Monday, December 24, 2012

Portal de Belen de las Canteras & Feliz Navidad!

A little while back, I posed some photos of the making of the sandy Nativity Scene on the beach Las Canteras in Las Palmas. Nativity scenes are a big part of Advent and Christmas preparations in Spain, and of all the ones I have seen in Spain, this is my favorite. (I saw it last year too.) Anyhow, it's a great work of art and well, here is the finished result! 
Streets of Betlehem:

Offerings by the Three Wise Men / Los Reyes Magos:

The Nativity Scene:


It's Christmas Eve, the biggest day of the Christmas celebrations in Norway. I am back "home", it's been snowing non stop these last few days, and everything is just so postcard perfect outside. Gløgg is in my cup (Scandinavian version of mulled wine, though without alcohol) and the Christmas tree is decorated. 
It's Christmas. Feliz Navidad todos, Merry Christmas, God Jul!
We'll talk again in the next year. Enjoy the holidays everyone!

I posted about some Nativity Scenes in Barcelona last year too if you want to have a look! The one at Plaza Sant Jaume (Of course with a Caganer!), and the one at the Catedral de Barcelona, with live geese, hens and fish! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting in the Spirit for Christmas

Christmas is very cozy in Norway. At least it has always been with my family.
There are decorations, there are Christmas cookies, a big beautiful lovely-smelling Christmas tree.
Gløgg (The scandinavian version of mulled wine, although just as much enjoyed without alcohol.),
Christmas chocolates, Santas and angels, lots of candles and a good warm house while it's
dark and snowy outside. And most importantly, quality time with family.
To me, all this makes Christmas.

The weeks leading up to Christmas in Spain are very different.
Yes, there are decorations and lots of Nativity Scenes. But the rest is just not there and it's
not like there's anything wrong with that, just that it's different from what I am used to and it seems I have 'problems' getting in the right spirit without all of it present.

Now, living in Las Palmas it's been even more difficult, as the climate is so wonderful it is like summer in the middle of winter! In Barcelona, although there's no winter like winter in Norway, there is definitely winter.

I loved how Barelona was Christimas-decorated. I posted about that here and here, have a look, it's so pretty! Anyway, before I left Las Palmas to go "home" for Christmas, I had to go for a walk around the city center to see if there was some Christmas spirit to be found. And although there are no spruces, palmtrees are just as good for putting on Christmas lights!

 Yep, Las Palmas also know how to decorate for Christmas. Very pretty!
What do you need to get in the right spirit? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free Outdoor Gyms in Spain

The first time I saw a free outdoor gym was in Málaga, where I spent the first time after arriving to Spain. I thought it was somehow funny, and a bit strange, as I had never before seen it. 
I guess I don't need to say it doesn't exist in Norway. 

So, in Málaga I saw one close to where I lived. I never saw anyone using it, and it was in a residential area, not a park or a place with lots of people. Maybe there are more around Málaga that I didn't see?

And then I saw the same in Barcelona. Several places, and I thought maybe it's a common thing in Spain? People were using these every time I passed by.

There is one close to Forum, at the end of the beach, just off the boardwalk...

...right next to one of the skating areas.

And another one on the beach, right where those cool stone chairs are.

And also here in Las Palmas there are a couple places outdoors where you can have a little gym session if you like. Here too, many people use them.

Just along the boardwalk of Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas there are two. One just by the little library...

...and one at the Cicer-(part of the)beach, next to Mumbai Sunset, the bar with the fabulous wall with a new inspirational quote every week.

Good thing, cause gym's are really super expensive in Spain. Or at least in Barcelona. I have never seen such high prices for a gym membership (and I come from Norway where basically everything is more expensive than here.) Are outdoor gyms a common thing in other countries as well?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Figueres and the Art Museum of Salvador Dalí

A while back I wrote about the visit to the home of Salvador Dalí, surrealist art genious. I loved seeing his home, the crazy  original decor, seeing his creative space, where all his beautiful art came to life.

