Gran Canaria November 2023

It's hard to believe that it's 3.5 years since we were brought out of Ecuador because of Covid and we've not been on a flight since but ...

We arrived in Gran Canaria mid afternoon after an uneventful journey and I went to visit the dunes in the lovely afternoon sunshine.

dunes

dunes

hotel

bed

bonsai

We really liked this pretty corner of the hotel

We stayed at the Riu Palace Oasis - a very nice hotel with a spacious room and balcony. We had booked garden room but didn't realise our part of the garden then led to a car park so we, effectively, looked out onto cars but it didn't bother us too much and gave us plenty of people watching.

dove

A dove joined us for our welcome drinks - our first wildlife of the holiday!

restaurant

Dinner was at Grand Italia who managed to fit us in even though we didn't have a reservation. The main courses were delicious but I don't think I've ever seen psta quite as green.

We weren't sure why the pavlova had to be multi-coloured or have bubblegum coloured ice cream but it was OK, if a bit too sweet.

food
food
food
sunset

It was dark by the time we'd finished dinner but we enjoyed watching the sun go down beforehand.

With the taxi picking us up at 5.30 am. we had a long day and weren't late to bed.

Sunrise on our first morning was spectacular and I was up early enough to see it!

sunrise

sunrise

sunrise

sunrise

sunrise
There were plenty of other things to see on my early morning walk and not too many other people around - just a few joggers and one or two walkers.
statue
lighthouse
statue

aboriginal house

The ruins on the left are from an original aboriginal dwelling.

The sand castle on the right is not likely to last as long! There were quite a few sandcastle of various degrees on complexity - this one was simply cute!

sandcastle

By the time I'd finished my walk and been to the gym, I was ready for breakfast. The choice was excellent and the food really good so it was easy to make it brunch.

breakfast

The afternoon was all about sun, sea and sand. I prowled up and down the beach while Jonathon took photos of the sea, surfers and anything else that took his fancy.

I also had my first paddle in the Atlantic fot this holiday.

JC
surfers
paddling

hotel wildlife

Hotel "wildlife" on the way back from the beach.

egret

We were booked to go to Time, a restaurant close to the hotel, for dinner but they cancelled our booking so we went to Maximillian's instead (via the sunset, of course).

We watched the Little Egrets flying about while we were waiting for the sun to set.

sunset
sunset
restaurant

bubble

On the way to the restaurant, we came across a man blowing bubbles using some kind of rope - they looked very pretty.

By the time we came out it was very dark but the lighthouse looked lovely.

lighthouse

Monday arrived and Jonathon had told me he'd like to get up for the sunrise so I woke him up when I got up and we went down the the dunes together. Again, it was a beautiful sunrise so well worth him getting up early!
lagoon
sunrise
sunrise
fence
beach

garden

Once the sun had come up I left him and his camera to it and went for a stroll round the hotel ground and gardens. It's very tropical planting (as you'd expect) with lots of palm trees but there are splashes of colour here and there from the flowers and shrubs.

I had a quick session in the gym after that.

garden
flower
flower
flower
flower
flower
flower
I was really pleased to see this little Kentish Plover in the lagoon near the dunes and then to see a Hoopoe in the gardens.
bird
hoopoe
pool

We met Petra, Tui rep who was very helpfu,l and we booked a couple of tours for tomorrow and Wednesday then spent a while in and around the pool on the right (there are three pools and they are not as quiet as this between breakfast and dinner!).

Jonathon went down to the beach to capture the sunset while I caught up on some admin type stuff and practised my singing.

We had dinner in the hotel buffet - loads of choice and particularly yummy puddings.

pool

sunset

sunset
sunset

Tuesday and a quick gym session while Jonathon went to shoot the sunrise then we went on a catamaran trip.

We were collected by mini bus and taken to Puerto Rico, a harbour just up the road from Maspalomas where are staying. The trip along the South West coast of Gran Canaria was about 4.5 hours long, including two stops - the first for water activities (we watched while others got wet!) and lunch (yummy).

beach

sunrise
puerto rica

flag

cat

parasailing

The island is really rocky, looking like a desert in some places and there was very little bird life for Jonathon to photograph.

I spotted a couple of flying fish at different times but they were far too fast for me to capture!

We chose a good day to be on the water because the afternoon was quite hazy so less chance of getting sunburnt.

bird

rocks

harbour

mist
SS
We were both very happy to be out on a boat again! It's been a very long time coming.

JC

Back on terra firma and we went to Cafe de Paris for coffee and cake (or juice and apple pie in my case). I'd spotted the cafe on one of my roaming sessions and liked the look of it. It was really good so I'm pleased we tried it out.

I got some more bits and pieces from the supermarket while Jonathon went to photograph the sunset. The bubble man was in action again so they made for different sunset photos.

cafe

sunset

I was hoping for a few minutes peace and quiet but we have new neighbours on both sides and they were quite noisy. They soon disappeared off for dinner so it wasn't too bad.

