Friday, October 26, 2012

Before moving to my new city…


…I had visited it once. I honestly didn’t have a lot of high expectations about anything when I went there. I had prejudged this place to be X and Y, but breathtakingly beautiful and something that could well be described as a place to really live a life with a lot of life quality was not among them. (I am sorry, please forgive me!) 

If one thing, I have been reminded that you should never listen to what people say about something, and believe it is a certain way without checking it out for yourself. There is usually more than one side to a story, and the same goes for cities and regions! 

So… when I went here on holidays, I wasn’t prepared for having such a great time, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for falling in love and then always thinking back with a dreamy look and thoughts in the line of “Ahh, it was just wonderful.”  

  
This region is known for receiving a lot of tourists. Loads. It’s a dear holiday destination for northern Europeans, as well as Spaniards. I have heard so many Spaniards talk about this place as something close to paradise, the most fantastic holiday destination. 

 
Anyway, I always thought this place was somewhere I didn’t really have any wishes to even visit. After all, there are sooo many fabulous destinations in this world, why would I go here? My mental images were overflowing with sunburned tourists behaving in ways they never would in their home countries. (Read: drunk beyond belief. Being very ‘easy’ (&dressed thereafter). Etc. Etc. Why? Just because they are far away from home, the sun is shining and the alcohol is cheap.) I can’t really say I like that kind of attitude, and I thought this kind of place was not for me.

…and here I am, living on this island! BUT. I have learned a lot about it since then. Yes, in the south of Gran Canaria, the resorts lie like beads on a string, and have said tourists overflowing them (among normal tourists behaving just like normal educated human beings of course!). But in the capital, Las Palmas (in the north of the island) it’s not like that at all. Las Palmas is a beautiful, old city with a lot of character. There is not that much foreign tourists here (at least not the kind I described earlier). The tourists here are the kind who want to visit a cosmopolitan city with great shopping, great restaurants, great climate and great beaches. It’s a Spanish city. Colonial buildings, a laid back attitude and very nice people. (I’ll come back to that!) It’s the 7th biggest city in Spain as far as I have been told.

 
I feel I am on a mission. I feel bad for having written off Gran Canaria and now I want to show the world (haha!) that Gran Canaria is a fantastic place, and is so so so much more than one big tourist circus! I will show you, just wait and see!

Gran Canaria really has so much to offer apart from beautiful resorts. The capital is a wonderful city, there are mountains up to close to 2000 m. There are wonderful small villages that hardly ever sees a tourist, there is a stunning ‘desert’ with sand dunes, there are beautiful flowers and cactus everywhere. And the beaches! So many beautiful beaches.

Some facts:

Gran Canaria is an island, part of Las Islas Canarias (Canary Islands),  
 a Spanish archipelago located about 100 km. off the African coast 
(border of Morocco and Western Sahara). 
So, its Spain, but with a climate of Africa. 
Which means, it’s the place in Europe with the nicest all year climate, 
with an average of 25 degrees Celsius all year round. 

Las Palmas is the capital of the province of Las Palmas, 
which includes the islands Gran Canaria, 
Lanzarote and Fuerteventura (+ six smaller islands).  

I will show you that Gran Canaria is a great holiday destination, I will keep posting gems of Barcelona, and I realized I still have tons of pictures and anecdotes from trips around Catalunya, from Andalucía (Granada in particular) and other parts of Spain. And I might have to slip in some stuff from the trip to Provence in August as well, although it’s France. (Yes, I try to keep the blog true to its name, but I gotta be allowed some exceptions!)  
I hope you will keep me company! Have a wonderful weekend!
  
In case 
you missed it 
and are interested, 
this post is a follow up
on this and this post.

24 comments:

  1. Well you build up the excitement for reveiling your new place under the sun really well.
    Personally i am very prejudiced regarding Gran Canaria: hoards of tourists, no real culture, refuge for retired old people only interested in sunshine weather...
    See if your stories will turn my fixed idea upside down?

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Paul. I can just say I was like you. But I have learned that although Gran Canaria has the things you mention, it certainly has so much more too. In Las Palmas where I live, I don't see any of the things you describe, I see a Spanish city with a great atmosphere, great people, culture and history.

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  2. I just googled mapped Gran Canaria...interesting that it's still Spain! Obviously by ownership, but fascinating! Have an amazing weekend, my friend! :)

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    1. Yes, it's quite far away from mainland Spain, but definitely part of Spain. Have an amazing weekend yourself! :)

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  3. I know only Tenefife, I never been in Gran Canaria, I am sure is fascinating too!

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  4. I love the honestly of this post and how you're going to make it up to Gran Canaria, that's so cute! I try not to go on what others say as well, I don't think I've traveled anywhere that I would write off, or never visit again. I'm looking forward to falling in love with Gran Canaria through your eyes xoxox

    PS I got your emails lovely, it's a crazy week, I'm off to New Zealand on Friday so there's tonnes to do. I promise to reply soon xoxox

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    1. Thank you Vanisha! Have a wonderful trip to New Zealand. xxx

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  5. Åååå, jeg fikk lyst til å flytte etter.. ;)

    Du er nominert her forresten ;)
    http://www.egedenne.com/2012/10/berta-carrot-award-2012-nominerte_28.html

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    1. Ja, her er det godt å være :)
      Og jøje meg, nominert! ;) Må over til deg og ta en titt!

