Today was the last day of our Tenerife trip. Lisa and I went to the beach at San Andreas where we were the only people in the sea. It was a really nice day, not too hot or too cold. We then went back into the city and walked around the shops for a last look, where we got strange looks because we were still sandy and in our flip flops. We then went back to the apartment and chilled for a few hours until it was time to get ready for the street parade and party. We had tons of fun at the parade.
We sang really loudly, we danced with random people who didn't have a word of English, but it was fantastic all the same. Looking back on the trip, I definitely have learned a lot both about myself and new skills. I learned enough Spanish to get by (Spanish phrasebook came in super handy), I learned that I am more capable of things than I think, because although we we're fully funded (thank you leargas) I still managed to keep myself alive and organised by myself. I managed my money and my time myself, and most important to me I gained confidence in myself which is a thing I have never had much of.
I had such a great time over here, the city is lovely, vibrant, lively and friendly and the people the exact same. To conclude, if anyone is reading this, trying to decide what to do and whether or not to apply for this opportunity, I would strongly recommend it. You won't regret it. It seems daunting at the time but once you are over here a few days all doubts and worry go away.
Yesterday’s event marked the end of our work experience placement. We were happy to be involved in this incredible triumph of beauty and we are proud to have been a part of it.
The morning began with a discussion about the winners’ and The Queen’s costumes. Each of us had our own opinions and preferences. We all agreed on one point though -The Carnival and the Gala Queen Election required so much from the talented designers and their teams.. A huge amount of work and dedication was needed. Once again, I come to the conclusion that to be successful and to achieve significant results, one must be hardworking and passionate about an idea or work.
In the afternoon, Esther and myself visited the city named La Laguna. The city is located 11 km from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It’s historical center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. University of La Laguna, one of the best universities in the world and the oldest university in the Canary Islands, is situated there. After a short walk we came back to Santa Cruz.
We met Emer and Maria at 9 pm and went together for dinner in the restaurant which had Mediterranean cuisine. The city slept when we were coming back to the apartments in anticipation of the upcoming street parade tomorrow. On Thursday I also got a chance to purchase a silver coin from the Bank of Spain. The coin is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the King of Spain, Philip VI. The Spanish monarch celebrated his 50th anniversary on January 30, 2018.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to be an Erasmus program participant. I feel as though I absorbed a bit of serenity from the Tenerife’s locals. I will definitely bring home some practical knowledge. There is no unimportant skills that cant be used in fashion design. Everything effects the overall result: colour and shape, accessories and décor, team attitude and pace of work set by the designer, equipment used for stage lighting and spirit of the model at the time of performance.
It was a great experience, but I have to say, I prefer the sewing machine and fabric to hot glue gun and paper. Culture and Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife inspired me for my next assignment in GTI. I will create a blooming colourful collection dedicated to painter Frida Kahlo.
Today was the day that all our work was building up to. It was all very exciting as we didn’t really know what to expect from the actual event/gala itself. We were even more excited as we had backstage passes viewing all the costumes first. When we arrived it was surreal, thousands of people queuing to see who the next carnival queen was going to be and which designer comes out on top.
We made our way backstage “feeling all important''. I was instantly mesmerised by all the colours and bling that met my eyes. All the designs were spectacular in there own right. I was so excited to find Daniel Pages two float designs the same as when we finished working with the team Monday final touches had still to be added.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I seen Daniels floats “Kingdom of thirteen icebergs” and “Memories of Ypacaraì” absolutely outstanding. As soon as Daniel seen me he left what he was doing even though he was up to his eyes, gave me a big hug and was so eager to see what I thought. This proves the types of person he is outrageously talented and such a decent person who has time for everyone.
The work that goes into these designs is mind boggling, only from working this past while with #TeamDaniel could I truly understand what is involved. Nothing on those floats came as a whole piece, every single piece is made by hand. What seems impossible is made possible. I sat in awe at a pair of heels Daniel was making for the queen thinking there is no end to this man talents.
All his team gathered around also asking what I thought and which one was a winner. For me, I loved them both, but it had to be “Kingdom of thirteen icebergs”. I said goodbye and wished the team, Daniel and two queens, good luck and took my seat. The atmosphere was electric, the crowds were rooting for #TeamSanti & #TeamDaniel. Friendships were set aside... it was competition time !!!!!!!! The stage, lights & opening entertainment was out of this world.
The floats began coming out and it was show time. Out cames “The kingdom of thirteen icebergs” and I roared with excitement; the music was amazing. As soon as the lights hit the float and the queen the whole design took a new life for itself. Every single sequin I hand put on by the thousands was worth it. Everything twinkled and shined with added volts reflecting from the stage light. Queen Rosalia Barrett Suarez did such an amazing Job showcasing this spectacular design.
