All those visitors who view Puerto de la Cruz in north Tenerife as a tranquil resort with picturesque and leafy plazas from which to watch the world go by will get a bit of a shock if they touch down in the town between the 10th and 12th May.
Instead of smiling women in traditional dress selling bird of paradise plants they’re more likely to encounter shiny, metallic robots; the soft strains of Spanish guitar adding a romantic soundtrack to evening strolls are likely to be replaced by thumping sounds accompany crazy flamenco dancers as they perform passionate moves above Plaza Charco – yes, I said ‘above’. Fishermen selling their wares at the harbour are deposed by strange creatures with ‘out of this world’ hairdos who capture unwitting passers by and turn their sensible haircuts into creations that would have Lady Gaga gagging with envy.
For three days in May artistic anarchy is the order of the day in Puerto de la Cruz as Mueca, the international festival of art in the street, transforms the town into a surreal wonderland.
It’s one of the most original festivals you’re likely to see on Tenerife and there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else on the island from the city streets of Santa Cruz to the sandy shores of Playa de las Américas.
The full programme hasn’t been announced yet. So far, the line up includes a circus company from Granada called Do Not Disturb; a tightrope walker from Madrid; Catalan theatre dance group Elegants; a storyteller from Valencia who mixes words and music to tell his tales and a magician from Salamanca (don’t stand too near to this one if you don’t like audience participation).
But with Mueca the details of who’s attending doesn’t really matter. In fact the surprise element of not knowing what to expect can add to the wonderment and programme descriptions don’t always prepare you for the reality anyway.
A few years ago, the descriptor for the ‘Artistic Hairdressers’ didn’t do justice for what turned to be a flamboyant joy of an event. The Chanclettes, a talented Spanish mime group, gave one of the funniest shows I’ve seen… ever. And, as I walked around Puerto, I was jostled by giants who looked like cartoon versions of stereotypical East End London heavies.
In other years, acrobats have taken to the rooftops and danced aerial ballets; fairies have taken over Plaza del Charco and Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man have danced along a yellow brick road at Plaza Europa.
The best way to experience and enjoy Mueca is to take a suitably anarchic approach to it; turn up, open your mind, stroll the streets between the harbour, the viewpoint above the Pomodoro restaurant and Plaza del Charco and be prepared for absolutely anything.
Category : about tenerife
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