The young lady in the picture is my niece, who is also known as my “Mini Me.” Took this last month on the first day of our Tenerife holiday. The sun was slowly setting and we set off for a walk and to explore the area we were staying when we found one of many of the stairs/walkways that cut through the holiday homes and hotels, and eventually led to the beach. Still full of energy, H was running and jumping down the path while I was taking some photos, I was trying to capture the light of the sunset, but I wound up with something more beautiful.
Something strange has happened, I’ve never been one for the beach, or sun, and have only been for a holiday in the sun, (during winter), once before and that was only because I happened to win the holiday. I’ve also have never spent a Christmas or a New Years in a warm climate, rain and snow are far more familiar scenes at this time of year, however this past holiday season that’s exactly what happened.
Despite that the area surrounding some of the beaches I found myself on could only be best described as “tacky,” and some of the people there somewhat irked me, the moment my bare feet touched the sand I felt relaxed. Feeling the sand between my toes, walking into the ocean, and suddenly the sound of an overtired child crying, is replaced with that of a child’s laughter, and the sight of the crowded beach becomes a secluded paradise. I could watch the waves crash to the shore and feel all my worries, stress, dissipate along with them.
I must be getting old.
The abandoned, (new), town, near Abades, Tenerife.
The Leper Colony of Arico, was what it was to be called, a new town built exclusively for people suffering from Leprosy, but it was never used or actually completed. The town was built in a remote area of the island as most of the population lived in the north, (the hundreds of hotels for holiday sun-roasters in the south of the island was still decades away from being built). In about 1943, (I think), a drug was discovered that changed the treatment of people suffering from Leprosy, and so the town was no longer needed, and was abandoned.
The town had housing, a hospital, a crematorium, (a great improvement as they used to just through the bodies into the ocean), a school, and a church. Some buildings were half finished, abandoned as is when the new treatment for Leprosy began.
There is an erie feeling about the place, if you let your imagination run wild you would probably leave the place quickly all the while looking over your shoulder, making sure that you weren’t being followed. But there’s a distinct feeling of sadness when you stop to think about the reason that this town was built, all those people who were abandoned, cast out, made to live in isolation for the remainder of their lives.
I was there this past Tuesday, and my young nephews and niece followed me. Far from being frightened, they found it fascinating, and were eager to explore the buildings, (I didn’t let them though, I wasn’t sure about the safety of the structures). The youngest said he thought it looked like a Minecraft village, (and later that day I saw him starting to recreated it in Minecraft).
P.S. As strange as this place may appear it’s not nearly as odd as the new settlement, town, or holiday villas, (or whatever it’s meant to be), that lay next to the abandoned town. It looks like part of a suburb was plucked from another town and laid to rest in the middle of nowhere.