Tag Archives: Gran Canaria

Clickety-Click 2020 – 10 to 6

I confess that I like the WordPress Statistics.

At this time of the year I used to look back at my figures for the previous twelve months and write a post about my Top Ten most visited. I stopped last year because the idea had run out of steam, very few people were visiting back posts any longer and it was becoming repetitive as the same ten old posts kept cropping up.

This year I looked instead at number of clicks and thought that I might share with you the pictures in my posts that have received the most views over the past twelve months…

No. 10 – Gran Canaria Postcard Map – 39 clicks

This is a curious thing that I have discovered. People like postcard maps. This is the first of a number of postcard maps that I have scanned and added to my posts. This was from April 2012 – My Personal A to Z of Spain, I is for Islands. I have always collected postcards, I am afraid that I cannot explain why, they are useful for posts but I don’t understand why they get so many clicks.

No. 9 – The Corpse of Lenin – 39 clicks

An interesting one this and easier to understand which I included in my post about visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow in June 2012 imaginatively titled Russia, Lenin’s Mausoleum. I didn’t take this picture of course because cameras and mobile phones are strictly forbidden inside because the authorities don’t want snapshots of Comrade Lenin turning up on the internet on Pinterest or Trip Advisor reviews.

No. 8 – The Church at Mellihea in Malta – 43 clicks

Another postcard scan this time from a post in May 2015 titled Malta, Happiness and a Walk to Mellieha. No idea why because I have much better postcard pictures than this on my blog.

No. 7 – Casa Batlló in Barcelona – 46 clicks

At least it is one of my own pictures although clearly not one of my best. I posted this in May 2010 – Casa Batlló, Barcelona.

What I find interesting is that if you Google Casa Batlló looking for a picture to use there are literally hundreds of really good pictures, surprising then that this rather ordinary one has been lifted and used in 25 other web pages and sites.

No. 6 – Ring of Kerry, Ireland Map – 47 clicks

Although it could be mistaken for a postcard this is one of my own pictures but it is another map. These tourist maps were at various stages on the drive around the Ring of Kerry so I snapped this and included it in my post Ring of Kerry and I Temporarily Overcome My Fear of Dogs.

Tomorrow I reveal the Top five!

Travels in Spain, Canary Islands in Postcards

Fuertuventura Postcard 02Lanzarote island map postcardGran Canaria Island Map postcardTenerife Island Map Postcard

Car Hire Misadventures – Gran Canaria, 1988

Gran Canaria Car Hire

In the 1980s I used to like to go away for a few days with my brother.  In 1988 we had a short holiday in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.  Naturally we hired a car.

It was the cheapest that we could find and was a clapped out old white Renault.  We did a bit of driving but I remember most going to visit the sand dunes at Maspalomas.  After we had parked the car and walked across the sand to the sea it was time for a beer so we found a beach side bar and wandered in.  We sat at the bar and ordered our drinks.

The Spanish barman gave us a nervous look and asked “Eenglish?”, we replied in the affirmative and he pointed to a sign behind the bar which said “German’s only” – we were outraged, what a bloody cheek, we were in Spain for goodness sake.  Anyway, he put his finger to his lips as though to say don’t speak and he served our beers.  We drank them in silence, rather quickly I seem to remember, and then left and took the drive back to the hotel.

Car Hire Misadventures – Gran Canaria, 1986

Car Hire Gran Canaria 1986

Mid way through the holiday we did hire a car, a little blue Seat with an open top and on the first day set off into the mountains in the interior.

This turned out to be rather hard work as the road swept in extravagant loops around deep valleys and gorges and followed a precarious route to the top.  Actually, we didn’t get to the top because after an hour or so we got a puncture and I had to change the wheel at the roadside.  We were high up and close to the edge and part way through the process the car started to slide off the jack and I wondered how I was going to explain to the hire company just how the car had fallen off the road and disappeared into a ravine.

