Today, we decided that we'd like to see the interior. A trip that was on offer at 59 Euros each sounded expensive, but we bit the bullet and decided to go. It turned out to be WELL worth it. The lunch alone was worth at least 50 Euros for the two of us. Anyway, the blurb said 'English speaking guide'. We were picked up outside our hotel, and set off to join the rest of the convoy. This trip was in several small minibuses. The roads in the middle of the island can be a bit 'tight', as we were to find out, so minibuses were the best option. Well, as we drove along, the driver didn't say a word, and we were worried that we were going to spend the whole trip with no information! When we reached Puerto Rico though, and joined the other three buses, one was driven by Alan, who was from London (so yes - he spoke English - just LOL). He was really great, with a terrific sense of humour, extensive knowledge, and an obvious love of the island. The four buses were connected by radio, so a full commentary was given for the whole day - great! This is Puerto Rico - not a place I like the look of. A lot of the small inlets and beaches on Gran Canaria have been very severely 'concretised' with huge building programs. pack 'em in, build 'em high, seems to be the mantra here. Not for us.
As SOON as we set off, the banter started from Alan. So did the incredible scenery! With being volcanic, the landscape was sudden and stark. Amazingly though, pine trees were a feature of it, and could often be seen growing on ridges above us. There were also substantial pine forests in the interior, which we were to see later on.
This rock face was really strangely coloured. It's the ONLY place on the island where this occurs (and is, of course, an attraction to trips etc). It's caused by different elements in the rock, three in total - Copper, Iron and sulphate.
A quick 'comfort and coffee' stop at Las Cases de Veneguera. These places in the middle of nowhere must really depend on trips such as ours. The display of fruit though, would have rivalled any supermarket.
WHAT a balcony - WHAT a view.
Gran Canaria is known for its lizards. We only saw one small one in the wild, but they had a couple of really big ones here in a cage.
They also had a sort of museum, full of weird old stuff that REALLY made us feel our age! I had one of these myself
And when you think how electronic switchboards operate now, and how complex they are - this really does look archaic!
And who mends things these days?
After a coffee, we set off again. This is looking down to the village of Mogan. There is a place called Porto Mogan, but that's right on the coast.
The sudden, volcanic 'lumps' that were here and there were amazing. This one stood alone on a ridge. It looked like it had just been placed there.
The roads to navigate this country are also amazing. The locals call this one 'the staircase'. NOT for the faint -hearted.
Looking back down 'the staircase'.
One of the few things that grows in abundance - cacti. Alan told us that the interior was looking 'particularly green' right now. Not to me! He insisted though, that when it doesn't rain for two years or more, it REALLY dries up, up here.
People will colonise just ANYWHERE! This remote village was just perched high up on a ridge, MILES from any other habitation.
Huge fingers of volcanic upheaval were everywhere.
See what I mean about building anywhere - this place was on stilts.
And some places looked no more than a collection of tin sheets. This place was famous on the island as home to one of the most artisan goats cheese makers. Note the small water tank, water is a very precious commodity up here.
People also took to living in caves hollowed out of the rock (or took advantage of natural hollows, if there were some). In more populated places, these dwelling were much sought after, as the Canarian government gave very good subsidies and advantages to owners so they (the houses) would not disappear. You can read more about them here; http://liz-correal.suite101.com/the-cave-houses-in-gran-canaria-a62072
We were now in the REAL wilds of the interior, and LOVING it. All these peaks and faces, I wondered if they were ever visited by rock climbers.
There's my answer - the only ones we saw.
Time for another stop for coffee and 'comfort'. This beautiful wood-burning oven caught my eye (and my nose - the things baking in it lent a wonderful aroma to the whole place).
Bread, veg', cakes - you name it, they were cooking it.
Also, if you had a sweet tooth (which we don't, particularly), there was a huge choice of things to temp you!
We were happy with coffee on the patio (the most expensive we'd bought so far), but what a place to drink it in! We were about halfway on the tour, and enjoying every minute.