Gran Canaria

From Tuesday, 14th Nov. 2017 until Friday, 17th Nov. 2017 I visited Gran Canaria. My flight started at Lisbon airport at 11am and arrived at the airport of Gran Canaria around a quarter past 1pm. The first thing I noticed, but that there was no time difference to Lisbon, was, that the signs had the information in German on the first row, followed by English and Spanish. It was well-signed for the bus stops etc. Even the fare for the bus was on tables at the bus stops. From the airport to the city of Las Palmas was for 2.30 EUR, though I have got the impression, that it is cheap to go by bus on the island. The bus drive took around 30 minutes to the city center and around 15 minutes more to the area of Santa Catalina at the seaside. I had asked the driver to call, when we arrived at the city center, but he did not. Though I was going to the destination of the bus, St. Catalina.

I had only my little backpack, though I decided to walk back to the city centre. It would be a possibility to see something of the city, too. I had to find the way, therefore I tried with my tablet and Google maps. Unfortunately the gps did not work, but there was a shopping centre close to the bus station. I entered, because I hoped I will find free wi-fi there. Even I have got told in a data shop, where I could find free wi-fi, I did not find that coffee shop. Anyway I found a book shop and bought a map. Usually I get those maps for free, but that was here not an option. The map was for all of Gran Canaria and costs 2.50 EUR only. The other option has been to buy a SIM-card, which is working on the island, but the cheapest was for 20 EUR and it was complicated to get some data traffic, too. It was actually mostly for calling and sms.

It was easy to find the city centre. I also walked the Old Town and had an ice cream, before I came to the hostel I had booked. The hostel, called Ecohostel Bettmar, was quite central placed and it was a good decision for the value I have got. When I checked in did get an upper bed on the second floor. I was disappointed, because I had put a message by booking the hostel “I would prefer a bottom bed. I am a 67-year-old traveller and have some problems to climb ladders”. That is the standard message I send everytime I book a bed in a hostel. Most hostels reply on it, this one did not. The receptionist told me, she had not seen that message and got me another bed in another room. It actually was a little more expensive, but she did not charge me for it.

 

 

 

I went one more time downtown this day looking for a restaurant. I found one with the name “La Boheme”, thinking it has to be made for me 😉 I first read the menu on the wall, than sat down. The waiter came with the menu and I ordered a paella without seafood. He was not sure, that was possible, but was going to the kitchen and asked the cook. The waiter came out to me again and told no. I explained, that I am allergic against seafood, though I had to choose something else. Finally I chose a “lasagna con carne”. The waiter came back again and told me, they had no lasagna either. My last try was the pizza. I also had ordered mushrooms with garlic as a starter and a bottle of still water. I had to wait for a long time and I was served the starter, but not what I had ordered, but shrimps! I told him, that I did not order that, but mushrooms. He took the shrimps and I had to wait for a while again. At the end I have got all I ordered, but the pizza was very different and I think they just warmed it up from the freezer. Guess if the waiter got tips! No, never!

 

 

 

It was 23°C this day, even it fell down some degrees in the evening, when the sun had got down. I was happy, that I already at the airport had taken off the extra underwear. I dressed warm in the morning, because we only had 13°C in Lisbon.

 

Wednesday, 15th November 2017

The hostel served breakfast even it was not advertised while booking, but it was a very simple breakfast. It was coffee, toast and jam. Though I was happy about the coffee and it was good, but I had already bought own bread and ham. Anyway I had great company by a Swedish couple in their forties and a Danish guy in his fifties (I think he was).

After breakfast I walked the main street in the Old Town again, looking for the tourist information. On the way I was to a shop, buying a souvenir. A kitchen roll holder looking like a Canarian woman – I just could not resist! I had seen it the evening before. Well at the tourist information I ask for a bus or busses I could go by for a recommended route into the mountains. The assistant explained, that all busses are from and to Las Palmas, maybe it will be a smaller bus between Teror and Vega de San Mateo, but she was not sure. She told me, that the routes should be done by car. I was not willing to spend money on a car hire and tried it with the bus anyway.

 

 

 

At 11am I took the bus 216 from Telmo (the bus station in the city center) to Teror. It took nearly an hour to go there throughout a scenic landscape. Teror is situated close to the mountains. Walking the town I bought a souvenir again, but only for 4 EUR, I also came to a point with information about hiking trails. Unfortunately I should have been earlier that day, I would tried to walk the shortest one, which is for 9 km. Instead I had a meal at the Cafeteria de Cine. I first tried at the neighbour, but they were not interested in customers at all. Here I had to ask, too, but it was a little easier. There were stated, that “Papas Arrugada” was a kind of national dish and I tried to order it, but they did not have it. It would have been for around 4 EUR only. I had to ask for the ingredients in the different dishes and chose at last “ropa viaje”. The waiter first told me, there were fish in it, too, but changed his mind and told me, it was chicken. I had an artisan beer. Actually this dish comes with tuna and a lot of raw onion. I also had ordered a starter – also with chicken ;-). It was a kind of cooked potato bites and chicken i very small pieces. Even here, the service was not good. Though they did not get any tips either.

