Saturday, 28 April 2012

Gran Canaria, part seven.

On the drive that followed, there were just so many fantastic views that I could have taken a thousand pictures. This was just one of them.

 We came across a reservoir and, seeing the recreation area, decided to stop and investigate.

It looked a great place to just chill and barbeque, and today was just right - shame I hadn't brought a BBQ! Some of the clouds today were just fabulous. Also, see the pines across the ridge - almost looks like a line of people (the sort of thing you'd see on a bank holiday in the Lake District). 

After this, Sue insisted I HAD to see Porto Mogan, or 'little Venice', as it's known. This is the 'playa', or beach. The small water inlet goes right into the village, and is crossed by many bridges, hence the Venice tag. 

We decided to stop for a bite to eat with this lovely outlook. The waiter did us the honour of a picture. 

 But, of course, I HAD to have a go myself!
They have an 'attraction' here that reminded me of the Beatles - a REAL yellow submarine! It goes out to sea and lets people see the marine life and a wreck. Read more about it here;
 We walked along the prom, just letting lunch settle.
 The floral display in the village streets was very, very good. Every arched street was adorned with one or another flower, and the colours were amazing.

 The actual harbour looked crammed with boats of all sizes, some with 'for sale' notices on them

 A look down into the water saw lots of fish, my guess was harbour mullet - notoriously hard to catch due to them being soft-lipped.

One or two quite big ones! 
And the odd crab. 
 I would imagine these apartments with the lovely harbour view are quite popular (and probably expensive).
 Then it was time to head 'home' to our bungalow. The setting sun was again incredible, but with driving - no pictures! I had really enjoyed doing the 'wrong side' thing, and don't think I'd baulk at the idea on future holidays. Tomorrow, we were going to do a 'bit of a walk' - thirteen hours, as it turned out!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Gran Canaria part six - the Roque!

Here's Sue in the hot sunshine, walking the path up to Roque Nublo. Behind her is the road we drove up.

 Luckily, there were plenty of other people to take a picture for us. You can see there is very little vegetation up here, but the pine trees are in abundance. We were already blown away by all this, but it just got better and better.
 As we reached a plateau, we saw this - the volcano Mount Teidi on Tenerife, floating in a sea of cloud. I am beginning to run out of superlatives now! We just looked and looked - it was mesmerising to see in real life. Teidi is about 20 miles away, but today it looked as though it was just offshore.

 This was called 'bishops rock' (can you see why?)
 This rock, strangely, had a hole in the top of it - a volcanic 'bubble', maybe?
Roque Nublo - ever closer now. 
 Now we were higher (and closer) we could see the hole really clearly.
We were very close to Nublo now, just this volcanic plateau to cross, and we were there. Nublo, I read somewhere, was where the island was 'born'. This is purported to be the chimney that spewed out the matter that is now Gran Canaria - where it all began. 
 Sorry for the repetition, but I just can't resist a series of Teidi pictures. We were now standing below Nublo, and from here, it really is an awesome monolith.

 This is a zoomed shot of the very top of the Nublo rock. I suppose people HAVE climbed this.
Amazingly, there were still plants that were prepared to struggle here, here's a picture of one of the few very scarce blooms we saw. 
 So, we sat down in the shadows of the giant (it was REALLY hot in the full glare of the sun) and had lunch with this as our view - breathtaking!
 We only needed to turn our heads from this lunchtime vantage point to see this. Another famous landmark - Roque Bentaiga.
 Here we are (out of the shadows for a picture).
There was this column of rock that just HAD to be the picture of the day, so of course, we clambered up onto it for these amazing shots. 

 What an absolutely PERFECT day - we were SO lucky to see this in these conditions.
Of course, in a place like this, you're never alone and there were many people doing the same as us (well, maybe not clambering onto the top of rocks for pictures, but you know what I mean). 
Two other people, at least, were doing 'the rock'. This was a nice shot of them and Teidi through a volcanic 'window'. 
Now it was time to re-trace our steps back down. It had been a really incredible experience coming up here, but the day wasn't over yet. We still had a lot of time, and a CAR, so we set off back to continue the journey. There's the bishop - seeing us off the premises! 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Gran Canaria, part five.

To say I was apprehensive about my first time driving on the right would be a huge understatement. I wondered if the car hire firm knew how I felt, as they gave me a car with a rather apt registration!

 The best advice I'd been given was; "if in doubt - STOP". I didn't have to quite resort to that, but it somehow put me at ease. Once I was out of the city, I relaxed considerably and really started to enjoy the driving. We reached a great viewpoint, where we could stand and look back at Playa Del Ingles and the dunes.

 Looking up the valley into the interior - that's where we're heading next.
 Weird things, like this random plateau, were all around us.
 That 'dirt road' is used by the Jeeps on the off road island trip. Looks exciting!
 The famous 'prickly pear' cacti.
 We didn't fancy having a go at picking it (despite Baloo's advice in 'Jungle Book'!)
 Sue's favourite - the candelabra cacti.

 The lovely Christmas Poinsettia was in abundance too.
 We'd asked why there didn't seem to be any grape vines on the island, as I always thought vines thrived on poor land, but I was told that wasn't the case on Gran Canaria. There were one or two, however, so we got excited when we saw a hand painted 'bodega' sign. We parked the car and set off on foot to follow the directions down into the back streets of the village. I was amused to see this 'traffic island'. It was just a lump of rock, but rather than move it, they just stuck a roundabout sign on it - BRILLIANT!
 The gardens had some interesting pick heads and other bric-a-brac in them.
 Then we saw these vines (after marvelling at the view).
 They were also trained above our heads.
 After getting a bit lost, a kind lady fetched the owner (here between us) who gave us a tasting, tour and sold us a couple of bottles (all without either of us speaking the other's language).
 Some of the gear was antique...........
 ....but there was NO mistaking, this wasn't a toy - it was bang up to date high tech' stuff. No mashing grapes in bare feet here.
 After the tasting, we rejoined the 'high street'. There were lots of shops selling souvenirs, mainly hand-made stuff of the island.
 The ubiquitous white church in the square at Fataga.
 Nice set of bells!
 There was also this lovely-looking cafe/restaurant. If it had been eating time, I would have given this a go. It looked really clean and inviting
 We left Fataga and drove higher and higher through the villages of San Bartolome and Ayacata, where we turned off to Roque Nublo. They say that if you live in Gran Canaria and haven't been there, you should be whipped. If you visit the island and don't go to Nublo, you have missed one of the wonders of the Canaries. Not wanting to risk either (and being lovers of heights and wild places) we parked the car and set off up the well-walked path.
 As we climbed and looked back, the views got better and better. We were happy, but we weren't ready for what was to come - the spectacle that is Roque Nublo, and on a fabulous, clear day.
We walked for about 3/4 of an hour. In the next instalment, you'll see why we wanted to go there and, with the photo's, I will try to impress just how awesome the place is.