After experiencing the giant pain that is Ryanair and suffering through a four hour flight with the world's least classy, drunkest, most obnoxious "Hen Party" (Irish bachelorette party) complete with pink cowgirl hats and booty shorts, I arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital city of the Canary Islands. The Canaries are an autonomous community belonging to Spain located about 62 miles off the coast of Africa. Pretty cool.
After the cold and rainy weather of Ireland, the sun and sand of Gran Canaria was very much welcomed. As with everything I experienced in Europe, I felt a little like I was dreaming as I stood on that beautiful tropical island. And wearing flip flops for the first time in months was pretty freeing.
Kristi, Carli, Dan, Taylor and I hopped a bus to our hostel in downtown Las Palmas. The drive along the coast was absolutely breathtaking, but when we arrived, we were a little confused. There didn't seem to be a lot going on, and our hostel was in a bit of a sketchy area. After Carli haggled/harassed the proprietors about the rate we had agreed to for the week, we finally settled in. Somehow the day had passed, and the evening too, so by the time we went to get dinner, it was close to 10 p.m.
And nothing was open. Not even those generic Chinese restaurants you can find anywhere in the world. We walked and walked the deserted streets of the capital city, not really sure where the island's 900,000 residents were. Finally we stumbled upon this fancy Japanese/Thai/Fusion/Confusion restaurant where our very helpful and attractive waiter let us know that the party happens on the southern part of the island, about an hour away from where we were staying.
CRISIS. It was spring break. We had come to "make party" (as Europeans always translate), and our only opportunity was an hour away from our hostel. No. Wrong. We left the restaurant full but frustrated. That night, we tried looking for available hotels in the south, specifically in Playa del Inglés which we discovered was the beach resort town we had been planning for. The guys, who had been responsible for booking our Canary trip, refused to take any responsibility. There was a lot of hostility. A lot of general crankiness.
The next day (Wednesday) we paid some more euros to take another bus to the south, where we walked around all day in the heat with our suitcases attempting to find a place to stay. We quickly learned that it was some kind of European tourism week, a festival or something, so everything was booked except this really expensive resort-type deal. OF COURSE. After lots of sass and general disagreement, we eventually agreed to stay at the resort for two nights (while still paying for the other hostel). The guys, low-maintenance as they were, needed their own room. So instead of paying for one room (where the five of us would have easily fit), we paid for two. Whatever. I still have lots of not good feelings about that whole situation.
But it hit me that I was still in THE CANARY ISLANDS, so I should probably have a blast. So I did.
We discovered the most delicious salad on the face of the earth, the Canary Salad. Which we proceeded to eat like four more times over the course of the week. In that time we did a lot of flirting with the waiters, these old Spanish guys who really couldn't get enough of us.
|Lettuce, tuna, tomatoes, avocados, eggs, cucumbers, carrots, pineapple. Perfection.|
Every day pretty much went like this: Wake up, hit the beach (where we were, with the exception of these two Irish lads, by far the palest people on the island), Canary Salad and gin & tonics (Bloody Marys for Kristi), more gin & tonics, beach, fruit parfaits and stealing Wi-Fi at McDonald's, gin & tonics. Usually in that order but not always.
|The water was pretty chilly..|
|View from our balcony!|
|Oh hey Audrey!|
It was perfect. Our resort pools were perfect. Our resort bar was perfect. The only downside was that Spain is very receptive to topless older women. I'm trying to think of specific antics to write about, but most of them are very odd and very much inside jokes (Hello Kitty stickers, trolls, mixing drinks in the pool bathroom, etc.)
On Friday night, we (reluctantly) returned to our hostel in Las Palmas after days in the Panama City (Florida) of Europe. Saturday, we walked around the city, did a bit of shopping, and nommed some more McDonald's. We had to be up so early on Sunday to return to Genève that sleeping was really out of the question. Instead we hung out on our hostel roof, looking at the stars and shooting the breeze until our taxis arrived at some heinous hour to take us, and all the junk we had acquired, to the airport.
|Adios, Gran Canaria!|
I'm not really sure how I've gotten through this post without crying. Probably because I haven't yet added pictures. I have been feeling so, so nostalgic lately, especially this afternoon, watching ANTM in beautiful Roma.
I can't believe I was ever ready, excited even, to come home. Which means it's about time to figure out how I can get back to Europe as soon as humanly possible.