Winter Getaway // Gran Canaria, España
Welcome 2014. I'm sure looking forward to what you've got in store for us! Here's to hoping everyone is feeling refreshed and excited. It's pretty inspiring to see all of the ideas people are coming up with and the determination to get things done. I woke up before 10a yesterday and possibly Monday, so yep - count me in. And a week after we got back from holiday, I've started editing photos from our trip, so here we are..On Christmas Eve, we headed down to the Canary Islands to spend a week in paradise. And paradise didn't disappoint. We had a day full of first-class travel and free Cava to ensure that we were prepped for the island life. A girl
could get got used to that reeaal quick. - it was mighty different than our past year of Ryanair budget travel. It was all too similar to our honeymoon with the paradising and the over-sized seats that we could practically fit into one and the 'can we get you anything else Mr. + Mrs. Montgomery?'s...except that now we actually DO sit in our own seats (old married couple says whaat!) and I'm used to the (forever long) last name now, so there's less blushing. Anyway, the island life..We stayed down a quaint little alleyway that conveniently opened up to the coveted corner spot of the boardwalk. La Oliva took us on as brunch regulars immediately, mostly because they knew what a mimosa was. We spent our days wandering and not worrying about time, except when we were hungry at an unreasonably early hour, then we quickly blamed it on our American. The boardwalk provided hours of quality walking conversations and the sand was the softest...seriously, how did it get so soft?! We're talking pillow-top, cloud softness here. And then there are the colors. Spain, man. You've got it. So does he..The hardest decision was where to eat for dinner each night. The determining factor would usually be who had a patio seat, a sunset view and probably paella. We ate so much of it. Sometimes we couldn't even choose, so we ate tapas and had multiple seatings. On the last night, the restaurant that we'd had our eye on all week closed early - total bummer, so we headed back to the boardwalk for our usual drill and stumbled upon this gem that jutted out into the ocean a bit, underneath the pier. And we got our fancy dinner on. Also worth noting, when I mentioned 'island time' up there, that meant that you wait. for everything. Service is not speedy in these parts - you're on holiday in the Spanish Isles, why should it be. So when we got to La Marinera, we were beyond spoiled when the waiter served our paella onto our plates like a display meal and not once let our wine glasses empty. Highly recommend, folks.Speaking of recommendations. While idling down the boardwalk in Las Palmas one day, we stumbled upon this little beach shop called Las Canteras Life Style that had distinctively higher quality sarongs and muumuus than anything we'd seen on the island. I've been on a search for a good muumuu. Nothing says resort wear quite like a statement muumuu. Let's just agree on that. Anyway, I got all caught up in these beautiful artisanal pieces when I started asking the shop owner about them and that girl. Let me tell you. She travels round the world and works with NGOs and womens' cooperatives to support livelihood projects. She raises awareness and gets locals set up with Etsy shops - adore! Did you know that these large companies go to tiny African villages and purchase the names of their crafts? They straight up copyright the name that they use to describe their pieces, so that its not theirs anymore. Is this real life? But I digress, we found a picnic blanket/towel from my lady's trip to Somalia, where she stayed in a Doctor's Without Borders type center. She got the women set up with a weaving machine and taught them how to create. Then she brings them back to Gran Canaria and sells them for a fifth of what Western shops (ahemn, Anthro) would. Each piece in her shop has a different story. I got a scarf and went back the next day to get my mom one because I couldn't take it off. Moral of the story - I want that job. Wait, no - that's just my moral. I mean, if you're in the Canaries, go check out my friend (and tell her Annie says 'hi!'). It's the only place to buy souvenirs, but its also shopping for an amazing cause.