Gran Canaria fiasco walking Feb 2013
Today the charter trip to Gran Canary starts. This island was the destination for your humble reporters first charter trip ever when 20 years old/young. Latest years the travel group has almost always planned and performed the travels abroad by ourselves. Let’s see if this type of travel will be more convenient and the cost increase also give more value for money. Just follow the guy with the stick!
The break from working intensively with all kind of errands at the workplace and to just (try to) drop everything and start to relax is very interesting. It is not so easy and there are always some emotions like “Did I close the water tap, did I close the gas, etc.” Perhaps your humble reporter is the only stupid guy with these kinds of thoughts?
Gran Canary is a destination which your humble reporter sees as a very “simple” destination where everyone without any fantasy travels to. But still tis destination was chosen! This destination image is for the travel group – lie in the sun, partying and boozing. This travel group will not stay at the beaches but will stay and walk in the upper mountains on the island. The only swimming will be in the hotel spa.
Your humble reporter visited this island as a 20 year old/young “cool” guy and the stay was at that time in Las Palmas. Most of the days where spent at the beach “Las Canteras”. At that time the main objective was to look as “cool” as possible for the surrounding “public”. Theoretically it could be the same people travelling on this trip as was “back in the days” sunbathing on the beach Las Canteras. The years of sun has of course caused some crows feet’s around the yes for all and all also have been victims to the “gravity”. The pressure to look cool is perhaps not top priority anymore! If so most have to give up where quickly if not to be seen as pathetic!
The drive to Arlanda went extremely smoothly since there was almost no traffic. BUT when arriving to the parking waiting for entry the car started to make an extreme high squeaking noise. The noise lowered when passing the entrance and the speed was increased. Tried to look under the car but no clue came up. Had once the same experience on an orienteering trip to Switzerland. The rental car also made similar noise during 3 days?! Your humble reporters current car is almost 2 months old so perhaps this is just normal to have some squeaking?
Let’s see if the cars On-call service must be used when coming back to Sweden? When having a V50 the clutch broke down when arriving from a vacation in the middle of the night. Thant time had to drive all the way home just using one gear.
I guess this is how to make the stories more interesting? Or?
This was a charter trip and the travel group was imagining the picture where hundreds of people where standing in a queue waiting for check-in. Because of this view the travel-group arrived very early to the airport.
BUT the check-in went extremely smoothly and instead two hours became available for shopping and dining. HÄPP!
Looking around the travelgroup recognized some others travelers with the same destination and travel organizer (saw it on the bag tags that were sent home with the tickets). Most seemed to be the “Las Canteras” people! Not just the walking group but the whole plane?!
The trip took 11.5 hours door to door. Your humble reporter has problems with these kinds of flights. Your humble reporter’s personality is totally against sitting still for many hours. Space and exchange is needed. The flight company was Norwegian a low cost company experience new for the travel group. The seat space was very small and the aisle was narrow. This is first time the travel-group experienced plane crew asked passengers not to be more than three at the time in the aisle or toile queue.
Hopefully these boring flight trips will not hamper travel experiences more, because it would be sad if this should limit the future travelling. Going by car or train is preferable but then there is a time issue.
The bag service at Las Palmas airport was very slow. The plane arrived late in the evening and was also delayed by 1 hour so perhaps most of the ground staff has gone home?
The bus from airport to the hotel took 1, 15 hour and since it was dark as a “sotararsle” outside the travel group could not join the views which where spectacular due to the guide. Will get a chance to see it later in the weeks. The hotel where the travel group is staying is a so called Parador. It is some special hotel chain (originally owned by the Spanish government) and all hotels are special buildings like castles. This hotel was created by some famous Spanish artist. Original building is from 1920 and has been extended during the years. The hotel was closed in the eighties for renovation and was opened again two years ago. So it took 21 years to have it renovated!
All were tired when arriving and it was over midnight so the exploring of the hotel and surroundings while be next day. The first day will start with a walk around the areas close to the hotel.
End of day 1
Back to start
The travel group woke up very late this morning. Since the local time is 1 hour later here the day was not wasted. The guide had also proposed to start the walking 10:00 (11:00 CET).
