Archive for the ‘Gran Canaria’ Category

The Great Escape – Sunset   11 comments

A fitting last entry for our Gran Canaria trip.

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The theme was set on our first day, Christmas Eve. A long flight, drive to the town, unpacking, shopping etc meant we headed down to the seawater pools at the end of the day for a swim and watch the sunset.

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It was magnificent. The experience enhanced by the new beach bar so we could enjoy a beer while watching the show.

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We enjoyed the experience so much we went down pretty much every night of the holiday. We had no view to speak of from the apartment but this spot only 5 minutes away made that irrelevant.

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Every evening gave something new, either from the effects of the clouds, the tide, the waves (or maybe the beer!)

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The ferry always made an appearance around that time and provided a great pose across the setting sun.

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All these first few shots are from that first evening. We were hooked on a feeling.

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When the bar wasn’t open we sometimes just sat on the benches on the seafront with our own beers and snacks.

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If you were lucky you could snag a spot sitting on the wooden platforms (the rocks are a little sharp and uncomfortable)

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Lemon Wheat Beer became a firm sunset drink favourite for me and TJS.

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The evening sun always lit up the Tamadaba ridge to dramatic effect.

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The light over the pools was always a tempting image capture.

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The golden light betrays the fact that these rocks are essentially black in full sunshine.

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Body Boarders were regularly out in the scary waves (rocks under the water, not sand!)

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A time when the whole family would sit together and enjoy the ambiance.

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A happy couple enjoying some quality time.

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El Teide on Tenerife always looks magnificent at this time of day. Nice to know I’ve been to the summit when catching a view.

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The dragons back of the coast further along also held my gaze every time.

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Most nights we enjoyed crystal clear skies which is great for warmth and light but the lack of clouds sometimes gave something of a one dimensional show. On a couple of nights we had some clouds to really turn up the colour setting.

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The saltwater pools a perfect mirror for these reds and pinks.

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And the waves an ever present feeling of motion and sound.

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End of a trip, end of, I think, the best of our winter sun holidays. Even the flight home gave us some spectacular views over Grand Canaria, Las Palmas and El Teide. Hoping to repeat the trick in 12 months time.

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The Great Escape – Las Palmas   6 comments

We felt like something a little different from sunbathing and walking so took a day out in Las Palmas, capital city of Gran Canaria and, surprisingly (to me anyway), Spain’s 9th largest city. We took the bus which took ages but wasn’t without interest.

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A little research told us that Las Palmas has a pretty fine old town and a nice beachfront. Only problem being they are 3-4 miles apart! We managed to negotiate the local bus timetables and found ourselves in the old town.

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As you can see it really is rather splendid if quite small and compact. The main area is called Vegueta and its wonderful collection of alleyways and interesting buildings, centred around the Plaza de Santa Ana and the cathedral.

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These statues are a tribute to the feral dogs after which the islands are named (not after the birds as I’m sure you all know)

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I loved this square and under a deep blue sky it was beguiling. So pleased that we made the effort to come down and take a look.

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We spent a very happy hour wandering the streets and finding many interesting buildings. A fine lunch followed in a local Tapas bar, one of the best meals of the trip (black pudding in filo pastry with a mango sauce – who’d have thought!)

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Another bus ride back up to the beachfront, Playa de las Canteras which was splendid. Enough life to be interesting without being too tacky.

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We took a walk to the north to look out over the more remote beach of Playa del Confital.

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And then a long walk back along the seafront, taking in the views and taking on refreshments in the form of ice cream, churros and of course the obligatory sunset beer.

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The bus service was regular (if a little chaotic) but it allowed us to stay right till the end of the day to watch most of the sunset.

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Well worth the effort to go and see it and something I’d want to do again when we hopefully return.

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The Great Escape – A Walk Around Tamadaba   9 comments

Our second mountain walk and we headed back to Tamadaba. We fancied a walk out to the end (or as close to the end as we could) of Risco Faneque, the right hand peak in the photo below.

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And a view from our visit up here earlier in the holiday.

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It was a bit hazier this time around, possibly a result of sand and dust that blows in from the Sahara from time to time. It was still warm and sunny though which is the main thing.

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It was further and more down hill from the car park than I thought and it took a while to reach the point of no continue. The walk through the pine forests was still nice with fire damage not as obvious here although in places it had made an impact.

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Spectacular views down the coast as always from up here.

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We reached another dizzying overlook before retracing our steps. I did have a look at carrying on but the scrambling was a little loose and obvious I was not going to make it to the very end, protected as it is by a significant rock cliff.