 

 

 

I catched the bus to Vega de San Mateo, but before I was looking for an ATM, because I ran out of cash. All I had left was 1.30 EUR. I did not find any ATM! I asked the bus driver, how much it was for Mateo and he told me 2 EUR, though I left and tried anyway to find an ATM, but he called me back and printed a ticket for 1.55 EUR for me. I gave him the 1.30 EUR and he accepted :-()! Has the route to Teror been scenic, the route between Teror and Mateo was more. We really was going through the mountains. It was a smaller bus from here and that was good for the narrow and curvaceous road. We were up for the mountains, down from the mountains and up again all the time, but Mateo was on a higher point than Teror. Still in the bus, I already saw an ATM and when walking the town I found some(!) more. I took some pictures, visited the church. On Gran Canaria churches seems to be open until 6pm. I tried to buy churros in a churreria, but the chief told me, they only have on Sundays :-(. I thought I will try to get something to eat close to the bus stop – I had seen that restaurant, when I left the bus, but the bus further was already coming and I stayed hungry.

 

 

 

My next destination was Santa Brigida and it was on the way back to Las Palmas. There were more than one route to St:a Brigida. Even this drive was very scenic. In addition to that, this was a normal sized bus. I left the bus in Santa Brigida, when I had seen the church from the window of the bus. That was a good decision, because that was just the right place to leave. I did not stay here for very long, but was to the church and enjoyed the view from there.

 

 

 

It became chilly and dark now, though I took the next bus back to the hostel, but close to it, I first visited the Museo Canario, which is highly recommended by the hostel, which also told, that it was free entrance after 5pm. They city of Las Palmas might have changed that, because it was only free entrance on Mondays. Anyway the entrance fee was not high and as a senior I needed only to pay 2.40 EUR. The exhibitions were interesting. It was about the former inhabitants of the Canary Islands – all about, who they may have left, their tools etc. There were many beautiful decorated ceramic pieces. It was explained, that they lived in the natural holes in the mountains or made own ones. The museum has no many rooms and they are not big either, though I was through by around an hour.

 

 

 

I went back to the hostel. On my way there is a little plaza and I heard music from there. Soon I found the little public room with open door, it came from. Other people were already outside listening to the music. I joined them.

 

 

 

After a while I was walking back the few meters to the hostel and used the lounge, where some other people were watching TV. I was only interested in a place to sit comfortable, which I also found. I was tired in my legs and even had to charge my tablet. My camera is not OK anymore – a part of the lenses are not on the right place and I took all the photos by my tablet instead. The cartoon was in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, but it was bad synchronised. It was worse with the news and Spanish people speaks very fast. Before going to bed I wrote down my notices for the day – I was too tired to write my blog. I also found out, that I won’t have time for a lot of sightseeing on departure time. My flight will already be on 2pm and I have to leave the city around 11am from the bus station to be at the airport in time.

This day we had 22°C, but in the mountains only 19°C. It was most of the weather one can get, but no rain.

 

Thursday, 16th November 2017

I had planned another route. I had breakfast around 9am, depending on the shower. There were not many showers here either – I made this experience already in Portugal, that there are no many showers in hostels. Anyway here the showers were not unisex.

I catched the bus no 50 from Telmo at 10:05am and was going to Maspalomas. While I had been to the North the day before, I now was on my way to the South and it was a longer trip, though I had to pay 6.15 EUR one way. When I arrived the bus to my next destination was just gone and I had to wait four hours for the next one. I thought, that is time enough to see Maspalomas and it really was. I walked Maspalomas and the first you find, when you never have been there before, are the supermarket and the shopping centers. There was also a place with palms, where they were taking down the palms by an excavator. I was watching that for a while and was then to a supermarket to buy something to eat. When I left I had apple juice, a baguette, a postcard and also a phrasebook Swedish / Spanish. I ate outside, walked then the shopping centre nearby without buying anything. I was looking for a bathroom and found one at least. I left the shopping centre on the other side of the building and came to the beach promenade. Here a had an ice cream and enjoyed the sun.

 

 

 

Walking down the beach promenade I came to the real beach, where people still took a bath in the water and in the sun. A part of it was also protected area for the nature. People were allowed to be there, but had to follow rules. I stayed there a while and went back to the bus stop. I was not really sure anymore, when the bus will go and was to early at the bus stop. I had another sandwich from another supermarket, one really nearby.  Finally the bus to St. Bartholomae came and actually in good time. We were allowed to enter already.

 

 

 

I did not know what was awaiting me and discovered soon, that also this bus was going into the mountains. Only some kilometers after leaving Maspalomas we passengers all gave our surprise a loudly expression. We had the mountains in front of us and it was as beautiful as the Rocky Mountains in North America! Also here the roads were narrow and the bus sometimes had difficulties to make his way. During the nearly one hour-long drive I understood that I could not make more places this day. If I would like to make the recommended route, I should have been on my way much earlier. Actually the other places were on the same bus route, but one more hour further and in between. I could have made it to the place most far away, but I should not have had time to leave the bus. This route actually made me to use the seat belt. The driver dit his best, but the road and the car drivers made it such difficult. The road was not only narrow, but also windy and sometimes cars had to back, though the vehicles could pass each other. In a curve a car was not taking out the whole space and it became very difficult. Anyway the car had to go down before the bus could go up for the mountain.

