Monthly Archives: January 2012

La Palma 2012

Day 1 (Friday 20th January)
Good journey out (see previous post)

Day 2 (Saturday 21st)
Spent the day mostly by he pool. There was quite a bit of cloud about, mid-to-late morning, and we would come to learn that this was a recurring pattern; but when the sun was out, in a picture-postcard clear blue sky, it was nicely hot.
In the evening we had our first taste of the buffet meal catering. By and large, this was pretty acceptable — after all, you don’t expect cordon bleu, or even good-restaurant-standard, when you book an all-inclusive deal. (See final comments.)

Day 3 (Sunday 22nd)
Our first outing from the resort. As we might have anticipated, after the drive from the airport on Day One, the roads here provide some interesting driving, as well as some very good scenery and views: lots of bends, ups and downs, and mostly third gear; average speed probably not much above 50kph, maybe less.
Drove north on the LP-2 towards Los Llanos, then down to Tazacorte via LP-126; considered calling in at Puerto Naos, but abandoned the idea part-way — didn’t look as if it would be that interesting. Through Tazacorte and down to the Puerto, where we had a beer at a bar overlooking the black sand beach.
Back up to Los Llanos and, having fought our way through numerous unfriendly traffic lights, on through El Paso to La Caldera de Taburiente visitor centre.  After having a brief look round (and availing ourselves of the comfort facilities), we started to drive to La Cumbrecita, but were met by signs saying “closed”; back at the visitor centre, discovered you need to get a pass to go up there: booked for 1:30 next day.

Day 4 (Monday)
In the morning, had a look around Los Canarios for a half-hour or so. Then set out northward again for our visit to the Caldera
The drive up to La Cumbrecita  from the LP-3 proved our most interesting driving experience so far!
Short trek to  the mirador at Lomo de Las Chozas, enjoying some excellent views into the Caldera. Returned to the car by “the lower path”: a walk of some 2km, which went quite a lot “lower” and consequently involved a bit of stiff uphill gradient to return us to the elevation of the car park.

Day 5 (Tuesay)
Looked like a good day for our outing to Santa Cruz: cool and overcast, so not inspiring for pool-lounging. As it turned out, we didn’t find the town terribly exciting either.
Back home to find things here had improved — sunshine, 20 degrees: pool and beers.

Day 6 (Wednesday)
Short abortive spell by pool – sun disappeared behind a big black cloud within 15 minutes of our getting settled
To the south end, driving through what can only be described as man-made canyons of banana plantations: sadly, I neglected to take pictures! Emerged to drive through volcanic landscape that felt like a cross between a desert and a moonscape. Finally arrived at the  lighthouse(s) on the southern tip of the island: a new modern lighthouse has replaced the original, which has now become a marine reserve visitor centre. Nearby are some salt pans that are still in commercial use.
Continued round bottom end of the island and so back up to Los Canarios, with a short diversion to investigate the Volcan de Teneguia.
Returned to find the hotel still under cloud, so continued a little way northward on the coast road to small bar (sort of beach bar without a beach) where we enjoyed a beer.
Back to poolside for an hour or two at the end of the afternoon, now the cloud had finally gone.

Day 7 (Thursday)
Thought we’d be spending our last day hanging around the resort, but once again the weather did the dirty on us — beautiful start, with blue skies and sun after breakfast, but no sooner establishes ourselves by the pool than cloud began to appear. Stuck it out for half an hour and then decided to abandon the plan and go out instead.
Spent much of the next few hours in the car, but actually had a very good day. Headed north towards Los Llanos and were soon on the sunshine. Via Tazacorte and on up to mirador at El Time: quite spectacular, with good views up towards the Caldera on the way up. On up the LP-1 to Puntagorda: almond blossom much in evidence but perhaps past its best. Continued on, to pick up the LP-4 at Hoya Grande, and so up and up (and up …!) to the observatory at Roque de Los Muchachos: really spectacular location at 2,545 metres, way above the clouds. Completed the round trip via Santa Cruz, and so home for tea.

Day 8 (Friday)
Easy trip home, though rather a long flight due to headwinds. Enjoyed the quietness and generally pleasant experience of Santa Cruz airport (though we probably benefitted from being only the 2nd outbound flight of the day, out of season).
Meet-and-greet car parking service again spot-on at Manchester.
Home by about 7:30 via Sainsburys for a packet Chinese tea.

