A Tour Manager's account of a Canary Island adventure

Amanda Angus / 02 December 2015

Tour Manage Denisa tells us about her experiences in her own inimitable style…



Thursday

The group has arrived! All of them are settled in the coach. Yippee! Saga’s airport reps at Arrecife airport in Lanzarote were fantastic. It’s a difficult airport to understand if you are new to it. They navigated us fantastically through the maze of twists and turns, lifts and escalators until we reach our bus to start our adventure!

Friday

I wake up early this morning and find myself in paradise! The morning is simply magical. I walk through the hotel grounds breathing deeply – the freshness is simply intoxicating! I close my eyes and feel the sun caressing my cheeks. Hmmm, does heaven feel like this, I wonder? When I open my eyes again I realise I am not the only one having cheeks caressed by the sun. Some of my newly arrived customers are out here doing exactly the same. We spot each other, we recognise each other, we all burst out laughing at the same time. Obviously I am not the only one too excited to sleep!

We start to chat and find out the thing we all have in common – we can’t wait for the day to start, for our first adventure to start. Today we are to explore the south of the island, the area of volcanoes.

Lanzarote is an island known for volcanoes. There are 310 of them in total (I reassure everyone, there and then, we are not to visit all of them on this trip. It’s a half-day trip. We are all to be back for lunch followed by lazing around the pool. Everyone nods in approval!).

Coach arrived, guide arrived, we set off. Adrenalin is rushing high as we pass lunar landscapes, stopping here and there to take photos. Lots of photos were taken. Enough for three exhibitions!

Soon we reach the entrance to Timanfaya National Park, where underneath our feet – 4 kilometres underneath our feet – is broiling magma and a temperature that goes up to 600 degrees centigrade.

There are ‘ooooohs’ and ‘aaaaaaahs’ heard from every corner – and a a lot of guards to be seen at every corner! They are all here to ensure we do not get carried away and get too close to those holes to have a good look. Because this would be our last look! One of the guards does some demonstrations so we can see for ourselves why exactly does he not want any of us to get too close… using a long stick he places some branches close to one of the holes, and within seconds they go up in flames. Ooooohs and aaaaaaahs are everywhere again! He pours water over the other hole… it comes back spouting …uuuuuussssshhhh! More ooooohs and aaaaaaahs, more excitement, more photos!

Someone whispers near to me “Did you catch me on this photo as well, you know I need to show it to Emily, she will never believe me” – I love surprising our guests with the unexpected!

Finally we all capitulate and go back to the coach. Red-faced (some from the heat, some from the excitement) we plant ourselves onto the seats with bottles of water in our hands. Ohhh, blessed air conditioning! Cool air feels so good! But… there is more to come!

Our skilful driver takes us now along the famous lunar route. Back in the 18th century this was a scene of great volcano eruptions. They wiped out whole villages. Nothing remained. Nothing. Just a bare, lunar landscape. It is fascinating. You can almost hear the silence. It is like… being on another planet!

I fully understand now why they use this particular area for filming scenes on the moon. Our guide tells us this is where they brought astronauts before going to the real moon – just to get a bit of a feeling. An idea. And then they drove them home. To reflect. On their life. And decide whether they still want to go to the moon.

Saturday

Another lovely day in a company of Cheryl, our informative guide full of island stories, and Victor, our great multi skilled driver, who can drive and speak English as well. Excitement is getting high.

Today we are to see another part of the island – NORTH. The north is more populated and completely different from the south, as things should be.

The main imprint though for the whole of the island though remains Cesar Manrique – that extraordinary man. Painter, sculpture, architect, interior designer and non-smoker, this amazing man and great lover of nature campaigned relentlessly to save the island from the developers who mean well and bring progress and prosperity to whoever allows them to do so.

