Gran Canaria

For years I have wanted to visit the Canary Islands. I am not sure why, but I guess it’s because it seems like one of those exotic faraway places. In fact, when I was younger, I didn't even really know where it was - I mean somewhere between other exotic places - maybe right in between Christmas Island and the Galapagos or something. But that didn't stop me from wanting to visit. And when I think back, I always thought of it as one island too, I mean you really think that the “s” on the end of Canary Islands would alert me to the fact that there was more than one, but again, I guess I just never thought about it. But I digress. 

I am here on a lovely warm island with beaches and very old Spanish architecture and I am having a great time. I think the Canaries and Mediera and probably the Azores are kind of like Europe’s version of the Caribbean - I mean a quick get away to the sun spot. It is a lot different than the Caribbean though. If I had to pick a place that Gran Canaria reminded me most of, I would have to say Arequipa in Peru. Of course it is different than that too! I will mostly let the photos tell the story this time.

Hotel Santa Catalina - where all the important people stay when they come here.

Towards the old downtown area - there is a lot no new architecture as well.

30 km/h speed limits in side streets, clearly posted and very nice bicycle lanes, and drivers that screech to a halt if you step near the curb. I was on a bus and a driver backed up and opened the doors and apologized to a lady for not letting her cross - and then waived her across in front of him.

Such a cute little refreshment stand in the park

And of course, many beautiful old Spanish churches. 

Stunning stained glass doors.

Lots of colour here and lots of decoration on the buildings.

Going into the old city - on the left the big yellow building is the Vegetable Market

In the Colonial Square - I loved this little girl having her first communion photos done.

The Colonial building - it is still used as government offices.

Of course this building is on Reloj (Clock) Street. Many streets here are either named after someone, or saints etc, or named for an item, like boots or knives - obviously where you could get that item a long time ago.

I love little narrow old streets.

You know, the one thing that I was not expecting on Canaries, was that it would be cheap! This meal cost me €4.50 and was supposed to come with a couple of eggs and bread as well, but I told her to leave them off because I wouldn't be able to eat it all anyway!

The beach on the other side of the Isthmus has a large reef. It is beautiful and many people swim and surf there - just behind me it opens into acres of sand.

(The acres of sand) and the beautiful boardwalk with all the lovely bright coloured houses along it.

I went up into the suburbs in the hills.

Not a lot of trees here - I'm sure they have been used over the years for building houses and repairing ships and burning etc.

Another lovely old church on a beautiful little street.

Colonial Fountain, Colonial buildings. There are a lot of these wooden balconies here.

The Canaries had an indigenous population. They lived in caves on the North side of the island,  and in long low circular stone buildings dug into the ground with a + shaped central room. They found a lot of female sculptures - this one is the most important one. They also did a lot of printing with blocks that they carved. They printed on their pottery, or pressed the wet clay to make the pattern on the surface, and they also put the designs on their skin with paint too.

Ok, gotta say, this room was just creepy. I can only show a third of it in one photo, but the other wall is covered with skulls too and there are mummified bodies on the left and skeletons hanging behind me - did they have to put every skull they found in one room? Then you go in the next small room - (which is the end, so you have to walk back through the skull room) and they have a window at the back and a button that says "press me". So I pressed it, and ALL the lights went out. Here I am in a room full of dead people and with no warning, the lights go out. Of course, it was a timed light for a few minutes, so there was no way to turn it back on... It lit up the window, and of course it showed the inside of a cave and how they found the mummified bodies laying... Couldn't get out of there fast enough.