Category Archives: Gran Canaria
Sure, for most people this holiday season is associated with snow, winter tires and the occasional frostbite that turns your ears purple red. Coming from Sweden and Russia, we have been there, done that. Dragging the Christmas tree while trying to balance on the slippery pavement making pirouettes that even Baryshnikov would be impressed with. Freezing one’s butt off, installing the Christmas lights on the house. Trying to de-frost the car lock with matches that are falling out of the already frozen hands. Hell, absolute hell!
Well, this year we said: no more five pairs of socks and six sweaters, no more boots and furry hats! We want hardcore warmth, sun caressing our backs while lying by the pool sipping on a tropical drink with real tropical fruits in it. We want our clothing options along the following lines: today to be a t-shirt or not to be. Cold weather is out. Basta! Palm trees and little umbrellas in our cocktails are in!
So, how did we celebrate Christmas this year? We ended up sitting on a terrace at the Salobre Golf Clubhouse in Gran Canaria, drinking Champagne and watching the sunset. Wearing t-shirts and big smiles, chatting away, happy as two clams. Sounds boring? Maybe, but sure beats trying to get the heater on in -30 degrees weather.
Today nearly 300 men and women decided to brave the Atlantic Ocean outside Maspalomas (Gran Canaria), in a swimming competition stretching from the Meloneras beach to the lighthouse, Faro de Maspalomas. The winner made the 2000 meters under 25 minutes, an impressive result bearing in mind the pretty choppy waters. Basically it was a really fun day with plenty of people out on the boardwalk watching the race.
n the boardwalk watching the race.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the international tourism forecast is over one billion and will contribute $2 trillion to the global economy in 2012. This makes the travel and tourism industry one of the biggest economic sectors in the world. It also contributes to the social-economic development by creating millions of jobs world-wide. However, while looking at these impressive figures, it is of course unavoidable to start thinking of some of the negative impacts mass tourism has on global natural resources due to increased transportation, air pollution, water scarcity, littering, etc. But on the positive side, there is now an increased environmental awareness among governments, corporations and tourists.
Since 1980, the World Tourism Day (WTD) is commemorated on 27 September every year to specifically acknowledge the social, cultural, political and economic values of tourism. The overall purpose is to help reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This year’s theme, “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”, is trying to raise the awareness of howrenewable energy can help making the tourism industry more sustainable. In a press release issued prior the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that: “Hundreds of millions of people around the world depend for income of this energy-intensive sector. Sustainable energy will allow tourism to continue to expand while mitigating its impact on the environment.”
This year, the official World Tourism Day celebration is taking place in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria (Spain) – a place with a long experience in both tourism and renewable energy. Gran Canaria is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, north-west of Africa, and is part of the archipelago of the Canary Islands. It is often referred to as a “miniature continent” thanks to its microclimate and varied flora and fauna (you find here a desert, beautiful pine woods, and nearly 2000 meter high mountains, all in an area of just 1,560 square kilometers). In 2005, the island was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and each year about 3 million tourists come here from all over the world to enjoy water sports activities, hiking, golf or just to have a leisurely vacation at one of the many holiday resorts.
Receiving so many tourists every year has, of course, raised the environmental awareness in Gran Canaria and renewable energy solutions such as wind power and solar energy are vital to make the tourism industry more sustainable. By implementing a number projects related to Research, Development and Innovation, the Technological Institute of Canary Islands (ITC) aims at improving the environmental conditions and supports sustainable development in the region. ITC has many successful projects in emerging technological fields such as water technologies, biotechnology and renewable energy.
Apart from highlighting the latest achievements in sustainable energy, the World Tourism Day is of course also the perfect occasion to get familiar with various local products. If you visit Gran Canaria you must try the delicious cow, goat and sheep cheeses, the local wine, the air-dried ham and, last but not the least, the Aloe Vera (known for its moisturizing effect and used in many skin care products, make-up, shampoo, etc.)
For more information about the activities on the World Tourism Day, 2012, visit the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) official website: http://wtd.unwto.org/en. You can also follow their latest news on Twitter: #WTD2012
Summer has arrived and some of us might be scratching our heads while trying to come up with a last minute vacation plan. If you then decide to spend your summer holiday in a five star resort in the south of Gran Canaria (Maspalomas/Meloneras) we have created a list of the five best hotels this area can offer.
1. Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia
In our view, the best resort in Gran Canaria. It’s luxurious and offers everything imaginable for the picky traveller. The hotel is quiet but yet centrally located near numerous bars and restaurants. Be aware though, Grand Hotel Residencia is very pricey and you better hurry booking since it might be tough getting a room on such short notice.
2. Lopesan Villa Del Conde Resort and Thalasso
Big, boisterous, lots of things to do, several pools, fantastic spa, restaurants, bars…you name it. On top of that, every evening you will be offered various entertainment at the outdoor stage located in the picturesque hotel courtyard. Rather expensive but a great place that definitely will satisfy the entire family.
3. Lopesan Baobab Resort
A family paradise with plenty of entertainment for kids.The food is excellent and you have a pick of several restaurants to eat. Prices are relatively reasonable. We would not, though, recommend this hotel for a romantic or lazy holiday since there is a big risk you wouldn’t appreciate being overwhelmed by kids playing football in the hotel corridor in the early morning hours!! (yep, it happened to us).
4. Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort and Spa
If you are into golf, this is your best bet. Located in the mountains a bit outside Maspalomas, Salobre Golf has one of the most picturesque courses on the island. The Resort offers several restaurants and pool areas (don’t miss the roof top pool with an extraordinary view). One big drawback though: Maspalomas town and the ocean are a 10 minutes taxi/bus ride away.
5. H10 Playa Meloneras Palace
With a nice and quite location and plenty of entertainment in the evening this hotel is perfect for the family. It is not the most luxurious but definitely the most affordable 5-star hotel in the Maspalomas area.
For more information about Gran Canaria, photos, hotel and restaurant reviews, check out our free e-guide.
Located on a fantastic golf course in Maspalomas in the south of Gran Canaria, the Salobre Golf Villas offer their guests (usually golfers) a very comfortable stay. When you book your villa you can choose the number of bedrooms you need, if you want a private pool, how big it should be, etc. A fully equipped kitchen and daily bread service are included. You also get full house-cleaning once a week. The location of the villas are really nice but secluded. There is a small convenience store in the area that offers basic products but if you are into some serious cooking or barbequeing you will have to venture out to one of the bigger grocery stores in Maspalomas (10 minutes car ride away). In other words, if you don’t rent a car be prepared to spend a small fortune on taxies on a daily basis.
The villa we stayed in was located on top of a hill where we could enjoy an amazing view of the entire golf course and the ocean. It is not exactly on the cheap side but if you are a family of four and rent it for a couple of weeks you will certainly spend less compared to a similar level hotel (where you will be confined to a small room and a shared pool, how annoying!) One note of caution though: avoid the WiFi if you can – it is E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E. But, otherwise, be prepared to spend a blissful holiday at the Salobre Golf Villas. You will enjoy it!
Let’s take a look at some spectacular graffiti we found on a concrete wall outside Vecindario, Gran Canaria. Cool art or vandalism? Graffiti is without a doubt an uncompromising art form that can be inspirational and provocative at the same time. We don’t know the artists behind these beautiful creations but we have chosen to display them together with some legendary Banksy quotes. Enjoy!
“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?” –Banksy
“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish…but that is only if it’s done properly.” -Banksy
“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” -Banksy
“A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” -Banksy
Banksy in the news:
Yesterday the weather was really hot (almost 40C), so what did we do? We bought a few bottles off local wine and decided to do some wine tasting, of course. Obviously, we are not professional wine experts but having gone through
a zillion a few bottles of both red and white over the years we figured we are as good as it gets. We tried three different reds from Gran Canaria – Plaza Perdida (2010), Froaton de Oro (2010) and Las Tirajanas (2011).
At the beginning we took this so seriously that we even had paper in front of us to write down our thoughts. Here you can see we are not really experts since the smells reminded us not exactly of things one usually associates with wine. Old socks, wet swimming wear, mosquito repellant…Don’t get us wrong, the wines were great, but, man, once in a while you feel like having a Rioja, without all that serious philosophical shit. Just give me a freaking bottle so that I can drown my sorrows. Sorry, where were we…? Yes, Canary wines are a bit acidic, light and how should we put it, tasty. Darn, isn’t that a description good enough? Who cares, in the end we just had fun. And isn’t that what wine is all about? Seriously.