The hotel is interesting and have many artistically designs. If looking with open eyes many fine details can be recognized. Of course there is always the “battle” between engineers and artists. The bathroom is one example. The sink has a nice design but it is e.g. very difficult to get the hands under the tap!
The breakfast waiter was an interesting woman. Think she is used to command senile senior people. At least she gave that impression when expressing some Spanish speech that the travel group was sitting at wrong table. But the positive thing was that she had (iron-) control!
The breakfast was very nice with many choices of local ham, sausages and cheese. The breakfast/dining room also had many artistically details. The hotel does not seem so modern but still very interesting and have a personal and different style.
The hotel location is also somewhat strange. Beside the hotel there is about 15 shopping sheds selling tourist stuff but also local food products and ordinary supermarket goods. Some provisions was bought for today’s walking.
At 11:00 all in the walking group started todays walking. The walk was estimated to take 5-6 hours with a number of breaks included. Was very curious about what stamina this group had since they all where the “Las Canteras” generation.
It is interesting to see how human herd behavior works. The walking was as similar as when training in a runners club with a group of runners in different ages. The juniors wanted to show-up in the beginning and where running in the lead and increased the pace. This was also the case here but there were no juniors! The walk started uphill and was little thoughtful how these somewhat senior walkers would manage the whole walk.
After some hours walking up and down the group came back to “normal” order. The “show-cases” was left behind and “collected” by the guide walking in the rear of the walking group.
The guide said the day before that the weather has been very sunny all days since November. Today it was of course cloudy. It was OK since and no rain came down but some of the nice photograph views disappeared. The walking was also easier in these weather conditions instead of doing the first walk at 1.600 Meter in full sun.
Today’s walk offered some oases of bars where sandwiches and coffee could be bought. The next coming walks will not have the same offerings and the group has to carry water (min 1.5 liter/person) and lunch.
This time of the year it is spring at this island. Took a lot of photographs of blooming flowers and only recognized some of them.
The walk was nice and to be honest this day walk was tougher than the walks the travel group performed during last vacation at Madeira.
When walking it was interesting to listen to all others in the walking group. As you know dear reader your humble reporter is a good listener! Many of them where very experienced walkers and had travelled around the world. Many different stories where told during the walk.
After approximately 4 hours walk the walking group arrived to the Tejeda village 500 meter below the hotel. The guides explained there were two choices – One to take the local bus to the hotel and one to continue the walk (3, 5 km and 500 meter uphill). The walking group was split and also the travel group.
Still your humble reporter was somewhat confused how this senior walking group will manage the last part of today’s walking. Some evidence showed up during the last part and your humble reporter got a confirmation that there were no fishy like someone is using EPO.
It was a challenging last walk and it was very interesting to see who the tough ones were. Must admit that some senior females where very impressing in their performance!
This days walk was challenging and as mentioned before tougher that the travel group use to perform normally. It will be interesting to observe how the walking group will perform tomorrow after today’s challenge. Thin air and challenging ascent/descent will affect the muscles. Tomorrows walk will be 1.000 meter uphill!
The dinner tonight will be at 19:00 and after that the “night-club” opens. Wonder if it will be crowdie!
End of day 2
Back to start
The low-pressure seems to have decided to stay over Canary Island. It seems to be another day with mist and no sun? When waking up the sight outside the hotel window was totally grey. During breakfast the cloud and fog started to disappear and hopefully also for the whole day
The body felt OK after last days walking. Perhaps the running with Jacek uphill in Trier has contributed to some improvements?
The night temperature is low on this altitude and leaving the bed is little unpleasant. No heating in the rooms.
Observed when walking to the breakfast that some members in the walking group probably had preferred to walk backwards down the stairs! Some seemed to have been little to over ambitions yesterday!
Yesterday dinner was enormous and tasted very good. The four course dinner was included in the trip and was very suitable after the walk. BUT it was very much food and most of the guests were almost unconscious after the dinner and wine package!
Some years ago there was an ad “Läkerol makes people talk”. Yesterday evening a new slogan could be introduced “6 hours walking/exhaustion and win-package make people talk”. The slogan is perhaps somewhat long but the later “product” was guaranteed 200 percent more efficient than the first one! The effect came just after five minutes!
