The collective noun could be a cuddle of teddies or a delight of dolls, either way the 600 packed into Artlandya bear and doll museum in the hills of Icod de Los Vinos have found the perfect home. Imagine walking into a giant basket of childhood memories and you get a feel of the converted finca in Santa Barbara where George and Ingrid Taupe have gathered these much loved toys from around the world.
The restored barns have a cool calmness as you enter but there is a feel that the dolls and teddies have just stopped chattering and playing to return to their glass display cases, shelves, and alcoves. Originally from Austria, George and Ingrid had a large collection which they brought over to Tenerife after lovingly restoring the old, run down farm over six years. Ingrid had always been enchanted by dolls and later teddy bears joined the growing gang.
“In the 1980s and 1990s there was a big increase in interest in contemporary dolls across Europe, many are from France and Germany but I am always looking for more and have bears from as far as New Zealand and Russia,” says Ingrid.
Character shines through all the house guests, from the contented smiles on the bears to the coy and innocent appeal of the dolls’ upturned faces. The detail adds to the warmth of their personalities, freckles on doll cheeks and bow ties on bears all pluck at the heart strings. Porcelain is traditional for the older dolls but Artlandya also has wax dolls and an area where you can see how they are moulded. While some bears are preened and regal, scruffy often means cheeky and playful, there is definitely a hint of mischief in those big button eyes.
There is the feel of a genteel, far away land of childhood and the finca adds to that. Set in 11,000 square metres it is lush with ferns, plants, ponds and an explosion of vegetables and flowers. The views out to the coast of Garachico are inspiring and Mount Teide looms large in the background; it’s a world away from the tourist resorts of Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje. Santa Barbara is a small, pretty village. Taking tea on the café terrace the church bells were the only thing cutting through the air of tranquillity.
A shop has smaller affordable bears and dolls ready to be adopted but the permanent guests look happy to resume their playful ways once the door has closed on them. Great for children but adults are pleased to have their memories stirred as well. George and Ingrid speak several languages including English, Spanish and German and their enthusiasm and knowledge add to the experience.
Artlandya, (0034) 922 812615; El Finca, Camino Moliero, Santa Barbara, Icod de Los Vinos; open Tues to Sun 10am to 6pm; entrance 10 euros, children 6 to 14 years 4.50 euros, free to under 6 year olds
Getting There – By car around 8 minutes from Icod town centre, follow the signs. Taxi 5 euros each way.
Category : days out
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