But Cesar Manrique and his influential circle of childhood friends decided no, that kind of progress was not for them. Luckily for Lanzarote, all those barefoot boys running along the beach together with Cesar Manrique grew up to become influential politicians of the island, so laws were passed that no buildings (apart from church towers) should be taller than a palm tree. All were to be painted white. A little bit green perhaps, or some blue in the coastal areas. But that’s it. Everything had to be in harmony with nature.

The only high-rise building on the island, Grand Hotel Arrecife, was built during Cesar Manrique's absence, when he was away. Too far away, in America. He returned. He was shocked. He decided never to leave the island again and give anybody a chance to build anything like that again. Never, ever again. He decided to stay on the island. Forever. And continue creating. Creating more beautiful things, more weird things, more unconventional things.

When he started to create heavenly gardens, pools and unique cultural attractions within open-air caves of Jameo del Agua (couple of kilometre-long lava tubes formed 4000 years ago) everyone thought he was crazy. He should build golf courses and aqua parks like everyone else on the Spanish sunspots! They all laughed at him. But when the masses of tourists, tired of golf courses and aqua parks, started to flock to the island to see that miracle, no one laughed anymore.

Cesar Manrique received the World Ecology and Tourism Award in 1978, and the island of Lanzarote received the Europa Nostra Award for conservation in 1986.

We get off the coach outside Jameo del Agua and enter this fascinating world. Everyone is quiet. Quiet out of respect. Quiet out of admiration. Quiet out of reverence. Quiet out of fear of missing the next step and falling down.

We exit at the other side of the tunnel, join the coach again and head for the Mirador del Rio, a spectacular view point from where you can see as far as the nearby island of La Graciosa. Another legacy of Cesar Manrique, another place where hundreds of photos are taken.

We are getting hungry now and are ready to go to Haria, a picturesque village where Cesar Manrique decided to retire. More important for us though (at this particular moment) is that this was the place where we are to have our included lunch in the local restaurant. Food, food, glorious fooooood! After all this excitement we are all getting a bit… peckish!

On the way to Haria we pass clusters of white-washed houses forming small picturesque villages. Looks all so romantic. Cheryl told us life was not so romantic in these villages in the olden days. In the olden days, she said, there was no running water so they had to rely on whatever rain they could catch in the cisterns (every house had one). Those cisterns were big. To collect as much water as possible. Bigger than the house, very often, as the house might be just one room. Everyone together. When parents wanted privacy they would build another room. Attached to the house. With a separate door. Which explains the higgledy-piggledy way those houses are put together – it looks all very romantic to me.

Life was not so romantic in there – Cheryl repeats again. She knows. She had a friend who lived there. Thomas. Thomas was 93 when he died and remembered those days well. He remembered the changes the desalination factory brought to the island. It changed their lives forever. Suddenly there was running water offered to them. Their cisterns could be filled by the water brought from the desalination factory down in Arrecife. People in the villages were given the chance of being connected to the mains but many opted to keep the cisterns and have them filled regularly by the water brought in the lorries from Arrecife. Thomas was one them. Old habits die hard. Thomas’s children (he was blessed with ten, most of whom lived in Arrecife) spent years trying to persuade Thomas to connect to the mains. To have running water. To improve life conditions. Thomas did not think his life conditions needed to improve any more. Isn’t it the fact that he does not need to wait for the rain but has his cisterns filled up regularly by the water from the desalination factory already an improvement? Until one day when Thomas informed his offspring he wanted a bathroom to be installed in his house. He even chose the colour of the tiles. Pink, he said. The children were overjoyed. One of the sons in particular, as he was a plumber. A bathroom was built in no time. With pink tiles. So the day came for the bathroom to be connected to the mains. But Thomas said no. No need to connect. Filled with frustration children asked in dismay, ‘but why did you want the bathroom to be built then? Father, why?’

‘Because Gonzales has one,’ Thomas replied.

Gonzales was Thomas’s next door neighbour.

Sunday

This morning we are going for a ramble from Puerto Calero to Puerto del Carmen and then we’ll come back on a boat. I like the boat part very much. Not so keen on the ‘rambling’ part though. It is a couple of miles long cliff-top track full of unexpected ups and downs. And I worry.

