Friday, December 24, 2010

Gran Canaria- Canary Islands

On December 18th we left our house in Durham and took the train to Edinburgh. We spent the evening walking around the Christmas market in Edinburgh, which was filled with food, rides and anything Christmas or not that you could want to buy. The Christmas market is along a main block of regular retail shops and we were able to peruse the stores until 6pm. For some reason, all stores close at 6pm or before, even during the holiday shopping rush! It was a surprise to us when we first arrived in the UK and we are still uncertain of how these shops do any business if everyone works from 9am-5pm. The Christmas Market was open later than these stores, so we walked through the crowds in the market and then found a local place to eat pizza, grab a pint and have some dessert. We stayed in a hostel in Edinburgh that night- our first experience. Todd had trouble sleeping with the heater that kicked on every 10 minutes and I awoke several times by a woman who repeatedly left the room in the night slamming the door on her way out. This was still the best option for us since we had to leave the hostel at 4:30 to catch our bus to the airport for our 6:45am flight.

We met a couple in the hostel at 4am that told us their flight had been canceled due to bad weather conditions, but everything went smoothly in the airport for us and we took off in Edinburgh while in began to snow heavily.

The airport in Gran Canaria is right on the beach so we had a beautiful view flying into the airport and were greeted by the warm sun and the ocean! Todd used his great Spanish-speaking skills to get us on the public bus that took us to your hotel.

We made the best decision of splurging a bit on a room with an ocean-side view. It was a small room, but it had a terrace and a beautiful view! We slept with the terrace door open every night so that we could hear the ocean while we slept and it was a delight to be able to sleep in the fresh 65 degree weather. We spent our days exploring the towns around us and getting some sun on the beach. Our hotel had 3 adult swimming pools and 2 jacuzzis so we spent some time there also. As sunny and warm as it was the weather could change rapidly and a few times we were caught in the middle of a downpour without warning.

The part of island we were on had many touristy Irish pubs called “Mulligan’s” or “O’Neils”, but managed to find different local restaurants (we eat well!) to have tapas every night. We had garlic prawns and prawn stuffed red peppers and yummy fried creams for dessert among other things. We enjoyed the mid to upper 70 degree weather and sunshine everyday and tried to take in as much sunshine as we could.

We said goodbye to the sun and the beach on the 22nd and headed back to Edinburgh to more snow falling and 14 degree temperatures. There were train issues due to London having snow and we had some troubles getting back to Durham. We made it onto a train that took us home and had a nice conversation with a young couple on the train about British vs. American holiday traditions. I learned that mincemeat pies do not usually have any meat in them, just fruit, though upon some more research I’ve found that they are supposed to be a meat and fruit pie combination.

We picked up the pups at a local kennel the next day where they seemed to have a good old time with the caretaker/owner who told us he became quite fond of them.

With the fresh 2-3 inches of snowfall in Durham upon our return, it was wonderful to get away to a place where we could live in flip flops and shorts for a few days and the 6pm sunsets (instead of 3:30 sunsets) will be missed.

Good-bye sunshine! See you in April!

No comments:

Post a Comment