A (Very Brief) Guide to The Canary Islands 

 

The Canary Islands, so named because the islanders apparently used to worship dogs (Canary/canine, get it?) are a little cluster of Spanish islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean, closer to the coast of Morocco than Spain or anywhere else in Europe. They’ve only been officially Spanish since the 1400s, and before then they were inhabited by actual native locals, giant lizards and giant rats, and other endemic species of which exact kind I’m not actually sure. All I do know for definite is that there is far more to this place the beachfront resorts that first meet the eye: a whole ginormous range of landscapes, climates and people. By the way pals, at this stage I should let you know, the reason this is titled a ‘brief’ guide is because it’s only about the islands that I’ve actually visited. Otherwise I might as well copy and paste off the internet about places I have no actual knowledge of, and that would be no fun for you and definitely no fun whatsoever for me. So unfortunately Fuerteventura and La Gomera will have to wait, but here’s a very tiny bit of what the rest have to offer.


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The Beginners Guide to La Palma  (Secret of The Canaries) 

Oh my goodness you guys. My incredibly pessimistic view on life is that if you have little to no expectations of people/places/things, you will rarely be disappointed (it may be pessimistic, but it also means I’m pretty much always having an awesome time by default). The island of La Palma is a PRIME EXAMPLE of this philosophy. Probably the lesser known island out of all the Canaries, it’s main industry is actually growing and selling bananas as opposed to tourism like the rest of the surrounding islands. There are few hotels there and not a massive number of international flights in and out, so the general atmosphere that I experienced there was far more laid back and natural-feeling than somewhere like Lanzarote or Tenerife. And although the island is volcanic, it is also incredibly fertile leading to tropical plants galore, bright colours all around, and obviously an abundance of bananas. (Miniature bananas at that)  Continue reading

One Day in Cádiz (or, solving an Easter mystery)

Cádiz is a place which I knew absolutely nothing about until the day our ship docked there, and had it not been for that one day I doubt there’s any reason that I would ever have considered visiting. It’s just not one of those places you hear very much about, is it? Set on a little slice of land hanging off of the South-West corner of Spain- it’s the oldest most continually inhabited city in Europe, and is therefore just full on drenched in history and the classic Spanish culture that I full on LOVE. A highly unstable and costly on-ship wifi connection meant that we hadn’t been able to research what to do or where to go, so with a mere day to explore, upon arrival my pal and I headed for the tourist information centre to ask a few questions and work out what on earth we should do in this crazy town of Cádiz. It was at the point that we arrived that STRANGE things began to happen. STRANGE, AWESOME, UNIMAGINABLE THINGS! Well. Sort of. And it took us all day to get to the bottom of it.

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What to Do in Lanzarote 

If you’re not the kind of person that loves package holidays, English breakfasts in non-English places and sunbathing until you’re red as a lobster, you might be thinking Lanzarote is not the location for you. Well YOU THOUGHT WRONG, MY FRIEND!!! Not only did my grandad live there back in the day, but in more recent times I’ve also been able to explore regularly whilst working on a cruise ship. One of the Canary Islands which lie off the coast of West Africa, once you get past the major touristy areas and into the rest of the island, it is a beaut place to be with a unique landscape unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The whole island has been molded by it’s volcanic past, growing mountains and carving caves through the bizarre landscape of rocks, black sand and every now and again a sprawl of succulents and cacti. Continue reading

Oliva and the Costa Blanca (Or, a lesson in how to have a real holiday)

Now let’s get one thing straight here, homies- I am not very good at having a ‘proper’ holiday, in the traditional sense of the word. I can’t sit still for long enough, and feel guilty if I’m in unchartered territory that I’m not actively exploring. Your average human being goes away to relax, but when I go away I suddenly feel the need to pack in at least triple the amount of normal activity than I’m generally used to handling over the course of any twenty-four hour period. This often results in me returning from any time spent in a foreign country with triple the amount of stress and exhaustion than I left with, coupled with the almost unbearable need to go away again in order to recover. It’s a vicious circle. But THIS TIME was different. Because THIS TIME was a real 100% bonafide actual true holiday. Glorious.

And here, in all it’s glorious glory, is the list of holiday-type activities that we did. The good, the bad and the ugly.

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4 Days in Barcelona 

Perched on the South East corner of Spain (although some would argue that it’s not a Spanish city but a Catalan one) Barcelona is one of the most interesting and simultaneously downright AWESOME cities I have ever been to. Now that is quite a claim. The only reason that I even knew very much about the city at all prior to our visit was because of a book I once read, and loved: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. You should definitely go and read it right this minute because it’s BRILLIANT.

Anyway. That is beside the point. We booked the flights and accommodation extremely last minute, which gave us some hefty and welcome savings; three of us altogether, exploring Barcelona for four days at the height of Summer, and here’s what I recommend doing if you happen to find yourself in the same glorious area for a short while anytime soon.

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