I worry if everyone will make it. I worry if some will find it too long, I worry if some will find the weather too hot for a ramble, I wonder if some will find the weather too cold for a ramble. I worry if some will find this cliff-top track having too many ups. I worry if some will find track having too many downs. And what about steps? Will they find that there are too many steps. And wind – will it be too windy? I worry… I worry… I worry!

I worry about everything but myself. And it was me that I should’ve worried about. It was me who had a hard time to keep up the pace. It was me who found too many steps, and too many downs, and too many ups, and too much sun, and too much wind. Not them. Oh, no. They were happy. And fit.

They arrive in Puerto del Carmen in no time. They ran, they didn’t walk. Not even once did they stop to catch a breath. Not even once did they stop and give ME a chance to catch a breath. They didn’t even turn round and check whether I was still alive and breathing!

‘Oh it’s nothing!’ they say at the end of the ramble. ‘Just a stroll for us.’

I look at them quizzically whilst trying to recover my breath.

Suddenly it all clicked with me – well of course, this generation was born way before the computer was even been planned to be invented. That’s why they are so fit. That’s why they still run marathons at the age of 83.

They walked in those days if they wanted fun. There were no computers to sit in front of and play games. Children played in playgrounds. Real games. With a ball and everything. Outdoors. Do children do that nowadays?

I suddenly start to worry for the younger generation!

Monday

I packed. We’re leaving. Off to the new island. New hotel. New palm trees. Fuerteventura – here we come!

The coach arrives to take us to the ferry. Victooorrrr! Signs of utter joy on everyone’s face as they recognise the driver. Signs of joy and mischief on Victor’s face when he realises there’s no Cheryl with us today, no informative guide full of island stories. Just him. He is boss. To confirm his new status he immediately places a little microphone over his mouth so he can talk when he drives. And he switches the microphone on. And he starts.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this me, Victor, again.’ Cheers of joy around the coach. ‘Did you sleep well?’

‘Yes!’ the whole coach responds in a happy cacophony of voices.

‘I want welcome you all again to my island. My island very, very good but no rain. No rain. No like your country England where rain 24 hours. We rain three minutes, ladies and gentlemen. Three minutes only. In the whole year, this 10 hours. Like half day in your country England.’

And he talked and talked all the way to Playa Blanca. This was the most informative transfer I ever had in my life. We learned so much about the island of Lanzarote.

Down at the harbour we reluctantly left the coach to board the ferry. We reluctantly left Victor. The best driver. The best guide.

Tuesday

Fuerteventura is an island of wind, but they say you can get sunburn even if it’s cloudy.

So I leave my room well prepared this morning. Put on a lot of sun cream! Don’t like sunburn.

Coach arrives. Guide arrives. We start off on another trip. Another adventure. Off we go towards the ancient capital of Betancuria.

Ana Maria, our Fuerteventura guide takes a scenic road via the famous dunes that form a national protected area in Fuerteventura. ‘We will not be able to take this road in the future,’ Ana Maria starts. ‘It is a protected area. Guys in Brussels decided. We don’t decide any more. Guys in Brussels decide.

‘How are we going to get to our homes?’ she continued. ‘My village is on the other side of the dunes, right by the sea. Guys in Brussels said build another road. When you finish the road then you must stop using this one. They gave us money to build the new road. We started. But will not finish yet. Not just yet. Probably not ever. What do guys in Brussels know anyway?’

We continue towards the highest point of Fuerteventura – the Mirrador. Ana Maria told us this Mirrador was the last project, one of the many last projects, Cesar Manrique did before he died. Yes, he did some work on this island too. Actually, he started only. The work was finished by his niece.

We pass by gigantic statues of Guize and Ayoze, two ancient kings from the time when island was divided between two kingdoms separated by a wall, whose remains are still preserved today. This was way before the conquest, in a time when kings were walking around half-naked, wrapped up in goatskins only. Which is why these statues are rather attractive. Plenty of photos are taken. From all angles!

