An island belonging to Spain

view to a beach
The coast is clear. The beach of Canary Islands ©Mia Salminen

This is part two of my holiday in Playa del Inglés. It’s in Gran Canaria. An island that belongs to Spain. I looked on Google Map where it is. It’s more close to Western Sahara than Spain. The island is in the middle of the Atlantic ocean which you can see on the photo above. We arrived there on Thursday, March 28. To Las Palmas where the airport is, to be exact. It took about 30 minutes by bus to Playa del Inglés. The ride was organised by the Finnish travel agency, Aurinkomatkat (trans. Sun travels)

When we came to the destination, the bus circled around the narrow streets to the hotels. I don’t know how many we stopped by because it felt like ages before our hotel. But when we did, it was such a relief after a long trip. We got our room with a balcony and what a view it was. You could see the whole town from there. Below there were swimming pools and sun chairs.

view from hotel
A view from our balcony. ©Mia Salminen

Before dinner, we went to the store to buy water and other things. You shouldn’t drink the tap water because you don’t want to get stomach problems. You should even brush your teeth with it to make sure. The dinner was at 6.30 pm but dad thought it was too early to go. Luckily I ate a sandwich before we left home. In the hotel, there was a bar and outside that, there was a popcorn machine. It had two flavours. Since I don’t speak Spanish, I didn’t know what they were. There were ‘dulce’ and ‘salada’ so I picked dulce. It was, of course, a bad choice. I didn’t know then it meant sweet. It wasn’t, it tasted awful. I’ve never eaten popcorn like that before and I hope I never will. I tried to eat it all but I couldn’t so I put in the bin. I had to eat something because I was feeling peckish.

Speaking of culture shock in food. At dinner, you had to pay for the water separately. I was appalled. Dad had paid for the food in advantage and yet you have to pay for the drinks. I have never experienced that anywhere else. Every dinner you had to pay for the beverages but you get used to it, I guess. A few evenings I didn’t drink anything because I didn’t want to say aqua all the time. They spoke English though so later it got easier. The food was good though and it felt like you ate a lot. The first breakfast the coffee was from a machine and it tasted awful. But then I saw normal coffee where you could put milk in yourself. My mornings were saved. Without coffee, the days would have been a bit different.

The first days of the holiday, I found it really boring. There was nothing to do. The hotel had a stage where had different programs but that doesn’t help my boredom. There were a lot of Germans and a lot of them smoked. You couldn’t sit outside at all because of the smell. I was surprised by how many smokers there are on Gran Canaria. Even the employers, guides, bus drivers etc. Are they born with a cigarette in their mouth or what? It was really annoying. At least they didn’t smoke inside. Hail smoking laws. In a hotel, you can get away but when there are smokers in a small place, you can’t escape far. I get to that in the next post. If we didn’t have plans this holiday would have been the worse ever. People mostly were there to get some colour on their bodies but neither of us like that sun that much. I’m definitely not a beach holiday person. I prefer city holidays.

My parents had been on this island in the 1990s and they went on a sailboat trip. We would go on this same trip. The problems were how to get in touch with the Finnish guide. There was a phone number you could call but when we tried, it went to Helsinki. There they couldn’t help at all. We asked the reception and they gave us a few numbers. None of them worked either. So what to do? There was a folder in the hotel so we looked there for information. The guide could be found in another hotel on Saturday. I asked the reception where it was and it was only a block away. Then finally we could book us a trip. It was on Sunday. The bus ride would pick us up from the hotel. What we learned from this experience is, always pay trips in advance and you don’t need to find the guide like a needle in a haystack. So a bit of dazzle at the beginning of this trip on the island.

To be continued

Around the world, in my head

StPetersburg
View of Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2016

Not having enough money to travel sucks. You can’t go anywhere because your travel budget is empty. You can only go to places that don’t cost you much. I wish I could go to any place without having to think about how much it’s gonna be. But I don’t think I ever will. We went to Europe after my sister passed away but I was so young I don’t remember about the trip. It would be nice to see those places as an adult but you can’t have everything.

I wish I could travel to New Zealand but since I’m not blessed with money so that will remain a dream. The only travel around the world is in my head. My dream is not a trip around the world though. Everyone seems to want to go to Asia or America but I’m not that keen. There are a lot of places in Europe I haven’t been to so I would do that first. At this moment I wish I could travel to a colder climate. Like Iceland. But again money is the issue. If only money would grow on trees. I really like travelling. It’s nice to see new places. I couldn’t travel alone because it scares me. The only time I travel alone is to school if I study in another city. I wouldn’t want to travel with a lot of other people because there’s always someone who gets drunk or behaves badly. Travelling with classmates is the worse. I rather travel with a person I know well.

I and dad are planning to go somewhere this summer but everything is so expensive. Going on cruises to Stockholm is a bit boring since we’ve done that so many times. It’s been 2 years since we were in Saint Petersburg and I still haven’t written a report like I said I would. I don’t know if I remember much about it anymore. One of these days I will finish that report. A short one but still. I’m not very good at telling about my travels. We’re travelled after that too but it’s all those old places like Riga. We’ve been there at least 6 times on a Christmas cruise. It’s so easy when everything is done for you. All you need to do is enjoying the trip.

I’ve been to 10 European countries, Finland included. Germany is the country abroad I’ve travelled the most in. In 2008 I went with my parents to Rostock, Lübeck, Bremen, Hannover, Berlin and the island of Rügen where the Nazi Germany beach resort called Prora lays. It’s now been renovated but when we were there it looked deserted. My favourite was Berlin. You can really feel the atmosphere when you walk where the Berlin wall used to be. During the trip to Germany, it was as hot as it is now. But when we got to Berlin it was much cooler. That’s the only reason it’s my favourite. There so much history and so much to see. We went up to the Berlin Victory Column and there were so many stairs to climb. But when you got up there, it’s all worthwhile. What a view there was. I don’t like heights so I stayed close to the wall. The walls up there were really beautifully painted. As soon as I took photos of it I wanted to go down. I only had a video camera to take photos with so the quality wasn’t the best. I’m not even sure where the photos are so I can’t show you. We took a lot of video but I haven’t watched that in years.

We were thinking about going on holiday to London or Paris but we don’t have that kind of money. You almost need to be rich to see any places in the world. Or marry rich. Some people never get to travel because they have to pay the bills and other necessary things. I’m glad I’ve been to places. A person who has been outside their own country have another look on life. Luckily you don’t need to go anywhere because you can find so much information online and even watch travel programs. Maybe I will one day find my way to New Zealand. Maybe I should start saving then. Unless someone takes me there which I think is a bit far-fetched. If travelling was free, you would never see me again. At least that’s what a pin in Pinterest said. The way things are going in the world, the home will be the safest place.