The travel group is the “Las Canteras” generation and all accumulated years have created many interesting life stories which were shared during the dinner.
One story was something extra. A man sitting in front of me told a story when he had been part of the support team for Swedish national Ice hockey team. When the team where preparing for the world championship in Stockholm he got the task to have a short warm up and stretching training. It was outside Stockholm close to the archipelago. He observed that in the team there was one colored player. There can in some teams be tensions because of this but in this team there was just good cooperation and teamwork. He also saw on the beach a Crow and a magpie who together side by side where looking for food. Normally they do not cooperate but just to fight with each other.
This happening inspired him to write a children book about these two birds – “Krax och Flax på äventyr”. It took him eight years to finalize it. When finished he got an agreement with an editor to print and try to sell it. Just when the printing should start the editor died. The writer then decided to be his own editor and printed 1.500 copies of the book. At the end he managed to sell approximately 1.300 of these. He also got some public libraries to buy the books. What a story!
Other stories was also heard e.g. one person who founded the Orienteering club Goif Tjalve outside Norrköping.
The dinner and wine-package “product” also had some backsides. Some of the dinner guest started to perform meditation at the table and the necks became longer and longer. The evening ended early for the majority!
The guide had some challenges to find good walking’s today because the weather was not so good. The decision became to go south and walk on the Silver Pilgrim walk. Two persons were missing today. One poor woman who got a terrible cold just before leaving to the island. One man who stumbled yesterday and got some problem with his knee. The purpose of his trip was to strengthen the muscles around the knees. We all felt sorry for him.
The bus trip took 30 min to get to the walking start. Today the travel group was encouraged to split into two groups – One that will take the 900 meter uphill and one who will just perform parts of this walking. Some were vise to choose the easier group. The Pilgrim walk is authorized by the Pope as a permanent Pilgrim walk and if walking it you will get forgiveness for all your sins! Sounded promising!
At the first stop a Geocache could be logged. First ever in Spain! The walk was very beautiful and the weather was good in the beginning of the walk. The path was built just by stones and zigzagged uphill. Very impressing work!
In the beginning of the walk there were many “Snokört – Echium plantagineum” bushes. They are very nice to look at and have very handsome umbels.
At one of the tops there is a cabin. There is a story about this cabin. Some years ago the nativity at Canary Island made a statistical unexplained peak. There were many children born suddenly in the villages around the island. After some investigations (DNA-test was not needed) a source for 13 children could be identified. It was the local priest who have had some adventures and caused this statistical abnormity.
The church realized that some actions needed to be taken and the priest needed some own time and also an opportunity to regret his sins. Because of that he was located in this remote cabin up in the mountains. He could also perform some walks on the pilgrim track and hopefully clear out all sins. Since he seemed to be very productive fellow he perhaps got tennis elbow being alone in these outskirts. The elbow injury can of course also been caused by making cross signs many times to get his sin account settled. The latest comments were some extension from yours humble reporter and were not part of the original story!
The group continued the walk and another reflection came up – There seem to be many people that have the name Ola here? The name is really popular!
Close to the highest top we got some information about the Pines on the island. Most of the trees have been chopped down during the period when Spain was building ships to fight against England. The objective is now to plant new pines so they are back for 60 percent of original. The Pines are really important for the climate and water on the island. When they disappeared the island became very dry and now when they are starting to get back the pines the water and climate situation has improved. The trees are very good in catching the trade-winds humidity. The water then passes down the earth and into the creeks.
Just before the highest top on this walk the both group met again. At the same moment the weather became very bad and visibility becomes zero. The warm clothes have to be put on and the group took a lunch break and hopefully the weather would get better. It would not have any meaning going up to the top and then there is nothing to see. When the eating lunch the group sat in shelter for the cold wind. Heard a nice old saying – “Skogen är den fattiges kofta” – ” The forest is the poor man’s jacket”.