The coach continues towards Betancuria.

Like all ancient capitals. this one is deep inland. So the pirates and other predators could not find it. And sack it. And raise it to the ground. But they did anyway. In 1593 there was a massacre in the town but they’ve rebuilt it again and it stayed capital all the way until the19th century, when the capital was eventually moved to Puerto de Cabras – which in Spanish means ‘Port of Goats’.

In 1956 this name was changed into Puerto del Rosario – ‘Port of Roses’ – which is much nicer. Really, who wants to say – Oh, I’ve been to Fuerteventura and spent my holiday in the ‘Port of Goats’! Someone must’ve thought about that and decision was taken for the town to be renamed. But the goats are still on the island. Plenty of them. Fuerteventura is an island of goats as well as an island of wind, sandy beaches and all-inclusive hotels. ‘There are more goats on this island then people’ Ana Maria says. To confirm her statement she decides to take the road of cattle breeders so we can see them well (the goats I mean, not the cattle breeders). And oh my, we did. They were everywhere.

We arrive at Finca Pepe, a typical Canarian farm where we meet a third generation of cattle breeders, hardworking people and jovial hosts who show us around. We see the barns, we see the process of making cheese, we see the small museum attached showing various utensils used in the olden days.

All very interesting but could not match the very end of it – cheese tasting! I had no idea there are so many varieties of goat cheeses! And they all taste so good. Someone says the cheeses go very well with locally produced red wine. Someone notes how much cheaper those cheeses are here than at home. Someone else adds how nice it would be to have a bit of this cheese on a balcony together with some red wine when we return, as lunch is not included in Fuerteventura hotel (neither do we need one, plenty more voices add). Soon there is a queue in front of the selling counter!

Wednesday

Today is a day at leisure and some members of the group use the opportunity to relax and explore the surrounding area. Our hotel is in Coralejo, the largest holiday resort on Fuerteventura.

Many years ago this was just a small fishing village but then someone decided it would be better to sell fish directly to the people who will eat it there and then. So restaurants were opened. And then cafes to take coffee after the meal. And bars to enjoy a G&T and other goodies whilst listening to the music and watching the sunset. Then hotels to have somewhere to sleep if you felt like not moving anywhere – because why should you? Beaches are nice, sea is warm and there’s sunshine all year round! Great!

Some people decided to have a permanent place here. To bring family. To bring their dogs. To bring their cats. To bring any other pets. So apartments were built. Then shops. Many shops. Then a romantic sea promenade. Then a choo-choo train to take you around.

And Coralejo was born as it is today.

No wonder that some members of our group decide to stay behind today to have a full experience of this place. There is something for everybody to do and we all go different ways. Explorers go exploring, some walk along the sea promenade, some take the choo-choo train. Beach lovers go back to the sun dunes (you can do that easily by taking the hotel shuttle) lay down on the beach and imagine being in Sahara. With the added bonus of the sea to swim in. And a bar to get a drink from.

For the adventurers, there is an optional excursion organised to visit hidden corners of this mystical island. Another trip. Another adventure. Anna Marie came with a different driver and a smaller coach. The coach is able to take dirt tracks, small roads and take us to the places we usually would not venture ourselves. I feel adrenalin rising again.

We leave the town and head southwards towards village of Tefia. Soon after we reach our first stop – La Alcogida Eco museum.

What an idea! To turn a whole village, deserted at one point (houses were inhabited until the 1970s and restored by the Town Council in the 1990s) into a museum space!

Those houses were restored in keeping with the traditional architecture of the island. We walk from one to another, we visit the house of the humble people, we visit the house of the wealthy. We visit the mill, we visit the village bakery. We visit craft workshops with live exhibitions.

We learn about various craftsmanship.

We learn about what life was like in Fuerteventura in the ancient times.

We learn about these ‘ancient times’ lasting all the way up to OUR time.

We learn about the resilience of the local people.

