12 Jan 2013

Second Christmas in Madrid

So, we decided that since our first European Christmas failed to deliver a much anticipated “white” Christmas, that as true Southern Hempisherians, we require sun. A lot of sun. Otherwise we get grumpy, annoyed, irritated and generally peeved off with everything and everyone...wait, I did say “we” and not “I” right?

In any event, we therefore jumped on a plane, clad in arctic wear (referred to as winter clothes here, however, I always seem to look like the Michelin man) and before we could click our heels, we arrived in sunny paradise, or as the locals call it, Gran Canaria. Now, for those who do not live in the northern hemisphere, winter is what I would call Chinese torture. It is long, just sufficient enough to drive you crazy beyond belief, and right when you think you cannot deal with it any more...it gets worse. So in order for sanity to prevail, the logical answer was GET SUN.

Two weeks of exquisite weather, long sunny days, beautiful countryside, walks along the beach, driving insanely curvy roads along cliffs and on top of mountains, taking ferries and establishing that I am the worst travelling partner in the world, I suffer from severe motion sickness, spending time trying to turn a less horrendous shade of luminous white, friendly people, tasty food and drinks with umbrellas ensued...what bliss. 

Not only could almost every Canario (local person living in the Canary Islands) speak English (what a relief, sometimes you just run out of Spanish words!), we could enjoy some international activities which we are unable to get in Madrid. Stop laughing, I am not talking about crazy things like the Russians putting people in enormous plastic balls and pushing them off cliffs, I am talking about being able to enjoy an English breakfast whenever you want. And drinking Appletizer like water. And buying any English magazine you can think of without having to commute into town to get it. And being able to choose between Spanish food and other food, not that I dislike Spanish food, but it is nice to have a variety of choices. Did I mention Appletizer? Yes I admit I am a fan.

My fondest memory? There are so many... in northern Gran Canaria we visited a small town called Teror, and we had the pleasure of being served by a woman who, as soon as she heard we could speak some Spanish, proceeded to not only order our food for us (all traditional dishes like pappas con mago, ropa de viejo and the like) but also to dish up for us all whilst singing “Feliz Navidad”. Without her bottom teeth. As we were leaving, she told us that Christmas 2012 was the first year she was spending without her brother who had died the previous year around the same time, and she had, that morning, gone to put flowers on his grave, and as such, she was very low, however, meeting us and talking to us had made her happy. It could be sales talk, however, she made that day memorable for us.

In Tenerife, we for the first time ever saw (and spent time on) volcanic sand beaches. Yes, we were the tourists who took thousands of photos and are now disgusted we did not take more photos.

We were also lucky enough to have the most exquisite views from where we stayed, which we loved since our urban jungle view can drive you too drink, and we spent many a hour sipping Ron Miel (rum with honey, trust me, another great Spanish invention) and gazing at the sunsets.

And as such, we are back in Madrid, planning many more such trips in the future. And as 2013 kicked off with a bang, here are our two cents worth: give it horns and enjoy the ride this year!