Gran Canaria Christmas Part 1

Nothing better than Christmas in the warm sunshine and blue skies of the Canaries. Our first  time in Gran Canaria and it won't be the last for sure. Total escapism from the awful commercialism and pressure to spend, spend spend. No endless rounds of the same songs repeated year after year. No hype, no fuss just people going about their day in a chilled out and relaxed way. Just perfect !    

It's a four hour flight to Gran Canaria off the Northwestern tip of Africa.

A decent flight helped by a stint in the lounge at the airport and a few settling Whisky and Gingers.As well as the odd Guinness of course.

The second most populous of the Canary Islands with a population of 846,717 and third largest in size terms.

We are in the south of the island , traditionally better weather but less green than the north. The journey from the airport late afternoon didn't look too encouraging.. Lots of wind farm activity and very barren. Thankfully the hotel was far more inviting. Up on …

Gran Canaria Christmas Part 2

Every morning we were treated to a glorious sunrise. The early morning joggers were out and a few Germans had already laid out their towels and bagged their sunbeds for the day.

I did manage to get down into the sea a couple of times before breakfast. But being the Atlantic it was pretty cold until you got acclimatised to it.     

Something very special about  hearing the sea and the waves crashing. A very mindful experience. Laying in bed at night and just relaxing to the backdrop of the sea.  

Plenty of choices at breakfast I must say. I liked to balance the Pink Prosecco with  a smoothie each morning . Although the Prosecco generally won in the end.
Tempting as it was to hit the sunbed terrace I tried to get a good walk in after breakfast. There is a beautiful promenade in both directions.

We tended to do a mixture of beach and promenade. It was a good walk to get right to the tip of the coast past the sand dunes. Lots of kite surfers in the water too .

Maspalomas is a busy res…

Gran Canaria - Puerto de Mogán

Just a shortish bus ride from outside our hotel to the beautiful resort and fishing harbour of Puerto de Mogán.

Set at the mouth of a steep-sided valley on the south-west coast of the island. The canals and bridges of its seawater inlet have earned it the nickname "Little Venice."

Along the marina, you'll find an assortment of restaurants and bars, while the old town area is full of quaint, Mediterranean homes and cottages climbing up the hillside. Puerto de Mogan is a major stop for ocean yachts travelling from the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

When we arrived around 10:15 the sheltered sandy crescent shaped beach  was virtually empty. An hour or so later and it had become quite busy with sunseekers and bathers in the calm waters.

There are so many little alleyways to explore  and it is a most glorious location.

I had spotted a viewing platform high in the hills and made a mental note to try and find a way up after some light refreshment. Given the slightly upmarket …

Christmas Day in the Canaries

Woken up in the very early hours of Christmas morning, not by Father Christmas but a late night reveller unable to find his room.  Security were soon on the case and all was resolved fairly quickly.
It would have been rude not to have gone for a pre-breakfast dip in the sea. Very bracing indeed but OK once you get your shoulders wet.

The strange thing was it actually felt more like Christmas than it does at home . With the clear night skies the stars are shining brightly. With the sand and Palm trees there is a real nativity feel to the whole setting. Unfortunately it clouded over a bit in the afternoon so some time spent in the gym and hydro pool.

The hotel really pushed the boat out for a smashing gala dinner. Even the seasonal red table cloths got an outing.

A sushi bar had been set up and we were greeted with complimentary champagne on arrival (several glasses actually....).

There were some amazing Christmas themed fruit carvings to add to the occasion. The drinks continued to fl…

Waddesdon Manor - Christmas

A very welcome return visit to Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury in Bucks. Unlike two years ago the weather is much better today. So much so that we snub the courtesy bus and walk the inclined footpath to the House.

It's a relief to see blue skies and sunshine after the rain and mist of the previous visit. Judging by the number of visitors swarming in it is going to be very busy today. Entry to the House was already sold out when I booked the tickets some time back. At least the 'Christmas Fair' with close to 100 traders in their wooden chalets, selling all sorts of crafts, food, drink and decorations fully open. 

Entry to the House itself would have been nice but will keep for another time. Plenty so see and do particularly when the weather is decent.
I've written about the history of Waddesdon Manor in a previous entry so won't repeat it all over again. I'm sure if anyone is interested enough they will track it down.

It's good fun checking out all the trad…