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We returned to the wooden platform overlook on the campsite for lunch. A really superb spot.

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To make a circuit of things we walked around the cliffs, through the picnic area and up onto Pico La Bandera.

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The southern slopes had been badly affected by the fire and this view would not normally be as expansive through the lush pine forests.

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A short break on the summit while I wandered over to look at the fire tower (hoping to climb it but it was, unsurprisingly, locked up)

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A short walk back to the car and back home to watch another sunset, a glorious one this time with the added cloud cover. Have to wait for another post for those images.

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Posted January 30, 2020 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain, Walking

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The Great Escape – Local Walk   6 comments

One of the things I always look for is somewhere for a short walk from our base without the need for a car. When time and inclination allow, just throw a pair of trainers on and head out on a whim. The cliffs and rock towers that overlook PDLN seemed to have paths (I’d seen people walking up there so we headed out to explore). A couple of shots over the port and the old town of Agaete on our way out of town.

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This rock pinnacle overlooks and dominates the port and we found a loose and sketchy path that went around it (we found a much better way to its base on our second attempt). It looked pretty impregnable from all angles although the younger me would have given it a go. I did see someone on the top at one point so clearly it is is climbable.

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A view over the old town of Agaete.

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A selection of sketchy paths gives access to either end of the cliffs. Views over to the Tamadaba National Park.

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And back over the port.

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As with all things Gran Canaria, the edges were precipitous. The edges were pretty loose as well which added to a sense of excitement. You could pretty much jump off the cliffs and hit the water!

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Always enjoyed watching the Tenerife ferries come and go.

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Paths were vague in places requiring a little prickly bushwhacking.

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Worth it for views as good as these though.

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Happy Hikers!

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An idea of the scary verticality of the cliffs.

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We did the walk a couple of times – these photos are a selection from both. We thought of coming up here to watch the sunset but it lacked the crashing waves and, more importantly, somewhere to buy a beer to enjoy it with!

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Posted January 26, 2020 by surfnslide in Gran Canaria, Spain, Walking

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The Great Escape – Cruz de Tejeda to Artenara   8 comments

After several days of generally taking it easy it was time to hit the mountains. We’d chosen a prefect day, cloudless skies and a crisp clarity to the air. We selected a long out and back walk between two settlements high up in the mountains, Cruz de Tejeda and Artenara. The route appeared to stick to the edge overlooking one the island’s deep gorges so expansive views were hoped for and delivered.

A brief stop for a couple of photos at the Caldera de Galdar with views out to Las Palmas.

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Parking up at Cruz de Tejeda had the fleeces out. It’s always a little chilly at 1600m this early in the day in winter! Immediately we had a steep climb out of the village and up to the edges where the views across the Barranco to Roque Nublo were stupendous.

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The path network in Gran Canaria is extensive and in most cases easy to follow and well signed.

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As with all the walks we’ve done, precipitous edges and sheer drops were the order of the day. Nothing dangerous but you do need something of head of for heights.

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One of the rare views through the trees, to the North coast and Las Palmas.

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The summit of Los Moriscos. Our path traverses a couple of hundred feet below the summit. Spectacular walking.

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Happy hikers enjoying the clear mountain air. A world away from grey skies, rain and floods back home.

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We eventually came out of the cool forest and back onto the edge again. Paths like the one below just ache to be walked and this one was simply wonderful. Tenerife and El Teide a very clear sentinel on the horizon today.

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Our target, the village of Artenara came into view. It’s the highest village worthy of the name on the island.

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A steep descent down a long series of zig zags led us down to the village. Our cunning plan was to have nice lunch at one of the restaurants. We’d driven through a couple of days back and it looked a splendid sleepy little village. However best laid plans can be foiled. It was New Years Eve and there seemed to be a disco in full flow in the square, complete with a crap DJ and Euro-pop music. It was astonishingly loud, so loud I had to put my fingers in my ears to get past. There were about 5 people dancing and the rest of the square, including the restaurants was deserted. No matter we’d chosen a place a short walk out of town. It was shut!

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Not fancying a lunch in an outdoor nightclub we revised the plan. The village had a well stocked shop so we purchased some supplies and headed out of town as quickly as we could trying to leave the din behind. It’s a lovely spot for a lunch, just avoid it on New Years Eve!

In the end we found a spectacular spot for an impromtu picnic and in many ways better than a bar lunch. It would have been handy to have taken stuff from home and avoided a couple of hundred metres of descent/ascent.

