7. Gran Canaria 2013
by Johan Kjellander 2013 - 2014
I was looking forward to come to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria and stay there some time. I could then explore the island more in detail and also get to know other sailors better. It did not take long until I understood that this island had much more to offer than I expected. Fantastic climate and nature, interesting history and very nice people with lots of exiting culture.
There are three Log Books from Gran Canaria 2013. This one is concerned with the Island itself and the two others with the city of Las Palmas and the Marina in Las Palmas.
Gran Canaria is great for mountain hiking. I soon had the great pleasure to join a group of Swedish sailors who went on hikes regularly. Some of them have been in Las Palmas for many years and know all the trails.
Once or twice a week we took an early bus up into the mountans to the start of some trail and then we walked for hours. Fantastic views, very very beautiful. I specially like the Pine forests. The pines on the Canarias (Pinus Canariensis) only exists here. They have very long needles and very big beautiful cones. The smell of a Canarian Pine forest is fantastic.
This trail went right through a bamboo forest. The canary bamboo is the perfect material for a walking stick by the way.
The first people on the Canary Islands arrived from North Africa during 500-1000 BC. Isolated from the rest of the world their culture was preserved and when the Européeans arrived around 500 years ago they still lived in caves like this one (Cenobio de Valeron). The old Guanche culture was more or less destroyed by the Européeans when they arrived but some of the old caves have been converted to modern homes.
Here is an interior from a modernized Guanche caveroom. The view looking out through the entrance is not bad !
One of Gran Canaria's best known landmarks is Roque Nublo, a huge stone block 1800 meters above sea level. A hiking trail takes you all the way up to the base of the block.
The distant view of Roque Nublo shows a high mountain in the background. This is Teide on the island of Tenerife, 3800 meters high. The distance from the camera to the top of Teide is around 80 kilometers and the white along the base of Tenerife is clouds, probably on a level of around 1000 meters above sea level but from this distance close to the horizon.
Some days the mountains are cloudy. What kind of creature is this ?
The flora of Gran Canaria is dominated by different kinds of cactus but there are also may other species. One of the most fantastic flowers is the beautiful Bird of Paradise (Papegojblomma).
Bananas are grown everywhere, mainly for export to the Spanish mainland. They are relatively small and very sweet.
Our trails are usually chosen so that they end in a village with a bus station and a bar. This is Firgas, well known to all Canarians because of the good drinking water which is bottled there.
Every village has its own fiestas. This is the fiesta of the Pine Madonna in Teror.
Farmers from villages all over Gran Canaria come to the Pine Madonna fiesta in Teror to show their products. All very traditional.
The wool seems nice and soft but the horns..
The cathederal in Arucas, another fantastic village in the mountains. The window over the entrance from the inside.
Arucas is also the home of the Arehucas Rom factory. The licor is matured in oak barrels, some of them signed by persons we recognize. Many famous artists and politicians have been there.
And then finally, by the end of the day we get our reward, the cold beer. Walking sticks are always left outside ! Thanks Björne, Christer and all you others..
If you don't like mountains you can visit the sand dunes of Maspalomas in the south. Here are the best beaches on Gran Canaria.
On the north end of Gran Canaria you find Isleta, once a small island but now connected with Las Palmas city. The geology here is interesting with many signs of volcanic activity. Basalt pillars for example, created when lava cools very slowly and shrinks.
I love Parrots, mainly because of their colors but also because they seem intelligent How about these two ?
Two of the red ones, flying together. They say that they live together all their life.
There are also many other birds with nice colors. I took most of the bird photos in the Palmitos Park on south Gran Canaria. Could these be Canary Birds maybe ?
And finally, the biggest of them all, the majestic White Headed Eagle.
End of Gran Canaria 2013