Photos La Gomera

La Gomera!
The most stunning think about La Gomera was the beautiful nature we encountered. Ancient forests with Laresilva trees and a huge amount of walking routes crisscrossing the island. In the forest we could at times clearly see the horizontal rain. These are clouds that are hanging low over a track in which you can see the wind moving. The wind makes the little drops in the clouds move horizontally of even upwards.

La Gomera - Terras!A lot of the mountains contained lots of terraces. These were created by the old Gomerians to cultivate all kinds of plants. Surely this must have been a lot of work. Still at times you can see banana trees, potatoes or grapes in some places, but the vast majority of terraces is not being used any more. The locals must have moted that working for the tourists is much more profitable than working with plants. A sad loss of tradition, but very good for providing beautiful imagery.

La Gomera - Orgel!The boat trip to the island was like a roller coaster ride. I enjoyed it a lot, but Ana was less pleased with the trip. To see a typically shaped cliff you needed to get another boat trip to have the best view, but this was out of the question after our experiences arriving at the island. Anyway, there were really a lot of these typically shaped rocks visible all over the island.

In my photo album you can find some more images of our trip to La Gomera.

La Gomera

Next weekend we will be traveling again, and this time were visiting the island La Gomera for a weekend. La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands that was still missing on my list.
Canary Islands!

La Palma El Hierro La Gomera Tenerife Gran Canaria Fuerteventura Lanzarote
El Hierro! El Hierro
Fuerteventura! Fuerteventura
Gran Canaria! Gran Canaria
La Gomera! La Gomera
La Palma! La Palma
Lanzarote! Lanzarote
Tenerife! Tenerife

The island is difficult to reach. First we need to take the ferry to Tenerife, and from Tenerife continue to La Gomera in a different Ferry. We were lucky because the the schedules connect pretty well, and we get a 50% discount on the fare for being Canarian citizens.

La Gomera promises to be a nice place to visit. The island offers a lot of nature, the Garajonay National Park. Also there is a typical rock face, Los Organos, that resembles a kind of organ.

In La Gomera that have a lot of local delicacies. Local cheeses, roasted pig or goat, honey from palm trees and this is the place where almogrote was invented!

It is the only place in the world where the inhabitants were forced to develop a unique language. A whistle-ing language called
Silbo Gomero (Gomerian whistle). The local population communicated with whistles covering great distances. It proved the easiest way to quickly pass information over the ravines. Of course I’m planing to do some whistling myself. If I make a mistake there is still no problem. The receiver of any error will surely be far far away at the other end of a ravine.

Carnival 2011 – The Indian party

On the Monday after Carnival (this year on the 7th of March) there is a very typical celebration in Las Palmas. The party of the Indians. During this party everyone is dressed in white and the crowd slowly moves through the main street ‘Triana’ starting in the ‘San Telmo’ square towards the ‘Plaza de la Rana’ square. There is always some Canarian band playing and everyone tries to keep close to the music. At the same time everyone is throwing powder in the air. The distance is only about 1 kilometer but the crowd needs a few hours to reach the end point.

The main street can be recognized from a very big distance because an enormous white cloud is hanging above it. The cloud exists out of the power that is being strayed into the air by the attendants. Once you enter the street everything is white. The ground, the air, your glasses, your clothes, everything. In the street the only thing you do is follow the partying crowd and follow the music, stopping a lot of times to spray powder into the air.

This is one of the most original parties in Las Palmas, and you could even compare it to queens day in Holland, with the only difference that everything is white instead of orange, and of course it is a much smaller scale.
Carnival 2011 - Powder party!

Our honeymoon

Greece!What used to be meant to be a period where you got to know your new spouse has lost all of its meaning. I already knew Ana very well after years of living together, but being newlyweds was the ideal excuse to go on a nice long vacation.

Our first plan was to go to Argentina, and we also thought about Madagascar, China, Vietnam, but in the end we ended up with Greece, the lands of myths and gods. Our choice for Greece was largely based on some insecurity about an exam date. Ana needed to complete a state exam for her job and she could not miss this exam. The date of this exam was a long time unknown and only recently we found out the exam date is the 23rd of October, a week before our wedding. Not knowing the date earlier we did not want to risk planning a far vacation and then not being able to go, so we choose the smart solution and picked a relatively close destination.

We are plaing to spend three weeks in Greece where we hope to discover the Greek culture, the Greek food and the Greek habits. Of course we’ll also enjoy the beauty of the Greek islands.

Behind me

After two weeks celebrating in London, Amsterdam, The Hague, Noordwijkerhout and one night in Madrid we find ourselves once again in Las Palmas. The holidays were very nice which was underlined by the fact that I did not think about my work even once. We enjoyed a lot seeing (almost) all our friends and family again.

