As the temperature drops outside, and the nights begin to darken, many of us dream of escaping to foreign lands with a kinder climate, that’s when Thomas Cook Airlines stepped in. To celebrate their ever expanding destinations they hosted a carnival themed party, helping me cling onto the spirit of summer for one more day.
Taking over a section of colourful Brazilian themed bar Barrio East you could excuse me for thinking that we were gathered for a Rio themed night, instead we we joined together to experience a taste of Tenerife. Though I have visited Canary’s largest Island several times with my family, I had no idea that Santa de Cruz annually holds the world’s second most popular Carnival.
After peeling off our layers and having a quick catch up with fellow bloggers, we were thrown straight into the party spirit with welcome cocktails and some incredible dancing.
Having set the lively tone for the night, it was now our turn to get involved. Splitting up into groups we began to make our way around 5 stations that were set up to help experience some of elements that make carnival so magical.
Step 1 – Do Your Research
With any trip it is important to at least do a little preparation, luckily this time I didn’t have to do my usual obsessive Googling as Thomas Cook Airlines had members of it’s team (as well as a member of Tenerife tourist board) on hand for us to have a chat with. This was such a great way to get to know more about how the airline had modernised over the past few years as well as getting first hand, experienced answers from the staff, which included well travelled cabin crew.
It had never occurred to me to look at Thomas Cook for flights as I had written them off as a company that specialised in package deals and I prefer to book everything separately, allowing me to be a little more spontaneous. Little did I know that they now do separate, and fairly priced, flights with in air meals created by chef James Martin.
Eagerly chatting away about Tenerife and destinations further afield, whilst being treated to some of Barrio East’s delicious dishes, my never ending wanderlust continued to grow.
Step 2 – Get Carnival Glam
Feeling inspired by our travel chat it was time to get into carnival spirit and get our glitter on. With a variety of shadows and sparkling shades to go for, I was in my element.
Each year the Santa de Cruz Carnival has a theme; 2016 has been announced as a celebration of the Roaring 80’s – which could not be more up my street (80’s Cher is my ultimate style icon) and was perfectly fitting for the vibrant palette that was on offer.
Step 3 – Put Togther a Carnival Appropriate Costume
Though I was not quite ready to get into the bedazzled thong and bra combo, our dance instructor pulled off beautifully; my all black attire did need a further colour injection to truly get into the spirit of things.
We were armed with masks, feathers, glue guns and plenty of sparkle to create our own headdresses. This crafting experience went far better than the weekend before and despite burning my finger and glueing my creation to my knee I was pleased with my finished piece.
Step 4 – Get Your Dancing Shoes On
This was the part of the evening I was dreading: dancing. Samba extraordinaires all the way form Rio de Janeiro were over to teach us how to get moving, carnival style.
I proved once again that I have absolutely no rhythm, but throwing myself completely into the lively spirit of things I had such a great laugh.
The instructors where fabulous; they gave clear directions but also made the potentially embarrassing event incredibly fun.
Step 5 – Complement With Cocktails
Any party needs the perfect drink and though apprehensive I stepped behind the bar to make my very own cocktail.
After watching Charlie make a flawless margarita with some serious shaking skills, I knew there were high expectations.
Spotting that I was not one to conform, the barman allowed me to make an off-menu cocktail called The Volcano, which involved passion fruit, some very strong rum and FIRE.
Managing not to set the place alight, my efforts were so impressive the poor bar staff were inundated with requests to make the “fire cocktail” for the rest of the evening.
Finally – Have Fun!!
The event finished as it would in Tenerife by hitting a sardine (well, fish) shaped Piñata. This pays homage The Burial of the Sardine, one of the most light-hearted events during the Carnival where comical ‘mourners’ join a procession ending at a purifying fire that makes way for Lent.
If this was small taste of what carnival has to offer then I may have to book myself a flight! The evening felt like summer had returned with so much vibrant energy and fun activities.
Have any of you been to a carnival? If so, what is your favourite element? If you are like me and have not yet experienced the festivities, would you like to?
* I was invited along to this complimentary evening at Barrio East by Thomas Cook Airlines, however, as always, all words and views are my own. Images are a mixture of the events’ professional photographer and my own.