The weather did not get any better so the top walk was skipped. Your humble reporter was freezing and the hands were really cold. The walk continued downhill to a camping area were the bus was waiting. The guides came with an offer that the ones that wanted could return to the hotel by bus. Some decided to do so but the majority continued the 6 kilometer walk to the hotel. A second Geocache could also be logged near the camping site.
The first walking part was just through the camping site to catch the track on the other side. When arriving to the track the path was marked with many race marks. This is because there will be an island running race on Saturday. There are many different courses and the longest one is 120 km! The guide informed that last year 120 km was won by a Spanish runner. The amazing thing is that he was 65 years old! One of the guides, a young woman will run the 25 km course.
Realized we had a Polish woman in the group also – Tatiana. Could then practice the statements like “dzień dobry” and Wroclaw!
At the camping the weather became much better and the warm clothes could be tucked into the backpack again. The sun was warming nicely during the last 5 kilometers to the hotel. The walking does have taken their tribute and many of the members in the group started to get somewhat tired. But all have of course fought well!
Have to take some extra intervals running on the end of the Pilgrim walk to clear the sin account once and for all!
Writing some reports before today’s 4-course dinner!
End of day 3
Back to start
The yesterday walking seems to have been somewhat constraining – This night sleep was eleven hours! The other party in the travel group woke up earlier and told that Tenerife with the mountain Tejde could be seen from the balcony today. This morning it was clear sky for the first time. BUT when the walking was going to start the clouds/dusk was back.
Yesterday dinner conversation was somewhat different than the evening before. There is a saying that “lika barn leka bäst” and this also relevant when the walking group starts to divide themselves into different groups. This evening your humble reporter was sitting with the “businessman” group at the table. All are/have been managers high in organizations or had own companies. The discussion was mostly about the world business and economy. Some in the group seemed to have real power and some were “wannabees”. It was like looking at cockfighting. Tried to start a discussion about MES and Factory Control but there was a limited interest!
One lady had a health company. She explained that she was doing Iris analyzes and some magnetic flow measurements to invest patient’s bodies. Your humble reporter does not want to be rude by saying – bullshit – but some doubts about the message came up. In the middle of these thoughts the dinner neighbor next to the right started to say that he had been on such a treatment and fully agreed that this was something! He had been working as high management, stressed and worked hard. When getting older he tried to get some support from the Swedish public healthcare but was not satisfied. He felt that he got the support when some “specialist” made an iris-analyze and also proposed some kind of treatment. What was offered was not explained. He seemed to be a trustworthy vice old man but still the doubts as above remained. OK, as long as people become healthier it is good, independent of mysterious treatments.
The dinner was somewhat lighter yesterday including fish and soup in the menu. Still there were many quick returns to the room from the majorities of the guests after all offerings were consumed.
Today’s 8 km walking one direction, will be to a view place and restaurant and with 250/500 meter altitude. At the restaurant there will a bus offered for all that prefer this transportation instead of 8 km walk back and same altitude backwards. It will be interesting to see if the bus offer will be too tempting for the walking group (including your humble reporter). The guide recommended – If alcohol at lunch – No walking recommended!
The first part was uphill and it was colder weather so all put on to much clothes. After one hour the sun showed up again and the walk to the lunch stop was pleasant. During the walk some caves were passed. People have been living in caves and still do. The different now is that they build a nice external face in front of the cave and then hack inside as much space that is needed for living! If you buy a new book you just hack some more space!
Today the guide informed about the islands history and who have been ruling these islands. At last they became owned by Spain. There is also a lot of quarrel between Teneriffa (biggest island) and Canary island (has Gran in its name) who should be the ruler for this island group.
Spain has a financial crises nowadays and unemployment is very high and especially on Canary Island. Almost all construction projects are on halt. The youth unemployment is the highest in Spain and here on the island it is 70 %! It is not good when young people do not have any work.
When arriving to the village Artenara for lunch break a Geocache was approached. Could not find it – Shit! The walking group got some local specialties as lunch – Cheese, sausages, bread, fried small paprika and vegetable soup. Good stuff for the return walk.
Only 7 of 25 decided to walk back. The walk was somewhat hard in the beginning and also some parts in the middle. The easy downhill parts in the beginning now had to be taken uphill. During the walk the weather became worse and worse. Rain coat had to be put on when the wind and moist clouds came hard from the side.
