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Phespirit goes to Gran Canaria
Maspalomas     March 2013

A return to the Canaries so soon after his November/December 2012 trip to Fuerteventura? In Phespirit's grand scheme of travel this particular trip was supposed to occupy the corresponding months of 2013. Enforced changes elsewhere in his plans, however, meant he would effectively have to take two winter sun break in the one winter. No matter. After his last trip abroad to Katowice, where temperatures regularly dipped below -10°C, some warmth for warmth's sake would not go amiss.

Staying in Maspalomas for a third time since 2010 meant two things would be certain: first, that Phespirit would spend his lazy days sunning on the vast golden beach that reaches all the way round to Playa del Inglés; second, that he would spend a fair few of his evenings at El Nublo steak house in the Faro 2 centre.

Unfortunately, Phespirit's quest for winter sun was no more successful on Gran Canaria than it had been on Fuerteventura. Every moment on those glorious sands was as likely to be under grey or white skies as it was in brilliant sunshine. Looking inland each day he could see the island's central peaks permanently crowned with a mantle of cloud. Following his previous failure in 2011, this effectively ruled out another attempt at hiking to Roque Nublo; once more he had brought his boots in vain.

With the weather indifferent to his plans, Phespirit was forced into improvisation. One day he took a long walk from Maspalomas through the streets of Playa del Inglés and beyond to San Agustin until the beaches ran out, then returned along the coast to the dunes. Another day he went by bus to Puerto de Mogán - the low-rise, fancifully dubbed "Venice of the Canaries" - and spent a few hours exploring this most pleasant of resorts on the southwest coast. And another time the weather was so foul with leaden skies, gale-force winds and torrential downpours, he had no choice but to spend the whole day stuck in his bungalow ploughing through Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'.

It wasn't all grim though. At least half his holiday was spent on the beach in sunshine. His evenings at El Nublo kept him superbly well fed and well served. Complementary Canarian starters, a complementary huge measure of honey rum or brandy with the bill, and a well-presented filling main course are all reasons why Phespirit would walk 20 minutes to get to El Nublo rather than try somewhere nearer. Phespirit far from being a food fanatic, and generally only eats to survive, but in the absence of any other obvious contender this unlikely little steak house is probably his favourite restaurant in the world.

Sad to see that while El Nublo flourishes, the Faro 2 commercial centre is visibly dying a commericial death. There's no knowing when Phespirit might return to Gran Canaria, or whether El Nublo will survive in spite of its surroundings until his next visit. The beach, however - that extraordinary, rolling, golden beach - is timeless and will see Phespirit out, and generations to follow. Comforting to know it will be there whenever he needs it.

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