Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fuerteventura, traditional post of November

So far, this is probably my favorite kite ever. It was there all these years, I think. I even have it on the cover screen of my laptop. Looks alive, doesn’t it? Like a sandworm, except harmless and beautiful
This November, as every November over the last few years, I flew to Fuerteventura to see the kites flying. I am not sure if the magic of the event works on everybody, but is certainly works on me — the white sand of the dunes, the volcanoes, the proximity of the ocean, and huge colorful objects suspended in the air, casting their shadows — it is all very Dalí-esque, surreal and beautiful.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lomo de San Pedro - Cuevas de Berbique - Puerto de Las Nieves

Impressive cliffs of Tamadaba.
After I went to see Cenobio de Valeron I've shown pics of it to my walking companions. One of them said that it looked similar to Cuevas de Berbique, a toponym which I had never heard before. Of course I had to find out where it was (close to Agaete) and how to get there. To my pleasure I discovered that it is possible to do a linear walk past the caves using the public transport. You have to start from San Pedro (there is more than one San Pedro, so careful, San Pedro of Agaete). Currently, there is a bus from Galdar to "Valle" (which is valley of Agaete). The end of the walk is in Puerto de las Nieves, and there are buses to Las Palmas every hour.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Cenobio and Tagoror, Montaña del Gallego

Wonderfully weird and organic

Cenobio de Valerón, "Valeron monastery", is one of the iconic sights of Gran Canaria. It is not really a monastery, and by looking at it now, it is hard to imagine why would anybody think it was. If you consider that the capsule-style hotels were unknown in the West when is was first named "monastery", it seems even more puzzling. The caves are small and rather shallow, so that even Diogenes would probably grow claustrophobic and wish to move to New York.
Anyway, for one reason or other, the cave complex of Valeron was thought to be a monastery, till somebody realized it looked very similar to granaries in North Africa. Now it is thought to have been a collective granary, with posted guards and doors closing each storage space, featuring a pintadera, i.e. the seal of the owner. It must have been a fascinating humanhill.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Cantabria, short coastal walk

A Nevermore moment (see the black object on the top of the chapel? It is a raven, doing his thing)

This year on our holidays I wanted to do a bit of the Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James. As you can see from the Wikipedia map (if you didn't know it perfectly well already), there is not one path but many, all leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

I saw the scallop signs of the Camino on Santander's pavements last year and got curious, purely from the hiking point of view. A little research showed that the Santander route is not considered to be the "main" one, but that didn't deter me. What did though was the discovery that even the variation of the path that goes through Santander doesn't run along the coast. It is parallel, roughly, but not close.

So. What follows is not really a part of the Camino, it is just a possible way to go walk west from Santander. It (almost) links to the spectacular Costa Quebrada. Physically it links, you just carry on along the coast, it is just that I don't have the record for the linking bit. If you are looking for scenic, I reckon the coastal path is your best bet. And if you are intent on doing the "real" camino, it runs really close inland, so you can stamp your passport and  stay in pilgrims' refuges.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Gran Canaria, Temisas - Aguimes, with a visit to Barranco de Las Vacas

Horizontal panorama
Some time ago I wrote that we would repeat the visit to the Barranco de Las Vacas following a linear route Temisas - Aguimes. Since then we have visited the area twice. First we did the linear route (find the map below), with a visit to the cave complex Cuevas de la Audiencia very close to Temisas. I don't have any photos of the caves, partially because they are VERY dark (it's almost like being blind!), but mainly because they were chock-full of people. To be fair, we went on a bank holiday, so the hikers were out in force, more on that later.

Second time we went from Aguimes (and back) with a specific purpose in mind - that is, to make a photosession with Timur playing his guitar there.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Noche de San Juan in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Wow. I'd never seen a firework blast like this before
Every Year, Saint John's Eve is celebrated in the beautiful city of Las Palmas. It has something to do with the foundation of the city, although the idea that it was founded precisely on Saint John's day seems unlikely to me.

Anyway, the celebration is a part of "Fiestas Fundacionales", associated strongly with Saint John (i.e. San Juan) and is most certainly of pagan origin. It is basically a Midsummer midnight madness, except it is shifted by a couple days.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Botanic Gardens - Triana walk

 Globularia sarcophylla, globe daisy endemic to Gran Canaria. Apparently it grows only in Tirajana. I've never seen it in the wild, have to look for it, it is sort of cute.
Couple of days ago, Timur and I decided to check out a relatively new walking path. It links one of the old areas of Las Palmas - Triana* to Canarian Botanic Garden in Tafira Baja (Jardin Canario).

I have no explanation as to why I have never written about Jardin Canario before, since we've visited it many times. As the name suggests, the emphasis in planting is on the native flora, but it is not exclusive - Canaries used to be a testing ground for plants from different parts of the world, mostly from the Americas**. There are some rare, vulnerable and endangered species, some of them beautiful, some less so. So, let's start with some pictures from the garden.