All managed the walk good and also the travel group. In the end there was a steep downhill passage and some of the walkers had problems with their knees and had to go down carefully.
Have recognized until now that the walking group consists of two doctors, two nurses, two dentists and the Iris-analyst! Feel very safe in case of emergency!
Back in the hotel a shower and glass of wine made the body come back to nice normal condition. Let’s see what the dinner tonight will offer!
By the way – During the first dinner we were served palm heart. So now when have been eating this we are perhaps qualified to apply for Robinson?!
End of day 4
Back to start
There is full storm outside the window this morning. It is +2 degrees and hard wind, rain and dusk. What to do today? How will the runners in the island race manage today? The start for the runners who will run the marathon course will be outside the hotel. The runners who do the 120 km race started 00:00 this night. The storm started at 01:00 in the night.
As said before the “normal” night is black as a ”sotar…..” here and when now raining and fog there must be some challenges to find the way on the paths. Some headlights must have been used but do the batteries last for 7.5 hours? The paths must also be very slippery.
Today was intended to be a rest day in the walking program. The travel group had decided to walk by themselves but that is not possible because of outside conditions.
The majority decided to go by chartered bus to Las Palmas. But will there be the same weather? Then there is not so fun in the city either? At the breakfast the walking group were informed that the temperature in Las Palmas is 21 degrees but cloudy. The decision then became easy – Next stop Las Palmas.
The bad news is that this weather will stay for the rest of the vacation.
Yesterday dinner was nice – Some picture was taken. The chef seems to have a very creative capability so the menus are really different and interesting compared to what the travel group is used to have. See some pictures of the drink package (requested by Jacek) and the food.
The evening conversation could be labeled as “shit-chat”. All seemed to be tired and “relaxed” so the discussions could be classified as nonsense talk. Nothing of interest was stuck in the experience bank more than a feeling of safety since the group consists of 3 nurses, 2 doctors, 1 physiotherapist and 1 Iris analyst.
The vacation is not over yet so perhaps more resources can be identified who can take care of the travel group in case of exhaustion etc.
The travel group’s children would probably been very embarrassed if they have seen how mature senior grown-ups behave during dinners!
When looking in the mirror this morning your humble reporter recognized that only half of the face was red since yesterday walk in the sun. The walk to the lunch restaurant was westward and the sun then burned on the left side. When going back the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and fog. So the saying “Double nature personality” have got a face! HÄPP!
When arriving by the bus to Las Palmas the weather was sunny and 22 degrees! The travel group selected clothes suitable for the weather conditions at the hotel so the long trousers were not the most appropriate in this heath. Near the bus stop there was a shopping street so the compulsory purchase of a souvenir T-shirt could be fixed quickly. Next stop was a Geocache in the old city. A short visit was made to the old cathedral close to the Geocache. The cathedral was impressive with its high TAK inside.
It was just some minutes before the ceremony so the visit became short. BUT, realized also that religion is business and must be cost efficient. Normally church visitors put some money in a box and take a candle to light and put it in some place. This has now been rationalized! – There was coin machine where to put the money and then an electronic lamp was lit (See picture)! Even if church visits are very rare for the travel group this seemed a little irreverently.
The market place was close so the travel group headed towards it, to hopefully get the other standard purchase on remote locations – Seeds or bulbs that are rare in the home country. Managed to get seeds for the “Snokört” bush and that was really pleasant! There are often challenges to get these exotic seeds to germinate and mostly it fails. Let’s hope for better luck this time.
This was all to see in this area so the travel group took a taxi to Las Canteras beach. The driver made of course an extra drive to get some more Euros. The trip was really affordable so there was no reason to start a discussion. This was a revisit for your humble reporter and of course even this time it was important to look cool (See picture)! Do not remember how it looked like in the earlier days but it seemed too been modernized. It was also more people on the beach back in the days. Remember also an Ice-cream salesman walking on the beach from one end to another. He was rely quickly in his mouth and was very entertaining. All beach guests wanted to offer him some drinks/beers when he passed. Do not remember that he ever managed to cover the whole beach before the hammer hit him. It is hard to be an ice-cream salesman!
