Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts


Gran Canaria - A to Z of Places I have Visited

I am writing about some places I have visited in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.

So for the letter G I decided to take Gran Canaria.

Fred and I have been there twice if not three times now and as with the other Canary Islands we really like it.

In December 2012  we decided we needed a break somewhere hot before we faced the onslaught of a cold Christmas in Northern Ireland so we looked for a last minute cheap holiday in the Canary Islands and chose Gran Canaria.

We had little idea of where we would be staying but ended up in a resort in the southern part of the island.

It was a lovely resort and we had a great time there apart from one thing.

Poor Wi-fi

Everyone ended up in the reception area of the resort sitting on the wide staircase or standing around or if you were very lucky you got one of the few seats there.

Food, rooms & outside facilities all great but the many teenagers there were not so happy trying to keep up with their online social life and Fred and I (not so young) did feel it in the early and late part of the evenings as we are and were then used to great wifi at home.

Yes I know we were on holiday and should have been forgetting about our ipads but we like to chill out reading and catching up on social media at night.

During that holiday most of the time was spent in and around the area of the resort but we did make a trip to Puerto de Mogan to see the Market there and another to Las Palmas the capital of the Island.

Las Palmas

We took a one day coach trip to the north of the Island to see this city which has a large harbour and nice streets.

One of the main sights is the Cathedral and it was one of our first stops (along with a coffee break).

The harbour area was lovely

A lot of the beaches in the Canary islands have "black" sand and here the sand was darker than we are used to with our lovely golden sandy beaches in Northern Ireland but not too dark.

As always the hills and mountains can be seen in the Canary Islands because they were formed by volcanic eruptions.

One thing not to miss, whenever you are in any of the Canary Islands, are the parrots and the parrot shows.  We have enjoyed these on each of the islands we have been to.

Another beautiful thing there was the sunrise so we made a particular effort to get up early and go to a part of the resort to get a great view.

Watching a sunrise in Gran Canaria.

I'm not usually good at getting pictures of the sunrise or the sunset even though we love to watch them but this was wasn't too bad.

That was the day we were heading off to the market at Puerto de Mogan which I would recommend as another day trip.  It was a relaxing day wandering around the market looking at the stalls and listening to some pan pipe music.  We even got a cd of the music these guys were playing and it's playing at home now as I write this post.

We were in Gran Canaria again a couple of times and the latest was in February 2017  when we also went to a resort in the southern part but further west round the coast.

Again a lovely resort and the Wi-Fi was better here but of course it was over 4 years later.

This time we took a short video of the view from our balcony.

The really great thing about the Canary Islands is that the temperatures are quite constant throughout the whole of the year so a visit at any time of the year will be warm if not nice and hot and we have never had a holiday there with much rain but it does happen.

So if you are thinking of a break in the cold winter time we would recommend Gran Canaria or any of the other Canary Islands.

Calpe - A to Z of Places I have Visited

I have started writing about some places I have visited and posting them in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q  etc. but I think I have an idea for Z.

We have been to the same villa in Calpe 3 times and love both the villa and the town of Calpe.

We found it by chance on the internet and discovered that it is owned by a guy from Liverpool who is married to a Spanish girl and lives in the next small town to Calpe.

After we had already been there we invited my sister and her husband to come for a week with us to celebrate my birthday and their wedding anniversary (I mentioned the fact that she got married on my 13th birthday in the first post in this series on Alicante).


Calpe is found on the South East coast of Spain about an hour's drive north from Alicante airport.

The drive north along the coast is beautiful on a sunny day - and we have only seen it in the sun.

The town of Calpe sits right on the coast and has all the usual restaurants and tourist type shops but it is not overly full of tourists, at least you never feel like it is the way Benidorm would be.

Smaller seaside town with good sandy beaches and a very relaxing feel about it.

Meeting Friends

When I was planning this trip I had mentioned to our oldest son that we were going back to Calpe again.  Later he was talking with some friends of his and ours and they mentioned they were going to have a trip to Spain but then imagine his surprise when they said they were going to a place called Calpe.  He quickly told them we were also going there and then discovered that our holidays would overlap by three days.  So it was arranged that we would meet them the day after we arrived which would be the day before they left and we would have coffee on a beach north of Calpe.

Me, our friends from Wales and my sister & brother-in-law.

Not only did we find that nice beach and have a great time together chatting and drinking coffee and then having lunch but when they realised that my brother-in-law loved to eat at carveries they told us about the best one they had ever been to which was only 10 mins from that beach.

Well you can guess what happened - yes we met up again a few hours later at the restaurant and spent a lovely evening together as well.

Surrounding Area

While we were there we went round Calpe and also some of the small places nearby.

 Here is a picture I took of Fred taking a picture of Averil & Victor on one of the lovely coastal walks we found.

North and South of Calpe you will find many beaches and other little towns to walk around and of course stop for a coffee or cold drink.

