Wednesday 1 November 2017

Six memories from Gran Canaria

It's a downward slope to Christmas but a recent family trip to Gran Canaria has made me feel quite chipper about donning my winter woollies. In the last of our summer indulgences, we spent a week soaking up the sunshine at Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, based in the small seaside town of Puerto de Mogan. 

Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, Gran Canaria
Winter sun: Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa
My parents discovered this attractive and well-run hotel almost a decade ago and this was our third visit as a family. Safe to say, we've got our routine down to a fine art! Mostly, we set up camp by the main pool, reading books and/or people-watching. Occasionally, we attempted to burn off two courses of breakfast in the morning yoga/Pilates class. Once, my husband even hired a bike to explore the hilly terrain. (I was with him all the way... via the 'Find Friends' app on my phone.) 

All in all, the holiday was a welcome tonic, bridging the gap between summer and those dark, winter nights.

Six of our best memories in descending order...

6) Chatting to the dog walkers ambling down the main avenue outside the hotel. In the cool of the evening, they would pause by various municipal benches to shoot the breeze with local buskers, tourists and a few free spirits. We were snubbed by a red setter but got to scratch the belly of a friendly Jack Russell.

5) Watching a group of grey-haired ladies whooping it up in the hotel pool during a choppy session of aqua-aerobics, led by a flamboyant member of the hotel entertainment team. Gangnam Style, granny-style.

4) Card games by the pool or in hotel reception after a fulsome buffet supper. My son challenged his bridge-playing grandmother to rounds of contract whist and Skyjo. Exploding Kittens was also juego del la semana.

3) Exploring an archaeological site outside the hotel, where the remains of a 1,700 year-old Canarian village cling to the side of a mountainous ridge. We discovered a skeleton in a shallow grave and even a child's footprint, preserved for more than a century in cement.

A shallow grave on an archaeological site, Gran Canaria
A shallow grave on an archaeological site

2) Hiring a car to visit the nearby Nublo nature reserve. Much of Gran Canaria resembles a lunar landscape, but the austere beauty of the mountains create spectacular views. The ravines below are filled with columns of palm trees sprouting like pineapples against an arid backdrop. The hairpin bends on the road up are a bit hairy to say the least.

Degollada de las Yeguas viewpoint, Nublo Park
Degollada de las Yeguas viewpoint, Nublo Park

El Mulato viewpoint, Nublo Park
El Mulato viewpoint, Nublo Park

1) An evening at Bar Dany, sampling the local music scene. Wine in hand, we watched a band of oldies strumming away on their guitars/accordian/harp, accompanied by a teenage trumpet player. A distinguished-looking dame, presiding over the evening's entertainment, raised her wineglass at us as we arrived, giving us the impression we had stumbled into a Graham Greene novel. Later, the teenage trumpeter nonchalantly pulled out his mobile phone from his back pocket to answer a call during play, but managed to dismiss his caller just before delivering an impressive solo.

The books we read on holiday

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza

My husband:
The Nix by Nathan Hill

My 13-year old daughter:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My 10-year old son:
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Family reading by the pool in Gran Canaria
Reading by the pool en famille

If you enjoyed this post, you might like one about hotel living.

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