So I can’t quite believe it, but this is my last post on my wonderful trip to Tenerife. I’ve saved the best until last for you, though, our wonderful opportunity to celebrate with the locals at the fabulous Baile de Magos in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is Tenerife’s capital and wowzers do they take their festivals seriously. During the May festivities the streets are decorated with flowered crosses and in the evening, everyone dresses up in traditional costume and takes to the streets to celebrate.
We joined in the fun, dressing up as ‘Magos’ (here we are looking slightly embarrassed):
… and here are the boys, dressed as ‘farmers’:
Heading out onto the streets, we were somewhat overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of people out celebrating. Families set up tables heaving with food and everyone presses glasses of wine and plates of food upon you as you wander the streets. The atmosphere is incredible – there is laughter, singing and shouting and there are impromptu bands and dances everywhere you look. There are literally THOUSANDS of people:
By 2am we’d lost each other in the crowd and I wandered around enjoying the fun (and sampling all sorts of delicious goodies and wine!)…
…feeling completely secure (and somewhat tiddly), chatting to friendly strangers (who were more than a little amused that a random English woman had joined them, dressed in full costume) even, I seem to recall, joining a family barbecue at one stage… until I finally managed to fight my way through the throng to a policeman who pointed me in the direction of a taxi rank. What an amazing evening.
The next day was May 3rd, the Day of the Cross and time for the traditional rivalry between the ‘farmers’ vs the ‘rich families’ in a firework battle that dates back to 1770.
The evening starts with the Procession of the Cross where locals carry the cross from the local church through the local streets. It’s an incredibly moving sight – the sheer noise of all the drummers and the brass band, plus the amount of people thronging the street. I loved every minute:
Again, we were welcomed by the locals and we ended up standing with a family, drinking their rather delicious wine on their rooftop as the ‘battle’ commenced. I assure you I’ve never seen anything like it: 45 minutes of possibly the most incredible fireworks I’ve ever seen. My ears rang for hours afterwards!
Finally, it was time to go home to the beautiful Hotel Botanico (one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in) for a last drink with the group before we headed to our stunning (but hardly used!) bedrooms. Here’s mine:
The next day, I had a flying visit to the oriental-themed spa for a quick swim in the pool and to watch the beautiful koi carp in the little waterways that surround it (again, utterly gorgeous)…
…before catching my taxi back to the south airport. What an incredible experience. Massive thanks to Visit Tenerife for arranging our trip. I’ll be back to see you very soon 🙂