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In a spot like this it was easy to get back into the peaceful mountain vibe again.

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I’ve always been against out and back walks in the past but I’m slowly coming round the idea that the return journey can offer just as much variety. The views are similar but the change of direction gives a different perspective as does the changing position of the sun.

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Walking this path again, deep ravine on one side, cool forest on the other was a delight.

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Even though we were trying to take it easy, it was a long stretch and I had a hankering for a sunset beer. I pushed on back to the car to collect the others at one of the viewpoints and save a bit of time.

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Looking towards La Aldea.

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And looking back on our route before dropping to the car.

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A rare decent selfie!

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Magnificent day in the mountains of this sensational island.

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The Great Escape – Sardina and La Aldea   12 comments

A couple of days out to small coastal villages in the NW of the island. On Boxing Day, after a day of easy paced R&R in PDLN we felt the need to explore a little. A short drive up the coast was the village of Sardina so we went to take a look.

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A small village tucked right under the cliffs with a tiny beach, small harbour and a few restaurants. Clearly not on any tourist radar it was pretty much deserted save for a few fishermen and some SCUBA divers – its clearly a top place for such things.

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We had a very pleasant and quiet wander about, watching the divers, fish, crabs etc, waiting for the restaurants to open for lunch.

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The clouds that had arrived on Xmas day were beginning to disperse and there were some weird and wonderful effects in the sky. Other than one hazy day later in the week this was pretty much the last we saw of significant clouds.

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The building with the red roof was our choice for lunch. Understated and friendly we had a fine meal. Sardina is definitely worth a short visit.

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Along the coast in the opposite direction (after a hair raising drive along the coast road) is the small village of Playa Aldea. Not much to look at as you approach but after parking up, you find a charming small fishing village and harbour, backed by spectacular mountains.

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The beach, like all on the NW coast is pebbly but the water is stunningly clear.

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Like Sardina, its well off the tourist track, very peaceful and unspoilt.

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As we wandered along the harbour a local fishing trawler was landing its catch. A huge collection of fish, Moray Eels, Octopus and Squid. It was fascinating (if a little disturbing) watching them all bounce around as they were boxed off and shipped out to markets and restaurants. I saw it as a cue for lunch! There is a cracking little bar in the square by the beach and we had a relaxed and rather excellent seafood lunch in the warm sunshine.

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The afternoon was taken up with a swim/snorkel, sunbathing and for me and TJS a short walk on to the headland.

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The rest of the group taking it easy.

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These are dragon’s back of mountains that hold the attention back in PDLN. Wild and untamed with little in the way of paths or access.

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A view across town, towards the central mountains.

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And a last lingering look over the village, beach and towards to seriously wild and remote SW coast.

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The Great Escape – Pico and Caldera de Bandama   12 comments

As last year, TBFs sister was joining us for second week of the trip, requiring a drive out to the airport to collect her. An ideal opportunity for an early start and a morning walk. On my own as no-one else was keen to get up at 7am. The Bandama crater is a very popular spot and had a shortish walk in the guide-book and as it was pretty much on the way to the airport fitted in perfectly.

I was one of the first people there (the tour buses don’t arrive till later) so had the place pretty much to myself other than a few runners and cyclists.

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Being out so early provided glorious morning views and clear light and made for a superb stroll.

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Pico Bandama rises steeply behind the crater and as there is no path to the top the only option is to follow the road that spirals around the cone to the top. Slightly frustrating to walk but it was deserted and gave a chance to continually admire the 360 views.

Looking out to Las Palmas

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Out over the coast to Fuerteventura.

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And inland to the mountainous interior.

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Panorama shot looking inland

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And a view out to the stunningly situated golf course.

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It was chilly on the top so I didn’t linger and pressed on back down the road.

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And off onto the path the follows the loose rim of the crater all the way around.

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The sun continued to rise and shed light into the dark recesses of the crater. It was much deeper and more dramatic than I expected with some more exposed cliffs and edges within the crater.

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The rim was an easy walk though, albeit very loose and hard work on the ascents.

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Panorama across the caldera to Pico Bandama.

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Breakfast selfie.

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Looking back along the rim to the highest point.

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Steep climb back to the road and car.

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Looking out across the crater. I had hoped to hike down into the bottom for a look around but I ran out of time as I watched S’s plane come in on my Flight Tracking app – sad but fun.

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The first tee on the golf course – as fine a place as I’ve seen for a round with views like that.

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A fine walk and an airport pick up and back home in time for lunch and a lazy afternoon on the beach.

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