Thursday December 4, 2014
As you’ve probably found out by now, I’m terrible at planning excursions. My preparation barely goes past Google Images and how to get to the most interesting ones I’ve found. I can plan a great party…but anything travel based my brain can’t strategize past ‘I want to go to there’. So I had been so proud of myself when we checked into the marina here and were handed one of a dozen leftover information packets for the ARC that contained maps and guide books, and gave a full run down of things to do in town.
One of the items that held a lot of interest was a tour through Old Town Las Palmas. It even gave names of specific squares and streets to start on and where to head from there. I thought all my planning had been done for me, and so one afternoon this week when the sun had come back out and we were feeling in a touristy mood, I dragged Matt off the boat and toward this area of town.
Since we had only been the opposite direction of the marina up until this point, we were astounded at all the shops and stores we stumbled across had we only traveled two blocks in the opposite direction. Pedestrian walkways decorated for the holidays and filled with upscale stores just begging to be browsed. We had no problem popping into Zara Home and looking at sheets, decorative pillows, and even placemats for the new boat..trying to plan our decoration theme before we’ve even laid eyes on it in person.
If this road was any indication on what the Old Town was going to be like, I was extremely stoked. Forcing ourselves past all the other shops and cafes that I desperately wanted to stop at, we pushed on toward our destination. Following the oversize map I had stuffed in my purse, we followed side streets past more cafes and one amazing theater until we had been deposited right at the heart of Old Town.
If I didn’t have my maps agreeing with the plaques in front of me, I would have thought we were led to the wrong place. Everything was completely abandoned. Aside from one or two other wandering tourist there was not another soul in sight. All of the buildings were closed up and most looked like they hadn’t been occupied in years. Based on how our guide book was touting this place as a ‘Must see with lots of boutiqes and cafes to wander for hours’, I was quite disappointed. Were they talking about the pedestrian walkway we just left a few blocks ago?
Don’t get me wrong, the building here were still pretty. I just thought it would be much more lively and I was looking forward to all the activity and people watching..along with a historic and beautiful backdrop. Instead we walked through vacant streets and looked at one hollow street and it’s buildings to the next. All my ‘hard planning’ for our exciting afternoon out was leaving us despirited and even a little bored.
Things got a little better as we wandered out to the front of Plaza Santa Ana. The church had a beautiful facade from both back and front, but front let me find the canine statues that actually represent how the Canary Islands got their name. Did you think it was the bird? I always thought that too. Nope, turns out it was derived from Latin meaning ‘The Island of Dogs’, originally applying to Gran Canaria alone, as it “contained a vast multitude of dogs of very large size”.
As we wandered in front of the plaza we could tell that an event was being set up, with a stage surrounded by large speakers being assembled. Asking one of the guys working on it what was going on, he let us know there was going to be a festival of music the next night at 8:00. Well good, now we have plans for tomorrow night.
Since there wasn’t much more to see in Old Town, every street seem to have been discarded by locals and tourists alike, we walked past the plaza and into what seemed to be an upscale residential area. For some reason these zones always seem to interest us just a little bit more as we daydream and visualize ourselves one day living in a place like that. Once we win the lottery, have four different boats spread all over the world, and need a weekend retreat. You know, something small, like under 3,000 sq feet. Not that we’d ever even know what to do with that kind of space anymore. Do cartwheels through the living room? That’s about all I can think of. Ok, I guess we can scale down to 2,000 sq ft.