Friday 3 March Time to go away for our cruise in the Canary Islands!!|
We went by train to Arlanda Airport where we slept in the hotel for the night.
Saturday 4 March Confusing with all the people in the department hall, I went giddy but at last I got the promised assistance. A very nice girl. Snow in the air and the take-off was delayed because of ice. But the plane went away and at one o'clock local time we saw the island Gran Canaria below. We had assistance and arrived to the ship "Thomson Celebration" at half past three. My husband is in need of lots of help.
Sunday 5 March - La Palma Waking up at sea - sunshine and some mild wind. During the morning we landed in the harbour of Santa Cruz on the island La Palma - la isla bonita (the beautiful island). It is the greenest of the Canary Islands.
We joined a bus tour Scenic Tour. First stop at the church Nostra Senora de los Nieves (Our Lady of the Snow) She is the patron of the island.
Some flowers in bloom - good to see after all snow at home! The guide told us that there is an uniq kind of birds in this island -chaff (Fringilla coelebs palmae). Otherwise there is not especially rich animal life here on the island out in the Atlantic.
The nature is characterised by high mountains and deep ravines. We had a stop where we had a very good view of the capital and the sea, and observed our ship down in the harbour.
Then we passed the mountain range, the middle line of the island in a tunnel situated about 1000 metres above sea level. At National Park Information Centre we saw a very interesting exhibition of the geological history of the island. The northern part of La Palma is dominated by Caldera de Taburiente - the biggest erosion crater in our world. It is 9 kilometres wide and 1500 metres deep. It is the result of a fault. We went upwards in the mountains covered by forests of canary pine. The slopes are precipitous. I cannot understand how the pines are rooted. Sometimes clouds were hiding the view. The road ends at Mirador de la Cumbre. From that point there are paths for those who want to walk higher. But we stayed and enjoyed the sunshine. Some vigorous persons made a bit of the walk.
The island La Palma does not have large beaches but is mostly a goal for those who want to walk and hike.
Information in English about La Palma
Interesting geological pictures of La Palma
Monday 6 March - Madeira clear sky, blank sea outside Funchal on Madeira. A beautiful airy sculpture on the pier with the motive Santa Maria, the vessel of Columbus. We did not join any tour this day but stayed on board the ship.
Tuesday 7 March and the ship was at sea all day. It was a little cloudy and north-eastern winds, near gale. But in the afternoon it was possible to sit on the leeward side of the ship in the sunshine. These ships are very good balanced.
Wednesday 8 March - Agadir. That harbour was not especially nice. In the afternoon we joined a bus tour. At first we came to Kasbah. The restored walls of the old fortress. Really a trap for the tourists. We were attacked by sellers who wanted to sell things, camel rides, wanted us to take photographs and pay for that etc.
The nature is yellow sandstone, often overgrown with broom and euphorbia. We had a sightseeing from the bus in the new town. The old town was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1962. The street signs in the centre were in both Arabic and Latin letters. The gulf of Agadir has a nice beach and it is well settled for the tourists, and there is a lot of big hotels along the beach.
We visited Fantasia - an entertainment by acrobats, musicians, snake charmers, dancers and the Berber horseshow.
At last we visited Medina, a reconstruction of buildings destroyed in the earthquake in 1962. It is a craft center now. The buildings and the mosaic floors were beautiful.
Medina de Agadir - picture (German site)
Medina de Agadir - a page in French
Thursday 9 March - Lanzarote. A volcano island with pointed peaks. We stayed in the ship all day. Temperature 15 degrees Celsius, wind from north-east and a light breeze.
This evening there was gala dinner with Baked Alaska Parade at the dessert. All chefs and cooks came in a parade and after them all the waiters carrying burning Baked Alaska pudding. Then the waiters arranged in a row in front of the dining room, playing and singing several songs, and the finishing song was Auld lang syne.
Friday 10 March - Tenerife Mild winds and fresh breeze. We arrived in the capital Santa Cruz early in the morning. Santa Cruz in an adminsistrative town. The tourist villages are in other parts of the island.
We joined a bus tour to Los Caņados - the National Park area around the volcano Teide. It is the third size volcano of our world and the highest point of Spain, 3718 metres above sea level. It is still active and the last eruption was in 1909.
The tour went up and up and up again, into the clouds. At 1000 metres above sea level we came out of the clouds in the pine forest. The hills were precipitous and the ravines deep. At 1800 metres above sea level the forest ended and we come out in the lava fields, which show the most differing shades of brown and black. We had a stop for coffee at El Portillo where the administrating building for the national park is situated. The end point of the tour was at 2330 metres above sea level where a scientific station is found. The solidified lava was forming a unique moon landscape with plants defiantly rising from the ashes. They will get bright flowers in May- June so we were a bit too early for that scenery. I tried to take some photos of the plants that live in this milieu.
Saturday 11 March - Las Palmas. where we had to leave the ship att 11am. We had a taxi to our hotel Reina Isabel where we got a nice well supplied room with a balcony towards the street. We had dinner in one of the numeral restaurants along Paseo de las Canteras, - the long walk along the beach.
Sunday 12 March A cloudy morning. Every day we had breakfast in the dining room with a large buffet, great choice. Especially my husband appreciated the fresh pressed orange juice, and the bacon and fried eggs.
This day we went to an information meeting with "Fritidsresor", the travel bureau we were travelling with. We joined a bus tour around the town. At first we came through the harbour, the third at the Atlantic Ocean (no 1 New York, no 2 Rotterdam)
We had a stop at Pueblo y Canario where there were a folk dance entertainment. In the park Parque Doramas the birds were singing in the sunshine, I identified a thrush and a canary. At the entrence to the park we observed a sculpture symbolizing the massacres of the guanches, the original population of the islands. Besides, there were sculptures here and there in the town. A special type were the "canaris", dog sculptures, painted by different local artists.
