Gran Canaria 2023
We have an early flight tomorrow so we decided to stay at an airport hotel tonight. After parking our car in a long stay, public transport would not work for the return journey, we checked into our 11th-floor room. It was spartan but acceptable and had an aerial view of the car park and the landing approach over the bridge.
We took the Metro into Norreport and enjoyed smorrebrod and a beer. It was nice to walk around the food hall and the area. The local restaurants were decorated with red heart-shaped balloons. Some promenading ladies had red roses or a red balloon.
Wednesday: We walked serenely over the road, left our baggage and passed security control with no delays. The flight was good but noisy. I have never been on a plane with so many infants. It’s not hard to understand their discomfort. Noisy, strange people around them and no comfortable cot to lie in.
Our apartment on Las Canteras is superbly located near the beach and our favourite restaurants. We booked dinner for tomorrow at our absolute favourite and then found the Jambon bar and sampled a little of the delicacy. The Los Anos locos is still there but it has had a makeover which bodes ill for the old gang of guitarists. Las Canteras seems to be much quieter and there are empty and closed restaurants. Three years ago at this time, it was hard to find a table most evenings. The sun shone and it showed 22c on the pharmacy signs. It was good to be back.
The display of strange-looking people was as usual. A gang of acrobatic young men doing handstands and break dancing, a man in what seemed like an antique electric wheelchair, all possible body shapes and hair colours. I am of course in heaven. My voyeur needs are fully satisfied. Thanks to Las Canteras it is nice to be back.
Thursday: We both slept well. Breakfast was in the apartment. I bought bread from a local shop and we enjoyed it with the cheese and ham we had bought yesterday. Las Canteras starts slowly with a few eager runners. The area is conspicuously clean. The beach is rubbish free, the promenade almost shone and there were lots of workers attending to the public spaces. After breakfast, we took a long walk ending at the Catalina bus station to check bus times and procedures. Then back to Las Canteras for a beer in the sun. It rained a little as we sat by the sea but soon stopped. Then on to the Mercato for lunch. We drank Rioja and talked to the Swedish-speaking bar owner. Las Palmas had been totally locked down for three months during Covid and face masks on public transport have only, up to a few weeks ago, still been mandatory. Anna could not resist the beach. It was warm and well-populated.
We ate dinner at Jamonal this evening and were not disappointed. We took courgette carpaccio with a dressing of passion fruit and mango, baked cheese with a tomato chutney topping with cinnamon and the best was thin slices of beef tenderloin with garlic. We have booked a table for Saturday.
Friday: It has been a weather day. Temperatures have ranged from 16 this morning to 26 this afternoon. It rained overnight and occasionally today. We took a long walk along the coast. A bare-chested young man played his violin by the sea followed by a street cleaner in a green uniform. It summed up Las Palmas for me. Walking with me is like walking a dog. A few steps and then a stop for photographs.
Saturday: Last night we ate in a Spanish and Italian mom-and-pop, fusion restaurant. The lady resembled Meryl Streep when she played Julia Childs. After breakfast, we walked the whole length of Las Canteras and then ate pinxos in the Mercado del Puerto. The afternoon was spent on the beach in 27c.
Sunday: The internet has been down for a whole day and some time has been spent trying to get them to fix it. We laid on the beach for an hour and then it began to rain. Lunch was watching passers-by trying to dodge the gentle rain. After lunch the sun came out and we walked down to the harbour to see the large cruise boats and a Swedish schooner, Alva. On the way back it was 28c and the beach was busy. We chose a restaurant we had used three years ago for dinner. It delivered poor food and disinterested service. Bodegon Biberon is not recommended. The coffee and grappa on the way home was the only consolation. A lot of restaurants went broke during Covid and some have been bought by people who seem not to have either experience or competence.
Monday: Today we took a bus to the English Beach, Playa del Inglés. It is an enormous fine sandy beach populated by thousands of sunbathers. The town is the true tourist experience, menus in 8 languages, football on tv, hotels, gated communities and apartments. What more can you ask for as a contrast to sleepy Skillinge. I felt truly on holiday. Paella of course was enjoyed which was nearly quite good. Dinner was a shared Pizza. While searching for a post box we found 7 ladies dressed identically who sang popular local songs with a high degree of competence and enthusiasm. They enjoyed themselves and we enjoyed them just as much.
Tuesday: Breakfast today was at a restaurant that opens early for the people working in the area. We were the only tourists. An egg and bacon sandwich, Canary style, was an excellent start to the day. I then tried to post some postcards which proved not as easy as it sounds while Anna stretched out on the beach. Lunch we hoped would be in the same restaurant as this morning but there was a queue of at least ten people so we went elsewhere. The carnival is in full swing and there are lots of folk strolling in fancy dress. Sometimes whole families followed a theme. This evening was crazy with the most original fancy dress being a group who were, a car wash.
Wednesday: We hired a car and drove to Aqaete and then Bodega Los Berrazales. Here they grow grapes, oranges, coffee, bananas and other fruit. You get a guided tour and then a wine and coffee tasting for 10 euros. There were lots of people. The wine was OK but expensive and the coffee weak. Dinner was in an Italian restaurant where I enjoyed a superb sirloin steak.
Thursday: We went back for breakfast to the locals restaurant. The noise was like machine guns going off with mornings greetings and orders shouted across the room. It was quite invigorating. Then it rained so we amused ourselves in the apartment and then the sun came out. Lunch was pinxos and Rioja followed by ice cream and then down to the beach to add a little colour. We drank Mojitos and watched the sun’s light show playing on the hills the other side of the bay, quite majestic
Sunday:There were no clouds in the sky today so all other plans were abandoned for the call of vitamin D and salt water. It reached 30c by 13:00. Las Canteras was busy with locals, many dressed in party costumes. Dinner was in the Santa Catalina park near the carnival stage. The food was OK but the noise from the evening’s performance sound check did not encourage us to stay on to enjoy it.
Monday:It has been a busy day. I was first awake at 03:00 to blow up balloons and decorate the breakfast table with a Feliz Cumpleanos banner. At 08:00 when Anna left her bed I had bought fresh bread rolls, ham, cheese and orange juice which we enjoyed with a little spumante.
We later took the bus to Vequeta and wandered around the old town. Lunch was pinxos and the late afternoon was on the beach. A classic pasta, steak and red wine dinner was followed by, of course, grappa and coffee. A busker played a fine guitar and a very young girl danced enchantingly.
Tuesday: The English competence of serving and shop staff is low. We are visitors who want to enjoy, for a few days, what the Canary islanders have all year round. That we must accommodate seems very reasonable. Lots of dogs here but no dog poop on the pavements. Every time a dog pees on the street the owner sprays water on it so that the next passing dog is not tempted to add their contribution.
We walked around La Isleta, the former poor area of the city. Street hygiene and parking were more of a challenge here. There were lots of hairdressers, small bars, miniscule car workshops and food shops. Supermarket shopping has not broken old loyalties here.
Dinner was in the chaotic Morrocan restaurant near us which was more like a child care centre but the food was quite acceptable.
Wednesday: Today we flew home and are now ensconced before a blazing log fire having left 26c for 0C but it is always nice to be home.