puertodelacruztf.JPGPuerto de la Cruz, in the North, during winter, featuring background snowy mountains

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View of the volcano Teide, Tenerife.