Gran Canaria or How To Screw Up An Island

I’ve dispensed with the music titles. Topical ones are punchier and drop you head-first into the blog of the moment.

So to the Canary Islands. We arrived and within half-an-hour of docking were standing on our heads drinking beer upside down. The spanish soon realised the British had arrived. The evening slowly descended into chaos as I stood out as the only sober person in a group of 50 british sailors. However we ended up after a fairly intensive search of Las Palmas in a restaurant which featured an organist playing covers of all the classics. A group of germans in one corner frowned their intense disapproval as we sang God Save The Queen on exiting.

The next day was something of a come-down. I met Shaun on the dockside and we departed, having said our goodbyes to our companions of the last ten days. Almost to a man, everyone was flying that day or staying on the boat. Stavros was departing for a week-long sail around the islands and although we would see it over the next day or so as we walked about Las Palmas by Thursday it had gone.

Its hard to write kind words about Gran Canaria. The good parts were the constant warm weather and … thats pretty much it. If ever there was a case of utter destruction through rampant tourism I believe this is it. The place must have been kind of interesting before it became a seedy tourist hell-hole. It is supposed to be the island of four seasons. Sometimes the volcano peak is snow-capped, the north has rain and rainforests to match and the south is year-round sunshine. It even has its own mini-desert next to one of the beaches. Instead after stepping off the boat we were immediately greeted with a six lane motorway and a McDonalds – nice.

We did what we could when we quickly realised we had made a mistake booking our flight four days afterwards. We went sailing (twice) and even found one of the island’s better resorts – Puerto de Mogan (twice). The best experience on the island was the ferry trip (twice) where you are given Sangria and taken in close to the shore to watch schools of fish feeding through the glass-bottom boat. We also found a good curry house (twice).

Other than that my best advice is steer well clear. I have never been more amazed that an entire tourist destination could do the job of tourism so badly and have never been more glad to be home. Maybe I’m becoming less of a traveller than I used to be or just get cranker, quicker. Maybe I’m turning into the whinging pom those Aussies warned me about. All I know is that I’m probably never going to go back to the canaries and I really don’t care. Which I never thought I would ever say.

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2 thoughts on “Gran Canaria or How To Screw Up An Island

  1. I too have suffered Gran Canaria. We had fireworks thrown at us whilst taking part in a 2 hour queing session waiting for a taxi to leave Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico doesnt suffer fools gladly. I ended up on a drip after food poisoning leading to a kidney infection followed by diohrea for 2 weeks. Believe it or not the kidney infection probably saved my life – I would have drank myself to death if I hadnt had it! I can empathise Chris.

  2. Good to know it wasn’t just us. In fact, by the sounds of it we got off lightly. I think I can safely write off the entire canary islands as budget tourist hell. A travel snob I may be but I know what I like and it doesn’t include Eastenders pubs, egg and chips and Michael Jackson impersonators. This place is long overdue a volcanic eruption.

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