Happy New Year in Las Palmas

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January 7th 2018
Published: January 7th 2018
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It's been a while since my last entry, I guess I have been busy, but mostly just life. I will try and keep it short....

So what have we been doing for the past 4 weeks? Well let's see.....

We completed our intensive Spanish Lessons (except Lindsay she is returning for another month of sessions). I think we learned a lot, how to ask questions, order food, return something...all the basics needed when out shopping or at a restaurant. We learned more grammar but that is all out the window now for me. We try to speak what we can, but find most of the time locals just try and figure out English for you instead.

Sarah has continued at her surf lessons. She leveled up and now gets to hit the bigger waves. She has made a couple friends there that she tries to go with on her 2 x week lessons. Some days the waves are so big that it takes her more time trying to to get out to the waves, than ride them.

Julia and Austin arrive on the 16th of Dec for a 2 week visit. It was so nice to have them here and it started to feel more like home for a while. Lindsay took them to Tapas night in Old Town with some of her friends she met at Spanish (big thing here- cheap wine and eats for 2 Euros) I beleive it was fun, except Julia wanted to come home early. Sean and I have yet to experience this night out. Julia enjoyed the malls almost every day (Austin not so much). I don't understand how one can want to shop so much, but she certainly does. We had some nice dinners out, beach days and took a trip down South to Maspalomas.

The south is very touristy with big hotels and usually warmer by a few degrees. Our trip started out with a zig zagging road winding uphill to reach the highest point of the island called Pico de las Nieves.This is the highest peak of Gran Canaria with height of 1,949 meters (6394 ft) above sea level. The ride was a bit too windy for most of us but we managed to make it without any incidents. lol. Along the way we stopped for a break at a park which looked to have had a fire burn through it. It was quite disturbing actually (haunting I would say described it best). We later learned there was a large forest fire in Sept of this year which ran through the mountains and a local village. The views from the top were quite remarkable. We could see Rock Nouble (our next stop) very clear at times until the clouds rolled thru. The peak was mostly occupied by the Military base (including a big soccer ball shaped radar). No villages or towns near by, almost something you would see in an old movie, kind of eerie with all the trees now burned away. The name Pico de las Nieves means "peak of snows

We headed back down the mountain and across to Rock Nublo (the volcanic rock of the island). It is 80 m (262 ft) tall and its top is 1813 m (5948 ft) above sea level, the second highest peak of the island. The plan was to climb to the top, but we actually only made it about half way as Julia and Austin only had their flip flops on ( really kids) and it seemed like we would most likely lose our valuable sun time at the beach if we didn't get a move on. (the drive took up a bit longer than we anticipated). Regardless of not making it all the way up, the views were spectacular and the man playing guitar in the woods was a nice touch. LOL Certainly not the safest place to be if you have small kids as the drops of the side were quite steep though.
We made it to the South around 4 and started at the Dunes. The dunes are a rare sight to see. They were formed by the sand from the bottom of the ocean, during the ice age, when the wind blew the sand towards the coast of the island. They span 404 hectare (1000 acres) and protected as a nature reserve since 1897. The wind was up so it was hard to really enjoy them without eating too much sand or getting pulled in to the slopes. Austi found himselve sinking into the side of one dunes. It was fun! We then headed over to the main strip as we were famished from all this travelling today. Sean and I had to drive around to find a parking spot for our min bus 😉 while kids strolled the boardwalk for a place to eat. We ended up at a Mexican Sushi restaurant- talk about odd combinations..... Food was good but very expensive. Another reason not to live in the South I guess. We took another stroll along the boardwalk to see the lighthouse and then decided to make the trek back home along the highway this time. Road was straight (thankfully) but we did end up 2 x a s long as there was an accident on the highway. Argh!!!

Christmas came and went, Kids went and bought us a mini tree and we found stockings from the dollar store... Spent Xmas Eve out for dinner at an all you can eat Sushi restaurant. Julia's choice! Opened presents Xmas morning and then I attempted my big turkey dinner in my tiny oven/kitchen. I managed to find everything I needed and only thing missing was Hayden ( ;( ) and all our family from home!! Dinner was good (except the English Gravy I found) and the stuffing with Spanish sausage was even a hit. Spent the day lazing around, went to the beach and then home to watch some "Ley Y Orden". They only play 3 shows in English here- old episodes of Law and Order SVU, NCIS or Leverage. The internet (wiffi) is lame so watching our TV has been a challenge.

