San Francisco, Telde.

Tour around Barrio San Francisco (Peace) 和平

San Francisco.

Our tour in memory of Sanmao continues around the whitewashed neighbourhood of San Francisco, right at the heart of historic Telde.

The peaceful district of San Francisco is separated from San Juan by Calle León y Castillo, and invites visitors to get carried away by its genteel atmosphere and take a leisurely stroll around its back streets and hidden corners.

Sanmao’s preferred footwear would also be your recommended choice to walk around these cobbled streets. She loved sandals and espadrilles, and said “walking around in an easy comfortable way is the greatest recognition and respect we can pay to life”.

And this is our recommendation to you, our welcome traveller. Don’t forget to take in a walk around San Francisco, and make sure you take your time doing so. 

Barrio San Francisco
Barrio San Francisco

The white district.

Echo Chen also walked these streets, who knows how many times. She would stroll around these streets of San Francisco looking for the inspiration with which any creative soul would undoubtedly come across around here.

San Francisco

On occasions Sanmao would come to the house of “the Guo sisters”, two elderly and humble Chinese sisters, who rented a room out to one of her best friends, Chistopher Markt, the German writer of a tormented spirit who our writer Echo Chen took under her wing, carried along by this generous sentiment that characterized her so much.

They became close friends, and as she herself writes: “I would go along ever more frequently to their house and keep company of these three strange individuals that fate crossed my path with”. The day came when Markt fell ill. As he was foreign the Spanish Health Service would not treat him if he didn’t pay for his medical costs, and he had no money to pay for them, so Echo Chen felt compelled to help him out. She tells the story: “What a cruel society! If people don’t obediently follow the established path, they know what’s coming to them; to deal with life’s strife. With no insurance you are sure to die! Who told you to disobey the rules! ” 

A long time ago the city of Telde was known as “The city of witches”, and this novelistic adjective didn’t go unnoticed by Echo Chen, who, following two years living on the island, was keen to reveal the conduct and ways of the region’s ancient faith healers. These healers said they could heal illnesses that she herself had suffered. In Diarios de Las Canarias, she dedicates a whole chapter to the subject. 

Barrio de San Francisco
Barrio de San Francisco

We leave behind the district of San Francisco along Calle Inés Chemida, where a small yet beautiful aquaduct invites us into a tiny archaeological settlement. This settlement has pre-Hispanic remains, which reveals what can be found under the foundations of these whitewashed local buildings.

San Francisco

I´m free... I´m free!

We carry on as far as Plaza de San Juan, an obligatory stop-off for any visitor to Telde. Another curious fact is that the writer learnt to rollerskate at this square. One of her friends describes it thus: “José María had passed away, and Echo Chen was extremely sad. I said to her, let’s do something you had always dreamt about but have never done… And she replied –roller skate! I bought some white roller skates and I remember holding her arms wide open to help her keep her balance, and hearing her say- I’m free..I’m free…!” 

This park continues to be a nice place to come along to and sit under the shadow of the laurel trees.

The Basílica de San Juan is located in this square, and is one of the most important historical buildings on the island. It is a late Gothic style church, and is one of the oldest in the Canaries, harbouring true treasures within.

These include its 15th century Flemish altarpiece, the figure of Cristo de Telde, moulded out of a maize stump by indigenous peoples from Michoacán, Mexico, and carvings by Gran Canarian religious sculptor José Luján Pérez, one of the leading religious sculptors from end of the 18th century in Spain. 

San Juan

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