The sky was was looking dangerously bruised, as though it could explode at any minute. From further along La Rambla to the east came a growling rumbling that was rolling in our direction. It was hot, muggy and we were wearing tee shirts.
Were we bothered?
We had a protector. We were in Parque García Sanábria. As an advance party of raindrops sauntered to earth, the canopy of Indian bays filtered most out, letting only a few wispish drops through to refresh our skin and raise an exotically, musty aroma from the damp dust; an aroma that we’ve breathed in many times… usually in the Far East. It’s an exhilarating smell that exudes the essence of adventure and distant shores.
Ahead of us a woman in a red mini dress added a vibrant splash to the wall of green. It was Sunday morning, there was a thunderstorm brewing, the rain was breaking through the leafy defences and everywhere looked glorious.
It doesn’t matter whether the sun is shining (most of the time), it’s raining or night has fallen, Parque García Sanábria in Santa Cruz is always dressed to thrill.
We didn’t get to enjoy the ‘lungs of the city’ for years after we moved to Tenerife as it was surrounded by a metal wall. It raised expectation to a level that was impossible to meet.
Yet, when those metal barriers came down, the park leaped over our expectations, clearing them by miles.
There are lots of reasons why Parque García Sanábria is special. I can list them all but it’s much better to explore the park and experience its meandering and spiralling paths in order to understand its magnetism.
Private, romantic corners attract lovers; benches beside lily ponds demand the presence of someone carrying a good book and grassy patches adjacent to arcing fountains look complete when filled with locals practising T’ai Chi.
There are works of art scattered around the place, ranging from urban blocks symbolising the island’s to the green eyes of tortured artist, Oscar Dominguez’ gato lurking in the undergrowth.
Style-wise, it’s all over the place. On one approach an overgrown and enchanting bamboo tunnel (at its best when lavender jacaranda petals cover the sandy path) leads to the centre. On another it’s exquisitely classical Italian arches.
And the centrepiece of it all is the wonderfully bold La Fecundidad, a voluptuous celebration of fertility who shamelessly bathes her generous curves beneath the soft fountain’s iridescent spray.
It is a park, a meeting place and an art gallery; an open air wonderland for the people of Santa Cruz and anyone else who takes time to explore Tenerife’s under-explored capital city.
I’m usually wary of claiming something is the ‘best’ of anything. In this case I feel supremely confident about using the term. Parque García Sanábria is the best park in Tenerife.
And I haven’t even mentioned the floral clock.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+