For anyone that reads this blog on a regular basis, you will know that I love Tenerife and also its history. For example, I have written about Halloween in Tenerife, Carnaval in Tenerife and of course the restaurants and bars here too.
Yesterday I was out with clients viewing properties for sale and we stopped in a bar. It just so happened that one of the customers in the bar, a friend of my client, is a very well know man here in Tenerife.
We were chatting about things in general and he was telling me about the Guardia Civil in Tenerife. He said that his mother used to have members of the Guardia Civil stay in her house when he was a young boy. I was a bit confused, but he continued and told me that they would take 3 days to do their rounds. I said that I assume he meant that they would be doing the rounds of Tenerife as an island, he said no, that it was only of the area of Arona.
Still confused, I asked him why it took them so long to get around Arona. It turns out that the Guardia Civil had no means of transport and it took them 3 days to walk around the municipality.
He went on to explain that they used to stay the night and have breakfast the next day. They all had to sign a book to confirm that they had indeed stayed the night at the house. Evidently there was a rock where they would have found the key of the house, if the family were not in and they would let themselves in.
I’ve done a little research about the Guardia Civil this evening and in fact it turns out that they didn’t even get bicycles until the 60’s and cars much much later. They were in fact one of the poorest paid police bodies, with continuous work, poor pay and no means of transport. There was a saying in Spain at this time…”I’m hungrier than a Guardia Civil”, which pretty much says it all.