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Thursday, 25 September 2008

World Tourism Day on 27th September can be best celebrated in Icod De Los Vinos.

A theme for this year is ´Responding to the challenges of climate change and global warming. And Icod De Los Vinos challenges nature against all odd. A ten-thousand year old Dragon tree called Drago Millinario stands there erect in Icod De Los Vinos, greeting the tourists, who bend in all the possible angles to get the best shot of this tree which has the appearance of a giant frayed rope. People are fascinated by its unusual characteristics that include the gnarled wood, geometric buds and the sheer longevity of each specimen have earned it plenty of attention and respect over the years. Guanche ( the early inhabitants of Tenerife) elders and kings held court beneath the canopy of these trees, and the people believed the tree could foretell the future - a fine blossom pointing to a fine harvest. But the dragon tree's most striking feature - the bleeding of red rubbery sap, or dragon's blood, when cut - has not only given the tree its name, but has also been used in a wide variety of applications. The Guanches used it in various healing salves, to keep their teeth healthy and even in their mummification process. More recently it has been used as dye in toothpaste, marble, Italian violins and Venetian ladies' hair. Besides the attraction of this Dragon Tree, there is also another place that has proved to be very popular with visitors and locals alike, and that is the Mariposario del Drago, butterfly gardens and centre. This is at the end of the road known as Avenida de Canarias, very close to the dragon tree. There are exotic flowering plants, bushes, creepers with glass gardens included, which really looks like enchanted paradise with butterflies flittering away all around you. Relaxing music adds to the spell as you wander through the path admiring flowers and butterflies all around you. You go down the steps to see the exhibition room with charts and display model of life cycle of a butter-fly as well as cases of mounted specimens of butterflies that died of natural causes in the garden. There is cinema room that provides screenings of interesting films about all sorts of insects, butterflies and moths. You can spend a whole day in the Icod De Los Vinos. There is a Hindu Bazaar called Tejban S.L. on the other side of the park called Plaza Andres De Lorenzo Caceras´`, which sells local wine, cigars, cameras, watches, accessories and the souvenirs to take back home. The owner, Mr Suresh Moorjani, speaks English and Spanish fluently and is very friendly. While you are there, you could also feast your eyes with the beautiful painting that are exhibited at ´Casa De Los Caceres´ which is the cultural centre of Icod. During the festivals there are musical, drama and poetry performances held there which are performed by talented artists. And don’t forget to enjoy the typical cuisine in Icod. To celebrate the world Tourism day, there are special events in Icod De los Vinos. From 10am to 2 pm there will processions with music and dance and free entry into the park.

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