After our free weekend in Madeira this year, we went on our planned holiday, in Gran canaria. We were there from the 19th to 26th June, and stayed in the Puerto Azul apartments in Puerto Rico, on the south-west coast of the island.
We arrived at 3.30 in the morning, after a 4 hour plane journey and a 45 minute bus ride. After checking in we found our apartment (sorry to our neighbours for the noise of our cases rolling along) and got some sleep.
Tuesday morning was bright and sunny. We were to get used to this after a while as there is very little rain in Gran Canaria, especially on the south side of the island. We had a chance to check our rooms, look around the hotel and enjoy the views before the welcome meeting at 11. The Puerto Azul is high on the hillside beside Puerto Rico, which makes the views good, but meant taxi rides up and down the hill to get to the commercial area.
After the welcome meeting, we had lunch at the pool bar, then explored a little, climbing up the hill to the Europa centre, where we did some shopping for cereal and juice. We also managed to get Irn Bru and a Daily Record, so things looked positive. We relaxed by the pool for a while, then took a taxi to the commercial centre for dinner, finding a cheap and cheerful Chinese place to eat.
On the way back, we were apprehended by some timeshare touts. They persuaded us to visit a place called Anfi the next day, with promises of a lovely beach. I'm thinking of having 'easy catch' tattooed on my head.
Amazing! We've been to a timeshare place that was worth visiting, and they didn't try pushing us into buying. We explained we had no intention of buying, they showed us round the apartments and resort, then left us to enjoy the beach and gave us a free ticket to the camel rides.
Anfi is a beautiful resort, blasted out of the hillside. There are four large apartment blocks, a man-made island and a beach, with sand imported from the Bahamas. After our tour, we spent the afternoon on the beach, and walking about the island. Eventually we headed back to Puerto Rico. We found a buffet place in the commercial centre for our dinner, then waited up for the hotel's evening entertainment: a Cher singalike called Jessie James.
Time for an easy day. We had got ourselves a bit burnt at Anfi, so we stayed at the hotel and lay on the sun loungers under the big umbrellas. We posted the cards we'd written, had lunch at the hotel and generally did nothing much all day, ending with a nice dinner at the hotel. They have a big buffet deal with a huge selection of stuff. The chocolate mousse was particularly good.
We were going to go to Puerto Mogan for the market, but changed our minds when we heard it was a fish market and would be a bit smelly. Another timeshare tout persuaded us to try out a timeshare called Palm Oasis at Maspalomas, which we accepted for the free taxi ride. This wasn't as nice a place as Anfi by a long chalk, and they insisted we would have to take the 90 minutes grilling treatment, so we made our excuses and left to explore Maspalomas a little. We found the sand dunes, then the shopping centre area, and did some present shopping at the candle shop. Then we waited on the bus home. After a very late lunch back at the hotel we rested and went down to the commercial area for a dinner at a place called Bubbles.
This was a fun day. We were collected at 8.30 along with some other adventurers and taken to a central point to wait for others from different resorts. After a pep talk from Paulo, and photos taken by Dave the cameraman, we set off into the interior of the island. Our driver was Camillo, and the jeep took 8 passengers, with two in the front and 6 in the back.
We were taken along some decent roads, then off-road along a trail. We stopped at various places along the way, including a reservoir which had totally dried up due to the lack of rain for the last few years. On the off-road sections we got seriously dusty, and next time I do anything like this, I'll follow the drivers' example and take a hanky along to cover my mouth and nose.
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant and had a good chicken dinner before continuing with more off-road fun and more dustiness. Eventually we returned back to Maspalomas for a drink and to watch some of the video before being taken back to our hotel. It was a tiring day, and we finished it off with dinner at the hotel.
We were picked up in the morning and taken to Maspalomas, where they to the camel trecks. Maspalomas has a large area of sand dunes, which is a bit like being in the Sahara Desert. The camels are chanied together in a train, and we sat on a wooden contraption with seats either side. Our camel was one of the biggest, and was a bit odd. It kept getting awfully close to the Irish guy in front, and kept trying to eat the various trees that we passed. The ride was fairly gentle, with just the getting up and down causing any violent motion.
After the treck, we were given a nice glass of Arabian mint tea, and then bussed off to the camel ranch. Here they keep the camels, and rear the young ones, training them to carry passengers once they are old enough. We had a meal here before they took us back to our hotel.
This evening we went to a restaurant recommended by one of the timeshare guys. It's at the top of the hill, near the Europa centre, and called Picasso's. The food was excellent, and the waiter a joker. We even had a power cut near the end which added a fun element to the night.
This was our last day. We packed and checked out by midday, but had to hang about until eleven at night for our bus to the airport. We went down to the commercial centre to do some present shopping, but leaving us enough pesetas to go to Picasso's again for our final meal in Gran Canaria. Eventually, the bus came, took us to the airport, where we checked in and waited for our flight. It was on time, and we got home, very tired at 6 on Tuesday morning.
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