Jake arrived on the 30th. Kids took him around town (the mall as per Julia's request) and tried to keep him awake past 11 pm. Kids spent the next day together exploring a bit as Julia and Austin were leaving the next day. Before they could leave though we offered to get them a surf lesson so Sarah could show them her moves. The day was not too sunny and waves a bit big, but they all managed to have some fun and even catch a few waves.

Sad to see Julia leave ( and her flight was delayed in Portugal and then some more delays at Pearson with luggage, so it wasn't a happy day for her at any cost). We already miss having her here, but I know Austin's mom is happy to have them back.

New Years was uneventful.....mainly because I am a drag..lol There were celebrations in some bars/restaurants but very expensive and not as family friendly as we would have wanted for Sarah....so we made homemade pizza at home and went for a walk on the boardwalk. We had Champagne to toast the New Year and listened to the hour long fireworks that went off in town ...they love their fireworks here or at least Firecrackers (caps). Constantly going off day and night for about a week.

Lindsay and Jake went to Agaete (port town with white houses and blue doors) for a mini vaca before he had to leave, so we decided to meet them on the last day to explore more of the inner island. Agaete is very small but has a few interesting things to see. The natural swimming pools for one. They looked very cold but Jake and Lindsay were determined to swim in them (that is until Lindsay saw the crabs in the water..lol). We walked along the boardwalk (stopping at the many workout stations along the way of course) to the Puerto de las Nieves (doors of the snow). We found some kittens eating fish (headless fish actually) and looked for the blue doors. Next stop was the Painted Caves (Cueva Pintada) in Galda. I thought we were going to real caves outside, but turned out it was a museum of sorts. Boring. So Sarah and I went for a walk in town instead while Sean, Lindsay and Jake explored the museum and park. Lindsay really wanted to make it to the Rum Factory, so we rushed off as we only had 1 hour to get to our destination. The Arehucas Distillery is nestled in the town of Arucas. The make honey rum from the local sugar cane along with several other Ron Miel rums. The tour was interesting and it ended with a tasting of course. There were about 300 Barrels in the factory some 60 years old. They were all signed and some of the famous ones we saw were signed by Julio Iglesies, Tom Jones and Alfredo Kraus. We enjoyed some honey run, banana flavoured rum and the 12 year old rum. The 60 year old rum costs 5 Euros to taste so we opted out of that seeing as none of us are big rum fans anyways. After the tour we went in to town for a bite to eat and check out the Church of San Juan Bautista and the Garden of Marquesa (botanical garden dating back to XIX). The church is massive and very Goth like. Quite a site in such a small town. Lunch was to be desired....kids picked out the place (mainly because Sarah saw they had chicken nuggets) Sean's theory has always been if they have pictures of the food on the wall, don't eat there. His theory proved to be correct. His Sausage Croissant was a foot long with hot dog pieces and Lindsay's Nachos were inedible (to her at least- Jake seemed to do ok). That about did it for the day and we headed back to Las Palmas for Jake to get ready for his 3 am departure. ouch!!

Since all our company has now left, we have tried to get back to reality, back to work and start planning for our trip back home (NOOOOOOO). But yet another holiday is upon us (Epiphany- the day before King's Day) Jan 5th -Friday night- the city has a big parade and the three kings proceed down the streets handing out candy to the kids. On King's day (Sat Jan 5th) everything is closed as this is their Christmas here. Some people call it "children's day" as this is the day the children get their Christmas presents. Hmm guess Sarah missed out on that one!!

That's all for now folks,

Will try for one more blog before we head back at the end of the month. Miss you all......Happy New Year

Additional photos below
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Family photo?
Alfredo Kraus AuditoriumAlfredo Kraus Auditorium
Alfredo Kraus Auditorium

Just down the street from our home

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