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Phespirit goes to Gran Canaria
Maspalomas     November 2010

At the end of a busy year's travelling Phespirit needed a holiday. He'd been to the Far East and the Middle East; he'd headed northwest, northeast, east, southeast and south across Europe. Each trip had been meticulously planned, each with its own itinerary. Now as the English winter prepared to take hold he sought merely sunshine, warmth and inertia at a reasonable price. His usual practice in such circumstances is to make for the Canary Islands. This occasion was no exception.

What was different though, was his choice of island. Of the seven major islands, Gran Canaria would be the fifth that Phespirit had visited. His accommodation was in the far south, just above the rolling dunes of Maspalomas. Here he joined a cosmopolitan mix of holidaymakers from across Europe in appreciating the sun whenever it chose to make an appearance. With five kilometres of shoreline there is room enough for everyone. Informally segregated spaces cater for tastes beyond the conventional; Phespirit could live with the naturists but declined to linger near the honourable gentlemen of the gay quarter, lest he be picked off by one of the less discerning cruisers.

In theory the empty interior of Maspalomas's vast sandscape had everything Phespirit wanted, i.e. nothing. Phespirit has a compulsion to explore, however, so he took a couple of days out from his idleness to look further afield. First he boarded a number 30 bus bound for Gran Canaria's capital, Las Palmas. The city spreads wide around the northeast extremity of the island but Phespirit restricted his visit to the old cultural quarter of Vegueta. Its centrepiece is the twin-towered Catedral de Santa Ana. Phespirit paid €1.50 to go up to its roof and appreciate 360° panoramic views across the parts of the city he couldn't be bothered to walk around.

His second departure was on a coach trip through the mountainous hinterland. This manner of touring has the theoretical advantage of convenience, but in practice proved crowded and frustratingly short of stops. Even so, it was not without highlights. These included a break to admire the iconic rock formations at the heart of Gran Canaria, together with views across to Mount Teide on Tenerife, and earlier in the day a rare view all the way out to the lowlands of southern Fuerteventura.

The views across to Fuerteventura and Tenerife seemed less likely given that the sky remained overcast all day. In fact the weather was patchy throughout Phespirit's vacation. Perhaps this is to be expected for a week in the latter half of November. Happily rain was restricted to one night only and daytime temperatures stayed steady at around 23°C. The sun persisted for two full days and couple of mornings and afternoons. Phespirit counted himself lucky: he picked up a light tan with minimal burning, and avoided whatever followed the severe weather warning issued for the Canary Islands the day after he left. He was a happy holidaymaker on his flight back to England.

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