We learn about the harsh conditions and lifestyles in the countryside of Fuerteventura in the 19th century.

And then we return to the coach. Happy that we did not live in Fuerteventura in the 19th century!

We continue passing typical windmills of Fuerteventura. All very picturesque. Plenty of photos taken. Back to the coach.

Next stop – El Cotillo, a peaceful fishing village centred around the small working harbour where we find a selection of bars and restaurants in a beautiful picturesque setting.

In one of them we have drinks included! Just what we need. We had a moment of history. We had a moment of photo sessions to annoy the neighbours when we return home and now we are ready for a moment of pure hedonistic pleasure!

Sitting on a terrace above the sea with cool drink in our hands we do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just savouring this magical moment. …. What a joy!

El Cotillo village is fast gaining in popularity, mainly due to its fabulous beaches and lagoons. Some beaches are taken by the nudists. Some by the people who keep their clothes on.

Now our well deserved refreshment is over, our guide Ana Maria takes us for a scenic drive (actually our driver does, Ana Maria just sits next to him and talks into a microphone).

‘This whole area is a surfer and windsurfer paradise,’ she starts. ‘Famous for its monster waves. Many surfers come here every year.’

We admire the dramatic scenery and take more photos.

‘From all over the world,’she says. ‘Many of them stay. Many babies are born. Good for the economy. Good for the island of Fuerteventura. Population is not in decline anymore.

We pass by the village of Lajares, where many surfers settled after they had babies.

I wonder if they still go windsurfing!

Thursday

Another day of transfer! Another departure!

We leave Fuerteventura. We leave the wind. We leave the sand dunes. We leave the goats. We take the goat cheese though.

Gran Canaria here we come!

The ferry lands in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Big town! Big Shock! Everyone quiet. We board the coach and our driver starts manoeuvring his way through the busy port of Las Palmas. He continues manoeuvring his way through the busy streets of Las Palmas. He continues manoeuvring his way through the busy roads of the island of Gran Canaria.

What a difference! What a shocking difference coming from the barren island of Fuerteventura with its lunar landscape.

I hear whispers behind my back – there is no barren space on THIS island. Of course not, the other whisperer responds, it’s all filled up with skyscrapers!

We arrive to the hotel. We get off the coach. Everyone quiet.

They do not know what to expect! They do not know what a nice surprise is just round the corner. Not yet. They will tomorrow.

Friday

Morning has broken. Wonderful morning! The song was trilling in my head when I woke up.

‘Let’s go to Las Palmas today, I say to everyone. ‘Give Las Palmas a chance. Give the island a chance’. So they did. And they didn’t regret it!

Las Palmas is absolutely stunning. Bustling city overflowing with Spanish ambience, history and culture – they were smitten immediately.

Our guide gives us a comprehensive insight into the island’s long history and takes us to visit Canaria Museum where we learn about aboriginal past of the island. We see the remains of the ancient culture brought to the island by decedents of Berber people who came here from North Africa as early as 500BC.

How did they do it, I still wonder?

It took another 1000 years (actually more, a lot more that that) to discover the necessary instruments and build ships good enough to come here again and re- discover this beautiful island.

In the 14th century the French and Portuguese started their regular incursions. They tried to conquer the island (separate attempts, not together. They did not like each other particularly then). But no success. No success for hundred years.

Then the Castilians did it. They conquered the island at the end of 15th century (our guide Bea tells us which year exactly but… who can remember all these details? We only remember that soon after the island was conquered Christopher Colombo stayed here before he went to discover America).

We walk to the old part of the town where Bea shows us the remains of these times – beautiful palaces, churches, squares and little narrow lanes full of history.

On one of the squares we see the most beautiful palaces of all. We learn of this being the former residence of the first governor of the island where Colombo stayed on several occasions. Which is why they call it Casa de Colon (Columbo’s house). Many years later this house is turned into a museum so we can all come one day and visit it. Which we do.

