I returned yesterday from Gran Canaria, and what a beautiful week it was!
To do nothing, to laze in the sun, to soak up the warmth – how welcome!
I had never been there before, and the island was different from what I had expected. I didn’t do any research before I went, so I knew nothing about the place save for my own vague and diffused fantasies, hastily constructed on the breath of a second between closing down my computer for the evening and switching on the car engine. I was somehow expecting the place to be more green, although I don’t know why, because I was fully aware it is on the same latitude as Luxor. The scenery was bleaker than I had envisaged, the rocks harsher and the crags and contrasts more extreme, but that was not a bad thing, it just added even more to the novelty of the place.
We were staying in Puerto Rico, which, although the largest town on that particular stretch of Canarian coast, is a fairly quiet, one-horse sort of place. It bubbles gently with elderly tourists from Northern Europe. There is a small harbour, busy with fishing-boats and tourist-boats, and a proliferation of wholesome, unpretentious restaurants. There are numerous shops selling innocent seaside tat. It’s a bit like a tropical version of Mablethorpe or Cromer, except with apartments instead of caravans.
The first day, Tuesday, we did very little, and on the following two days our plans did not extend to much more, except going out on a dolphin- and whale-watching trip on a boat for an afternoon. As we weren’t lucky enough to see any of the creatures on Wednesday, we were given a free trip out on the Thursday, so for those two days we were largely occupied on the ocean wave, albeit very quietly, neither of us making much conversation, but enjoying the combination of sunshine and chilly sea breeze, and the vigorous motion of the boat – and, on the second day, dolphins too! A whole school of them! (if that is the correct word), playing around the boat, some babies, jumping out of the water enthusiastically and swimming with grace and elegance, clearly visible below the surface of the water, even from the upper deck of the boat. It was wonderful to see them.
Thursday afternoon was marred by a sad accident; Mike caught his foot in a broken grating and suffered a severe cut which needed stitches. It was very painful and distressing although he barely complained at all. Fortunately Puerto Rico is well-equipped with medical clinics (although, with bad luck, it happened just as the majority were taking a break for siesta) and we were guided to a 24-hour centre, the Orinoco, of which I cannot speak too highly from our experience of their competence. Anaesthetic and stitches were given, and a follow-up appointment, by the doctor Fernandez, and it was all managed very well.
For the remainder of our break it was necessary to take things easy, but this barely affected anything we had been planning, as in truth we had no plans to speak of, only to laze about, and wander, and generally indulge ourselves. It would have been nice to take a jeep safari to the centre of the island, but these were out of our price range, so we contented ourselves with staying in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and enjoying all that it had to offer. We spent several hours on the beach, snoozing and becoming browner by the minute, and I was only saddened that his injury prevented me from forcing Mike to swim in the sea with me! We played mini-golf, at which I am fairly bad, and very careless! – and caught a public bus to Puerto Mogan, enjoying spectacular views of the precipitous coastline. Puerto Mogan is even nicer than Puerto Rico, in my opinion, although smaller; it is more picturesque, and the beach and facilities are equally good. We sampled some delicious ice cream there!
Although lazier than perhaps we had been hoping for, partly by choice and partly by necessity, and having the odd quality of my finding myself unusually devoid of conversation or indeed of any thoughts worth speaking of, it was a lovely holiday and one which I will remember happily throughout another whole year of English weather; that is to say, rain, snow, cold and mist! I feel revitalised by the sun; so much that I crave another week of doing nothing! I think I would need some kind of amusement, a book, perhaps, or some kind of craftwork, or my sketchbook, but a very little would be enough for me, and I want only to feel the warmth of the sun, have Mike in better health, and to drink sangria and eat ice cream on the beach.