A week before I started writing for Travel-Tactics it was my Mum’s birthday so I booked a holiday with a difference. We had such a relaxing time I decided to write it up.
I have worked in Taurito, Gran Canaria which is a purpose built mini resort close to the wonderful village of Puerto Mogan. There are a quite a few coastal resorts in Gran Canaria the first was San Augustine which is situated close to the airport, you then have Playa del Ingles which is definitely the party capital of the island followed by Maspalomas and it’s famous sand dunes. Meloneras is where you’ll find the casino and all the five star hotels including the African themed hotel the Lopesan Baobab, from Meloneras there are a few miles before Puerto Rico which reminds me of Blackpool but spread over 2 valleys, Taurito and Puerto Mogan.
Well this holiday wasn’t at any of those, I decided to put together a rural holiday based around Gran Canarias traditional culture and it was surprisingly excellent value for money. I booked the flights via Ryanair’s website and found the accommodation on booking.com. The accommodation was in the wonderful village of Aguimes just 20 minutes inland from the airport on the GC100. It was an old farmhouse passed down from generation to generation and now was a six room guest house. I had booked the last room that was available for a week which was a family room, it turned out to be 2 rooms with a double bed, 2 single beds and a upper bunk bed. If I’d known it was so big I would have invited a few more people.
I had hired a car through travelsupermarket.com which ended up being a little stressful as the car company wanted $1100 deposit $49 for a tank of fuel and a $23 refuel fee all non-negotiable. There was also a very long walk to the car hire companies parking compound which was annoying because my mum is 76 and struggles to walk up hill. I was grumpy after paying $1172 albeit that the majority was refundable if the car was returned in the same condition as I collected it. So the start of the holiday wasn’t as expected. I would like to see comparison websites be a little more up front when it comes to the actual cost of something.
Luckily we arrived in daylight on a warm day and I could inspect the car before attempting to put the luggage in. We don’t travel with excess luggage but the VW Up we were allocated has the smallest boot I’ve come across in a long time. I’ve rented cars with bigger glove boxes, my mum’s suitcase didn’t fit at all. I traveled with a hand luggage size wheelie bag which went into the boot but was too big to close the tailgate. So I ended up putting my coat in the boot and all the luggage on the back seat. Eventually we were both sat in the car, I adjusted the seat and mirrors followed by ensuring we had air conditioning. I then tried my best to find the car park exit, interestingly I followed the arrows painted on the floor and followed the sign which read “Salidas” however this wasn’t successful as it lead me to a ramp which was blocked by concrete slabs. I tried again passing the space the car was originally parked and found an open exit which lead onto the airport road. Eventually I drove out of the airport and South onto the GC1 in the direction of Aguimes.
Mum had spent the week before her holiday looking at the street view from Google maps and this turned out to be invaluable in finding our accommodation. The running commentary was funny but essential. I was to follow GC1 to the GC100 and on arrival at Aguimes our accommodation was opposite the historical museum. The only snag was there was a turning off the GC1 to Aguimes prior to the turning for the GC100 and I took it so we were no longer on the right route. I had taken the GC120 and as the signs said Aquimes I stuck with it and as you can probably guess I got completely lost. We stopped at a supermarket to pick up some water and a few provisions and after that it was all downhill, well actually uphill but you know what I mean.
I passed a sign which said turn right for Aguimes, this was a fraction before some traffic lights on a very steep hill. The lights were red so I stopped at the white line only problem was I couldn’t see the lights unless I reversed slightly, this became essential as a bus came round the corner very nearly removing the front of the hire car. Luckily the driver behind must have known about this problem as they had stopped at least 2 car lengths behind, allowing me to roll backwards so the bus could get passed. The next bit of drama was I turned right, which the sign said and found myself facing oncoming traffic on a one way street. I managed to navigate a U turn and then a right meaning I was heading further up the hill and away from Aguimes.
After pulling over and reviewing Google Maps I got back on track and ended up driving into Aguimes from the opposite direction which my mum had memorised. She spotted the historic museum, I turned the car round and managed to find a parking space right outside our new temporary home. Phew!
The property was on the corner of the GC100 and a small side street which was no wider than your average car, the wooden door to the courtyard was open and in we walked. Our first impression of the property was sheer amazement, it was just what mum and of course myself needed. There was no checking in just a greeting by one of the owners, he was so enthusiastic about the property and after making us both a lovely cup of coffee gave us a tour. The property wasn’t large but consisted of six rooms around a triangular courtyard. The courtyard was decorated with plants and artifacts from both the owner’s family history and Gran Canarias culture. There was a huge wine barrel which had been converted into a bar, a barber’s chair, a banana tree and around the back of our room a parrot called Pepe. We were shown to room 1 which was a huge family room, well 2 rooms and a wet room in the corner of the 1st room. It was still relatively early and we hadn’t eaten so we dropped our bags and headed into the centre of the village. Aguimes is an historic village covering approximately 1 square kilometer, the church and plaza was no more than a 10 minute walk from our accommodation. We sat adjacent to the church outside a wonderful corner bakery and had some locally baked pies and Spanish omelette.
Due to travelling all day we retired early, I took the first room and mum the second the bed was extremely comfy although I fell asleep on top of mine and didn’t actually get in bed until 4 am. In the morning we went across the courtyard and into the lounge / kitchen to make a cup of tea. The ornaments and artwork in the room were fascinating to see there were old clippers from a barber’s shop, antiques and pottery. The plan was that there was no plan, if mum wanted to do something we did it and if not I would wander and take photos whilst mum read or knitted. It turned out mum wanted to explore so explore we did, first we headed for breakfast at the same cafe we ate the night before. Homemade croissants, jam and coffee, followed by a stroll around Aguimes taking photos and filming. I had recently bought a zoom h2n audio recorder for my up coming project and wanted to put it through it’s paces so I knew how to operate correctly, whilst mum wandered taking photos I would sit in the square and record the ambient sounds.