3 of 4 Geocaches could also be logged which were located close to the beach.
In a shop Swedish newspaper could be bought. I was todays Aftonbladet and Expressen. The time was approximately 11:30 and Saturday papers were available!
The walk on the boardwalk was sweaty in the sun. Some thermometers showed plus 29. At the end of the walk a Wok restaurant was visited with a very good lunch buffet. After the lunch the travel group walked slowly back and tried to find the last Geocache but failed. The tide had returned and the beach was full of surfers on the south part. At the far end of the Playa the travel group decided to try take a local bus back to the place for the chartered bus. This was no problems since the bus drivers were very helpful.
The last minutes before return to the hotel were spent in the sun getting an even redder nose!
Back to the hotel some runners returned who has run the marathon course which started outside the hotel. They performed the same zombie like walk as the walking group when returning from earlier walks! Think they have had a very tough day.
The weather was sunny when returning so let’s hope it will also be the same conditions tomorrow when the walks start again.
Hope the travel group children do not have to be embarrassed about the dinner behavior tonight!
Dinner is ended and it was a “medium” evening both the menu and “shit-chat”. Nothing to be ashamed off. The other party in the travel group was little embarrassed. The waiter came to her and said that she seemed to like the desert. She had finished the desert before all others at the table. She was somewhat embarrassed.
The bad information was that it was yellow alert regarding weather tomorrow. It will be low altitude walking but even that can be impossible if hard winds. We will see tomorrow morning.
End of day 5
Back to start
Today there was yellow weather warning. It was somewhat windy this morning but not as yesterday. The temperature was low and the forecast was that it will be storm later (the forecast was right! See below).
The morning started sadly – One of the walking groups members had to leave very abruptly to Sweden. His father died during the night. Life is not always funny and we all felt sad for him.
Since the weather forecast was so poor the gravel group had to go down to 500 meters and be on the east side of the island. The storm is coming from the west. The guide is not allowed to take the group to windy and risky areas.
Today’s walk was around a volcano crater and after on turn the walk was then down to the crater. At this altitude it was really nice weather with full sun and hot. All winter clothes that were put on at the hotel had to be changed to summer clothes. There was not so much uphill around the crater but since the temperature was high it was somewhat strenuous for the walking group.
The area is the most exclusive area on the island. The first golf course in Spain are said to be started here. The houses in the area were very exclusive. The price for the houses starts at 3 Million…………Euro!
During the walk the group got some information about Canary Islands. It was interesting how the different market strengths have been lost during history. First there was a profitable sugar industry and sugar cane farming. That was taken over by West India and Cuba. After that there was wine producing but that was also ousted.
Next products were tomato farming but the market position was lost when EU accepted import from North Africa. The latest disaster was banana farming. That was also totally stopped when EU did not accept Canary Bananas as “real” bananas.
At the moment the whole island is dependent on Tourists (95 %). The government tries to fiddle with statistics that it only 40% of the total production of services, but that is wrong. If the tourists leave then there is almost nothing left to live on at the islands.
After the circular walk the group continued down to the bottom of the crater. Realized that what goes down must come up later! The return will be a challenge! While going down the temperature became higher and higher and at the bottom it was really hot. Good for the sunburn but much water was needed.
During the walk there was a discussion between two ladies in the group. They were discussing that their trousers where sitting loose and where dropping down. They were surprised that the walking could have consumed so much energy while they thought this was overcompensated during 4 course dinner with wine-package! They were happy of course and perhaps this also gave some spin-off effects. Dropping trouser perhaps made someone others in the group also happy?
At the crater bottom there is a house were the owner lives 50% of his time. There is also some vegetable plantations. Wonder what price the owner will get when he sells the house? It is located in the bottom of a volcano crater! It is said that every 30 year there will be an eruption in the island area. Where it will be next time is not known!
Close to the house a sweet and skinny little cat requesting for some cuddling. It was a nice and kind cat (see picture) but also a really tough one. A couple of dogs were running around without the owner’s attention. They started to bully the cat but he/she could really answer! But after a while it gave up and ran away.
