Archive for February 2019

Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – Sunset Part 2   12 comments

Final little post from the winter sunshine trip. After a day in the mountains, me and TBF had enough time to dash up to the ridge that overlooks the town and catch the sunset.

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Puerto Mogan.

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Taurito.

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It had clouded up which was bad for sunshine but great for a spectacular sunset.

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The sky turned a kaleidoscope of oranges and reds as the sun went down.

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Enhanced by the lights of Puerto Mogan and Taurito.

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It was an interesting descent back down over the loose rocks to the road in the dark. Wonderful views over the town coming to its evening life to finish off the day and the holiday. Just a final and rather excellent Italian meal to round things off.

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Another great New Year trip and another Canary island bagged and loved. I’ve said this many times but beyond the tourist spots they are stunningly beautiful each island in its won unique way. We are so, so lucky to have holidayed here the last few years and we hope to continue that for as long as we can.

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Posted February 27, 2019 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain, Walking

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Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – Hitting the Heights   12 comments

Our final day and this time clear of spurious religious celebrations we were armed with a picnic and headed into the mountains one last time. Me and TJS were especially keen to see the highest point and were pleased to see yet another clear sunny day.

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Its a busy spot, Pico de las Nieves, but we squeezed the car in for a look around.

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The views were breathtaking with El Teide, as always catching the eye.

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Roque Nublo coming a close second.

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The drops down into Los Calderos Altos were jaw dropping and a long walk around the rim of this was high on my list and I was a little disappointed we hadn’t managed to squeeze it in.

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However TJF kindly agreed to wait in the car for an hour or so so we could fit in at least a short walk to the peak in the photo below. It does have a name on the map but its hard to read!

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A short but spectacular walk through the forests to reach the rocky summit.

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As with some of the other places we found, the top was sensationally exposed with huge drops to the south. What a spectacular island this is!

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Happy Hikers!

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This shot encapsulates everything about the island, gorges, cliffs, rock towers, forests, El Teide standing guard on the horizon.

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On the way back to the car, the radar dome that crowns the summit visible. A very Spanish thing it seems, crowning summits with military stuff.

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A grand walk needs a grand feast to follow so we headed off for an outdoor picnic. Despite missing the obvious picnic area we did find a fine spot next to the road to eat our goodies.

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As is the case almost everywhere in Gran Canaria, the views were magnificent.

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Time to return home that included a nervous search for fuel in the middle of nowhere. It gave us chance to see a couple of wonderful looking mountain villages that need a revisit when we return. In addition another fabulous viewpoint on the way to the coast, Degollada de las Veguas.

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A view down to the coast and the dunes at Maspalomas (another sight we missed).

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And back up the Fataga valley to the mountains. Another superb day out, just one final sunset post to come.

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Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – Return to the West Coast   4 comments

Time for S to go home and we dropped her off at the airport with a fond farewell. We had grand plans for a picnic in the mountains but were caught out by the fact it was Epiphany – some big Catholic day in Spain and everything was shut – most importantly the bakery and supermarkets so no picnic lunch. We decided to head back to the port at Agaete as we felt sure there would be restaurants open.

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The natural rock swimming pools looked rather more impressive this time as the tide was in and large waves were washing over the edge. A swim could wait as it was time for lunch.

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We had an excellent seafood lunch overlooking the harbour and the Tenerife ferry comings and goings.

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A stroll around the harbour followed. I really rather liked this place with its more local feel and superb clear water.

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Back to the rock pools for a swim (for me anyway, no-one had brought swimming stuff and I improvised with a pair of shorts). It was wonderful sitting on the outer wall with waves washing over me.

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We spent a very happy hour pithering about and watching the waves crash and surge along the lava rock channels

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Its a cracking spot and one of my favourite places on the island.

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We were home early enough for TBF to take a swim and for me to wander about on the now deserted beach in the late afternoon sunshine as the sun went down.

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The rocks of this part of the island simply glow under a low sun. Great to wander on the beach at this time of day in winter.

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We headed out to the rock shelf to watch the sunset but with less cloud around it wasn’t as good as the first time

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Still pretty good though.

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The boats in the harbour as the light faded.

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A final view along the coast to Taurito before heading back for a quiet night in.

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Posted February 24, 2019 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain

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Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – Sunset Part 1   12 comments

Another day of relative rest such that I can’t remember what we did in any form. I’ve reached that point where unless I have photos I have no recollection of my activities. Welcome to late middle age.