In Summary …
Another very pleasant vacation; we are indeed fortunate to be able to enjoy our various trips during our retirement.
The island of La Palma was definitely a good choice: interesting and often dramatic scenery; pleasant weather; quiet roads; and an excellent resort/hotel (if only they had built it in a location that was a little more cloud-free!)
Interesting to experience the All-Inclusive package. Would we do that again? — probably not as a matter of first choice; though if a particular holiday package offered it at a reasonable rate, we wouldn’t reject the idea.
The buffet restaurant catering was generally OK, and one or two items were very good — particularly liked the “barbecued pork” (I think they called it), which I believe was roast suckling pig. The main drawback was probably that the food was not always as hot as one would have liked, though it always seemed freshly cooked.
The “house wine” on-tap (literally) was inevitably pretty mediocre, but the local lager, also on-tap, was fine — and the “on-tap” aspect was certainly agreeable! Gin and tonics, whilst obviously a basic brand, were also acceptable. The brandy with which I finished the evening was (of course) Spanish, which is to me preferable to French, and very quaffable.

Pictures here in a Picasa Web Album

Exercise is good for you

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A short trek in La Caldera de Taburiente reminded us of leg muscles we had forgotten we had.

But it prepared us nicely for another evening of All-Inclusive indulgence.

🙂

You know you’re on holiday when …

.. you’re drinking Jack Daniels at 9.00am, because they insist on doing the drinks trolley before the food trolley, even though it’s an early morning flight.

Anyhow – we’re on our way!

Arrived at MIA ahead of schedule, due to the fact I didn’t consider that would be driving, and not steady Brian the taxi man. Meet-and-greet car parking was super efficient, Fast Lane security likewise, so we were in the departure lounge just after 6 o’clock — could have had another hour in bed!

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Hope the rest of the trip goes as well.

Our Friends From The South

Last week we had the pleasure of entertaining our friends Chris and Phyl for a few days. We regularly visit them in the autumn, and holiday with them on Lundy every May (as recorded elsewhere here), so it was nice for them to come North for a change.

They arrived Monday evening, after a delayed start — Chris has his hands pretty full with churchwarden duties at the moment, and had some last minute  chores to sort out. Anyway, a couple of gins had him soon feeling more relaxed and we enjoyed a casserole that Phyl brought (with dumplings!) and a glass or two of other restorative potions.

Tuesday, we headed for Chester and availed ourselves of the Park and Ride from Broughton Heath — marvelous things, these bus passes! Not a very nice day for walking, so we went into the cathedral: had thought we might get a spot of lunch in the refectory after looking round, but we were greeted with the news that it was closed for cleaning; still, we paid our dues and went in anyway. Can’t say I’ve ever done the cathedral “as a tourist” before — been to lots of services and a couple of lectures, but never looked round in detail: found it very interesting. As an added bonus, we were able to join in a short service of Holy Communion that took place at noon; just us and a handful of other folk. Afterwards, we repaired to Chatwins cafe for lunch, and then had a bit of a walk round part of the walls. A cold wind made it rather less than enjoyable, unfortunately. Called on on Anna and The Boys for an hour or two before returning home. For our evening meal we had the Aldi Four Bird Roast, which proved to be very acceptable.

Wednesday, Chris was all but disabled with a bad back. A browse of the phonebook yielded an appointment with a physio, and forty minutes and £40 later, he was once more ready for action. We decided to stay local, and headed down to Bridgemere for a visit to the Lakeland shop and (of course) lunch in the cafe. I was most disappointed to find they no longer do oatcakes!

Thursday, we were a bit slow to get going, and so decided to forego either of our planned excursions (Williamson Tunnels, or Port Sunlight) in favour of a trip onto Nantwich on the bus. Enjoyed doing St Mary’s Church, once again in tourist mode. Lunched at the continental-style cafe near the Post Office; I was rather disappointed with it — I’m sure it used to be nicer! To Sandbach in the evening, for a meal with Diane and Les, at The Old Hall, recently refurbished. Excellent nosh and a good gossip.

Friday, we put Chris on a train home to Poole. Phyl set off for a trip to Bakewell in search of an old friend, Sue Cullen. She returned home having successfully tracked Sue down, despite having no phone number or address: just the information that she runs a pizza cafe!

Saturday, we bid farewell to Phyl, on her way to meet up with another friend in Oldham

Altogether a most pleasant visit, even though we never did get the planned outings done.