Just after lunchtime today, we arrived in Las Palmas, on the island of Gran Canaria.
The morning had been spent blog-writing and dealing with general correspondence in Scott’s Bar, and attending a talk on composition by our resident photography lecturer, Ian Butterfield.
After lunch, we headed out for a wander. Since both of us were suffering with stiff limbs from yesterdays jaunt in Funchal, we planned on it being nothing more than a gentle meander into town and a relaxed wander along the seafront. However, as we reached the end of the main touristy promenade, we just had to keep on going…
As we were meandering, we were joined by Ian the photographer, who announced that he was heading in our direction, so the three of us walked beyond the beach and the tourist shops, enjoying the change in our surroundings. The seafront became rockier and the buildings became a little more ‘lived in’. The faces we saw were more the weathered faces of locals and less the smooth, well-fed faces of cruise-ship passengers – I should say at this point that the Marco Polo was just one of three cruise ships in port today, with ours being the smallest, parked as it was alongside a large Thompson ship, which in turn seemed quite diminutive when compared to the enormous monstrosity that was the Aida Nova. Looking like several ugly blocks of flats stacked ruthlessly on top of each other in the manner of a giant game of Jenga (described rather appropriately as ‘the classic block-stacking, stack-crashing game of JENGA! How will you stack up against the law of gravity?’ – I rest my case), the Aida Nova carries a staggering 6,600 passengers to the Marco Polo’s modest 800! I know which I’d rather be sailing in… alongside both of these ugly contraptions, the Marco Polo stood out as being a truly beautiful ship.
Our unexpected, long walk concluded at an open, rocky, barren headland, far away from the hustle and bustle of Las Palmas. From this point, we could look back across the bay to where we’d come from. Here, the waves were bigger and more spectacular, and clearly favoured by small groups of surfers, who rode them in style. We spent some time clambouring over the rocks, photographing the crashing waves, and generally enjoying the sense of freedom and the fresh air.
Amazed that we’d walked so far after yesterday’s hike, and realising that the paths went further, and probably round the entire end of the wild peninsular on which Las Palmas is situated, we decided that such a marathon would have to wait for another time. Although all-aboard time wasn’t until 10:30pm, the sun was already starting to dip down towards the distant hazy mountains, and we knew that we had to get back to the ship for dinner (stopping for an ice cream along the way, from one of our favourite ice cream parlours).
Tomorrow, we will be back at sea again. There are two sea days, in fact, until we reach our next destination, Mindelo, in the Cape Verde islands on Tuesday. And it will be back to work for me; my second painting class is scheduled for tomorrow morning, when I will be having them paint a tonal study (in a single colour).
From now until we reach Brazil, internet access is also going to become unpredictable at best, occasionally non-existent, and generally flaky and frustrating, so my blog posts are likely to become a little erratic for a while.