This voyage is a busy one with a port a day from Madeira to La Palma to Tenerife to Gran Canaria and then to Lanzarote. That is followed by a day at sea, then Lisbon before 2 more days at sea and then home.
On our day in La Palma we had the wonderful news that our daughter Louise had given birth to her second son and our second grandson Charlie. Our congratulations to Louise and Richard (Red) and to grandson number one, Ethan. Charlie arrived 2+ weeks early. He was meant to wait until we returned!
Gran Canaria was the place we chose for our honeymoon, 44 years ago. We flew to Las Palmas in the early evening after our afternoon wedding reception – none of this modern stuff with dancing. Just canapés and a glass or two of champagne and it was over and we were off! How things have changed!
The Hotel Rocamar it was, overlooking the beach in Las Palmas. 4 star which we thought was the tops. It was excellent, but when we sought it out on a cruise visit a few years ago we found that it was now a rather run down apartment block.
We came back to Gran Canaria a few times when the children were small. We had learned from our honeymoon that resorts in the south of the island had sun all day. Those in the north only had sun in the morning because the clouds backed up against the mountain during the morning leaving it overcast in the afternoon.
We often stayed at the Costa Canaria Hotel in San Augustin for a fortnights break in the Easter holidays and we also had a holiday with the Holts at the Maspolomas Oasis hotel in 1978.
On Thursday Cunard had organised a small coach with a lift at the rear to take us on a 5 hour tour. The planned itinerary was to take us round Las Palmas showing us the sights and then south to a small fishing village, Puerto Mogan. There were 3 wheelchairs and 4 companions, a guide and a driver and 20 empty seats.
Instead of touring Las Palmas we set off on the main road south. The presumption was that we would cover Las Palmas at the end of the day rather than at the outset. The guide, Jose sat at the rear of the vehicle with us and seemed to direct most of his comments at Jane, who clearly looked the most attentive and interested of the group.
Soon we were by passing San Augustin and Playa des Ingles which we knew well in the past and on to Maspalomas famous for its massive sand dunes.
We were taken through a hotel to the sand. Not much of a spectacle, but in the distance we could see a white building near to the sea and surrounded by trees. It had to be the Masplomas Oasis where we had stayed in 1978 and it was. Maspalomas then was the small place a mile from where we were standing.
Now it is a sprawling mass of houses, apartments and hotels.
Then it was back in the coach to cross the southern part of the island to what was described as a small picturesque fishing village and marina. Puerto Mogan. I had never heard of it. When we arrived at what appeared to be a vast shambolic development, there were masses of coaches and thousands of people being poured out of them. Were we in the right place? The guide Jose assured us that we were and explained that the market was the attraction. Certainly Jane was excited by this. She loves a market.
I insisted on finding the marina and a coffee in the hope that the market could be avoided. This was not a fish, fruit and veg market but a cheap clothing and tourist ‘tat’ market. As we approached the marina we found the “small picturesque fishing village”.
That part of the place was lovely although it was packed with people. The coffee was good but I was unable to prevent the inevitable attraction Jane and Kim had for the market. I wandered ahead but on losing the others retraced my steps to find Jane trying on a jacket – a sort of woollen thing.
Only 125 Euros I was told. Conscious of the fact that when Jane is out on shopping sprees with Chris Jackson or Carole Gordon or Jane Strother or Georgina Lucas most of the items have to be returned (by me!). They don’t fit or are the wrong colour. You will all have experienced it. I asked Jane if she was really sure she wanted to spend that much on an item that she might not wear very much (or at all). The man trying to sell it became very angry and told me it was top quality cashmere. I said that I was talking to my wife and not him. That wound him up even more. He continued to shout. Clearly this was to be his sale of the day and I was ruining it. Jane didn’t like the spat and wanted us to move away which we did. Within 5 minutes he had followed us and found us. He apologised over and over and then said he had never reduced anything to that extent before but was prepared to give us the jacket for cost price – 90 Euros he said. No thank you very much!
The marina was pretty but overrun with tourists. We made our way back to the coach to find that we were last and that the others were waiting for us. We then made our way back to the ship.