After that we were transported through the newer parts of the town. The houses are in many different pastel colours. That is giving a nice variety sight of the built-up areas.
In the afternoon I went up to the top of the hotel and swam in the swimmingpool - as I did all days during our stay there. It is so nice to swin in water heated by the sun in the sunshine. We had temperature around 20C in the shadow at daytime.
We went to Swedish Church in Las Palmas in the evening and joined the Swedish sermon.
Monday 13 March Mostly we sat in our balcony, reading. The balcony was very nice in spite of that it is against the street, we had sunshine in the morning and shadow in the afternoon.
We had dinner at Le Cerge que RiE. (The Happy Pig) I liked that restaurant.
In the evening we looked at the moon but you hardly can see the stars because of all the lights of the town. In the early morning Venus stood high as Morning Star.
Tuesday 14 March Sunrise is around 8AM - we really notice that we are just in the time of Vernal Equinox.
We joined the bus tour to the centre of the island. The guide had many facts to tell about the island during the bus ride.
At first we went to Caldera de Bandama along a road with lots of flowers the roadsides. Often there were geranium in masses in the villages. The houses are in mnay different colours decorated with white ornamenting around windows and doors. In the village Bandama they are growing wine.
The view from the crater of Bandama is wide, we could see out over the sea and over the towns of the north-western part of the island. But we also could look down into the deep crater of the volcano where a man is living in a lone house.
The tour advanced through Tafira - Sta Brigida up to St Mateo 850 metres above sea level. There we had a stop for coffee. Bougainvillaea was in flower on the walls, and the flora of the roadsides was bright, but the rich bloom will come later. In the gardens there were orange and plum trees.
We arrived to the highest point on this tour, Cruz de Tejeda - a roads crossing 1450 metres above sea level in a district where they grow almonds among others. The flower time of the trees was over, and the fruits will come in August. We stopped here and could buy things at the market. They sold almond products and other local products, but also lots of simple goods imported from South America. The view from here is unendingly vast. The houses are like small white dots in the ravines. And far away under the clouds you have an idea of Las Palmas.
The tour advanced to Artenara where people still live in caves dug into the precipitous hills. So you are cool in the summer and warm in winter. Often they have a facade along the road looking like an ordinary house, but the rooms are in the hillside. So they can build and live in spite of the steep hillsides and nearly any horisontal areas.
Artenara is the highest situated village in Gran Canarias (1.230 metres above sea level). It is well known for the cave church Santa Maria de la Cuevita. Most of the tour members went up to that church, but I and my husband cannot walk such a steep walk. We were satisfied to have a look into the church in the village. Then we had lunch together in a restaurant inside the hill. We had typical Canarian dishes. Small potatoes in a red sauce, dip-fried fish and dip-fried meat.
When we left Artenara we came through the steep and rocky valley where the wellknown formations "El Fraile" and "Roque Nublo" are seen.
Road to Teror through pine forests on precipitous hills, ravines, empty brooks, areas with black lava soil - memories after ancient eruptions of lava. The town of Teror we first observed deep under us. It is situated 550 metres above sea level. It is a delightful little town and the religious centre of the island. The madonna Nuestra Senora del Pino is the patron of the island and her basilika is here. In Teror we also can see the typical wooden balconies and window frames of the Spanish colonial architecture of Gran Canaria.
Wednesday 15 march Changing clouds, sunshine and temperatures up to 28C in the afternoon and 21C in the evening - very nice holiday weather. We had a lazy day and in the evening we went to the restaurant Gallo Felize that had been recommended. But I found that El Cerge qui RiE was more cosy.
Thursday 16 March there were high waves in the bay, and the water was foaming over the Barra. We spent the day like yesterday and had dinner at El Cerge qui RiE again. This time we had one of the special dishes of the house, flamed shrimps in a sauce with pineapple, mushrooms, peppers and more.
Friday 17 March Really - today it was windy! But the wind is warm. The sea foamed high against the Barra in the bay. And the sea roared.
Playa de las Canteras is a wonderful beach just outside the hotel and far away to both sides. We bought a newspaper and then I left my husband in a chair along the Paseo de las Canteras. Then I took a long walk along the beach at the water edge barefoot. Sometimes there was a high wave far up on the sand and the force in the water is really strong. I had to concentrate to be able to keep my balance and not fall when the water came up at full strength. It was so thrilling, fair, comfortable, I enjoyed it very much and felt so free!
Saturday 18 March - time to go home. The sea was roaring - the breakfsst nice as usual - we will remember the fresh juice. Packing ready, we left the room and payed the bill. In the airport we had very good assistance by the representive for Fritidsresor. That was needed as there were lots and lots of people in the terminal. My husband is so stiff and rigid, he cannot move as fast as often is needed in the terminals.
At Arlanda we were met by our son. Temperature 0 degrees Celsius - what a contrast for us!
Our benefit of the journay?
I am so glad for all that I have seen and experienced, all the good memories of nature and buildings.
I have felt well by swimming in the sunshine.
My husband has had good feelings by the changes from the dull everyday and by having good food.
A cruise is a good way of travel for those who are not agile.
Thomson had a good choice of excursions and adjusted to different abilities.
Especially I was fascinated by the island of La Palma. The tours to Teide in Tenerife and the tour to the centre of Gran Canaria were interesting too.
But Agadir was no inviting town.
Photos from the trip Diary in Swedish