Digging into Gran Canaria’s Past

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Gran Canaria has a lot more to enjoy than great beaches, market days, and boozey boat tours. The island has seven Guanches sights that reveal a rich and intriguing past.

Guanches were the original habitants of Gran Canaria. They were thought to be Berbers who migrated from North Africa to Canary Islands in 1000BC.

This network of Archaeological Sites in Gran Canaria are located all the island, and most require a car to visit them.

Some of the bigger sights offer a visitor centre, even an audio guide, but the common thread, is that each dig reveals more questions than answers.

On this trip to Gran Canaria we checked out Cenobio de Valeron that is perched high above a canyon.

The Monastery of Caves are located on the north coast of Gran Canaria. They date back to the stone age and are widely recognized as the most important and impressive pieces on the island.

When we arrived, I paid the entrance of $2.50 Euro per adult, thanked the ticket agent for the small leaflet.  I climbed the steep stone pathway to the massive caves delighted to be sharing this great ruin with just one other visitor.

Cenobio de Valerón is a network of approximately 200-300 caves. Many people believe that it was a monastery or “cenebio” where young girls went in preparation of marriage. Others say the caves were just used as granaries.

The caves were blocked off, but it was well sign posted with interesting facts and history.  Although simple in appearance, and quick to tour, the caves do give great insight into Gran Canaria’s past.

Sky Rebels in Gran Canaria

 

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Sky Rebels is an adventure company located in Gran Canaria. The company is owned by a fun loving couple, Ines and Juanjo. The other member of their team is Gavioto, their boy (machine) whose main purpose is to help the tourists have a great time in Gran Canaria.

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What is a Paratrike? The machine evolved from a paraglider with the addition of engine. It eliminated the physical effort for take off and landing, and offers the safety of an airplane flight.

What does it feel like? Like heaven. Flying so low you can see sea turtles in the ocean. The wind kisses your face as you fly like a bird over the famous Maspalomas Dune. For 30 minutes, it feels like you own the world.

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Who can fly on a paratrike? No training is required to take a flight. The only restriction is weight, passengers must weigh between 30 and 100kg.

How can I find out more? Just check out their website http://www.skyrebels.com. Send a question. Ines will be happy to reply back.

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Checking out Artenara

A difficult but beautiful road leads you to the village of Artenara, which is the highest village of the island and also one of the oldest

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When we arrived at the mountain village, we saw the Christ statue with widespread arms, which reminded me of the famous Rio de Janeiro figure. From the bottom of the village the statue looked so much smaller.
The road round upwards, the village, many of the homes were caves built into the mountainside.
The main square was easy to find and wander through. We found all the main sights in moments. The village had a lot to offer but compact at the same time. The village church, Iglesia de San Matías, was the prettiest I had seen in Gran Canaria.

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The weather was cool and we wandered briefly. From Unamuno’s Viewpoint we could see all the important geological moments of the island: the Caldera of Tejada, Roque Bentaiga or Roque Nublo. Even for that short moment, as I gazed out down below, I felt so peaceful.
We climbed to the top of the mountain and starred up the white stone statue called Christ Statue. At the bottom of the hill we looked left and spotted the sign for Restaurante Mirador La Cilla. The cave restaurant with the famous tunnel entrance.

Gran Canaria – A Romantic Escape

With spring and summer weather all year-round Gran Canaria is a great place for couples to unplug and escape from life’s daily pressures.

The south side of the island, where all the resorts are, receives almost permanent sunshine. We stayed in Playa Taurito, a palm lined beach, with a laid vibe and glimmering black sands. The resort is located just off the main highway and handy to day trips around the island.

Our favourite escape was Artenara. Gran Canaria’s highest village, and cave central.  The small municipality houses one fifth of island’s 2000 caves. It should come as no surprise that my favourite restaurant, Restaurant El Morador de la Cilla, is located in a cave

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The cave restaurant is located at the foot of the town’s most famous attraction, the Jesus statue. After checking out the statue we literally bumped into the entrance of La Cilla.

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The island’s most romantic restaurant, offers a unique experience. Entering the eatery, we were plunged into almost total darkness, until our eyes adjusted to the tunnel.
The natural cave light at the end of the tunnel guided us toward the cave terrace with stunning views of mountains and valleys down below.

The restaurant is located within the cave. The island’s mountain location meant we shared with romantic escape with just those brave souls willing to drive the mountain roads.

 

My husband and I ate two different local Canarian lunch specials. We were delighted at the different flavours, and just as pleased to discover the reasonable prices for this unique dining experience.

Artenara is special place to visit, and you can have a romantic experience any time of day, at lunch, or at a moonlight dinner.

Next week I’ll blog about our trip to Artenara.

Gran Canaria’s Little Venice

 

Puerto de Mogán is known as “Venice of the Canaries” or “Little Venice”. It’s a delight to wander through the ancient lanes and tranquil canals. According to the tourist board it is the top three places to visit in Gran Canaria, and one of my top five.

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Puerto Mogan is one of the most beautiful resorts on the south side of the island. Surrounded by mountains and the clear blue sea, the scenery is breath-taking.

This sunny seaside resort is a popular stop on the coach tours. We managed to avoid the chaos because our hotel, Mogan Princess Beach Resort, offers a free coach ride to Puerto de Mogan every day.

