Tuesday March 8 2022 – After three days of relentless tourism – and buttock-clenching roads – we decided that a more leisurely day would be nice. The opportunity to revisit a couple of places from the first full day we had here, when the wind and gloomy conditions really affected our enjoyment at the time, seemed a good way to fill the day.
The first of these was the Guadayeque Barranco (Ravine), which is reputedly lovely, but was all full of people when we visited because it was a weekend and the place is especially popular then. There are some interesting buildings along it, and some great-looking places at the top; but parking was all but impossible at the weekend, so we weren’t able to get the best out of the place.
Today was much calmer; fewer people, less wind, more sun. So we were able to get a good look at the places built into the rock as you go up the ravine
and see some of the restaurants at the top.
We stopped for a coffee break at the second of these, La Era, and it was an unusual coffee stop in that it featured no coffee, since their machine had broken down. However, I got a beer whilst the staff discovered this, so all was not lost. The terrace at La Era features a great view
and several cats.
Behind it is a path leading down the side of the hill, which was actually closed at one point, but we walked along it from the other end as far as we could, and learned that it led past accommodation which could be booked
and also featured a souvenir shop.
Another feature at this top end of the ravine is another restaurant called Tagoror, whose car park seemed to offer a convenient space – so Jane booked us a lunch table whilst we wandered around the other bits here. From the outside, it looks like any other restaurant with an outdoor terrace. But inside it is very unusual,
including some little cavey bits for groups to dine in.
It’s all entirely artificial, of course, but one has to admit that it’s fairly unique. The lunch here was workmanlike rather than posh, and served by a waiter who seemed to have a schtick about how hard put upon he was. But he was (almost) perfectly efficient and so we had a decent meal. Jane had curried goat, which she said was very good, even if at first it doesn’t seem a natural fit for a subtropical island’s fare.
We had timed the lunch so that we should, we hoped, arrive at the second revisit of the day at about the right time. This involved consulting the tide tables, as the place in question was El Bufadero, the blowhole on the east coast by La Garita. This was the scene, last Saturday, of winds so violent that not only was it not safe to go anywhere near it, but also my video gimbal couldn’t stabilise footage in the frankly alarming gusts of wind.
Today was utterly different. The sun shone, the breeze was gentle, and we had judged the tide right. There was still a barrier to dissuade us from going near the blowhole, but we laugh in the face of danger when it’s safe to do so, and I joined the various people who also had the same idea down by the blowhole. The resultant footage was very satisfactory.
So, after two such signal successes we decided it was time to head back to the hotel for a celebratory gin or two, having had another good day. On the way back, there was a decent view over Agüimes, which we’d visited a couple of days ago (the windy day!)
You can see the very distinctive church of San Sebastian. In the distance, you can also see a forest of wind turbines. We’d noticed that there were a lot as we drove round the island’s main road towards Maspalomas, and, because she’s like that, Jane later consulted Google Maps and counted them up – there are over 140 onshore wind turbines in that south-eastern patch of the island. Here’s a section of Google Maps to give you an idea.
The turbines are shown up by their distinctive shadows.
The final thing I did was to walk down the road from the hotel to take a photo of the towns below the hotel.
The reason I did this was because during the first couple of days here, we formed the impression that the buildings we saw near the main roads tended to be of rather dull, sludgy pastel shades – yellow and red ochres, and dull pinks, for example. By contrast, the villages and towns we saw up in the mountains featured, we thought, a lot more white buildings.
I think there is some merit in this view – it’s certainly true that the hillside villages we’ve seen have largely featured white in their palette – but also I wonder about the effect that the rather gloomy weather we experienced in our first couple of days had on our assessment; also, we’d just come from Lanzarote where the building code practically mandates that all buildings should be whitewashed, which perhaps made the contrast more noticeable. In the sunshine, the Gran Canaria colour palette doesn’t look so scruffy, that’s for sure.
So, here we are, drinking gin and eating crisps and starting to think about Passenger Locator Forms and all the other pre-requisites for an orderly return to the UK. But we still have two full days here and at the moment we have no definite plans as to how we’re going to fill them. If you’d like, please come back and find out how we got on.