The Hidden Depths of Gran Canaria

The Hidden Depths of Gran Canaria

Hotel Concorde, our base for a week in February, was a few minutes stroll from the promenade around the bay that is Playa de las Canteras to the north of Las Palmas. The promenade looked out on waves breaking over the offshore reef, the sun setting over distant mountains, and restaurants, bars, shops and hotels that form the backdrop to the beach. On a clear day Mount Teide on Tenerife was visible. For those with a birding interest the occasional Wimbrel, Sanderlings and little ringed Plover were dipping in the rock pools as the tide ebbed and flowed.

From our base we journeyed with our own coach or public transport to the start of each walk up in the mountains. Within minutes each time, we were taking in far reaching views across the island and often out to the coast.

On day three we took the local bus to Las Palmas Old Town and a second bus to the crater at Bandama for a memorable walk down into the bowl and around the crater rim. As we disembarked the bus, the only rain shower of the week arrived and provided an opportunity to see how many of our group of twenty-one could fit into a bus shelter while donning wet weather gear.

The path zig-zagged down the side of the crater through lush vegetation that thrived on the dark grey volcanic soil and gave us views across and down to a farmstead said to be inhabited by a solitary hermit. The farmer was tending his leeks as we passed and paid no attention to our obvious interest. Lunch was taken back at the top of the path after a 300 meter climb in improving weather. The afternoon walk around the rim of the crater was undulating with views down in to the crater, across to Las Palmas, down to the east coast of the island and inland to the higher peaks that we were to visit later in the week.

Wendy, our leader, made sure that on the rare stretches of path where the ground fell away on both sides all members of the group were comfortable. The path ended back at the bus stop where there was enough time for refreshments at a small roadside restaurant before our return journey.

From the hotel, there was time to take in the sunset from the sea front and relax before the evening briefing. The following day was to take us to the Barranco de Guayadeue, a canyon with a history of cave dwelling, but for this evening a few minutes stroll brought us to The Happy Cockerel on the seafront. Our restaurant for the evening was popular with the locals and we were to find out why when the food was served.