Wednesday's activity was a tour of the island after a short gym session (me), a spectacular sunrise photo shoot (JC) and an early breakfast.

sunrise

Antonio picked us (and four others) up at 9 a.m. in his very comfy minibus and off we went. The other guests in our bus were from Ireland (2), Northern Ireland (1) and Brooklyn (1) so all English speakers (in a fashion).

We met up with four other buses and Steve, the leader, did the commentary over walkie talkie radio which was an interesting way of learning what we were seeing.

houses

windmills

First stop, after heading north and skirting Las Palmas, the capital, was Teror, a lovely village with old streets, the Christoher Columbus's house and a pretty Basilica church.

museum
gargoyle
basillica
church
church
church

door

JC in Teror

street

tree
street

icecream

Second stop was Tejeda, another pretty village. Petra had recommended that we get ice cream here at Dulceria Nublo. I'm so pleased she did but I wished my Spanish was better so I could understand all the flavours! We had vanilla and caramel - really yummy.

view

tejeda

church
view
valley
valleys
peak

From there, we followed the very windy roads up and down from valley to peak, calling in at a few view points along the way. I was pleased we hadn't hired a car to do the journey ourselves - the roads had minimal room for error.

Lunch was at Restaurante Grill Fataga. The cheese and potatoes were very tasty, as was my fish, but Jonathon said the beef wasn't up to much. I didn't eat much of my pudding at all (yuck!).

view
lunch
aloe vera

From there, we were taken to an aloe vera plantation where we were given a very interesting (short) talk and allowed to try some of the products before heading to the final spectacular view point - Mirador Astronomico de la Degollada de las Yeguas..

The island scenery seems to be in three main parts - the south (touristy, sandy, North African in nature); the north (more tropical) and the centre (where the pine trees grow above 700 metres. It's very rocky in that part with lush green in the valleys).

JC at panorama
We got back late afternoon so, after a couple of cups of coffee to revive himself, Jonathon and his camera went out for their evening sunset photo. I followed later so we could get a cake and a drink for our tea at Pinguino Soul.
bubbles
sunset
Thursday came along and we had no formal trips booked but thought we'd take ourselves on a "normal" service bus to see what Peurto Mogan was like as we'd heard so much about it. Of course, we had to photograph the sunrise / early morning light (and, in my case go to the gym) before we set off.

sunrise

sunrise

sunrise

The bus journey was very easy (the bus station is less than 10 minutes walk from our hotel room).

Our first stop, as always, was for a drink and to get our bearings. Cafe Belin certainly wanted to make everyone feel welcome.

welcome sign

harbour

From there, it was a very short walk to the old town with a lovely view of the harbour as well.

street

JC
flower

street

The old town of Mogan was stunning. There were bright coloured flowers everywhere - so pretty.

flower

flower

street

flower

street
We chose to go there today rather than wait until tomorrow becasue Friday is market day so it would have been much busier. As it was, there were a few other tourists but they didn't get in our way too much!
flower
street
flwoer
flwoer
street

We were really lucky with the bus home - less than two minutes to wait before it set off. Thankfully, the buses here are air-conditioned so it was a very comfortable ride back to Maspalomas.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the cool on our balcony, doing puzzles, playing with photos etc.

sunset

Jonathon went off to do his sunset photography while I nipped to the shop for essential provisions (juice and biscuits).

Dinner was at Time - the best dinner we've had this holiday. A proper, family run Italian restaurant where the waiters were good fun and really knew their stuff. I'm not really sure why they brought two spoons with Jonathon's panna cotta!

JC

whimbrel

Whimbrel

beach

Friday and our last full day so Jonathon was up and out with his camera. He did a bit of bird photography because the sunrise wasn't as spectacular as it had been on some of the other mornings.

egret

Little Egret

While he was busy doing that, I had a wander around our floor of the hotel to have a look at some of the artwork. I then had a stroll round the gardens before finally getting to the gym.
art
art
art

As it was our last day we had a very easy day. J did things with his photos and IT stuff while I found myself a sunbed in the shade by a pool and finished the book I was reading.

It was very relaxing sitting amongst the palm trees under a bright blue sky!

Once the heat had gone out of the sun, I went for a last paddle. I felt distinctly over-dressed in my shorts and t-shirt when I inadvertently wandered into a nudist part of the beach so I made a hasty exit.

feet
trees
sea
waves
shadow
Jonathon did one last evening photoshoot, focusing on birds this time then it was dinner in the hotel buffet and the final bits of packing ready for home tomorrow.

heron

Grey Heron

greenshank

Common Greenshank

whimbrel

Whimbrel

dunes

Goodbye Gran Canaria, you've been lovely.

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