Thursday, September 5, 2013

Playing the tourist in La Laguna



Have you ever been sightseeing in your hometown? Ever done the touristy thing in the place where you live? This morning I took a guided tour around La Laguna, the second biggest city in Tenerife and the city where I studied. Obviously, I knew the city but still I learnt a thing or two about the history of La Laguna and Tenerife and I got the chance to peek inside many of the historical houses that are scattered over the city the city centre. 

La Laguna was listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999. La Laguna, founded around the 16th century, was the first Spanish city without walls and probably one of the first non-fortified cities in Europe. It was granted the title of ciudad de paz (city of peace) and during the next centuries was viewed as the model of urban development to follow whenever a new city was founded in the newly conquered lands of central and south America. Havana (Cuba), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Lima (Peru), among others, were planned according to the design of La Laguna.

The centre of La Laguna is a grid of wide avenues departing from a central square crossed by perpendicular and more narrow streets. In the last decade, the city centre has been adapted as a pedestrian zone and small boutiques and cafes with terraces have flourished in almost every street in the centre of La Laguna. Most historical houses have been renovated and open to the public as museums, art galleries or simply as historical sights. These houses, in traditional Canarian style, usually have a patio right behind the entrance door, sometimes with a small fountain and always lined with carved wooden balustrades and columns. The majority of these houses were built with local supplies, such as pine wood and volcanic stone, but the Canarian style is a fine blend of the styles brought in by the early settlers from the European mainland. The Spanish elements descending from the Arabic architectonical styles together with English, Italian, Portuguese, French and even Dutch details shaped a unique mix that created the characteristic Canarian houses.








These are a couple of the things I learnt and some of the photos I took this morning. I didn't really like La Laguna while I was studying there but now I have to say that La Laguna has probably become one of the hippest places in Tenerife. Tourists from all over Europe visit it on a daily basis, making it one of the must-see spots in Tenerife, and the cool people spend mornings and evenings sitting at any of the many terraces people-watching. Even the weather seems to have improved in the last years, though the evenings remain as cold as I remembered.

You can book a free guided tour at the tourist office every day and they are offered in Spanish, English, German and French.
Have you ever played the tourist in your own city? De you enjoy visiting touristy sights and attractions?
Have a lovely weekend!

11 comments:

  1. Hey Irene! La Laguna does look cool. Love that fountain and those gorgeous tiles. Their history is very interesting. It's fun being a tourist in your own city. I've lived in New Orleans all my life and still haven't uncovered things. LOL So good for you! Everyone should do that where they live. No, I didn't go to NY Fashion Week. I'm just watching it on the Mercedes Benz Live Stream. It's the first day and it's been pretty good :) Hope all is well with you doll. Excellent post!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Oh, I thought you might be around NY but it is always fun to watch the fashion shows, even if online! I love the september editions of fashion magazines which come packed with hundreds of photos of the shows and the new fashion trends.
      I think I know most of my hometown, but it is a small town so it's not really difficult, But still there are many historical details I ignore. Looking forward to reading more about New Orleans in your blog, Kim :)

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  2. Yo tmb he hecho esto que cuentas, Irene,ejejej. El año pasado en Semana Santa me fui a hacer fotos por las iglesias e incluso me di una vuelta en el trenecito que recorre la ciudad. Lo pasé muy bien y aprendí muchas cosas que no sabía. Tengo muchas ganas de ir por tu tierra. Tenerife y ...La Laguna , que hoy nos hablas de este lugar, ( bueno, todos) deben de ser unos sitios preciosos. Bss,wpa:)

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    1. Que way, la verdad que lo del trenecito suena genial jejeje
      Yo tb tengo ganas de recorrer más de la península y tb pasar por Extremadura que nunca he estado - de hecho he visto muy poco de la península porque siempre voy a los mismo sitios de visita familiar :)

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  3. whaaat how did you not like this place?! haha it's gorgeous! the architecture is stunning, and i seriously had to take a good minute to stare at that tiled wall. beau-tiful.

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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  4. That's a good idea to take a tour of your own town - there are often places that you've overlooked. It's always good to see things through the eyes of someone else.

    Lovely blog, Irene :)

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    1. Thanks, Marianne!
      You're so right about seeing things through someone else's eyes, it really changes the way you look at things you've seen thousand of times before!

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  5. I like to walk around my city and find some places which I didn't see before. People may live in one town for ages and have no idea about it's sightseeings, it seems really strange. Your hometown looks wonderful, so many gorgeous buildings! Those photographs are adorable!
    Wish you a blessed day ahead!

    www.svetusvet.com

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    1. Thanks, Alexandra! I also like to walk around my city whenever I have the chance. Now that I live far away I cannot do it that often anymore and everytime that I'm around there are some new things waiting to be discovered :)

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  6. Visiting one's country like a tourist is a great way to embrace home. We have a city in the Philippines named Laguna. :) This place must bring you a lot of memories having studied here. I love all the tree shaded spots that make it a great place for people watching.

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    1. It is indeed, I guess you feel the same whenever you go back to the Philippines :)
      I didn't know there was a town named Laguna in Philippines, well, Spanish were not very creative people when naming towns and cities in their newly-found lands, back in the 16th and 17th century ...

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