 

 

 

Close to the church was the only bus stop for the village and I as well as some more people left. It was a nice view on the mountains from here, too, even there was a fence. The village is really situated in the mountains – there are mountains everywhere around. I walked the village and tried to get as good photos as possible. I also had a look into the church. Walking the narrow streets I wandered the view points. Around 1 1/2 hour before the bus was going back I entered a restaurant and was lucky, they served me, because they were already closing the kitchen for the day. It was not really 5pm. I was sitting outside like the other guests, but had to put my cardigan on and close it, because it became really chilly now. Here I have got the “Papas Arrugada”. It is a simple dish, just boiled potatoes in their skin and a thick sauce of mayonnaise and, I think, tomato ketchup. The sauce is very fat.

 

 

 

I was waiting for the bus around 30 minutes before the bus was going, I did not find anything to do for the short time. The bus was arriving early and the bus driver had a rest, but let us into the warm bus already. There were no many seats left and I took one really long back. Anyway I got one on the right hand side again, which I prefer and when doing it in both directions, it gives the entire view. Soon after leaving St. Bartholomae it was getting dark. The way done was easier, because there were not so many cars on the road at this time of the day.

When we entered Maspalomas again it was really dark and I and some other people were waiting on this unfriendly bus stop. There was no kiosk open anymore, there was no bathroom at all and not much light. Entering the bus I paid for Telmo, but finally I left one or two stops earlier, when I saw, that I was closer to the hostel, than from Telmo. Unfortunately at one of the first corners, exactly at the Tiara street, there were a shop only selling sweets. I was into it, looking if they had the same kind of sweets like in Sweden and most of them were similar. I bought my favorite sweets and ate some on the way to the hostel, some I kept for the flight.

Back at the hostel I was visiting the rooftop, because I was told there was, when I checked-in. I thought, I cannot leave without have seen or used it. I was actually disappointed of the rooftop. I was almost expecting one like I had on Malta – where there really was space, but this one had not much space at all and half of it was not possible to be. There was no good view either depending on the buildings close to this one. Soon I was down again, brushed my teeth, made my notices and went to bed. I hoped for a good nights sleep, but had to go up immediately again. As soon as I was laying down my reflux made my feeling, that I have to throw up. Often I can hold it, but this night I did! I was happy, who made it to the bathroom. Fortunately it was all over as soon as I had thrown up and I fell asleep soon. Anyway I was up every second hour this night, because I had to go to the bathroom and pee. I think it has been too cold to sit outside in St. Bartholomae.

We had 26°C in Maspalomas, but in the evening. In the mountains it was more around 20°C. It was a sunny day with some clouds in the mountains.

 

Friday, 17th November 2017

I had already to leave Gran Canaria again. I would have loved to stay longer and I know, I have to come back some day and furthermore I have to see the other islands. I was up already at 7am and first woman in the shower. I had to pack, when all the others still were sleeping, but tried to be as quiet as possible. I did not switch on the light either. I had to wait for the coffee. It was not ready this day at 8:30am as promised. There was a little chaos in the kitchen and the receptionist, which also had to make the coffee, had no hurry.  I checked-out around 9am and went one more time to the Old Town.

I was lucky at the Cathedral St. Ana. It was open for service, though I could not make some photos, but got an impression. It was similar to the other churches, but had more pillars and was bigger, of course. I also were going onto the tower, but had to wait until 10am before I could get my ticket for 1.50 EUR and was allowed to use the elevator, which goes a bit up, but not the whole way. The stone-stairs were OK for me to use. On the tower there is no much space. It is like a narrow balcony around the whole tower and on one site it is so narrow, I could not go there at all. I tried to get some nice photos from the mountains and the town. The weather was perfect for it. When I came down again, the church was closed and one have to pay an entrance fee to see it.

 

 

 

I also tried to find an old building I had seen the second day by bus, when we were leaving Las Palmas for Teror. I did not find it, but the University (the old building which now only is used for the administration).

 

 

 

I did not have more time to stay, but had to go to the bus station Telmo to catch the bus to the airport. I arrived just five minutes before the bus. It was perfect.

I was too early as usual at the airport, because the security scanning was smooth again. Though I was wasting a lot of time in the waiting area, but also had a baguette and an apple juice. By the way the airplane I was going with had only two rows with two seats beside each other in each row. The leg room was very good. Even I had booked a discount flight I have got the sandwich, coffee and drink. On the way to Gran Canaria we also did get a “pastel de nata”. The seat beside of me was empty again and I put my “households-roll-doll” on that seat, fasten it with the seat belt. None of the stewards did say anything. My backpack was under the other seat as well, though I really had it very comfortable, but the screaming toddler behind me. I tried to learn some Spanish expressions with help of my new Swedish / Spanish phrasebook.