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  6. Why would you NOT want to visit this place. I mean, geez! It's breathtaking!!! (like Norway. I LOVED your country).

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    1. Yep, I really had no clue before visiting the first time :) And I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed your days in Norway!!

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  7. and what will you do there? congrats by the way! :D

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    1. Thank you! I will ... enjoy the sun, go for walks along the beach, swim in the ocean, enjoy lovely local cuisine, hopefully find me some salsa and other axctivities. Live life in short ;)
      But in case you were wondering about what I'll do for a living, I have some freelance work from different companies that keep me busy and pay me at the end of the month. So luckily I don't need to go out finding myself a job here, as the unemployment rate on the islands is quite bad.

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  8. Så fine bilder fra en øy jeg ikke har vært på mange år...jeg pleide å reise til Gran Canaria hver eneste påske i så mange år at jeg har kommet ut av tellingen...fra jeg var ganske liten jente...jeg elsket øya...og særlig Las Palmas...en spansk by med massevis av sjarm <3
    Gleder meg til å oppleve øya gjennom ditt hjerte og øyne <3
    Kommer snart mail <3 Stor klem <3

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    1. Varmer mitt hjerte å høre folk snakke varmt om denne flotte øya og ikke minst denne flotte byen som Las Palmas er, men så få nordmenn vet om! Klem tilbake! <3

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  9. So I am curious, if I were to visit Monday through Friday would you recommend me finding a hotel in Maspalomas or Las Palmas? I want to each type of terrain as well as visit beaches and have good food and shopping available. I don't mind touristy areas. So, what do you recommend?

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    1. Hi there. Hard question! For best food/restaurants you're better off outside the tourist resorts, in small towns and Las Palmas. Shopping is best in Las Palmas too. A couple shopping areas as well as big shopping centres. Las Palmas has a wonderful beach (Las Canteras) but the weather is more stable in Maspalomas (more sunny days a year and more of a guarantee for good weather), and the sand dunes in Maspalomas are something I think I will never get tired of, so exotic and beautiful!

      I think I would do a couple days each place. Las Palmas is a fairly big Spanish city, while Maspalomas doesn't have all that much character and spanish'ness to it. (It's basically touristic) So a mix of both sounds good to me!

      If you have more questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

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    2. Thanks for the quick response and being so willing to answer questions!

      So a few friends and myself are going to the Bluebay Beach Club which is east of the tourist central. We will get in Monday night and will have all Tues, Wed, Thurs, and almost all Fri to explore.

      We decided we want to go hiking or biking in the mountains, like the ones in your photos above, but don't know where they are located and hoping you can help pin-point some spots to go to.

      Also, if we were to go to Las Palmas for one of the 4 days what are some key areas/places you would recommend, in addition to Las Canteras. Restaurants, flea markets, shopping areas, gardens, etc.

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    3. Hi again! So I just booked for my flight for the last week of March and am still curious to see what you think about these questions? I hope to hear from you soon!

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    4. Hi there,

      I haven't been hiking or biking here, so I don't know where good routes and areas are, but I can give you some names of beautiful areas in nature that you can check out. Parque Natural de Tamadaba is beautiful. So is the rock of Roque Nublo and the area around. El Pico de las nieves is the highest peak on the island (1949m) There are barrancos (ravines), beautiful lush green valleys, for instance barranco de Guayadeque.

      For Las Palmas, the area around Las Canteras is great. The beach is 3,5 km more or less and along the boardwalk there are lots of restaurants, bars, cafe's. (And all the ones I've been to are actually really good despite their good location (not always quality when location is good, as location sells anyway!) Old town Las Palmas is a must, Vegueta, for bars, restaurants old buildings etc. Triana is the main shopping street/area (just next to Vegueta). There is also a big shopping centre at the end of Las Canteras (it's called Las Arenas) and in the port, not far from Las Canteras (El Muelle)
      The flea markets and markets I know about are on Sundays, so not in the days you'll be here.

      P.S. How did you end up going to Bahía Feliz/San Agustin? :P I though you were looking to be in Maspalomas or Las Palmas!!

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    5. Some friends and myself were just looking for a comfortable and cheap resort and it fit the description. Thankfully the resort has a shuttle to the beach so we won't be too far away, but do you know anything I should be aware of regarding that area?

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    6. I don't know anything special about it, just that for example Bahia Feliz don't really have a beach (tiny one that dissapears at high tide) but you will be close to Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas and the beach in San Agustin is ok. Anyway, I understand you want to get out of the resort and see/do other things too so that's good! Wish you a nice trip :)

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