Read the full story…

Entrance Tickets – Sioux City, Gran Canaria

Sioux City Gran Canaria

One day towards the end of the holiday I walked to Sioux City (not Sioux City in Iowa USA but Sioux City at Canon del Aquila in Gran Canaria) which is an old movie set from the days of the spaghetti westerns which had been transformed into a western theme park with cowboys and Indians, US cavalry and show girls in a succession of staged events and shows that were performed throughout the afternoon.

It was entertaining enough but seemed curiously out of place to me.

Read the full story…

Spanish Islands, Postcards from Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Postcard 1

Gran Canaria Postcard 2

Gran Canaria Postcard Palmitos Park

Spanish Islands, Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Postcard Geography

Having visited Lanzarote in December 1983 I declared the Canary Islands my number one place to go on holiday and so the next time I was booking a summer vacation I choose the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria.

It was May 1986 and this was a special holiday because since the last time that I had been away I had become a father and so this was to be the first of a sequence of holidays to Spanish islands in search of a beach, a swimming pool and a kids’ club.

Unlike Lanzarote, Gran Canaria had been quicker off the mark in terms of developing and encouraging tourism and hadn’t had the benefit of a famous architect like Cesar Manrique to protect it against unsuitable development so here were all of the things that I expected of a Spanish seaside holiday and we were staying in the tourist developed south of the island at the resort of San Agustin, part of the Maspolomas conurbation.

Gran Canaria was formed by a volcano that grew out of the sea and continued to spew enough lava onto the surface to break through the ocean and form an island.  It is circular in shape with a mountain peak in the middle which separates the island into two distinct sectors, north and south.  Viewed from above it looks rather like a beached starfish. In the north is the capital Las Palmas and there is a wet tropical climate but in the south it is dry, arid and desert like.  I didn’t get to visit Las Palmas and I regret that now.

Gran Canaria Canary Islands Spain

To be honest, it seems to me that there isn’t an awful lot to do in Gran Canaria (except go to Las Palmas) except lie around the pool, occasionally swim in the sea or find a bar or a restaurant for evening meal but perhaps I am being a little unfair.

Mid way through the holiday we did hire a car, a little blue Seat with an open top and on the first day set off into the mountains in the interior.  This turned out to be rather hard work as the road swept in extravagant loops around deep valleys and gorges and followed a precarious route to the top.  Actually, we didn’t get to the top because after an hour or so we got a puncture and I had to change the wheel at the roadside.  We were high up and close to the edge and part way through the process the car started to slide off the jack and I wondered how I was going to explain to the hire company just how the car had fallen off the road and disappeared into a ravine.

That rather put me off driving in Gran Canaria and we sensibly abandoned the journey and returned carefully to the Montenego Apartments with its attractive little garden and swimming pool and we didn’t attempt anything so adventurous again that week and there were places to visit close by so we concentrated on these instead.

Maspolomas Gran Canaria

Next to San Agustin was the noisy 18-30 holidays resort of Playa del Ingles which was a bit too boisterous for us but just beyond that were the sand dunes of Maspolomas which, although not all that large provide a spacious and, despite the crowds an almost solitary contrast to the over developed promenades of the town and we used to like walking there and watching the camel trains taking people from the town to the lighthouse and return but mindful of how uncomfortable the camel ride had been in Lanzarote we declined to repeat the experience here.

Just around the coast a little, heading west, there was a new purpose built resort of Puerto Rico where layers of concrete rising up the sides of the cliffs like artificial geological strata have permanently disfigured what I imagine was once an attractive landscape.

Back towards the mountains of the centre there was a wildlife and bird park called Palmitos Park and we drove there one day to see the exotic gardens, the birds and the afternoon performing dolphin show but I don’t remember it being especially memorable.  A few years ago the park was destroyed by forest fires on the island and a lot of the birds had to be released but I think it has reopened against since.

