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Published: December 15th 2015
Saturday 12th December, 2015. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
After a posh breakfast we set off to secure ourselves a car for the day. There was an Avis office on the dockside so we decided to try this first to save the walk into town. After queuing for 15 minutes we were quoted a price of 67 euros 35 cents - criminal as we had seen cars in the town from 26 euros. We walked off in disgust and found the 26 euro place. He said we could have a car - but not until Monday! Undeterred we continued to the second place we had seen where Raol hired us a nice little white Seat for 30 euros for the day. We had pretty much decided where we wanted to go - to the north of the island and where. After checking with Raol we were pretty sure that we had chosen well.
Our first aspiration was to go to the town of Agaete on the north-west coast. Raol give us directions out of town which went wrong virtually straight away as the road out of town was closed for obres (roadworks). After a very scenic tour of the suburban
Las Palmas we eventually found our way on to the motorway heading along the north coast. We reached the Agaete junction and made for the Puerto de las Nieves which is a haven of gentleness (which reminded us of Greece) among the formidable cliffs which make up this stretch of coast. The beach was made of black volcanic stones. We walked along the quay passing the small fishing fleet until we reached the end of a pier where there were lots of fishermen. We were trying to find the El dedo de Dios (The Finger of God) rock which had been signposted from the motorway. The sun was in completely the wrong place but, after asking the locals, which we could just make out in the distance. The cliffs on this coast were subject to a violent geological event about 14 million years ago when about a quarter of the surface area of the island slid into the sea - resulting in the Risco Faneque cliff which at 1027 metres high is the 7th highest in the world.
Next on our list was the coastal drive towards the Convent of Valeron which is a complex of caves cut into
a steep mountainside. We had read all about it at the museum yesterday. These caves are said to have been a sort of pagan convent. We stopped and took some photo's down the coast from the mirador but didn't go in the caves - too many steps and not enough time! We took some photo's of the cave entrance though. We continued on the same road passing miles and miles of banana plantations in the Teror Valley until we reached the pretty town of Firgas. This was a bit of a find. It had a mountain spring which cascaded down the town centre to a mill at the bottom. The street where the water cascaded down to the mill was called Paseo de Canaria and was lined with a tiled step representing each street of the island with a crest above. We took some photos of D lounging on one of them. Further up the Paseo de Canaria were steps reprsenting each of the islands in the Canaries Group. These were beautifully tiled steps with images representing the character of each island together with a 3D relief of the island itself. We took a photo of the one for Gran
We returned to the car in order to continue our itinerary to the town of Teror. On the way we picked up a lady who was hitch-hiking with a large shopping bag. She spoke to M in a heavy Canaries accent explaining how she had found a whole dinner service in the rubbish bin and how heavy it was! Only we could pick up a hitch-hiking bag-lady!! She didn't stop talking the whole way to Teror. We learned that her brother had married a chinese and had two children and that she was the youngest of six and that her sons worked in a BBQ chicken joint in Teror - at least that's what we think she said! We dropped her off but couldn't find anywhere to park. Anyway the town seemed pretty uninteresting so we set off for our last destination of Arucas. On the way we passed a great bar with a fantastic view over the Teror Valley. We stopped for some refreshments and took some photos of the valley.
We continued on to Arucas (or Verucas as D called it) which is the Banana Capital of Gran Canaria. We found a parking slot and
walked towards the Old Quarter hoping to get a close up look at the fantastic Basilica we had seen on the way in. The Basilica turned out to be the Iglesia de San Juan. The cathedral is immense and in the neo-Gothic style. It is a titanic, stained-glass building which is actually a 20th century creation (1909). It was as surprising to find in this situation as would be St Paul's Cathedral or the Eiffel Tower amongst the banana plantations. The old town was a hilly delight with small houses built of volcanic stone with alternate whitewashed and plain grey architectural features. We headed back to Las Palmas and found our way to the car hire place without a single wrong turn! It was closed. M rang Raol and he came immediately to collect the keys- he didn't even look at the car. We wished him and his brother (who was arriving from Bristol today) a happy Christmas and spent a pleasant hour strolling in the opposited direction to yesterday along the Playa de las Canteras. We saw several impressive sand sculptures and looked at much busier beach (it is a Saturday) as people enjoyed the climate and the sea.
We returned to the ship to prepare for our first posh night.
We dressed in our finery and went to dinner. M had Beef Wellington and D had duck which he sent back but begrudgingly ate the second offering. After dinner we went to the show which was a singer called Jacky Webbe. It was an enjoyable evening. Before we went to sleep we looked at the Daily Times for details of our first day at sea. D noticed that there was a Bridge lesson with Tony and Sheila. M said there is no way there are two Tony and Sheila's doing Bridge on the cruise ships! We had met them in 2007 and M is friends with Sheila on FB. They are always joking that one day we will end up on the same ship again. Can't wait to find out tomorrow!!!
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