Our first stop over was London. We spend four days in the center of London in a nice hotel and of course we visited all the highlights of the city. Big Ben, Parliament, Tower bridge, the changing of the guards, a ride in the London Eye and naturally I drank a good amount of pints.

Afterwards we visited Holland and we were surprised by a very fast growing Annabel and an even faster growing Lucas. We also briefly met up with parents, friends and family.

Today the holidays are clearly over, and I had to go to work once again. At work I found my desk covered in Spanish decorations. Clearly the Spaniards had beaten the Dutch in a football match and the Spanish emotion about this match was vented at my desk. Que fuerte!

Canarian day

Canarian flag!This Sunday the people on the Canary Islands celebrate. Everyone will be eating typical Canarian potatoes with a nice ‘mojo’ sauce, honey rum, fish prepared in water from the ocean, almogrote, and everything typical the locals like to eat and drink.

Of course there are little markets all over the place selling local products and to make everything even better the Monday after the party is a holiday as well!

Crisis prevention

The crisis has hit Spain as well. Unemployment has skyrocketed and about 30% of the population is without a job. At least officially because in Spain there are quite a lot of people working all kinds of jobs without paying taxes.

The most recent measure to improve the economy was a strange one. All civil servants will have to accept a pay cut. Depending the salary they will lose from 5 to 15 percent. The measure will be in effect in June or July.

Such a big cut in the salary is strange, but whats far stranger is the complete lack of information about this cut back. No one knows if the cut back regards the entire salary, the brute of net, extra hours, extra additions, holiday allowance, etc. Also it’s unclear how much will be the cut back… 5%, 15% or something in between… no one seems to know and there is no official place to get this information. I don’t have any problems, but my girlfriend does and with her a lot of civil servants. Unrest is clearly growing.

Lanzarote highlights

Our visit to Lanzarote was very nice. We saw a lot of different sites, some of which were very interesting to see.

Day 1
Today we went and visit the touristic attractions of the island. It was possible to buy a combined ticket for 30 euros. With this ticket we could visit 6 different sites in Lanzarote. Make sure you’ve got the money cash, because a lot of sites don’t accept cards.

  • Our first visit was to a big cave, the ‘Cueva de los Verdes’. It was a very big cave, but nothing more. Not really worth the visit.
  • Jameos del Agua!After the cave we went to the ‘Jameos del Agua’ and this was a much more worthwhile visit. A Jameo is a lava tube that broke down, and that supports a lot of plant life. This specific Jameo had a little pond in the center which is the only place in the world where a little white, blind lobster is living. The surprising thing was that there did not seem to be very much protection for this little lobster. If I had wanted to I could easily have picked one up.
  • Mirador del Rio!Afterwards we drove on to the Mirador del Rio. A nice viewpoint on the top of a big hill where you can nicely see the nearby island ‘La Graciosa’. There is also a bar. The view is worthwhile, but selling a ticket to enter a bar was a bit to much. They clearly suffer from over commercialization in Lanzarote which you clearly notice in some of the tourist attractions.
  • After our visit to the bar on the hill we want and visit a cactus garden. It was a pretty big garden with quite a lot of cacti.
  • Then we went and see the ‘Monumento al Campesino’, a big sculpture next to a nice villa where they exhibit and sell local produce
  • The last thing we visited today were the volcano grounds called Timafaya. This was a very nice visit. It included a bus tour through a landscape that looked like it was copied from some science fiction movie.
  • Day 2
    La Graciosa!La Graciosa!Today we enjoyed a nice boat trip to the small nearby island La Graciosa. Here we rented some bikes and visited a few of the islands beaches. We had a very nice day. When we came back to the harbor and returned the rented bikes we needed to wait a while for the boat to arrive. We noticed two bars. One full and one empty. Because I did not want to wait we sat at a table in the empty bar. We ordered some Spanish hot snacks and we found out why the bar was empty to begin with. Uneatable!

    At night we visited the MIAC. A little castle with an art exhibit. It was a very small art exhibit because there were just three little rooms. Afterwards the exit took us to a bar with a nice view.

    Day 3
    Wijn/Druif cirkels!Our last day on the island. Today we drove to the south. First we visited playa Blanca and afterwards we went to the playas de Papagaja. After the beaches we passed the wine areas. It was an impressive view to see that each grape had it’s own little circular space.

    The visit was very nice. There are a lot of areas that look surreal because of the volcanic rock everywhere. The little homes on the island are almost all a nice crisp white with green window frames. I did get the nasty feeling that at times a lot of effort was being made to separate the tourist from his money.