After the car had been returned without them noticing the punctured tyre in the boot we were once more confined to the resort area but there was one last attraction to go and visit which was quite close to our apartments so one day towards the end of the holiday I walked to Sioux City (not Sioux City in Iowa USA but Sioux City at Canon del Aquila in Gran Canaria) which is an old movie set from the days of the spaghetti westerns which had been transformed into a western theme park with cowboys and Indians, US cavalry and show girls in a succession of staged events and shows that were performed throughout the afternoon.  It was entertaining enough but seemed curiously out of place it seemed to me.

And so the holiday came to an end and my assessment at the time was quite firmly that  I didn’t like it as much as Lanzarote but having said that it didn’t stop me going back a couple of years later for a week away with my brother.

I am fairly certain that I wouldn’t go back again now.

Sioux City Gran Canaria, Spain

More Postcard Maps – Spanish Islands

Lanzarote island map postcard

Fuertuventura Postcard 02

Gran Canaria Island Map postcard

Tenerife Island Map Postcard

Ibiza Island Mapp Postcard

Minorca Island Map Postcard

My Personal A to Z of Spain, I is for Islands

With an area of just over five hundred thousand square kilometers Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France and with an average altitude of six hundred and fifty metres it is second highest country in Europe after Switzerland. It also has two groups of interesting islands, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Africa and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean.

I have visited several of the islands but each occasion was prior to 2009 when my current ‘Search for real Spain’ began.  As a consequence these were generally beach or family holidays and I doubtless failed to investigate the islands adequately in groundhog days squandered in meaningless sunbathing and superficial trips around the coastal villages and towns.

In December 1983 I visited the island of Lanzarote and except for a jeep drive into the interior this trip was mostly about hanging around in bars and drinking lots of beer so I missed a visit to the capital Arrecife except for a drive through the middle without stopping on the way to somewhere else.

Two years later I went to Gran Canaria.  The first time was in May when I had a one year old daughter to entertain so a fortnights holiday was spent mostly around the swimming pool and walking backwards and forwards to the beach although we did hire a car for a couple of days and did some driving around the interior.  I got a puncture one day high up in the mountains and that put me off driving much more on the holiday.  Later that year in November I went back with my brother and stayed in the resort of Playa del Ingles and this again wasn’t a particularly educational visit I have to confess!

Tenerife Island Map Postcard

In 1989 I went to Tenerife but by now I had two small children to keep amused so again there was a lot of swimming pool and sun-bed time and not a lot of opportunity for serious sightseeing although one day I got to go out by myself and took a coach trip to Mount Teide, went to the top and was presented with a certificate for having risked the rather shaky cable car ride to the summit.

My last visit to the Canary Islands was in 2002 to the large island of Fuerteventura where, to be honest, there isn’t a great deal to see anyway but it was here that I discovered what, in my opinion, is probably the best beach in the World at the remote hippy commune of Cofete.

Fuertuventura Postcard 02

I have also visited Minorca and Ibiza in the Balearic Islands but so far not Majorca.  I holidayed in Minorca in 1987 and 1989.  On the first occasion we visited the historic town of Ciudadela on the west coast and the lively port of Mahon on the east.  Ciudadela was the previous capital and Mahon enjoys that status today and, by certain measures, claims to be the second deepest natural harbour in the World after Sydney in Australia.  With the children getting older but not having developed an interest in anything historical, geographical or philosophical the return visit two years later was mostly about beaches and ice cream!

Squeezed in between these two holidays to Minorca was a week in Ibiza in 1988 and this was a similar Mediterranean holiday experience except on this occasion we had no money because we were going through a bit of a financial crisis for the whole two weeks because I forgot to take my credit card with me and getting money abroad was a lot more difficult twenty five years ago.

So whilst I can lay claim to having visited the islands I cannot claim that I have done them justice and so now, in my search for real Spain I just may have to put them on the itinerary for a return visit and perhaps it would be a good idea to go to the one that so far I haven’t been to – Majorca.