Saturday, 23 August 2008

Short Break in Gran Canaria

Hi All

We managed a short break to Gran Canaria in August.

We took the ferry from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Once again we were using my least favourite mode of transportation (see La Palma post). Once we arrived in Gran Can though, we were greeted by a brand new motorway.. I say brand new, it was new to me as it wasn't there when I lived there 20 years ago..! Using this lovely three laned beauty it only took us 40 minutes to get to our accommodation..

We stayed at the Orquidea Hotel in Bahia Feliz, about 10 minutes away from the central (and more widely known) resort of Playa del Ingles. It was a recently refurbished hotel with all the amenities you could hope for. Once we had checked in we were told there was a cold plate waiting for us in the main dining room. Surprisingly, the cold plate was great and we could help ourselves to tea, coffee and soft drinks. We were already impressed!

Day One - Tuesday
Breakfast the next morning was followed by the welcome meeting which gave us lots of useful information about the island and the trips, sights and sounds we could experience during our stay. It was decided before we went to the welcome meeting that we would hire a child's wheelchair for Thomas as getting around on crutches was painfully slow for all concerned, and so Adrian stayed in reception to await the delivery of the chair.

We then headed over to Playa del Ingles to look for a mini-golf course. We always like to squeeze in a game of mini-golf whilst away and this holiday was no exception! It takes Adrian a couple of holes to remember that he is playing mini-golf with the kids and not the PGA Championship against Tiger Woods. The result was satisfactory to all concerned and we left there and headed back to the hotel for a little 'siesta'...

Day Two - Wednesday
Happy Birthday to Adrian! Only 45 years young today!

We decided to visit Puerto de Mogan today. Twenty years ago, I was asked to visit Mogan and write a description of this new resort for our brochure at the time. I remember coming back and saying that there was nothing there except a port. Absolutely nothing else.

I wanted to go back to see what 20 years of development had done to this little fishing port. It was beautiful. Described as 'Little Venice' by the tourists, this was exactly the image that greeted us as we drove down from Puerto Rico along the coast to this little village. Bridges crossed the sea/river at regular intervals over into the commercial shopping areas and restaurants that surrounded the port itself.

We parked and walked along the port itself where we saw everything from dinghy's to small cruiser's moored in the harbour. One vessel had the laundry hanging from the sails and a pussy cat wandering the decks searching for the best spot to watch the fish swim by.. It was a very picturesque spot, very tranquil and relaxing.

We decided that we would come back again and book ourselves into a hotel situated in the port. It would be the perfect place to relax, eat, relax, drink, relax and sleep. Just the job!

In the evening we enjoyed dinner and a show at "Garbo's". Situated directly next door to the Orquidea, we didn't have far to walk to this venue. Our waiters were also our artists for the evening, and they popped up with their microphones all over the place as the evening progressed. The show was called "Rockin' all Over the World" and featured songs from everyone from David Bowie to Robbie Williams and the Police. The cast was all Swedish and they were all very talented and put on a very professional show. The show took us from Africa to New York, then onto India and eventually Space itself.

The menu was set and was served to us with a smile by our waiter Gustavo. We think he was a new addition to the cast as he seemed very nervous. We shared our table with a Spanish family and as Gustavo spoke only limited Spanish he appointed Chelsea table manager to translate for him. Every time he performed and came back to the table we had to cheer and after the first round of applause Gustavo appointed Thomas his fan-club manager to make sure we made the most noise after each rendition.

Day Three - Thursday
Our day was split into to halves today. Firstly we visited a tiny village called Guayadeque. This small village is famous for having the original caves that the Canarian Guanches used to live in. The unique thing about this village is that the villages still live in the caves today! As we drove along the road you could see the steps that had been cut into the mountainside and the doors of the caves painted green. It was fascinating.

