Why GC? A number of reasons . . . the family, Alex in particular, has been pleading for a beach vacation especially since his favorite vacation was near Cancun at an all-inclusive Barcelo resort. I'm afraid Cornwall doesn't count:
|summer in Cornwall (August 2012)|
Another reason is that every two years I get to stab myself in the eye and remind myself of the worst decision I ever made which was to buy a timeshare. Now, I didn't spend tens of thousands for a timeshare but did what I thought was savvy and picked one up on re-sale for a small sum. However, since then I've realized that it's not that easy to exchange for what you want, when you want it. That's combined with the fact that we aren't really resort types. Oh well -- live and learn (and learn, and learn, and learn).
At any rate, we looked at our options and did find a nice place in Gran Canaria so that part wasn't so bad.
The Canaries were conquered by Spain in the late 1400s and would become a key final stopover before heading to the Americas by Christopher Columbus and his peers.
Anfi Beach Club resort ("A" balloon above) at "7 o'clock" on the island. The resort is between the small towns of Puerto Rico and Arguineguin. Las Palmas is the main city (D) and the airport is off the east coast (F).
We "hired" (rented) a car during our week long stay so we took separate trips to Roque Nublo (A), Maspalomas (B), Guayadeque (C) and Las Palmas (D). Our final night (E) was closer to the airport.
Flights were expensive by European standards and would have been more so had we flown Sat/Sat. I saved a nice chunk of change by flying back very early on Sunday with Ryanair (our first experience).
As a quick aside, the logistics for our travel were a little unique but not terribly so for the UK. We flew out on Monarch from Birmingham and flew back to East Midlands on Ryanair. Since we were departing and arriving at different places, we used public transportation to get to the airports. Something like this:
1) Taxi to Derby Train Station (£6)
2) Train to BHX (£28 total)
3) Fly to Las Palmas
4) Rental Car in Gran Canaria
5) Fly to East Midlands
6) Skylink Bus to Derby Train Station (£14 total)
7) Taxi to home (£6)
Whatever it takes!
Anfi Island within the resort
and another of the grounds & pool
And our view? Pretty much the worst in the place. Oh well. At least it was quiet.
Look who else was there -- didn't know P-Money had fans in Spain
Needless to say, the photos at the pool were very limited. I only took the camera the first day. As a European resort, there was occasionally more to see than at your typical American stay. Being a family resort, most of what you saw was better left covered. We had a running joke of finding GB's (Granny Boobies). In many ways, the casual, comfortable confidence of the Europeans and their bodies was refreshing -- but there should be an age limit.
A rare "scenic" shot. Not that much to look at on a volcano-formed desert.
rock formation, but not THE ONE
here's the big one
and a view to the other side
one last one up top -- we'd lost the other two by this point (they'd found a seat in some shade)
Family shot along the course.
On Day 5, we went to a water park, Aqualand, in Maspalomas. It was pricey but fun (no photos). We all got in on the act with the various slides, wave pool and lazy river. Hate to sound like a snob, but King's Island is better. Still a good time.
On Day 6, we ventured to the Guayadeque Valley to have a look at some pre-Hispanic cave dwellings and an interesting museum.
Next stop was a small church further up the hill.
a view down the ravine
outside the church
We had light tapas for lunch at a restaurant in the cave next to the church. Pretty neat. We feel in love with
Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic oil) and tried it in numerous restaurants. I'll have to try it at home.
It was interesting to learn that the earliest caves were picked for their defensibility. After the Spanish conquest and more trade opened up, they moved to more accessible caves to make it easier to get around.
On our last full day, we ventured to Old Town Las Palmas.
This is a former governor's house that is now a Christopher Columbus Museum. Another worthy stop.
Another stop was to the large, Santa Ana Cathedral which was started shortly after the Spanish took over.
unique sword to the heart
look at my boo-boo
Norton Priory outside of Liverpool.
final stop was to the Musero Canrio -- more info on the cave dwellings (and my cursed fuzzy photos)
cut-away mummy to see all the layers of wrappings
neat skull collection
random photo that I liked
outside the Cathedral
inside the Christopher Columbus museum
Alex with 500 year old canons
ancient navigational device (no wonder he thought he was in India)
another in the museum
interesting relief map of the island
and finally a pair of macaws in the courtyard
Our resort was not all-inclusive which was fine with us. Despite the convenience, we were not interested in dining in the resort and we ventured out into the nearby towns. No OMG-Wow places, but pretty good fare in general.
mussels for Kuk
a marlin "cigar" for her main
Stuffed eggplant/aubergine at an Italian place -- very good.
Grandma's special recipe -- rabbit. Interesting spices; liked it.
and finally Chateaubriand at a steak place -- also very good
Our favorite meal was our last and unfortunately I didn't take any pictures. We stayed in a hotel by the airport for our last night and ventured to an inland local place for tapas. Outstanding. We are looking forward to more during our trip to Spain in October.
So, there you have it. A different kind of vacation and a different kind of blog post (a little short on details I'm afraid. Returning on Sunday and being dog-tired has taken me off my game).
Four showers later and I still haven't gotten all the sunscreen off. Glad we went though -- we needed the decompression. Back to it. Have a good week everyone.