Before I knew it, another design of Daniels came out on stage: “Memories of Ypacaraì”. The colours of this float are beautiful & tropical inspired. Gasps from the audience could be heard when Queen Minerva Hernandez walked out. You could tell they were blow away by the design and colours.
I have to say I found the experience very emotional( in a very happy way). Probably because I know how much it means to Daniel. The lack of sleep, blood sweat and tears, but also the fact I had a part to play .
When you look at the floats and say 'I did that part and that part' etc. it’s actually a big deal seeing it up on stage with thousands watching and it being televised.
Obviously I might be biased working with Daniel saying his are my favourite, but they were. I do have to give credit to the designer Santi whom the other girls from GTI were working with although rivals 😉, his designs were beautiful especially his float which came in second place. Daniel did receive a trophy but unfortunately it wasn’t where we wished and placed surprisingly 4th, with “The kingdom of thirteen icebergs”.
The winner however was Carmen Laura Lourido Pérez, as chosen Queen with a design by Jorge Gonzalez.
The whole experience was truly amazing from start to finish. I am looking forward to the parade tomorrow where all top 5 placed floats will appear in the parade as the Carnival kicks of tomorrow. Fancy dress costumes at the ready, Adiós
Our Day 17 started beautifully with much chatting about plans for the Gala night and the Carnival due for the 7th and the 9th of February. It has been an extremely busy week for us all.
Today was our last day of working on the costume and we had to met the target for the Gala night. We went to work as usual and on time so that we can round up our work for this week’s events. There weren’t much to do today as all major work had been done during the past days. Costumes are completed and are ready to be moved to the event ground. It was an exciting afternoon for all us working at Santi’s.
Being our last day at working on the costumes, Natalia made some home made pastries and Emer also brought in some red velvet cake for all to enjoy. Coincidentally, it was one of Santi’s staffs birthday, so we decided to celebrate together. It was a great afternoon tea party. We are very proud to have met all that was demanded of us so far. Having finished work we had the opportunity to visit few shops around our work area.
Later in the evening, Natalia made a home made some soup and roll and invited all the girls to have dinner together in the apartment. It was indeed a great time of bonding and reflection over the past 17days. We chatted about our different experiences over dinner and talked about what we all are looking forward to achieving after the work experience. We all have gained so much on this journey and are very grateful for the opportunity given each and every one of us to be a part of the Erasmus work experience in Santa Cruz Tenerife 2018. Overall, it was a great day for us all.
Today started off raining but it soon picked up. I went to the local museum, here in Santa Cruz. They had two different displays on show, one a mummified body and the other the botanical life of Tenerife exhibition. They were both amazing displays, but the bodies one was my favourite. In the display they mentioned the bog bodies of Ireland. After the museum I went for lunch in the shopping center and then went back to the apartment to get ready for work.
At Daniels workshop we were just putting the final touches to the designs. The models, Rosalia and Minerva, came in to try on the headpieces and the dresses. The dresses are both amazing but Minerva's dress is my favourite. Its very vibrant and colourful.
When we finished, Daniel gave us special tickets with his name on them and told us that today was our last day at the workshop working on the designs and costumes before the announcement of the Carnival Queen tomorrow. We got a photo with Daniel and went around to hug everyone good luck for the gala.
Today the focus was on the Comparsas part of the carnival. It was amazing, me and Esther left after Santi's group because we were wrecked. Santi's group won both best costumes and best dancers. The Joroperos obtained today a double in the Contest of Comparsas of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2018, when obtaining the first prizes in the sections of Interpretation and Presentation. The event was held at the International Exhibition and Congress Center of Tenerife, with more than 5,100 spectators.
Later, Lisa and myself went to Loro Parque in Peurto de la Cruz. We decided to go as soon as we heard we got the place on the Erasmus trip, because Lisa had never been to the zoo before. We saw the dolphin, orca and sea-lion Shoelwa, which were great and we went around the whole zoo. I really enjoyed it and I think Lisa did too. We had to take a bus to Peurto de la Cruz and walked from our bus stop to the zoo. After we left the zoo with took the free mini train to town (which was another first for Lisa).
This morning I woke up early and decided to go to have a look at the local Sunday markets which takes place near the bus station. I went with Maria and we could not get over how big it was and the things that were being sold, literally everything. We didn’t have much time as we then had to get a taxi to a bus pick up point for our journey down south. At twelve o’clock a bus collected us all and brought us to the harbour in Adeje, where we boarded a boat called the 'Free-bird'. We were all excited to get going. Mariví and Teresa were with us along with 14 other Erasmus students who were also working in Tenerife.