The charm of this historic fishing village is found in the gleaming white buildings, adorned by bougainvilleas, in fifty shades of pinks oranges and reds.

The bridges and canals that lead out to the gorgeous beach, is the reason it’s been nicknamed “Little Venice”.

The sandy beach, a pleasant half-moon shape, attracts both families and couples. Bars, restaurants, and tourist shops line the habour.

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Our favourite place to stop and people watch was the ice cream café aptly named La Nostra Venezia. We had a front line view of the harbour and ice cream was well-priced.

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After lunch on the seafront you can delve into Gran Canaria’s historical past at the archealogical ruin called Canada de los Catos.
The charms of lower Puerto de Mogan were just too much to leave, but next trip, I will climb those hills to learn more about its ancient beginnings.

Five Reasons to Choose Gran Canaria

Embraced by the warm winds of Africa the sunny island of Gran Canaria is a welcome holiday destination, summer or winter.

In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as “the Fortunate Isles” According to greek mythology it was thought that heros and favoured mortals were to be received by the gods into this blissful paradise.

1. Day trip to the Venice of Canary Islands, Puerto Mogan. Spend the morning wandering through the ancient alleyways, with rooftops overflowing with bougainvilleas and, suntan on the beach in the afternoon

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2. Enjoy a romantic dinner in a cave restaurant on top of the highest mountain in Gran Canaria.

3. Check out the ancient ruins left by the original settlers of Canary Islands, the Guanches. Gran Canaria has seven archeological digs.

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4. Gran Canaria is warm and sunny, all year round. In fact, studies have proven that the island’s capital, Las Palmas, is the city with the best climate in the world.

5. Take a walk along the island’s biggest attraction, the unique Dunes of Maspalomas. Unique in appearance, they look like sandy brown waves rolling in from the Atlantic.

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Cactus Garden in Lanzarote

The Cactus Garden (Jardin de Cactus) was our favourite site on our trip around the volcanic island of Lanzarote

Located on the north side of the island, near Guatiza, the garden showcases over 1,400 species of cactus.  I was surprised to see the multitude of shapes and colors of so many varieties.  Everything in the garden was a cactus, even the statue.IMG_4482

The terraced garden was arranged by the island’s favourite son, Cesar Manrique.  The artist cleverly converted a former quarry into one of the island’s hottest attractions.

The black volcanic gravel offered a stunning backdrop to the rainbow of cactus. The quarry shelters these hardy plants from the windy. As we wandered the gardens felt like a cozy sunspot.

The site includes a gift shop, a windmill and a top side café with uninterrupted views.

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The Colors of Lanzarote

This small island of volcanic black, reddish rock, pristine white and petal green villas built on the edge of blue ocean is a visual wonder. From top to bottom, east to west, I warmed to the kaleidoscope of deep beautiful colors.

I enjoyed the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Timanfaya National Park, the intricate cave formations of Jameos del Aqua, the Cactus Garden and the distinctive wine fields of La Geria.  The depth and beauty of this place held me spellbound for two weeks.

 

 

 

Walking in the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes

Cloaked in a black suit and a foreboding top hat, this stealth figure looked out of place standing beside the modern Underground Station in London England.

 Feeling no fear I joined the growing crowd of curious onlookers.  “The game is afoot” he announced in a conspiring tone, and turned swiftly. Not bothering to look behind at whom dared to follow the mysterious guide walking in the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.

 “What beguiles you to study this mythical detective who has never walked the cobblestoned streets of London?” boomed the guide of London Walks.

 After a hearty laugh at ourselves, we listened as our leader described how the fictional Sherlock Holmes was created by Arthur Conan Doyle. How the famous detective had solved the famous mysteries of the day from his imaginary study at 221B Baker Street.

 Sleuthing through Charing Cross, down dark alleys, past famous London landmarks we followed as close as the crowd allowed. I dare not miss a word this man had to reveal.

 Posed at the entrance to a cold dark alley I closed my eyes for a second, I could almost see the gaslights lining the famous Strand. I felt a sliver of cold fear. Was this how his fictional victims felt as they ran helplessly through London’s dangerous streets?

  “In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes ends at the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant and Museum.  A tour of the museum is worth your time and money.

Why is Easyjet UK’s #1 Airline?

EasyJet’s fare prices make them UK’s #1 airline, and we are delighted to fly them year after year.

I automatically check their flights first, because they offer the largest number of flights to the most popular destinations all around Europe. Their fares consistently beat out other chartered airlines flying to the same destination.

Over the years I have found their flights prompt, staff friendly, and seat comfortable. My husband is six feet and we will often choose to upgrade to premium seats. The small charge is worth the guarantee of arriving fresh and eager to enjoy our holiday.

The airline maintains their lowest fares by limited complimentary service.  Meals, drinks and headphone cost extra. Who cares.  I can always pack a chocolate bar.

The website is loaded with great resources. My favourite place to visit is the low fare finder. Each week I can check out which exciting European destination is on sale.  Check out http://www.easyjet.com.

EasyJet also offers complete holiday packages. When in the website, click on the button called “holidays” and you too, will discover, why EasyJet is UK’s #1 Airline.