This year we decided to do Christmas a little bit differently and jet away somewhere warm. After a lot of looking (and arguing) we decided on a lovely vila in Gran Canaria. I would 100% recommend at least once going abroad for christmas in your lifetime. The whole situation was so surreal and incredible that at the time it never sinks in properly and it becomes a fantasy that you will never leave.
On the first day we decided to play it cool and not do too much. So we ended up on christmas eve part driving and part climbing up a mountain. At the very top it was 1,800 meters high. THAT IS MORE THAN A MILE HIGH!!! It was such an amazing experience especially as you got further up the mountain the plants and landscape changed and became less tropical and turned into a blooming freezing place. But it wasn’t snow so it’s all ok really and i still managed to keep just a t-shirt on at the very top.
We also decided to visit an extinct volcano (a caldera) on our first day that formed the majority of Gran Canaria as it is a volcanic island. It was even further up through loads of steep and windy mountain roads that could barely take a car let alone a lory but the local people tried anyways. We nearly crashed multiple times but don’t you worry betty the hire car was returned in pristine condition. The crater was massive and I really mean that. I thought that you wouldn’t really be able to see much but in reality you could see this HUGE clearing just blank. The strange thing is that although plants surrounded it none of them grew on the crater. It was as if they were scared of it for some reason.
We finished off the first day by stopping off in a village called Artenara for a very late lunch. We went to a restaurant that you could only get to by going through a cave, it was definitely an experience and a half. When we got through the cave the view that greeted us was breathtaking to look at. The fact that we could see this as we were having lunch just brought it to a whole new level. I think personally this is because England is such a flat country we aren’t used to cliff faces and mountain tops.
We experienced Mojo potatoes for the first time on our first day as well. They are boiled potatoes covered in a garlic, chilli, pepper and tomato sauce that somehow manages to taste creamy and rich with no dairy in it at all. It is a traditional canary dish and is usually served with tapas (which translates as little plates by the way)
We drove back to our villa along the Canarian equivalent of a motorway called the GC3 that was parallel to the beach. It was incredible to see all of these huge ships and the heat and bright blue sea on christmas eve of all days in the year! You just wanted to jump right in and swim away from all your worries and regrets.
Christmas day was another fun packed adventure filled day that smashed the traditional view on what christmas should be like. It started off by going for a little walk around the town we were staying in called Agüimes. We found out on that day that this town contained no less than three bakeries. We only knew this because we went on the hunt for bread to go with our food for a christmas filled breakfast. And i can tell you now that the bread was absolutely incredibly soft and flavour filled. So much better than British bread and we get our bread from a local bakery!! The only negative is that they only sold bread in rolls which were too big for one person but too small for two people.
After stuffing our faces full of bread we headed off to a crocodile sanctuary. YES, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!! It was full of snappy bois. There was even once called Edward that was separated from the other crocodiles as he had anger and behavioural issues and needed longer to adjust to the other crocodiles. HOW CUTE.
They also had other animals that they were nursing back to health, Like a llama, a couple of porcupines and tonnes of birds. And we actually got to go into the bird enclosure and see them all together getting fed. But it did mean that a certain bird got very interested in my shoe and began pecking at it but he was very cute so I decided to let him get away with it.
Christmas Day was also a beach day. In the afternoon we headed to Las Palmas which is the capital city of Gran Canaria. We walked along the most Beautiful prom with palm trees on each side of it making you feel like you were walking towards the gates of heaven. You were then greeted with a HUGE jetty and looming above it, a super tall lighthouse followed by bright blue sea and sparkling sand ON CHRISTMAS DAY, it was 27 degrees. I know this because they had electric thermometers everywhere proudly showing off the stunning weather.
And the best thing about Christmas day you ask?? WE HAD PIZZA FOR LUNCH. After our incredibly traditional Christmas dinner we had a little paddle then ventured out onto the sand dunes. These sand dunes dwarfed us in size. There must have been millions of grains of sand all piled up. So what do you do if you have the mind of a child? climb them and surf down them of course. Now, this was a lot easier said than done considering your feet sank into the soft sand. With every step taken becoming an extra challenge. By the time I raced my mum up to the top I was so tired I lost my footing and fell over. But it was worth it when I got to surf down looking like a complete idiot.
The next day we Visited a Botanical Gardens and the 6th biggest Rum distillery in the world. We got a guided tour around the plant and were shown how all the Rum was made including touching the machines and barrels. Then you got unlimited tasting of all the different types of Rum they made all with different ages and percentages. They even had a toffee and chocolate one!! Oh and we got to see a barrel that Tom Jones had signed when he visited the distillery which is groovy.
The botanical gardens were awash with so many different shades of green that I would never be able to count. There were steep cliff faces, small rocky paths that with one wrongly placed foot would send you down to your death at the bottom of a valley filed with foliage. And of course endless palm trees and cacti. I felt instantly at home. And although it was colder on the day we visited we were thankful as walking in heat is never fun really is it??
Well that brings me to the end of four out of seven of the days we were there. If you actually managed to make it to the end of this I will be pleasantly surprised considering the sheer amount of words I furiously bashed into my computer, But if you do want me to write about the other half of the week all you have to do is ask,
With love, Owen