LOVE TO WANDER
.A lovely couple of days spent hiking in the Lake District brought swathes of yellow daffodils, some interesting fauna and some smashing views. A week later and the whole place was covered in snow! That is the joy of walking in Britain - you never know what weather to expect next, so you have to enjoy every moment of it in case it changes.
We booked a cheap break via Secret Escapes and stayed at the Skiddaw Hotel in Kewswick. Keswick is a great base - especially if you don't drive, because there are some lovely walks from the centre and it has all the facilities you could wish for close by. On our walks though, we saw a much nicer hotel run by the same owners and with hindsight wished we had stayed there instead - Lodore Falls Hotel, Derwent Water.
There are a number of clear walking leaflets for sale at the Tourist Information Office in Keswick offering a wide choice of walk lengths and scenery/challenge. We opted for the Stone Circle at Castlerigg, which made an easy afternoon's walk on the first day. On the second day, we walked all around Derwent Water - 13kms - mostly flat walking with some stunning views along the way.
The thermometer is your ally in Gran Canaria! We visited at the end of March when it was grey and wet back home in the UK and were treated to pleasant temperatures averaging 24 degrees C with lots of very welcome Spring sunshine. Maybe this is why it is known as the land of eternal Spring here. It can get very hot in the Summer though, I think.
We stayed at Anfi del Mar and hired a car for a couple of days to explore the island. That was enough to drive the entire coast road and explore the middle of the island too. You do have to be prepared for some knuckle clenching hairpin bends on the twisty little mountain roads. It is an interesting place. Before it was developed for tourism (with sand imported from the Sahara because otherwise, the beaches would be a rather disappointing dull grey), it was dependant on growing tomatoes and a few bananas. It is a very different story today.
Gran Canaria has 268kms of coastline, 128 beaches, mountains, valleys and ravines - plenty to explore in a week long short break.
Glad I visited:
Jardin Canario - Botanical gardens near Las Palmas. Free entry and a lovely restaurant serving typical Canarian food. A great collection of indigenous fauna, impressive cacti and a huge yucca!
San Bartolomé de Tirajana - a great place for a typical Canarian lunch.
Maspalomas Dunes - complete with entertaining nudists (?!)
Puerto de Mogan - Pretty port with lots of bougainvillea (although a bit on the touristy side for me really).
La Caldero de los Pinos - Good hiking country. Lots of pretty Spring flowers and well marked trails.
Give it a miss:
Puerto Rico - unless you like the all night party life, that is.