JMU Reunion in Grand Canary

I do normally post these blogs in order, but I have been busy with a ton of stuff over here related to school, moving back to the states, classes ending for the summer and lots of other random stuff. My trip to Grand Canary was in May. Yes, I realize that was 3 months ago and that I am the worst, BUT here is the recap of my trip to Grand Canary with my friend Erika.

Erika is my old roommate and friend from JMU. She, like me, caught the travel bug, and is always down for an adventure. When she told me she was doing a 2nd jaunt through Europe (Madrid, Berlin, and Barcelona respectively), I obviously volunteered my apartment as her Barcelona headquarters. We spoke a bunch before she arrived, and decided that we were definitely going to go on a trip together, but couldn’t decide where. Finally, we decided on Grand Canary, the largest of the Canary Islands which are Spanish islands off the coast of Africa. I had heard great things about Tenerife, which is another one of the Canary Islands, so I assumed Grand Canary would be just as lovely. I know, I know… what happens when you ASSUME… so I will start the tale of our trip to Grand Canary.

Erika arrived in Barcelona on a Tuesday without a hitch. Unfortunately, as my luck would have it, I was dying of illness when she got here. I blame my frequent colds/flu-like symptoms/ general sinus issues on teaching children, but that story is for a different day. So, instead of being able to do fun things with her during her time in Barcelona, I was holed up in my apartment attempting to feel better before we left for the islands. Fortunately, I began to feel better on the day we left.

When we arrived at our apartment in Grand Canary, we were very surprised. The apartment was really nice…. But there was no wifi, and the island was not at all like we imagined. Sure, there were beaches, and some really pretty views, but the commercial parts of the island were super tacky, or “CHAchi” if you will. The “shopping” and the parts of the island with “nightlife” were super ugly and reminded me of Wildwood’s boardwalk.

There were some really pretty parts of the island though. We walked to these massive sand dunes. It looks like a desert with hills and hills of sand.

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We took a walk along the beaches of Maspalomas. The ocean (the Atlantic Ocean) was still really cold, so unfortunately we didn’t do any swimming this time. However, did did buy these epic Grand Canary towels, with dolphins and a horse on them, so we looked really cool laying on the beach the rest of the trip.

Although the clouds didn’t usually clear up until mid-afternoon, we made time to relax and lay in the sun on the beaches. It was both of our first time actually being topless on a beach, so that was an experience. Nudity here is just not a “thing” the same way that it is in the good old US of A. People just don’t care at all what you look like, because no one is actually looking at you. People of all ages, shapes, sizes show off what their mamas gave them, and it is awesome. I highly recommend doing this!

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On Saturday night, we decided to make our own Grand Canary bar crawl. We went to about 5 different bars, and one of the few clubs on the island (called Pacha– they also have one of these in Barcelona). It was an interesting experience to say the least. I am used to the casual/bohemian vibe of Barcelona, and here people were actually wearing tight dresses and heels, which was semi-shocking to me. We had a lot of fun that night and were thoroughly toasted when we arrived home at 4am.

We had booked a boat trip for our last day and had to arrive at the bus at 9am. This was a MASSIVE mistake.  We imagined that it would be a relaxing, beautiful day full of dolphins, whales, beautiful scenery, good food, and snorkeling. Unfortunately, it was none of those things. First, I was extremely hung over and I mean to the EXTREME. The boat was overbooked, meaning that there were WAY too many people on it and not enough room to breathe. The ocean was also choppy that day, and although I don’t usually feel sea sick, it was so bad that I think I would have wanted to vom even without the prior night’s festivities. However, thankfully I didn’t get sick, although there were about 8 people on the boat throwing up off the side. The ocean was freezing, so we were not about to go snorkeling. We didn’t see any whales or dolphins, and the day was cloudy for the most part. The ONLY good thing I can say about the trip is the lunch. It was the first good salad that I had eaten in a while. However, the group of overweight men in sparking weenie bikinis dancing on the boat almost made me lose my lunch. So all in all, our boat trip was an epic failure. BUT, we did see some pretty things so maybe it wasn’t as bad as it felt while we were on it.

 

After we got off the boat at 4pm, we took the bus back to Maspalomas and walked around the shops down by the beach. We got a cheap foot massage and I felt horrible to say the least because my feet are NASTY now after 8 months without a pedicure added on to the grossness caused by the ridiculous amount of walking I’ve done. We headed back to the apartment early to pack for our last day, ate the terrible food we bought at the grocery store and went to bed in preparation for the end of our trip.We caught a pretty almost-sunset picture when it looked like it was going to rain.

 

On our last day, we just hung out in the morning and were boring. We said our goodbyes at the airport because I was heading back to Barcelona and Erika was flying back to the US out of Madrid.

If it was almost any other person that I went with to this island, I think I would have been disappointed. While it was definitely not what we expected, spending time with a friend that I hadn’t seen in almost 3 years was so much fun. Thanks AmErika for being an awesome travel buddy! 🙂

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