It was a short flight from Tenerife to Gran Canaria and, this time, the welcoming sun greeted us. We took a quick bus to Las Palmas, the capital city and took a tour of the town; the houses were especially colorful with against the cerulean sky. I felt more like in a South American town than a European one.
Our first stop was the house of Christopher Columbus, which gained fame as the house where Columbus stayed while one of his ships was repaired. The house is typical of the island, with large courtyards and wooden ceilings and balconies. The museum has maps of his journeys, replicas of the ships and even original correspondence. I thought it was interesting to see coming from Segovia (you can read why here.)
When I travel, markets are among my favorite stops as they really give a good idea about how the culture lives and eats. The market in Las Palmas was small, but had a good representation of foods from meats and fish, to vegetables to candy. Most of the fruits and vegetables are imported to the island. In order to make up for the cost, Spain gives The Canary Islands a tax break.
We drove around the island, stopping at a beautiful look out point. All I wanted to do was enjoy the beach.
In the early afternoon, we stopped at the Painted Caves, an important archeological site describing the take over of the island from the Spanish. While it was interesting to learn more about the Spanish conquest of the Island, the museum showed a lot of movies to educate their audience. We were allowed to explore the complex and see remains of old homes.
My stomach was growling, but luckily La Finca la Laja, a vineyard- slash orangerie- slash coffee plantation was our next stop. The vineyard is one of the most beautiful places ever, despite the eminent rain. It is also theleading coffee plantation in Europe. Vines covered walkways with draping grape vines, creating romantic paths that you would see in French paintings. We had a delicious lunch served overlooking the vineyards, filling our bellies with traditional Canarian dishes.
On the way to the coast, we stopped in a small seaside town. The town’s houses were white and connected by walkways covered in beautiful pink, purple and orange flowers. The flowers are all over the island and apparently are home to cockroaches! EEK!
For dinner, we met the Tourism Bureau and a group of journalists at The Beach House for an amazing tapas dinner. The tapas were plentiful and amazing, but felt more American-style than Spanish. After dinner, we headed to our hotel, the AMAZING Lopesan. I felt like I was staying in a gothic cathedral. Our rooms were spacious and luxurious; they had walk in closets bigger than some New York bedrooms!