I’ve had a soft spot for Santiago del Teide since the very first time we drove through it. For me it was the place where Tenerife changed from being a sunny holiday island to something else completely.
There was something vaguely Mexican pueblo about the town with its blindingly white low buildings along what appeared to be the town’s only street. There were even cactus pots lining some of the azoteas. At the northern end of the town the arid landscape gave way to pine trees.
I was amazed at the transformation. It was my first meeting with Tenerife’s micro-climates.
Over the years we’ve spent a decent amount of time in Santiago del Teide. As well as being set in a dream of a location it’s a good base for walking on Tenerife. And there are often secrets to be uncovered. Some are obvious, some less so.
One of these, or some of these as there are more than one, have been absent from the main street for a couple of years. But now they’re back in place, adding bold splashes of colour to the distressed, green panelling on the buildings along the main street.
These are the depictions of the Canary Islands by French artist Bernard Romain.
Each painting captures essences of the islands. With Tenerife it’s Mount Teide alongside almond blossom in the Valle de Santiago.
La Gomera has the whistling language, Silbo, plus Roque Agando.
El Hierro seems to have a prophetic volcanic eruption alongside the famous Sabina tree.
La Palma features the rivers that are so unusual on the islands alongside a homage to mothers, a statue found on la isla bonita.
Gran Canaria only gets the dunes at Maspolamas.
Whilst Fuerteventura is represented by a windsurfer and the island of El Lobo.
And Lanzarote, unsurprisingly, is a volcanic wonderland with possibly a reference to the creative way vines are grown there.
They’re wonderfully vibrant works of art and it would be easy to sail through the town without spotting them.
I haven’t included all off the images. There’s one more. It’s possibly my favourite for all sorts of reasons. But you’re going to have to visit the town if you want to see the full set.
They seem to have been missing for a very very long time. I will have to pay another visit and hope Isla de San Borondón is back too, or has it ‘disappeared’ in the mist.
The paintings were tucked away in the exhibition centre in the Casa del Patio. Much better back on the streets I think.
Thank you for this. I have been visiting the islands for some years and they really are a magical place. Like you, I feel that there is something special about Santiago del Tiede. We stopped there once waiting for the bus up to Masca and, although it looks like a basic town, I feel that there is something special in the land there from the past. I may not have remembered this exactly but I think the guanches buried a golden crescent there as it was a very sacred place to them. If you have anything more on this do let me know. We are going back in February and I plan to have a good wander around there this time.
The area definitely has strong links with the Guanches, hence the statue beside the church. It’s said that people from this area are particularly beautiful thanks to the strong Guanche bloodlinethat existed there. There’s been at least one Miss Spain and one Mr Spain from this small area. I’ve never heard the golden crescent story and will have to look into it, thanks for mentioning it.
There used to be a model of an interesting Guanche wall in the town hall. As fas as I remember (I could be wrong about this) it was built by the same artist responsible for these paintings.
I really love these paintings – there are a few more of Bernard Romain´s work in the newly re-opened museum at the Casa del Patio. The quirky “fishy wall” in Puerto Santiago is his work too, I´ve just discovered.
Thank you for this article it is very nice.Is it Bernard romain’s museum reopened in casa de patio?
Good question. The paintings were still on the street when we last passed in February. We will check next time we’re in Santiago del Teide.