Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas preparations

I am making my shortbread cookies today. It is a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it is warm, and there is no snow, and there are palm trees instead of evergreens. I did my best though I put on some Christmas carols and I could not help but be inspired by the voices of Pavarotti and Mihalia Jackson. 
I am pretty sure one of our daughters used to pick off the cherries every year but I still put them on.    There will be no home made Christmas cake this year, I can't find all the ingredients, the cherries and the peel and Barry says that 2 1/2 hours of cooking uses up too much propane. I was thinking of substituting figs and dates for the cherries, etc. but that might have been like the year I tried to make a no candy decorated gingerbread house, it was creative and unusual just a bit lame though!!  Hope everyone is getting into the spirit of Christmas and enjoying your Christmas baking. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gran Canaria

We spent a week exploring around the city of Las Palmas on the Island of Gran Canaria. Las Palmas is a big city with a population of over 400,000. This cathedral is called Santa Ana, we got to go up to the top and take in the view but the rest was not open to the public. 
We also visited a museum of Christopher Columbus. He stopped here on his voyages to the new world. It is about 500nm from Spain and was a logical place to reprovision. We learned that the inhabitants of the Canary Islands were made to emigrate and made up much of the population of Cuba. They also settled in Texas and Florida. 
We went to a science museum and enjoyed trying out the exhibits. They had puzzles of shapes that you had to manipulate and textures that you had to try and match to it's mate by feel, Barry enjoyed getting in the F-5 cockpit. 
The next day we took a bus to the town of Galdar, where there are painted caves.  These painting were made 3,000 years ago and they are protected in a sealed space which is climate controlled.  There is a huge excavation around the cave and these ancient homes were excavated. They have done a great job of protecting the area and there were very informative films about the original inhabitants. We went to another museum which was the hope me of a former artist. There was a great display of dried gourds called calabashes. 
The drive on the bus was very scenic as we travelled along the coastline. 
Galdar was located at the bottom of this treeless hill. We are currently underway heading to the south of the island.  There are supposed to be some good dive sites there and we haven't been diving since we were in Cuba, it's time. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


We took a bus to the north end of the island.  It was very volcanic along no the shore and there were some lovely cliffs along the shore. 
We found some crab shells along the shore.  They do not seem to offered on any menus on the island so perhaps they need to grow a bit larger. 
There were a couple of dwellings along the shore.  They had stacked up lava as their walls , I imagine that the insides were quite dark and dingy. 
On the weekends there is a huge market in a town about thirty kilometres from where we were staying.  We went on the bus with a couple from Austria, there were lots of booths, but not as many food stalls as I thought there would be.  We happened on a demonstration of traditional Canarian dancing. I really enjoyed it. 

At one end of the market there was a demon of some king blowing a conch shell,  I loved his outfit. 
We waited almost a week extra to meet up with our buddies, Kathy and Jeremy from Sal Darago. We last saw them in Antigua, in the Caribbean and we first met them in Cookstown, Australia. We sailed up the east coast of Aus. with them, through Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean, hiking in all sorts of wonderful locations. We hung out with them in South Africa, Namibia, and St. Helena, they travelled the same path as us and them after Antigua they went h me to England and completed their circumnavigation. It was wonderful to see them again, we had sundowners three days Ina row and played bridge one night, the women cleaned up, just so you know. It was a slice. 
That is what it is all about, the people you meet and the memories you make. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Exploring Lanzarote

I We were waiting here in Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote for some mail from Canada. Thanks to Barry's sister Kim for sending on the package, it arrived safely. Friends of ours from the sailing vessel Sal Darago are currently in Morocco just a few hundred miles away. We sailed on and off with them from Cookstown, Australia to Antigua in the Caribbean. We are in no particular hurry so we have decided to wait for them here. Meanwhile we have been exploring the island of Lanzarote. It is small but filled with beautiful landscape and interesting towns. 

The first place we visited was the former home of Cesar Marique, an artist who was vey influential in way Lanzarote was developed for the tourist trade. He built his home in a lava tunnel and most of it was below the ground, there were skylight in some of the room and the whitewash on parts of the walls made it so that it did not seem dark and dingy. It was quite fascinating what could be down with the landscape to make a very unusual home. 
We headed down to the south coast to Playa Blanca and found a very touristy little town and did what most of you think we do all the time, we had a lovely meal in the sunshine looking out of the ocean and sipping on a jug of Sangrai. It was lovely and relaxing to just sit and take in the atmosphere. We are traveling around on local buses which are inexpensive, clean and run pretty much on time, what more can you ask for. 
A few days later the west coast was our destination. We discovered an all inclusive Club Med type of establishment. It had a very sheltered lagoon where you could kayak, SUP and wind surf. We headed to the coast line and scrambled around on the lava. I figured it was time to build an Inukshuk as well. 

I am sorry to report the tide pools we very unexciting, there were no fish in them just a few small snails in boring white shells. I was wishing my grandchildren had been there with me to help me explore, I remember sitting beside some great tidepools in Australia with them. 
We walked into to town to find some lunch as it was unlikely that the exclusive resort would consider serving us. On the way we saw this very colourful fishing boat sitting on this trailer ready to go back in the water at high tide. 
We walked to the local fine arts museum. It is housed in a former fortress which protected the harbour in earlier centuries.  It certainly is an inspired use of the building which was renovated to house the fine arts collection. Cesar Manrique's influence can be seen in the set up of the restaurant which was on the ground floor, his touch can be seen in many of the islands tourist attractions.