I wonder why Colombo kept coming back here. Why didn’t he go straight home after he discovered America? I’m sure his wife must’ve been very worried. I find this slightly inconsiderate of him, but who am I to say.

Some sources say Colombo was attracted by the beauty of the island. Some claim it was the beauty of a certain senorita he was attracted too. The first one is called ‘historical fact’ and the second ‘historical gossip’. Whichever we choose to believe the fact is that Colombo DID spend a considerable amount of time in Las Palmas, not only prior to discovering America when one of his ships needed repair, but afterwards too.

Time for lunch – our guide Bea takes us to the local restaurant where we have our lunch included. It is a nice place in a historical part. We appreciate the fact that we don’t have to walk far because we are all getting a bit hungry and it’s getting hot. No, no one really wants to walk too far.

We enter the restaurant grateful for being so close, grateful for the cool air coming from air condition, grateful for the forthcoming food we will be getting soon. By now we are quite hungry. And quite thirsty too.

We are all seated round big tables and wine (included) came straight away on our tables. And water. And ice, lot of ice. Ohhh, how grateful everyone was for THAT.

After lunch we went to visit the public gardens. This is the right thing to do for we would not be able to do anything else. We are all full. And it is hot. But not in the gardens. It is nice and cool in there and colours, colours are amazing.

Breathing deeply we could all understand now why this is called a ‘paradise island’. Now, we could all understand Colombo. We did not want to leave either.

But we have to. Eventually we leave this beautiful gardens located at the back of the first hotel on the island, Hotel Santa Catalina. Opened in 1890.

Can you imagine? They had a hotel THAT early. The first tourists were British, of course.

When the hotel was built, back in 1890, they say it was inaugurated with full particulars, according to the refined English society’s requirements. Ever since the opening it has been visited by many famous people such as Sir Winston Churchill, María Callas, Agatha Christie, Gregory Peck, Prince Charles of England, but also many prime ministers and presidents.

Back in the coach we plant ourselves gratefully on our seats, and many of us take a well-deserved nap. I silently pray that Bea will not talk now. For she would wake us up. She does not. The sound of convivial sleep around the coach is sign enough that our fascinating history lesson is over for today!

Saturday

Another optional excursion but this time everyone goes.

Who wants to miss the opportunity to see the whole island in one day!

And what an island that is – island of contrasts. A miniature continent, some call it, for it has everything one needs.

Our guide Bea says many people never leave the island. ‘Why should they?’ She asks. ‘We have everything here. Green pastures, lush gardens, orchards. We have beautiful beaches, long coastline, high mountains. We have villages, we have cities. We have Las Palmas, big town. We have schools, we have a university as well. We even have snow in the high mountains. And plenty of sunshine on the beaches. And Sahara-like dunes. And we have shopping, plenty of shopping. We don’t need to go anywhere. Others come to us!’

She means tourists. Gran Canaria is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Every year there are more and more people wearing dark glasses and very little clothes coming to this island.

We leave our hotel set on a sunny side of the island. We leave beaches, sand dunes and sea promenades behind. We leave shops, bars and restaurants behind. We leave endless string of hotels and apartment blocks behind. We leave people wearing dark glasses and very little clothes behind.

We head straight to the mountains.

To our amazement after 15 minutes only we are in a completely different world. No one could believe it. A world of peace and quiet. A world of nature. Just nature. Pure unspoiled nature. And mountains. More mountains and more mountains. With every turning, the scenery becomes more magical. Every turning you could hear ooohs and aaahs, accompanied by frantic camera clicking.

And then we stop finally. Everyone rushes out of the bus to do more clicks. We are on the Mirrador at the top of mountain with 360 degree absolutely stunning views.

We could hear the silence! (interrupted by camera clicks). Everyone’s faces shows one thing – we’re so glad we went on this trip!

Shortly afterwards we arrive to the picturesque village of Fataga where Bea takes us on a short orientation walk.

We walk along the narrow lanes lined up with typical Canarian houses, we see small craft shops, art galleries, bakery (the last one we visit, the smell of freshly baked bread was irresistible). Trees and flowers everywhere. No wonder they call this the most beautiful village on the island.

