Archive for the 'Spain' Category

postcards from gran canaria: island excursions

It’s been three weeks since Knut and I were at the sunny island of Gran Canaria and it all seems like a distant memory now. Luckily, we have these photos to look at to remind us how we pulled off an early summer in the middle of winter.

As I mentioned earlier, we stayed at the quiet seaside resort of Playa del Cura and from there, the man-made beach of Playa de Amadores could be easily reached on foot. While the beach itself is quite postcard pretty from a bird’s-eye view- it has two outstretched arms creating a glorious bay of turquoise waters and light colored sand – we felt it was too commercialized and just swarming with people. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most sought-after beaches in Gran Canaria.

From here, Puerto Rico, the sunniest place on the island can be reached by a 20-minute walk (longer if you decide to enjoy the stunning views of the ocean) via a cliffside path that winds along the Atlantic Ocean. Puerto Rico has a lot of hotels, and I mean a darn lot! There’s just a high saturation of hotel blocks and white walls everywhere. I didn’t even bother taking pictures. The beach is also busy and there is a marina for small boats. One can take a glass-bottom boat from here to the other parts of the island. But we did not do that, no thanks.

Not feeling too beachy one day, we headed to the capital Las Palmas and joined in the buzz of the city life. We didn’t see that much as we only had a few hours to spend. Apart from a customary visit to some shops at the commercial zone of Triana, we visited the twin-towered Santa Ana Cathedral, the first church in the Canaries dating back from 1500. It was quite peaceful when we got there. The square fronting the Cathedral is dotted with palm trees that line Spanish-looking buildings. We took the lift to the Cathedral’s roof to enjoy views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

We’ve read about the picturesque Puerto de Mogan and a trip was indeed necessary. And boy it did not disappoint. This lovely place has left a very good impression as it was so pretty. It has gained the nickname “Little Venice” as channels between the marina and the fishing harbor pass under arches. Rentable two-storey apartments are painted in white with colored borders. Everywhere you look, there’s a bursting of colorful bougainvillea, which reminded me of the Philippines. There’s also a good array of quayside bars and restaurants, and the marina is magnificent. It was amazing to see schools of fish just swimming around at such close range. If you ever find yourself in Gran Canaria one day, be sure to visit Puerto de Mogan. You’ll love it here!

Probably the most visited places in Gran Canaria, Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas (with its spectacular sand dunes) were on itinerary, too.

Playa del Ingles (The English Beach) is a looooong stretch of beach that’s famous throughout Europe. It offers plenty of sun and fun by the sea during daytime, but changes into a kaleidoscope of lively bars and restaurants at night. There’s a huge commercial center nearby called Yumbo Centrum, where at night the gay crowd is in full swing. There’s plenty of clubs, discos and lounge bars for every taste and lifestyle.

The sand dunes of Maspalomas – all 400 hectares of it – was high on my list. They say the golden sand has blown over the sea from the Sahara desert creating this natural attraction. After all, Gran Canaria is outside the western coast of Africa. You can cross from Playa del Ingles to Playa del Maspalomas by camel if you’re feeling like Lawrence of Arabia or by foot and stop and pose for the camera as you please. Make sure to bring a bottle of water lest you start seeing phantoms caused by the blinding sun/sand. Try not to squint though when you see nudists relaxing and walking around, an area is designated for them after all.

So long!

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postcards from gran canaria: playa del cura

It’s been a week since we were at Gran Canaria, where we spent lazy days under the sun. No work, no worries, no winter. Jetting away in January is such luxury. Suddenly, winter got shorter. Skins got darker. Souls got lighter.

After seeing the other places around Gran Canaria, we were happy we made the right choice with our hotel. It’s nestled at the quiet resort of Playa del Cura, on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, with a beach cove and a relaxed atmosphere. Our hotel, Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa is a designer property that’s sitting right on the beach. Marketed as a child-free hotel, one’s guaranteed quiet and peace. There are a variety of sunbeds and fringed parasols around the hotel’s two pools. A few steps away and one can enjoy the revitalizing waters of the Atlantic. Our suite, located at the topmost floor and on the edge of the hotel, afforded a sweeping view of the ocean. Every afternoon as the sky turned golden to crimson, we got to admire the sun disappearing into the horizon.

Oh how I miss thee!

Welcome to Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa!

Once you enter, you are greeted by these lovely lilies and a great smelling reception lobby!

Reaaally good mattresses, these ones. How thoughtful that our robes and towels were of differing shades of green, no mix-up!

Yes, that’s an open shower right there!  LOL.

This view greeted us every morning as we ate our breakfast on the balcony.

These fringe pool parasols were fabulous! And that’s our balcony right on the edge, where we watched the beach life unfold from down under.

The rugged terrain of Gran Canaria serves as a picturesque backdrop to the hotel pool.

Even Edward got to soak in some rays.

Weeee! Let’s get soaking wet!

Life’s a beach.

The final sunset over Playa del Cura. Oh how we will miss thee!

in transit: hola, gran canaria!

With temperatures dropping down to -15° celsius in Oslo, we’re getting away in search of warmer climate and a place plenty of sun, sea and sand.. Dropping our trip to Brazil, we’ve moved a bit north, to about 150 kilometers off the northwestern coast of Africa. We’re going to Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands straddling on the Atlantic Ocean! We’re spending a full two weeks there.

An island of volcanic origin, Gran Canaria is called a “miniature continent” due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found – from long golden beaches to endless sand dunes. While most tourists flock to Playa del Ingles on the south coast of the island, Knut and I are staying at the small, quiet holiday resort of Playa del Cura located  on the southwestern coast.

We’re staying at the fabulous looking Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa that’s situated directly on the beach of Playa del Cura. It’s recently opened and is designed for adults holidaying without kids. The designer suites and bungalows were designed to meet discerning travellers. We also look forward to treat ourselves with spa treatments and some great Spanish cuisine.

Until I see you all again! Be good. ;-)


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