Saturday, August 24, 2013
The Canary Islands Baby!
Whenever Will and I go visit my family in Germany, we try to go on an excursion of some sort, and we usually try to go somewhere we've never been before. My parents are always so sweet to watch the kids while we do this, and this time was especially fun because we took my youngest brother and sister with us. It was perfect!
We also like to travel on the cheap, so Ryan Air is usually our go-to airline even though you can only bring one small bag aboard, and they're pretty notorious for delays and ripping you off on little things, like when I had to pay $5 for a small bottle of water. In fact, when we were checking in, they told us our flight was going to be like eight hours late! Luckily, it was only about an hour or two late in getting off.
I didn't know much at all about the Canary Islands when we decided to go there, and we kind of put this trip together last minute, so there wasn't a lot of research involved. All I knew was that it sounded cool, and that in High School a lot of my classmates would go there for Spring Break. And I'm always up for the beach!
So, I'm not gonna lie, as we were flying in, I was a little stunned. It's one big BROWN island that looks like a big mound of dirt. I think I was expecting something a little more tropical and colorful with canaries flying around, but that's okay! (I learned that the Canary Islands were named after dogs (canines), and not the pretty pretty yellow bird. Ha!) On the flip side, I was taken away by how amazingly blue and clear the water was, the exotic black sand and all the palm trees against such colorful architecture. I've never been to Africa, but I kind of imagine it's a bit like that since we were off the coast of Africa.
We were pretty wiped out when we arrived, and became progressively slap happy and giggly when we ran into problem after problem on our first evening there. First, we got in our rental car only to be stuck for awhile because a random van was parked in front of us. We eventually found the owner of the van and got him to move so we could be on our way. A few minutes onto the highway, Will realized he forgot to write down the address for our hotel. So, we just started driving (with me as the navigator--(not good)) toward where he thought the general area was. Once we got to the "general area" we searched for internet access, so he could pull up his email and get the address. It wasn't easy to find somewhere we could get internet, so we were getting really hungry and really tired... were we ever going to get there?
Finally, we found our hotel! It was a nice enough place, but I felt bad for Lissie and Bryant because they had to share a pull-out bed that did not look comfortable at. all. It slanted downward and the mattress was like an inch thick--anyway, that's a story in and of itself! But they were troopers and didn't complain.
After we got checked in, we decided to get dinner before heading to a nearby grocery store. Because we were starving, we just picked the first Pizzeria we saw and ordered four pan pizzas. We sat there for at least an HOUR waiting for our food, excited to fill our bellies. Our waiter didn't speak any English and none of us spoke Spanish, so anyway. He finally comes out with some complimentary hot dogs, which I thought was really strange. I figured that was his way for apologizing for taking so long, and I started to wonder if something had gone wrong in the kitchen?
A little while later, he pokes his head around the corner looking a little embarrassed, and as quickly as he could, gave us four tiny little baguettes with melted mozzerella cheese and slices of tomato on it, and then disappeared. It looked disgusting, and the one bite I had of it was disgusting. And of course, we were laughing ourself to tears over it, and laughed some more when he brought us two extra "pizzas." Whhaaaat? By the time we got out of there, the grocery stores were all closed, so we went to bed hungry that night. Well, at least Will and I went to bed. Poor Lissie and Bryant were up for half the night because Lissie found a bug crawling on Bryant. So they, of course, jumped out of bed... sprayed the room in bug repellent and waited out in the hallway for the fumes to wear off before they finally settled enough to go to sleep. I felt so bad when they told us about that the next day!
But don't fret! The rest of our trip went pretty swimmingly, it was just the first day that was a little off. haha. And hey, we probably laughed more that first day than the rest of the days put together!
On to DAY TWO:
First stop: grocery store. We were STARVING.
Next up, of course, the beach! Will had high hopes of kite surfing because the Canary Islands is known for it's perfect climate and wind for that sort of thing, but every kite surfing stand he went to wouldn't rent him equipment because they said it was too windy that day, and the conditions were too dangerous for a beginner... bummer! It was still really cool to see all the locals/pros out there kite surfing, though.
And it really was so, so windy! But we found a beach that wasn't too bad and soaked up some rays for a few hours before venturing around the city. Will had some work he needed to do remotely, so in the mid-afternoon we headed back to our hotel and relaxed while he did that. I'm pretty sure Lissie and I layed in bed talking for a few hours... and then got dolled up in hopes of doing a photoshoot on the beach that evening. But of course, we got away later than we expected, so there wasn't a ton of light for a photoshoot (plus the wind! not easy to work with, people), but we did manage to get a few shots of Lissie and one of me looking really awkward. haha My favorite pictures from that evening were the ones I took of the boys holding all our stuff and waiting patiently for us to hurry up and be done already so that we could go get dinner.
And dinner, it was such an improvement compared to the night before's yucky "pizza," thank heavens. We had crepes outside with a view of the beach, and we devoured them and the beautiful scenery. Yum! Well, everyone except Will because for some reason he thought he'd try one that had blue cheese in it and it was way too much blue cheese, so we shared our crepes with him. We're nice like that.
We spent Day Three at a really, really fun water park. I don't have any pictures because I was too scared of my camera getting stolen/ruined, but let's just say that I am a screamer on rides and we did a lot of laughing on this day. Best water park I'd ever been to, hands down! I wanna go back!
The original plan was to hike a volcano, but it turned out you had to get a special permit to do that, which we didn't have time for, so we did a different hike that was crazy hard! Or maybe I'm just getting old, but either way, we'll just say it was crazy hard... because I'm pregnant, but more because my knees have major problems. So anyway, basically we hiked down these cliff-like rocks to a beach (which you can kind of see in the first picture below). It took us so long to get to that beach because I was hobbling, but we finally did, and boy were we happy to be there. I kept wondering how on earth I was going to make it back UP, but thankfully there was a lady at the bottom who asked us if we'd be hiking back up or taking the boat to a neighboring city.
Uh, the boat please! I didn't care how much it cost, there was no way I was going to make it back up. Will and I didn't have any cash on us, but luckily Bryant did, so Lissie and I planned to take the boat and hang out at a beach by this city while we waited for Bryant and Will to hike back up the mountain, pick up the car, and then drive to where we were.
But of course, we spent an hour or two playing in this water that we'd worked so hard to get to before getting on the boat. We had a little scare when Bryant accidentally went swimming with his wallet in his swim trunks and lost his wallet. I was freaking out because that wallet had my boat money in it! We thought it was lost, but Will kept looking and looking (and I kept praying), and he managed to find it in that big sea! Definitely a miracle in my book.
So yeah, Lissie and I took a ten-minute boat ride, and then relaxed for four or five hours while we waited for Will and Bryant to meet back up with us. We got ice cream, bought some goodies, took a few pictures of Lissie pretending to be a mermaid, etc., and just enjoyed another beach. When the guys got to us they were wiped out and starving and believe it or not, we decided to give pizza another go. It was a much nicer restaurant and quite delicious.
We had a little bit of time to kill before catching our flight home, so we found another city to walk around, got more ice cream and tried to find some open shade, because Lissie and I never really got to do a photoshoot like we wanted, but it was blazing hot and really harsh lighting everywhere. Oh, well!
Our flight home was pretty uneventful without any delays, and it was so good to see my parents and my munchkins when we got home. The kids had an amazing time with my parents, and I think they enjoyed having them, too, so it was a win-win-win for all of us.
I don't know if there will be a next time, Canary Islands, but I sure did enjoy this trip and made a lot of fun memories! Adios!
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