Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a very British view of life in a small village in Alicante province, my experience of Spain, of Spaniards and sometimes of the other Britons who live nearby. The tabs beneath the header photo link to other blogs written whilst I was living in other parts of Spain, to my articles written for the now defunct TIM magazine and to my most recent photo albums.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Gran Canaria

We went on holiday last week to Gran Canaria one of the Canary islands just off the coast of Morocco and the Western Sahara. The islands have been Spanish for a long, long time so, despite being geographically in Africa, they look and feel like Spain. Chris Columbus stayed over for a while in 1492 on his way across the Atlantic to what turned out, to his surprise, to be America.

Gran Canaria is a smallish sort of island, round in shape and about 50kms in diameter. The island is volcanic and hilly. If you think of it as the summit of a volcano sticking up out of the blue grey ocean you'd be about right. It has a motorway system joining all the main towns on the coast and a mish mash of little roads twisting up hillsides to connect the hundreds of small settlements inland.

We drove around the island in an underpowered and hired VW gawping at banana trees, sugar cane plantations and the carpet of spring flowers before stopping to eat wrinkled potatoes with a spicy sauce. It was nice and warm and I took to driving around with my left arm out of the open window of the car. Before I knew it my arm had turned pink and peeled. I still look like a proper Benidorm guiri a week later! Surprisingly we Brits appeared to be outnumbered by Germans and Norwegians especially in the seaside resorts.

Anyway, enough Arthur and Sheila Miller travelogue. Time for the wry humour. My advice, if you ever decide to hire a car on Gran Canaria, is to take a parking place with you. There certainly aren't many to be had on the island. We spent hours looking for somewhere to park and often paid through the nose for the pleasure of doing so. In one town even the gorillas, the chaps who make their living from guiding drivers onto every available inch of possible parking space, waved us away.

To be honest it wasn't a particularly memorable break. I suspect that my overwhelming memory will be of crowded roads and terribly limited parking and of the surprisingly good deal offered by the pop radio branded travel agency.

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