Our Tenerife CSLI group MK-EFM (Marinekameradschaft Erzherzog Ferdinand Max) was eagerly looking forward to the blessing of their new standard. Union Commander Senator h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt had promised to partake in the event and the island appeared at its best with regard to the weather. For the whole time of his stay there were blue skies only, the Atlantic Ocean decorated itself with white crests, and the mild weather with 25 degrees did the “Islandof eternal spring“ credit.
The 3,718 m high MountTeidegreet visitors from all sides of the island and so we waited cheerfully at the airport as Wolfgang … did not arrive. After a clarifying telephone call it turned out that his suitcase together with all his decorations got stuck inBerlin. Day after day we were put off with promises and it was only on Saturday when the piece finally arrived. A great feeling of relief came up, not only with Wolfgang!
In the meantime I showed him a small part of the island. We visited Humboldt’s View at the edge of the Orotava Valley, a natural amphitheater spread out at the ocean‘s beach in Puerto de la Cruz, the touristic centre of the north of the island between banana plantations. The great scientist Alexander von Humboldt visited the location in 1799 and enthused over the beautiful sight of the valley in his itinerary. Then we strolled around Puerto with its picturesque streets, its seashore, and the fisherman‘s port.
The old customs house, the bold bastions with brave cannons, and the many churches and picturesque sites are worth quite a few photos. At night there was an Austrian style dinner prepared by my wife Anita where Wolfgang met my adjutant and commander of the Guard, SenCdr. Ferdinand Graf and his wife.
The next day we went to an altitude of 2,200 m to the Teide peak and the ancient remains of a huge volcano, the Cañadas. Entire fields of glittering obsidian and strange rock formations make a visit to this highest mountain inSpaina unique experience indeed. The sky was clear and cloudless, something I did not find often on my visits to this colossus.
Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Actually I wanted to show Wolfgang the military museum in the capital of Santa Cruz. Many models of the Battleof July 25th, 1797, showing Nelson’s attack onSanta Cruz are adored there, as well as the Cannon “El Tigre”, which according to legend shot away Nelson’s right arm. However, the museum which usually is always open preferred to remain closed that day and so we returned back to the old city centre.
In the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception, dating back to the 16th Century, the defender of the city against Nelson, General Gutiérrez is buried, the cross of conquest reminding of the Spanish conquest of the island is kept, and the statue of St. Jacob of Santiago, the Moor-slayer, is on display. July 25th is his Saint‘s day and because of this, legends say that the Spanish troops are invincible on that day. Also the modern buildings ofSanta Cruz with its major port and the new Auditorium are quite attractive.
Finally, Wolfgang‘s suitcase was delivered and the examination of all the decorations to be awarded the next day was due. Also my neighbours, Cpt. Dipl.-Ing. Hartmut Rust, a retired Colonel of the German Air Force and his wife SenCdr. Dunka Rustova visited for a try-on of their new badges of rank.
Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Our CSLI Tenerife group‘s highlight was due, the consecration of our new flag. Celebrations commenced in front of the Ermita (chapel) of San Telmo at one o‘clock. San Telmo is the patron saint of seafarers and fishermen and so it was obvious to perform the act of consecration of our new standard there.
A small plain but aged church which is the domicile of the island‘s German Catholic parish for decades. Our band, the Dixie Orodine, intoned the entrance march and our little procession entered, accompanied by our Guard of Honour. Deacon Wolfram Boltz, longtime pastor of the German congregation, welcomed us warmly. The church was filled up to the last seat.
After a short service in German language the blessing and nailing of the new standard commenced. Our flag patron María Mercedes Álvarez de Vázques Zerolo assisted our deacon. Wolfgang Steinhardt delivered a short and formidable speech where he impressively outlined the historic roots of the CSLI and today‘s goals of the Lazarus Union.
After that our meritorious members were honoured with awards
2nd Lt. CSLI NC Bruno Fuentes, heart and soul at all our events,
Our music accompanied the commemoration of the dead with the Spanish “La muerte no es el final” – “Death is not the end.” A very moving melody that constituted also the end of our little celebration.
The procession led our members along the sea where the waves whipped up the surf furiously that day, to Punta del Viento, a landmark in Puerto de la Cruz, where the closure took place with the tune of the Radetzky March. A large crowd had gathered to admire this beautiful event and applauded cheerfully.
On the terrace of the venerable hotel Marquesa where already Humboldt had stayed we ended this wonderful ceremony with a cheerful meal and a concert of our music.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
That day my wife Anita accompanied Wolfgang and together they visited our highlight, the Loro Parque. This is a modern zoo currently celebrating its 40th anniversary with many shows and performances.
They enjoyed orcas, dolphins, sea lions, and the cute parrots. It took them seven hours to visit just the most important stations in our beautiful Loro Parque, which extends over a whole mountain. As Wolfgang said: “… an absolute must to visit this attraction, which can be classified in the top row of similar parks around the world…”
Tuesday passed quietly in Puerto de la Cruz and in our home in El Sauzal, where Wolfgang visited our little naval home, the museum bar on the highest point of our property. Wednesday Wolfgang departed from the south airport dedicated to Reina Sofía, finally in time and without any problems.
As Commodore of our group this week was a highlight in my life in Tenerife and I heartily thank our Union Commander and all our members for their active and helpful participation.
Commodore CSLI Navy Corps