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I do remember (at least my photos do) that we went for an evening stroll up to the viewing platform above the town to watch the sunset.

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Some good views over the town but we still couldn’t see the setting sun.

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On the way back I saw a stream of sunset light along the road and followed past the end of the road and through a rather smelly collection of bins behind the harbour.

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There was a shelf of rocks above the sea that had a grandstand view of the sunset.

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Clearly a well known spot, there were dozens of people there. A mix of tourists and hippies playing bongos and the like. There was a strange sweet smell in the air, no idea what it was.

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With some clouds around this time the sunset was superb

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El Teide was perfectly placed in silhouette.

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Th sky blushed with oranges, yellows and reds.

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A small boat drifted by to create some extra foreground interest.

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It gets chilly at sunset even this far south so time to head back after natures show.

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It was S last night so we returned to our favourite restaurant for a farewell meal (and to share a glass of Sangria).

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More sunset glory to come.

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Posted February 22, 2019 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain

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Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – Hike Around Roque Nublo   12 comments

Warning – this post contains a lot of photos!

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Time for another walk in the mountains and a visit to one of the islands most famous sights (away from the beaches anyway)

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Both my walking guides seemed somewhat fixated on linear walks using buses to return. The excellent Discovery Walking Guide Map I managed to purchase (after a fruitless hour looking for the worlds most secretive shop hidden in hotel complex) showed what looked like an excellent circuit. In effect a tour around, and a visit to Roque Nublo.

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Accompanied by more blue skies and clear warm sunshine we headed into the hills on a trail very reminiscent of Arizona and Sedona region I’ve walked in many years before.

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It was absolutely stunning and a joy to walk among the fragrant pine woods surrounded by towers of rock.

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As we climbed higher, Roque Nublo itself came into view and became the focus of my gaze and the camera for the next few hours.

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Although there were many rocks towers vying for my attention.

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We had a short stop to take on cookie-based nutritional supplements with a view over to Tenerife and El Teide.

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Before approaching close to base of Roque Nublo.

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A path headed away towards what looked like an interesting viewpoint so we took off for a look.

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Interesting was the word indeed. The path finished abruptly on the edge of a sensational view over the NW of the island.

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A prime spot for lunch.

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What the photos don’t show is how sensationally exposed the edge was. I couldn’t get near the edge as it was sloping slightly downwards and making my legs turn to jelly just thinking about the drop. I reckoned there was clear drop of at least a thousand feet just a few feet from where I ate my sandwiches. An amazing perch.

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We set off back towards our main route and tour of the area.

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We were pleased to watch some nimble climbers descending after a climb to the top of the rock.

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Another needle-like spire of volcanic rock. I think it’s called El Fraile.

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And more amazing views across the deep gorges that slice through this most mountainous and dramatic of islands.

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As we approached our goal we encountered the crowds. Its a very well know landmark and a relatively short distance from the road so we were far from having the rock to ourselves (although we saw hardly anyone for the vast majority of the hike).

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The climbers we saw earlier were on their final abseil as we approached.

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Its a fantastic spot, close to the highest point of the island and views are just magnificent.

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Another snack stop was in order to sustain us through the second half of the walk.

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To reach the car we descended to the small and pretty village of Ayacata through a gorgeous valley full of blossoming trees. After last years trip to Lanzarote we were craving some flora and Gran Canaria delivers wonderfully in this regard.

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The pine trees add a splash of green to the high mountains.

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You can see the pale pinks of all the blossoming trees in the shot below

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And some close up shots of the blossom as we hiked down for a cheeky cold drink by the roadside in the village.

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All that was left was the hike back across to the car. The map showed a path but it wasn’t mentioned in either guide book.

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It proved a little difficult to find the start and it was a bit vague in places but we managed to follow it, accompanied by more sensational views as the sun started to dip and bathe the rock in golden light.

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The contrast in colours here was remarkable.

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A short steep climb back up to the car finished off a wonderful days hiking.

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Gran Canaria was very quickly becoming my favourite of the Canary Islands. What it lacks in terms of an iconic big summit like El Teide, it more than makes up for with its rock towers and deep gorges. There are paths through almost all of the island and at this time of year its a paradise for walkers of all abilities. A superb day.

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Posted February 12, 2019 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain, Walking

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