I've been a fan of Dalí's art as long as I can remember. Especially the colourful, surrealist pieces. It fascinated me how you could keep discovering new details the longer you kept looking at them. 

I always knew there was some connection between Barcelona and Dalí and that was another thing that drew me to Barcelona in the first place. (One more of many, many reasons!)

A trip to Figueres was absolutely mandatory for a fan like me! I had already visited Cadaqués, the beautiful seaside town he spent his summers as a child, and later settled down. Or well, just outside of Cadaqués, in  Port Lligat. Figueres was next on my (Dalí-) list

Figueres is a city about 140 km. north of Barcelona, not far from the French border, and it's the city where the genious of Dalí took his first breath of air. It is also where his big art museum is located. The building of the museum itself is already entertaining from the outside. Bright pink, with golden somethings on the walls and eggs lining the top of the roof. Of course there had to be eggs! Dalí designed the museum himself! 

Apart from being fascinating on the outside, the museum is definitely fascinating on the inside too. It houses the single largest and most diverse collection of his works. Paintings, sculptures, collages in 3D, a living room with furniture built up as the face of Mae West when you look at it from one specific angle, etc. 

An interesting staircase...

Ah, and Dalí was buried in the crypt of the museum.

Very well worth a visit, if you're a fan like me, you'll be happily entertained for hours!

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Garden aka Playa de las Canteras

Welcome to "my garden". I am enjoying it very much, I have never had a more beautiful garden at my disposal just outside my front door, and my favourite thing to do is going for walks at Las Canteras
with my feet deep in the silky sand as the waves wash over my feet- the most relaxing thing.

I have been keeping an eye with the tides. I grew up in inland Norway and it fascinates me how the tides change so much during the day. The beach of Las Canteras in Las Palmas is about 3,5 km long,
and it's curved. Some places it is wider than other places, and at those most narrow places,
at high tide there is no beach left. The two following photos are taken at the same place,
at high tide and low tide:

Crazy difference or what? 

The cycle is something around two weeks from what I have noticed, where the tide is high in the morning one week, and then gradually going to being high in the afternoon the second week.

The beach itself changes quite a lot from one end to the other. If we start at one end, just next to Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, a beautiful concert hall, we have the part of the beach called la Cicer, also called 
"Arco Sur", the south arc. This is the "area deportivo", a part of the beach dedicated to sports. 
Surf, football, jugar a las palas. 

There are several surf schools in Las Palmas, and many people come here on surf-holidays, 
apart from the loads of locals who surf here every single day. 

Always people playing football there
There are even knobs to hang up your backpack while you do your sports, handy!

The sand is black here, and when the sun shines on it, it glitters as if it was full of diamonds!

Then after the sporty part of the beach ends, and we enter the "Arco Central", the sand changes colour as well. First a mix of black and golden...

...and then all golden.

There is a "Barra" /reef (?) from here on and to the other end of the beach, stopping the waves, thus making this part of the beach a little calmer. The names of the beaches here is "La Peña de la Vieja" and "Playa Chica". The first one because of the big rock called "Peña la vieja", and the other one, cause it's a small (chica) beach that is separated from the rest of the beach at high tide. 

In the Arco Central, a part of the beach has quite a lot of volcanic rocks. Just a few years ago, apparently this wasn't even visible, but the tide has taken so much sand out to sea and uncovered these volcanic rocks. (They say it's a cycle, the tides takes and brings back the sand.) When the tide is high you can't see most of it, but when it's low you can appreciate how huge it is. 

Then at the other end of the beach is "Arco Norte", the north arc, also known as Playa Grande (big beach) and La Puntilla, the very end of the beach. The beach is about 120 meters at the widest here. Also protected by a barra, which sometimes makes this part at low tide like a swimming pool, the waters 
are so calm. People say it's wonderful to go snorkeling at the barra, lots of fish in different colours!

La barra
The tide flush a lot of seaweed up onto the beach, and in the mornings this is being removed and driven away, big loads of seaweed. I wonder what is done with it, if it's used for something?!

I am very grateful for this garden! It really couldn't be more wonderful!