The boat brought us out into the deep blue sea and I was fascinated by the beautiful colours and the sparkle off the ocean. After various attempts at getting up close to dolphins we finally found ourselves surrounded by them. I was amazed and couldn’t believe how lucky I was to experience it. There was food and drink aboard the ship and the staff were all lovely, it really was such a good service.
We then made our way towards Los Gigantes where we saw the beautiful Masca cliffs which you can hike in four hours from the top to the bottom. The boat stopped here and we were allowed to go for a swim. The water was very salty but so refreshing and we were surrounded by lots of fish.
The temperature then dropped and it got chilly as we began our journey back to the harbour. When we arrived we hopped straight back onto the tour bus and headed back up north. We were all very tired after our long day at sea, so a nice relaxing Sunday evening in the apartment was just what we needed before our crazy busy week. I am still in awe looking over photos and am so glad that we went on the excursion, as it was a wonderful experience.
The 2nd of February is Tenerife’s patron’s day, the Virgen de la Candelaria, popularly called La Morenita. It is the official public holiday on the island. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists coming to Candelaria from all over the world. The Virgin of Candelaria is widely prayed to for protection against epidemics and volcanic eruptions.
Despite such an important date it was another working day for us as countdown to the spectacular show where the candidates parade on stage with their costumes is on. We even started work one hour earlier than usual, because of the workload that had to be done before the weekend.
The raining morning didn’t make Tenerife grey or dull. This island looks colorful and blooming in any weather. Locals are always polite and quiet but under the rain they look even more meditative and humble. It seems sometimes that time has stopped here and no one is in a hurry anywhere except us.
It all changes when we are at work. Everyone in Santi’s work placement assigned tasks to do. There are just few days left before the Queen Gala Election and work is going in full swing. The members of Santi’s team perform monotonous job patiently, while we tried to swap our tasks periodically. We can definitely learn from these people on how to pay more attention to details and stay calm in any situation.
The deputy principal of GTI-Alison Ward and GTI representative in Tenerife Marivì visited us in the afternoon. We had a conversation regarding our work and took few pictures. We also got our Erasmus Team T-shirts that we would wear on Gala Queen Election on Wednesday, 7th of February.
Friday was also marked by the visit of Santi’s friends from Venezuela. They currently live in Tenerife. The couple are parents of one of the queen models and they were proud to show us few pictures of their beautiful daughter from the Carnivals of previous years. They brought plenty of Venezuelan food for everyone. Despite the big team, about 20 people, each person got at least two portions of the delicious food.
This Friday was a day full of events and meetings but we completed everything planned. We worked with a hot glue to put together various types of decorations. We decorated huge parts of carnival’s costumes with bright sparkling stones and laces. We were surprised to see a manual handle tool for cutting various shapes from paper and carton that designers use in their work.
The transport on Friday worked according to holidays and days off schedule. We had to change two buses and then walk for about 10 minutes to get to our apartments. We got there at around 11 pm. We were tired from a long working day but happy and looking forward to oncoming weekend and its events. But these events would be a subject of our next stories in the blog...
This morning before work, I walked about Plaza de España (Spain Square), it is the largest square in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Canary islands. The square is located in the center of town. In the heart of the city stands the great artificial lake fountain, a work of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. It is beautiful to walk around .
I then made my way to work, today we were working with lots of sequins and feathers. A magpies dream everything glittering sparkling and shiny! We watched the two queens practice walking in there headpieces. I even got to try the headpiece on. I could not believe the weight of it. I truly have respect for the girls because of the training that is involved in preparing for the show. Grueling training sessions to prepare for the weight of the costumes they will be showcasing.
I cannot wait to see the whole look come together, it’s so exciting to see such creativity.
So the weather here is like we're back in Ireland. Its raining one minute and not the next. Other than that its being really good. With the weather today not being great, I started the day chilling out and Aoife, Natalia and Esther went shopping this morning before work. In regards to time, our phones either jump forwards or backwards in time by an hour making us think we're either late or early!
Today Maria and I were doing the same things we were doing this past week, but tomorrow we will finish that and move on. We also got to see the dresses almost complete today, as two of the sponsors came in to see the work Daniel and his team are doing. As well as that we also got to see the grandmother's queen gala on one of the girls phones as it was occurring. Everyone was commenting on the dresses and which one they would like to be the queen.
That's all for now
Map of Tenerife