Sunday, April 29, 2018

Barranco de las Vacas, Gran Canaria

Once again, Facebook brought me something useful - this time a reference to a place called Barranco de Las Vacas (Cows' Ravine) between the hill town Aguimes and small hamlet Temisas. The place is characterized by beautiful striation on the walls of the ravine, not dissimilar to those of Barranco de los Enamorados on Fuerteventura.

Distance between them is about 9 km by hiking path and it is a relatively flat walk. The ravine is somewhat closer to Aguimes, so this time we decided to walk from there (see the route and additional notes below).

Friday, April 27, 2018

Las Fallas 2018

First published 27 March 2018 @ Listen, Learn, Read

According to my old Rough Guide to Spain (this book served me well but I left it to my flatmates three years ago), Las Fallas are one of the Spanish “Big Four”, together with Semana Santa, Feria de Abril and San Fermín. Strangely enough, the Carnival is not among them.

Now it so happened that I, quite intentionally, stopped in Valencia en route to Boston and back, being able to see some of the festival and even take some pictures of it. For the benefit of those who never heard of ​Las Fallas, I allow myself to explain what’s going on here.

La Falla Convent de Jerusalem-Matemàtic Marzal

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Flora of Gran Canaria — Canary Island Pine, Pinus canariensis

New shoots coming out of a thick scorched branch

Do you remember this line from Naked Gun 33⅓:

“We analyzed the wood fibers in the paper and found them to be from the rare Canary Island pine, which grows only in Oregon.”
Seriously! Does the Canary Island pine, Pinus canariensis, even grow in Oregon?! Yes it does. Just look at the map privided by the American Conifer Society website [1]. You can’t find this tree inland because it doesn’t tolerate frost.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Inagua in winter and spring

View inland from Degollada de las Brujas
Reserva natural integral de Inagua (strict nature reserve Inagua) is a protected pine forest in the southwest part of Gran Canaria. Technically, it consists of three different forests - Inagua (confusing, innit?), Ojeda and Pajonales, but they are merged together anyway. The whole reserve is shared between three municipalities (Tejeda, La Aldea and Mogan). Almost all of the trees that grow there are Canarian Pines (Pinus canariensis). Canarian pine is interesting - it has such a thick bark that trees can survive forest fires, that is why it is now planted elsewhere in the wildfire-prone places. 

It reminds me that I have seen new shoots coming directly out of burnt trunks where the last forest fire happened. Maybe the next blog entry will be dedicated to how the site recovers).

Coming down from Montana de Inagua. We look like The Company from the Lord of the Rings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Gran Canaria — Planting trees

Most people seem to be engaged in picture-taking, but still

According to Wikipedia, the whole area of Gran Canaria is 1,560 square km. The density of forests vary. I found the following piece of information: when planting, you need to leave three meters between seedlings (assuming square grid for simplicity), which will make, should they all survive, 100 000 trees per square km. So, to cover whole of Gran Canaria with forests, you need to plant 156 million trees.

Well, now consider that some areas are forest already, some are fields and pastures, some are dunes; they don’t need or can’t be planted. So, once again, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you only need to plant a half of this amount (I’d say even less, but a half is nice *). So, 78 million trees.

Now, the population is 848 thousand. It means that if every single person goes and plants 90 (approximately) trees, the job is done.

Now, why do I try to figure it out, you might well ask.

It’s because this over the last month I have been to two reforestation events and only planted eight trees in total, and the planting season is over this year, so... it’ll take me ten to twelve years to make my fair share of planting :)

Friday, March 02, 2018

Almonds of Tejeda, 2018

heart-stopping beauty

Every year, the almond trees of Gran Canaria put forth a beautiful show of blooms. The almond flower festival  is also supposed to happen every year, but this year, it didn't, first time in decades. Bad weather hit it, bringing first a good(ish) snowfall to the mountains, then wind, then snowfall again... First, the festival was postponed, then postponed again and finally cancelled altogether, when it became clear that almonds are already past the maximum blooming stage.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fuerteventura, November 2017 - Kite festival and some other things

The octopus keeps turning up every year. He is one of the biggest kites at the festival.

Every year, in November, мы с друзьями ходим в баню I go to Fuerteventura to see the kites. There is a festival in the dunes, and I have covered it already a few times. It started when we were living on the island, and that was when I got hooked.

I missed the year when we were living in Finland, but apart from that I always caught the festival, at least partially.

Sharks are beginning to fly in the morning