In the bottom the group had a lunch break to get some strength for the ascent up. The lunch seemed to have given some of the group members extra energy since it became almost a competition up to the edge! Had to stop at the middle to take a photo to proof presence for an Eartcache. Some members passed and had to stretch the legs significantly to catch up. Of course it was no competition from your humble reporter’s side but just to get some training!
Talked to the guide and gave him a tip that there are some nice views probably at the top located beside the crater. Perhaps it would be nice to take the walking group up to look at the view. The real selfish reason was that there was a Geocache!
After the view look (and logging!) the bus headed to a local wine yard! The team had a reservation and could taste the local wine from the yard. It was really a nice wine and bought also a bottle. It is amazing what wine can do to people! All just collapsed into the chairs when arriving to the wine-yard but just some minutes after the wine had been served the discussion became very bustling! The group is for every day coming closer and closer to each other so there was no problem to find issues to discuss! It was fantastic! Wine also makes miracles for the muscles. Normally stretching is strongly recommended after physical efforts but a glass of wine can deliver the same miracles!
After wine tasting and shopping the drive back to the hotel started and just after some minutes the bus was completely quite! Perhaps everyone were analyzing todays walking? The weather was hot and sunny when leaving the wine yard but when arriving to the hotel it was full storm – Rain and very heavy wind. The whole bus was shaking! Wonder if they even can land and start on the airport today?
The forecast for tomorrow is not either positive. Will see what kind of walking opportunities will be available.
Now it is just to wait for some dinner. The gym is of course also an alternative……….
By the way, the waiter has been living in Sweden for a period and one of the things he has brought back to the island is “Lingon”. They really enjoy these berries and there has been at least one course every night containing some “lingon”. Interesting that we have delicacies in cold northern countries!
When writing there was also a number of power breaks. Let’s see what the storm will cause.
End of day 6
Back to start
The storm has been howling the whole night and still do. Think this is first time in hotel history when you can use wakeboard in the Spa-pool?! When coming back to the room after the dinner last night half of the floor was covered with water. The Balcony doors cannot resist the heavy rain (Some poor construction) and the water has sprinkled in. Put towels to collect the water before going to dinner but that did not last. Had to get more towels from the reception. The reception staff was somewhat resigned about the situation.
The rooms below had power outages whole night. Perhaps the water have poured down and caused short circuits?
The dinner was not as happy mood as previous because of the weather and also the information – No outdoor activities next day. To be honest you would not stick your nose outside today. It would be very dangerous.
The chef had done some experiments with the menu again but this time it was mostly creativity and not so much taste. It was OK but the group has had some better dishes before.
Had a dinner guest in front of me who really have made some very interesting travels like South pacific, Zanzibar, etc. He also told stories about their children and his daughters adventures seem to be a little bit spectacular.
She went in a good school (I think some private) and when finished she made her parents somewhat disappointed. She just wanted to be a hairdresser which was not expected from the parents. After that she became a model and travelled around the world and tried to sell herself to agents etc. Usually agents interviewed about 50 models where two were contracted. She did learn many (serious) tricks how to sell herself in that very very though world.
After some years she just ended this activity and went to some complementary school and became an IT-consultant!
Our children sometimes impress us!
In the discussion it also came up that the neighbors wife also was staying at Las Canteras when she was 20 years old. She was looking “as young as” your humble reporter so perhaps she has been there at the same time? Who knows about ways of the fates? (ödets vägar)
Today will be a long day. The hotel has not much to offer. Spa and gym are perhaps some alternatives. This day will be preparation training for the very boring flight back home to Sweden. Hope the storm will pass until tomorrow. Currently schools, airport, harbor, roads, etc. are all closed. Where is the sun on this “sunny” island?
During breakfast the guide informed that the storm has been very hard on the island. They have measured winds up to 150 Km/hour (storm, hurricane?). On the most westward island Palma the cars have been rolling in the wind. Weather stations on the islands have been damaged by the wind. The positive thing was that the plane back to Sweden is still on schedule. The departure from the hotel will be 05:20! This is late sleep (sovmorgon) for the retired people in the walking group!
