Saturday, September 30, 2006

GRAN CANARIA (Spain)

Last year in April I spent two weeks in Gran Canaria, which is one of the Canary Islands and is located in the Atlantic Ocean and only 210 km (131 miles) far from the northwest coast of Africa. As Lanzarote where I had been on holidays before, it belongs to Spain but has other laws. The € is the currency, but there is no or very little VAT and therefore very interesting for shopping. Especially electronical stuff.
As it is so close to Africa, every day a lot of african people try to get to Tenerife, which is the closest island and then further on to Spain or other European countries. It really is a human drama. Most of them die because the little boats they use are not safe at all. Spanish police is overflighing the ocean all the time to stop them. And when in spite of all obstacles they finally arrive, they are mostly send back again, as there are thousands coming and there is not enough room for them.
We drove a lot through this little island it is from volcanic origin and this you can see everywhere. Under the green trees and grass it's all black and there are plenty of rocks formed out of Lava.
The island was populated by the Guanches, who may have arrived around 500 BC. You still can see many traces they left.
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They used to mummify their death and lay them down in especially carved grottos.
This mummy was found in the mountains and is now in a museum.
When you drive from one end to the other it is not longer than about 50 km (31 miles) to each end. The biggest city and also the capital is Las Palmas and it also is the largest city of all Canary Islands. Besides Gran Canaria, there is also Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Las Gomeras. Tenerife excepted, the other islands are even smaller. They are all very pretty. I have been on all these islands except Las Gomeras and Fuerteventura. For Las Gomeras I had never time because I stayed in Tenerife and there was such a lot to see and to do, that I never took the ferry to go over to Las Gomeras. From Tenerife you can see this island on clear days.
Even Christopher Columbus stopped 1492 in the city of Las Palmas before he made his first trip to America. He also stopped there on his way back to Spain. Therefore you have places marked where he had been and of course also sculptures and there also is a museum named after him.
Most of the population of the Canary Island is living in Las Palmas and many people from all over the world live and work in there. Merchants and traders from Africa, China, Russia and the Middle East mingle with each other in the streets of the harbor. The Korean and Indian communities are the largest foreign communities on the island, but the majority became Spanish citizens over the years.
I had read somwhere that Gran Canaria has the best climate in the world confirmed by a meteorological institute in Syracuse/USA, but of course when I was there it had been the exception ! It was the lousiest weather they had since 40 or 50 years ! I even had to buy a cardigan and was freezing all the time. No way staying at the pool or the beach. Therefore one day I made a roundtrip through the whole island, it was sunny most of the time and I could take some photos.

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We don't have flowers in April but here were everywhere these beautiful flowers and all balconies had them.
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The entrance of a pharmacy in mosaic.Very beautiful.
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In a little habour town we found "little Venice"
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The habour was full of very pretty yachts.
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a market. Everthing quite cheap !

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The little town nested against the mountains. The big roads are all along the sea. There is not much place left for roads in the mountains and they are usually very, very small and quite dangerous.
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This was a restaurant in the mountains and you had a wonderful look over the valley


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We arrived in a town with a wonderful entrance in mosaic
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Besides the steps there are seats
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and on the floor the maps in mosaic of the other islands.
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Here we are in the mountains. The houses are built in the rocks. What is outside, was added and is more modern.
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The entrance to a family house which we were allowed to visit. It was inhabited by the parents and 12 (!) children. They all lived in one room as you can see here
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This was the dining table and I wonder how they put 14 people around there, or maybe they ate in shifts.
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and the bed which served to make 12 children.
I couldn't take a photo of the other beds because there were the whole group in this room, but there were 3 beds and the man told us that 3 children slept in each bed and the rest on matresses or in the parent's bed.
Now, there was only the eldest son living here alone and earned his living by showing this "house" in the rocks to the tourists.
And with this ended our tour.

9 comments:

Connie and Rob said...

This is just a beautiful place. Your pictures are wonderful. I love the mosaics. Isn't is amazing what some hands can do?

Thanks for sharing your trip.

Take care,
Connie

RennyBA said...

Wooo, what a lovely post - a great read with beautiful pics - thanks for sharing this great trip with us!
Have a lovely week ahead:-)

Jenn said...

You never fail to enthrall and amaze with your pictures taken, it always make me wish that I could just be there! I really love the cascading fountain leading up to the town and the purple-flowered balcony!! thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Traveling is just the best. I met THE WIFE while living in Greece, and with her have seen some amazing things. I love the wine region in Hungary (Eger).
I think what I love most about traveling, besides the sights, would be the people and food (equal parts).
The pictures are amazing.

Sonia said...

What a great thread of pictures! Really you are a talented photographer and also a journalist!
Love your tours!

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I always love your visiting!

I am looking forward to see the photos of Turkey.

I am glad your husband will see the Brazil's Formula 1. It's an opportunity to have a glimpse of my country!

mar said...

Great tour! the flowers pictured at the very beginning are bougainvilias and I just hope I spelled the name right, lol!

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

Hm.... I guess I could spend all day here at your blog, just dreaming myself away from the darkness in Sweden.... *lol*

I recognize that mosaic benches, we saw similar ones when we went over to Spain from Algarve, Portugal once. Really nice ones.

So, maybe you had MY bad weather spell then... We were on Fuerteventura then, but earlier in the spring, in Mars I think, so we heard the same and they even had SNOW in Madrid then. So the fact that we had a bit of clouds one of the weeks weren't that bad actually... I guess that the closeness to Africa was helping up, Fuerteventura is nearest of the Canarian islands.

Mar said...

Back again, not only because you left the link in the comments :)
I love to see how green the island is, specially considering it literally sits on a volcano!
Great sunny pictures!

Rebecca Lowell said...

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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