Apparently it was inhabited very early –over 2500 years ago. There are very important sources of fresh water in the vicinity, which is why.

After the Spanish conquest (actually Castilian, Spain as a country did not exist at that time yet) village grew and many houses were built. In the Canarian style, pretty similar to the one we see today.

We leave the village full of impressions. And full of photos.

After short trip we arrive at our first comfort stop. Needless to say, it’s another place with fantastic views. Besides the view they have good clean toilets, which we at this point all appreciate slightly more than the view, for a view is a view but primary needs are primary needs and they are to be satisfied first.

We also have time for refreshment. Oooh, a cool drink feels so good on this hot day!

Then we start climbing again. Up and up and up until we reach the summit – Pico de las Nieves. The highest point of the island. Where there is snow when there is a season for it –which is not today.

We didn’t go all the way naturally but stopped at the best view-point we could. The views are indescribable. We are lucky with the weather too. It is clear enough to see the neighbouring island of Tenerife.

After more clicks, more ooohs and aaahs we board the coach again and start our descent.

We admire every turning again but this time it is completely different. Green, green, green.

‘Welcome to the ‘rainy part of the island,’ Bea says.

Aha, this is where all the rain comes. And then stops at the top. So the other side of the island gets none. Or very little. But they do get a lot of sunshine instead. And lots of people wearing dark glasses and very little clothes.

Forests eventually give way to the pastures, pastures to the orchards, orchards to the gardens. And then we arrive to Balcon de Zamora, restaurant with stunning views where we have our lunch included. We are quite excited whilst getting off the coach. And then we are not excited any more. We see another bus. And another bus. And another.

Are they all going to the same place as US? Are they going to OUR restaurant? This is going to be a disaster! So many people! Signs of horror on everyone’s faces. We enter the restaurant quiet. Stone faced.

We are seated immediately. And another group. And another group. Looks of horror are slowly replaced by ones of amazement and then admiration.

How do they do it? Everyone seated. Everyone having drinks already. Orders taken already.

We are all counting the number of waiters against the number of people in the restaurant and shaking our heads again and again. It’s impossible.

And yet! Food was on our plate in no time. And it was good.

I went to see the Restaurant Manager to thank him, to congratulate him, to see if he is real.

There was no Restaurant Manager. Just the owner. Who proudly presented his wife, the Chef. And then his daughters, and sons, and sons in law, and daughters in law and nieces and nephews, cousins, relatives, friends. Kitchen and restaurant – they all work as a team. And what a perfect team that was! It they would be football players they would win the championship.

I was touched. And impressed. And sad they could not be cloned!

Richer for yet another experience we moved on. Back in the coach we are grateful for Bea’s sensitivity to let us have a little snooze until we arrive to our next port of call – the small town of Teror where we get off the coach to stretch our legs, admire the local architecture and watch the world go by whilst sitting on the town main piazza sipping a coffee. Heaven!

Back in the coach refreshed we could concentrate again for the new change of scenery (there are so many on this trip). After short drive we arrive to the Mirrador overlooking volcano above Las Palmas. Excellent stop. Fantastic views. More photos. More neighbours to be annoyed.

We are ready to go home now.

Mood around the coach is completely different now with regards to this island. Some commented of this being the best day of all. Some commented of this being the best island of all. Some said every island gave a great experience. Soon there was a discussion on which one was the best.

We have enough memories to keep us warm for the entire winter!

Sunday (airport day)

Another day of departure. This time different. This time we go home. This time I worry more than usual (if this is at all possible).

I worry if everything will be okay. What if someone loses a passport just before we leave? What if someone gets lost? Or is late?

None of that happens.

We arrive at the airport on time. As they leave, part of me leaves too.

I wave to everyone. Until we meet again!

Love,

Denisa

Take your own Canary Island tour – and perhaps bump into the incomparable Denisa yourself!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.