Past and future (?) visits, and catching up on photos

So, what did Jon (pictured) and I get up to when he was here? Quite a lot..

(credit for most of the photos in this entry goes to him, by the way. Obviously excepting the one above, which he’ll probably berate me for)

On Sunday we went for a walk along Las Canteras beach on the north side of Las Palmas. You’ve seen plenty of photos of that before, but not any of people being able to surf so close in – it must have been very near high water.

The waves weren’t big but some of the surfers were pretty impressive nonetheless.

On Monday we travelled down to Maspalomas – one of the biggest tourist developments on the island, but also home to some impressive sand dunes. The town itself is a big sprawl of holiday apartments and restaurants offering every type of cuisine you could want, with a full supporting cast of people pushing jewellry and stuff – quite a shock having been staying in the north which is much less touristy.

Having got away from that the dunes themselves are pretty impressive – it only takes a few minutes walk to be away from all the noise of the beachfront kiosks and into a very different feeling world of sand and scrub. It’s quite something – especially when you’ve worked out which bits offer the beautiful scenery without the naked men wandering around.

On Tuesdaywe had a more restful day, with a little more sightseeing in Las Palmas, wandering around one of the parks near the marina.

That evening we (or rather Jon) rowed over to Pax Nostrum for harmonica practice  for me, photography for Jon and then chatting till the usual ‘how did it get that late?’ finish.

It looks as though none of us know the words to this one yet!

Jon sent some photos when he got back which everyone is thrilled with – thank you again!

By this time I was keen to get out for a proper walk and show Jon some of my favourite parts of the island. This is the view down into the volcanic crater at Bandama – we chose to go round the edge for a relatively easy walk – the farm on the crater floor is about 200m below.

That said, I’ve not found many walks on Gran Canaria I’d call flat (the word ‘strenuous’ is frequently used in my guidebook), and the southern edge of the crater rim is pretty narrow as well – here are Caroline and Jon walking along the start of that section:

At the end of the walk they were rather surprised by the way we popped up next to a golf course – it seems rather out of place here, though it dates back to 1891 and is in fact the oldest golf course in Spain!

It also seems a little odd that the green pictured is very near the edge of the crater – anyone driving a bit too far is going to land in the world’s biggest bunker.. It seems like it might be a health hazard on the crater floor as well!

On Thursday we made the rather shorter bus journey to the hospital (I had to finally post a picture of it), and sat around a lot waiting to get my results and have my stitches taken out. It was definitely good to have someone to wait with, and share the frustration of not actually getting the results that day..

Afterwards we crossed the main road to the old fishing quarter. Unsurprisingly there are several fish restaurants there with very nice views out over the sea, and being well away from the tourist areas of the city it’s quite cheap. The fish were good, and the coffee was very nice as well.

If you’re wondering about the layered effect these are the traditional ‘leche leche’, which I suspect I’ve mentioned before – condensed milk on the bottom and then coffee on top – the uppermost layer is just the milk froth.

After that we got a bus back as far as the old town centre and walked around there before returning to the marina. It’s an area of real contrasts, from the patchwork colours of houses piling higgledy-piggledy up the hillside:

to the grander architecture of the town centre

and back to the marina along the bustling main shopping street

Later that afternoon we went over to Las Canteras beach on the other side of Las Palmas to admire the sunset and dusk from the promenade.

And of course to admire the slightly intimidating sand sculpture (there was a dinosaur as well for those who prefer less polemical beach art).

On Friday we went for another walk. I’d come up with one plan for a short walk from Cruz de Tejeda to a viewpoint on the opposite side of the ridge but after some time poring over bus timetables we decided it wouldn’t really work that well. Thankfully Jon spotted the improbable sounding option of walking to Lanzarote, which we duly did.

It worked just as well – to start with we had slightly views over one of the biggest valleys in the centre of the island, and then crossing the ridge and descending the other side, we had views of Las Palmas and the northern side of the island as well as the scenery closer to hand.

This is another abandoned farm set in a crater – again impressively remote-feeling like the one at Bandama, though this one does have road access.

We also passed some basins where water draining down from the hills was used for washing clothes by the people of the village.

Some of the tourist information claims it’s still in use but it looked like it might turn things a bit green – it certainly must be a while since it was this busy!

Having got back we went for a quick swim on the beach by the marina to cool off, and also for me to see how it felt – a week or so before cold had made it very hard to move my left leg, but as with most things this seemed to have improved significantly.

It felt good enough that on Saturday morning we went over to Las Canteras again to swim inside the reef at the near end. The water is quite clear, so with goggles on we could see lots of fish swimming around the reef, and surprisingly right up close to the beach as well, ranging from brightly coloured to jet black with blue fins.

Then back to the boat for lunch, and then to the bus station so Jon could go to the airport for his flight back. It was a great week – great to see him again, and also nice to have someone around to give me a reason to get out and about more while being very patient with my walking speed (especially at the start of the week) and tendency to sit down a lot.

I’ll get on to future plans a bit more in my next entry, but I will mention one thing here – having thought everything was done for a while I got a call from the hospital to say they want to do an ultrasound scan at the end of April.

The scan is presumably just routine follow-up – nothing to worry about, but I’ll obviously stay for it. I think it’ll also work out quite well in terms of getting jobs done on the boat to be here till then.

So if anyone else is looking to come out and visit, within that period would probably be easiest to arrange – it’s rather short notice, but then any trip would probably have to be once I get sailing again in May, and travel will get rather expensive when / if I make it to the Azores.

Let me know if you’re interested and we can try and sort something out, either sooner or later.

Of course, I’m hoping to see most of my friends again on returning to the UK, hopefully in August – it doesn’t feel like all that long now!

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