He also informed that one of the shop sheds was open today! (See picture). The comment from the owner was that there are always some (idiot) tourists that will be out on some adventures. They need provisions and he needs the business!
Boring day today. When all the vacation “tasks” were performed there was nothing to do other than read the work mailbox. Most of the mails are now read and answered. Have written some idea reports to hopefully add something to my dear customer. A “punch in the nose” was the immediate reaction! Nice to know that the “fight” will continue when back to work. Looking around in the hotels meeting room and see that no one is talking with each other but just sit with smartphones, iPod’s, laptops, etc.! We have new ways to socialize in today’s society!
Another reflection about the room is that number of channels in the TV was decreased for every day?! Now it is down to three – BBC World news, German channel 1 and ZDF?! Is that how it works? No big deal since not so much TV have been watched. The only of “interest” is that Queen Elisabeth had stayed one more day in hospital.
It is still raining and hard wind. The room is again hit by the rain and the floor is wet. Wonder if some extra will be charged when having a swimming pool included in the room? Waiting for the dinner and then an early night sleep so the travel group manages to wake up in time tomorrow. One boring day will be followed by another one tomorrow. Some self-control is needed so the focus is on the nice days during this vacation.
End of day 7
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Hip hip hurray! The travel group has been part of a record setting! Yesterday the wind at Tejera was 136 km/hour! It has never been blowing so hard before on this spot! It is a proud moment for us all! This was the second hardest wind measured on the islands during the current storm. The winner was the island Hierro > 150 km/hour.
The departure to airport was very early and all in the walking group were very tired. The first part of the drive was on dark roads and the fan for front window on the bus was very poor. The guide had to stand and wipe the window during the drive. The first part was somewhat dangerous driving!
The guide also informed that Iberia staff is striking and slack up regarding the services. Hopefully it will not affect our bags since Iberia staff is handling the ground service at the airport. Understand now why the luggage was delayed when arriving to Gran Canaries. It is very often conflicts in Iberia Company and union actions are common. Do not go to Canary Islands so they can strike in peace??
8 days off and only 3,5 days was walking. That is not good enough! The price for this trip was also significant higher than other trips from same travel company. If comparing by arranging it totally by yourself then the difference is probably more.
Time for some reflections. Was it better to perform the vacation with a charter trip and travel in group compared to fixing all by yourselves? Not sure and need some more time for reflections. Do not think Canary Island is the best place even if the walking’s were nice.
Why are some places nicer to visit than others? There are many different factors of course but one factor is one of the most important. The tourist popularity of the location affects at least on very important factor for yours travel group and grading of the visited place.
When meeting people it is nice to meet genuine signals like totally not interested or curiously interested. In first case there is no reason to waste time and in the second case there can be interesting meetings with other people. The latest opportunity is of course the nicest experience you can get.
The relation when you are just a financial object which needs to be skimmed as much as possible is of course the worst.
Did not want to go to Las Palmas when it was offered the rest day since the probability to have the later type of meetings will be very high. Since the weather was so bad this was the only alternative for that day.
In the mountains and during the walks some nice spots were found very far from this tourist atmosphere but when passing spectacular places that are available for car or buses there are always some tourist stuff salesman.
Since Gran Canary Island is 95 % dependent on tourism it is perhaps not the best vacation objective for the travel group. As long as the stay could be spent in the mountains it was OK.
When going on orienteering trips abroad the locations are often very “odd” and far from the tourist clusters. The probability to meet casual rural and urban life is much higher and also more pleasant.
The location of the hotel made the travel group somewhat isolated since no private car was available. During the storm there was not any option either.
The analyze will be ongoing but the first preliminary verdict is that this was not good enough when it comes to Gran Canary. Nice walks but the total impression has to be put in relation to what other travel destination can offer.
Arrived safely home and no problems with the flight. BUT why are the flight services not any service nowadays but just transportation of an object? Perhaps old memories gets “beautified” when memories gets dusty but was not flights better some 20-30 years ago? Was it only about free alcohol or was it about pure nice service?
The car made some noises but it managed to go the whole way back home. The travel group was very tired when finally arriving home. Not so much sleep the latest nights.
End of trip
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