After Madrid I headed to the Canary Islands. Friends, rest here every year, insisted that I must see the most magical island in the world - Gran Canaria. No, it is not littered with wonderful grass, opening the third eye. A unique place in that a distance of only several kilometers completely adjoin different climatic zones. In the same day you can be on the snowy mountain tops of coniferous forests and at the same time sunbathing under the hot sun and swim in the ocean. On the one hand - and the lunar landscapes of the desert, on the other - black volcanic craters, ten minutes - and you're in the palm oasis. Gran Canaria like a big Hollywood studios with open-air pavilions from almost any movie. To say that I was "impressed" - means to demonstrate monstrous scarcity of his vocabulary. And it even pictures can not convey all the charm of this island. But I timidly try ...
Canary archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean and consists of seven large and several small islands. The biggest of them - Tenerife - is teeming with Rousseau tourists through direct charter and scheduled flights from several cities in Russia. For all its natural beauty, choose this island for vacation, I would not. The second largest - Fuerteventura, and the third - Gran Canaria. Due to the absence of direct air links with Russia, our compatriots here a little, and they are largely independent tourists.
Like all the islands of the archipelago, Gran Canaria - a volcanic origin. Its highest point - an active volcano Pico de las Nieves (1949 meters). Climbing on it, you can see the dizzying panorama of the whole island. Just over the horizon - one of the symbols of Gran Canaria, Roque Nublo ("rock in the clouds"). Thanks to its unusual shape, reminiscent of a finger, this basalt rock was sacred Guanches - the ancient inhabitants of the island. A little to the right on the horizon can be seen at nearby on. Tenerife Teide volcano, which is the highest point in Spain (3718 m).
The island is divided the mountain range into two main climatic zones: dry, always warm south with desert landscapes and humid, cooler and green north.
As I said before, Gran Canaria called "miniature continent" due to the unique set of very different landscapes. In the south of the island there is a wonderful creation of nature - a sugar cube on the ocean. Maspalomas Dunes - one of the main business cards Gran Canaria. Their area of almost 300 hectares, and the length of about 4 km.
The climate in this area of the island is particularly warm and dry, and temperatures on average by 2-3 degrees higher than in other parts of the island.
You can move only on foot or by camel.
If you do not know what it's Canary Islands, one might think that the photo was taken somewhere in Morocco.
It is not known as a volcanic island were so many golden sand. I am of the opinion (and I agree with the leading scientists of the world) that the sand for thousands of years here blew winds, the trade winds from the Sahara Desert. Less literate scientists believe that the sand brought by sea currents.
The area consists of five resorts of Maspalomas beach with a total length of 8 km and can offer holidays for all tastes and budgets, from young people, you like this to a quiet and respectable.
It is necessary to pass a kilometer, and here is another landscape - Charka freshwater lake. In winter, it serves as a stop for migratory birds on their way from Europe to Africa. The lake and its surroundings are declared to be guarded ecosystem: Access is limited here.
Nearby is a beach for those who have not been able to choose a swimsuit in a store.
The resort of Maspalomas is known not only dunes, but also the highest lighthouse in Spain - 55 meters. Its construction was carried out almost 30 years until 1890
Lighthouse helped shipping route between Europe, Africa and America. Today, he is just one of the symbols of the island. Near the lighthouse - a respectable promenade with many restaurants, bars, souvenir shops.
Sand is an excellent material for the expression of young talents.
These touching dogs molded 19-year-old girl.
For centuries, experts from around the world interested in the flora of the Canary Islands, which has no analogues in the world, because these species are already extinct in other areas during the ice age. Gran Canaria survived more than a hundred species of plants, which is no longer anywhere on the planet.
Some of them can be bought.
One of the symbols of Gran Canaria are black cats. "Black Cat" here sounds good.
Colored cats even have repainted in black to match the standards and have a weight among his own kind.
And on the island are found very arrogant birds - Eurasian collared dove.
Sometimes nakroesh rich table on the terrace of your room - and they are right there.
We had to feed him half of his lunch ...
Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico, «rich port") - the second largest resort of Gran Canaria, very popular among tourists, who come to stay with families.
The former small fishing port in decades has grown dozens of hotels and apartments that can accommodate as many as 30,000 visitors.
The main beach of Puerto Rico.
On the rocky slopes of the surrounding bay hill towering several dozen apparently exactly the same hotels and apartments, built in typical early 80's style.
Bad that kitty who does not dream to become a panther.
If you go to the right on the promenade path, you can see several hotels located on the tops of steep cliffs.
Например, пятизвездный Club Hotel Riu Vistamar.
To keep your guests to the sea, hotels have to cut through the rock mine for elevators.
At this point, there is no convenient for bathing sandy beach, but be charmed by the beauty of the coast with the miraculous.
... Or man-made.
Beaches with crystal clear water teeming with different fish.
And here's my favorite beach - Amadores. White sand was brought to him from the Caribbean. The bay is surrounded by high cliffs, so that it seems as if floating in the crater of the volcano.
The beach has a "blue flag" - the European quality mark beach.
This is not a photo montage - it really depends on the air.
One of the most popular activities on the beach - building sand castles with the whole family.
West of Puerto Rico is a fashionable tourist area Patalavaca (Patalavaca). There is also the Anfi del Mar - a good club with a timesharing beach of white coral sand, specially brought from the other side of the ocean. But since the very beaches in Spain, as we know, all the general, you can safely sunbathe, swim and "local" tourists.
In this bay is also inhabited terrible unidentified creatures.
You have not yet blind eye to the beaches?) Then here's night photo of the resort town of Puerto de Mogan. If we move from east to west, it would be the last settlements in this part of the coast of Gran Canaria. Next - only inaccessible cliffs.