Of course everywhere we go we always find something to laugh about and this time it was a medical van with my initials on it so of course a photo just had to be taken.

Calpe Rock

There are 2 main beaches in Calpe and they are very easy to get to from the town because the town is basically built beside them.

There is also a very large well-known rock at Calpe which juts out into the sea and the two beaches have formed on either side of that rock.

Here is a view from the beach on the right hand side of the rock

Victor got a good picture of it here.

And here is the view from the beach on the left hand side

The water was great for bathing there and we had fun - Fred and Victor and I are like kids when we get in the sea together.

The beach on the left was longer and had more shops along it which was good because the day we went there was the hottest day and we needed to buy a parasol to use on the beach or we could not have stayed for as long as we did.

Amazingly we had a view of the rock from our appartment as well.

A suppose the rock is so famous there because it is so large and hence very noticable for quite a few miles along the coastal road.

Have you ever been to Calpe? Check this out to see if it is worth visiting.

Our Appartment

While we were there the weather was very hot but the appartment and the grounds were lovely

 meaning that we had breakfast outside each morning and almost any other meal we had when not off exploring.

There was also a very nice pool a couple of mins walk from the appartment to go for a swim before dinner in the evenings.

The flora is very colourful in that area and around our appartment there was this lovely dark pink display of flowers which made a nice background for a picture before going out for a meal one evening.

Alicante - A to Z of Places I Have Visited

For the next few months I am going to write about some places I have visited and do them in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.

For a few years we found a lovely place to stay in Spain and enjoyed our different holiday weeks there in the small town of Calpe.

To get there each time we flew into Alicante and normally we just got our hire car and drove straight on to Calpe to get settled in to our little villa without even thinking about a visit to the town of Alicante.

However two of these holidays were shared with my sister and brother-in-law (yes the guy I wrote that post about gifts for his birthday  10 Gift Ideas for your Brother-in-Law )  and for the first one of them we were coming from two different countries to meet up in Spain.  Both flights were into Alicante Airport but several hours apart with Fred & I arriving first.  So we had plenty of time to pick up the hire car and go on into Alicante to have a look around and enjoy a coffee maybe!

Arriving in Alicante we found that the streets were full of people and there was 
a very noisy and joyful atmosphere.

We quickly discovered that the people had been gathering to await a procession.

Well being from Northern Ireland we have watched many parades and processions over the years in various towns and cities there but we knew that this one would be different.

We had previously seen processions in the Canary Islands so presumed that this one would be similar to those where a statue of a saint or of Mary would be carried from one site to another.

There were bands led by girls in very colourful traditional dresses and white headresses/bonnets and also banners with pictures.

Then after one section of the procession these girls in (we presume) national or local style outfits were all gathered together with many of them holding banners with numbers on them.  There seemed to be some sort of contest and perhaps it was between the girls or between local areas of the Alicante region and that would account for the numbers.

There were so many banners and they passed us by so quickly that we did not get a good look at them and unfortunately we did not get close enough for our pictures to clearly show the writing.

The bands themselves all looked very similar with the men (and a few women) all in white shirts and black trousers.  In Northern Ireland band parades we are used to each band having a different uniform.

With the man and woman both in green it made me think of St. Patrick's Day Parades.  If interested in that click on these links for posts I have written about them  Everyone's Irish on March 17th   &  St. Patrick's Day Parade in NI

The Ladies who were all dressed the same were led into this covered stand as there region or area passed by with their band - we never worked out why.

Occasionally there would be some men with the ladies in front of the band and they were also in a type of national costume.

They played the same instruments as we would normally see in our bands but they were perhaps more casual in their attire and their marching.

By the time this was all over we only had time for a lovely relaxing walk at the harbour area

Photo Credit:  Pixaby

which is beautiful and bright and open.   It is clean and the palm trees bordering it make it very attractive.  We were also surprisingly pleased by the state of the beach in Alicante because and that is good praise as we are spoilt for good, long, sandy beaches here in Northern Ireland.

Photo Credit:  Pixaby

But after that there was no time for that coffee before we had to drive back to the airport.

As my sister got into the car I remember her saying

"Well what was Alicante like?  Is it worth us going to see it?"  

and we all laughed when I explained what we had spent the afternoon watching - well it was somewhat appropriate as Fred & I were the ones no longer living in our home country where parades are a regular occurrence just as they are in Spain.

Have you ever been to Alicante? Check this out to see if it is worth visiting.

Later I tried to do a little bit of research to find out about the procession we had seen, well you know what I mean  -  I googled it.

Apparently for several days in the month of June they have a celebratory Festival of Fires and this was the "Feria Procession" that happens on one of the days and on other days they have different events some including fires in the evenings.  Quite appropriate as in NI we also have bonfires the night before some of our parades.

And did I mention that here we were two couples coming to this area also for a celebration?

We were celebrating my birthday and my sister's wedding anniversary. 


 my older sister got married on my 13th birthday and that's a story for another time.