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Cunard Queen Victoria 2016
Spain & Morocco and Canary Islands Celebrations
  Map In Transit at Southampton and some days at sea Vigo - Spain Christmas Day at Sea - includes some other Christmas Celebrations and the Decorations round the ship Casablanca - Morocco La Palma Tenerife Gran Canaria Madeira, at sea for the Fireworks and News Years day activities including Party, Verandah Restaurant and Theatre Box Lisbon - Spain, second visit
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Thursday 29 December 2016

This morning we berthed in the usual place, and then watched as P&O Oceana reversed past us to berth behind. Marco Polo was already berthed, in the best place and closest to the port exit. Since our previous visit the new pedestrian footbridge had been completed and it was quicker to set off on foot towards the bus station than to wait 15 minutes for the first shuttle bus which was scheduled to depart at 0900. The rule when walking through the port is to follow the blue line.

Usually we take the bus from Santa Cruz to our favourite beach resort of Puerto de la Cruz on the west coast but having recently spent 10 days there in September we decided on a change. It had been many years since we visited the town of Candelaria, 18 kms to the south of Santa Cruz. In September it had been too complex to reach it by local bus, which required routing via Santa Cruz. Candelaria is a large town, still a fishing port and not a usual tourist destination, except for coach tours which call to visit the Basilica.

Buses to Candelaria leave from the top storey of the bus station, and after several unsuccessful attempts we were welcomed on board #124 which departed at 0935. We found there are many bus stops in Candelaria because the main town stretches along the coast and the Basilica is much later. At the Candelaria bus station all the locals disembarked and the driver said it was still 5 more minutes to our destination. The journey from Santa Cruz to Candelaria took 30 minutes, mostly along the motorway, and only cost 1.90 euros with our Bono Via card. It is good value.

It is only a short walk from the bus stop to the Tourist Information Office at the end of the Avenida de la Constitucion, and then a pleasant stroll down a quiet shopping street to the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias. This large square bordered by the ocean is a meeting point for pilgrims visiting the Basilica, and who also admire the nine large statues have been installed representing the nine Guanche rulers of Tenerife in 1496 - Acaymo, Adjona, Anaterve, Bencomo, Beneharo, Pelicar, Pelinor, Romen and Tegeste.

The Basiica of our Lady of Candelaria was designed by the Tenerife architect Enrique Marrero Regalado and completed in 1959. It is of neo-Canarian design. In 2011 it was give the status of a minor Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. The main altar is decorated with an immense mural by Jose Agular and houses the present statue of Candelaria. The original miraculous efffigy which had been found by the Guanches on 15 August 1392 was lost in the flood of 1826 and the present sculpture of the "brown" virgin was created to replace it. The new statue, like the original, holds a candlestick. The feast of our Lady of Candelaria is celebrated on 2 February. The Fundacion Canaria Sanctuario de Candelaria has a very well stocked shop accessed from the north side of the basilica with a variety of religious souvenirs, books, rosaries and medals.

A short road along the ocean leads to the Achbinico Cave and the San Blas shrine, with the small statue of the virgin inside the cave and an unnamed painting in the chapel outside. The chapel annex to the cave was built in 1789. Another cave, the cave of the camels, is next door. This cave was used as a shelter for camels which belonged to immigrants from Fuertaventura and the remains of candles show that the cave is still used as a shelter and for prayer.
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Walking back to the bus stop along a row of arches it was a surprise to reach the Centre for Arts and Culture and the nearby extensive Belen. Each part of the tableau was marked with a different local village and we presumed it was a project which was shared by everyone. It was just opposite the Tourist Information Office and we coud not understand why we had not seen it earlier.

After a stroll along the promenade, passing the Town Hall and then to the fishing harbour, we decided it was time to go back to Santa Cruz for the afternoon. At our turning point there were a few shops, including a hair-dressors for dogs, and a matching animal charity shop. We have 2 more CDs but don't know what they will sound like until we get back home.

By luck the next bus back to Santa Cruz was due in 1 minute. We found a seat and then had plenty of time to explore Santa Cruz, in particular the area around the Wave, the Auditorium of Tenerife, designed by Santiago Calatrava. We tried to have a drink in the cafe, so we could look inside the auditorium, but the outdoor tables were all full or "reserved" so we walked around inside anyway. The acoustics are supposed to be superb but we noticed the outside white tiling has started to suffer and break away so there will need to be restoration work in the near future. The gardens and paths have been restored and both the Castle of San Juan and the old munitions store have interpretation boards. In the garden outside there is a mobile steel sculpture which was designed by the famous Lanzarote sculpture Cesar Manrique who died in 1992. He also designed the Parque Maritimo, a large water entertainment area nearby which was closed for maintenance.

There was time for a short detour into the familiar shopping streets but many places were already closed for the lunchtime siesta. Our final stop was at the Pza del Principe with the Museo de Bellas Artes and then back alongside the Church of Saint Francis to the Pza de Espana and the footbridge with the blue line which leads to the port.

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Content revised: 31s t December, 2016