I remembered that a little further along the road there was a wonderful restaurant that was made entirely of caves and so we went to find it. We were not disappointed as it was still there and walking around inside the cave/restaurants it was nice to think that I had been able to bring my children to a restaurant that I had taken my parents to twenty years previously. After we had walked around inside, we sat down and had a plate of tapas and a drink. The tables were polished stone slabs and the seats were covered stone and so Adrian didn't sit in one position for very long, but all in all it was very enjoyable!
The second half of the day we spent in the bowling alley (watching the kids slaughter Adrian at bowling.) It has become somewhat of a family tradition whilst on holiday to find a bowling alley to play a game of bowls..! Thomas managed to bowl by wheeling him to the edge of the lane, then standing up and lobbing the bowl down the alley at an excruciatingly slow pace. Whilst Adrian is a firm believer that speed is the key, Thomas takes the "slow and steady wins the race" stance.

After the game of bowls, we headed off to the north to have a quick look around Las Palmas the capital (or more accurately the shops in the capital) before the trip back to Tenerife.  Unfortunately, Thomas has not managed to pick up any speed on his crutches - obvious really, as he had gotten comfortable in the wheelchair - and so we only managed to look around El Corte Ingles.  A shop which towered 6 storey's high and which was located on BOTH sides of the street, as one shop 6 floors high, obviously couldn't accommodate all it had to offer, and so they had to divide all the goodies into TWO shops!  Shoppers Paradise!  Or at least it would have been for Chelsea and myself (guys just don't get shopping) if we hadn't had Speedy Gonzalez with us. Suffice to say, we shared a few brief moments in ONE shop, before banishing Thomas and Adrian to a bench outside in the sun to 'rest their legs', whilst Chelsea and I tried to make up for lost time, darting in and out of the shops within eye-sight of the guys...  Not ideal, but better than nothing.  After our brief encounter with the shops, we headed to the port where we boarded after not too long a wait, the ferry which would take us homeward bound.

When we arrived into Tenerife's Santa Cruz harbour, it was just getting dark, and we realised that one of my headlights was dead on one side, and the side light on the other side had gone too!  No wonder we thought the roads in Gran Canaria were poorly lit, when we weren't on the Motorway!  Anyone that has visited our fair isle, will know that there are NO LIGHTS on the motorway at all, until you get to our hometown where the local authorities had decided they wanted a well lit municipality (thankfully).  There was much traffic on the roads, as I remembered that tonight was the Julio Iglesias concert.  I had said that I wouldn't have minded going to see him, but when Chelsea found out that Enrique had a father, and that HE was a singer too!  Well, nothing makes you feel older than a teenager who asks you, "Is he still alive?" not having heard of him in the first place.. 

Which reminds me.. If anyone has seen Mamma Mia at the cinema lately, it may have spurned a few of you to dig out that old ABBA Gold album that you know you must have lurking in your collection somewhere.  Me, being me, all our CD's are stored alphabetically (I can't help myself..), so finding my copy was easy peasy.  Chelsea came into the lounge with said album in hand one day, and asks, "Are they all still alive?".  Yep, nothing makes you feel older than a teenager rifling through your CD collection...

For those of you who were watching the news, we were there at the same time as the dreadful Madrid/Las Palmas plane crash at Madrid's Barajas Airport... Awful news right on our doorstep. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of those lives tragically lost in this disaster.

Thanks for stopping by..

Stitches Galore! (Do not scroll down in you're queezy)...

Hi All

Thomas and I have both been in the wars since my last post..

In May I cut my middle finger whilst peeling potatoes and had to have three stitches... It has healed sufficiently for me to go back to card making, but for a long while I couldn't perform at my best and I found the whole experience limiting.

Unfortunately for Thomas, he has also has stitches...
He impaled his right foot on a broken terracotta tile around our community pool and had to have 5 stitches...

He has been on crutches and in a wheelchair (it's really slow going on crutches!!), but for the most part can now put weight on it a little at a time.

Hopefully he will be all better by the time school starts again..

Photos of both injuries :)

Thanks for stopping by..