Mogan beach is small but very cozy. On the waterfront many restaurants, several of which are considered the best fish restaurants on the island.
Golden sand imported here, too - this time from the present Sahara, to the benefit of it here on the doorstep.
The main population consists of fishermen. The remaining mold dragons on the beach.
Nearby is an area that locals call the "Little Venice".
Canals and bridges really give it some resemblance to the famous Italian city.
Similar toy white two-story houses form a narrow pedestrian streets, decorated with blooming Bougainville.
At this point, my soul has found an incredible peace, and only occasionally a little humming something in Spanish.
Say, a two-hour leisurely walk through the "Little Venice" is equivalent to a two-hour rest in the best spa.
Cosiness local restaurants attracts and fascinates.
Life here is so measured and serene, even cats sleep on the go.
In some houses of fishermen families live, some surrender under apartments.
The town is popular with tourists, sailing to the Canary Islands on their own boats. Somewhere here berths and a real submarine, where anyone can briefly plunge into the sea.
In the gazebo in the middle of a small square saxophonist plays light jazz.
Sitting here with a glass of wine at sunset, you know that life is beautiful!
In the souvenir shops you can buy clothes by local designers and art products Canarian craftsmen rather than the usual for such institutions nonsense.
In the evenings, the locals gather to play cards on the stones.
It's time to pay a visit to the capital of Gran Canaria - Las Palmas. It is located in the north-east of the island and is the largest city in the archipelago.
The status of capital of the Canary Islands share two cities - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The scheme is very similar to our Russian tandem of Putin and Medvedev, every four years, one of the cities in turn became the capital of the Canary Islands. The provincial government in turn meets in Las Palmas, then in Santa Cruz.
The island's population - 807 thousand people, more than half of whom live in Las Palmas.
Such colored stone box, located at the slopes of the hills - the typical housing residents.
Heart of the capital - the historic quarter Vegeta, where the main attractions are concentrated.
Cathedral of St. Anne in the eponymous square erected for 400 years, starting from 1497, which affected both the architectural form of the building, and the design of its interior: during the construction of the cathedral was replaced by eight architects.
On the south tower of the cathedral, which can be reached by elevator, offers a wonderful view of the city and harbor.
City Hall is located opposite the cathedral of Las Palmas.
On the square you can meet eight bronze dogs - exactly the same as on the arms of the Canary Islands.
... And 15 pupils enthusiastically depicting the cathedral at the exit of Fine Arts lesson.
"House of Columbus" - the former residence of the Governor of the island, which in August 1492, Christopher Columbus stayed until repaired one of his ships during the voyage to the shores of the New World.
Inside, now houses the Museum of Discovery, which exhibited as genuine objects of that era, and reconstruction related to the famous journey outstanding navigators. Outside, beautiful girls usually pose for photographers.
In one corner stands modestly Nestor Alamo - the legendary local composer, journalist and writer.
And though Las Palmas - quite noisy and crowded city, walking through the quiet historic center is a pleasure.
Low colonial buildings in the central part of the new high-rise buildings on the outskirts.
Contemporary art decorate many streets and squares of the capital.
A sample of modern science and technology are gathered under one roof - in the museum Elder. He's just packed with various inventions, amazing scientific exhibits and allows you to see how it all works. You can sit in the cockpit of the aircraft, visit the 3D-room with dinosaurs or see the solar system in miniature.
I bet - you'll be a half-hour stand by this mechanism and fascinated to see how the balls are driven its component parts.
Computer room similar to the space station.
Is it worth it once again to talk about the wonderful Canarian kitchen? In Las Palmas can and should try everything - from tapas in a street cafe ...
... To the incomparable paella with seafood in the authentic restaurants. Almost all of the ingredients used in cooking, local. Exceptions are imported salmon and beef.
25-storey tower AC Hotel Gran Canaria by Marriott - one of the tallest buildings in Las Palmas.
Port of Puerto de la Luz is the largest in Spain. It was built in the late XIX century. There are moored supertankers and ships from all corners of the globe ...
... Including the ultra-modern ships from Russia. If one of the town's bars you will find numerous company unshaven Russian peasants clearly non-touristic kind of bad in a foreign speaking - a sailors from some stopped at the port of the vessel.
4-kilometer-long sandy beach of Las Canteras is located in the northern part of the city tourism. It is notable for the fact that separated from the ocean by a natural parallel to the shore coral reef, forming a kind of "pool" where there are no big waves and the water is warmer than in the open ocean.
Las Canteras beach is considered the best city in Spain. It is from here and started the development of tourism on the island.
A pensioner's paradise.
Quarter Santa Catalina - a popular place for walking motley audience inhabiting the capital. Among the souvenir shops, bars and newsstands ladies walking with dogs, couples, sailors, port whores, elderly gentlemen and merchants hawking.
Here, on the square, lovers of extreme skiing on the bike and roller boards.
Las Palmas is recognized as a city with the most comfortable climatic conditions in the world. This conclusion was made by American scientists who examined six hundred resort towns around the globe. I felt him youthful love and always will visit this place again.
And of course, as usual, you expect me advice on hotels. Of all the hotels in Gran Canaria I liked Lopesan Baobab Resort.
I like a lot of attention is paid to the idea and design. It seems that the Baobab was built by the ancient Aztecs, and in our time to modernize the building with the help of glass and electronics.
Conceptual evident in every detail.
The hotel area is huge. There is an artificial river, on which you can swim forever, tropical gardens with several ponds, waterfalls and beaches of sand.
Walk through the territory of different animals - for example, live turtles.
And the dead elephants.
This smiling like Madame came out of the movie "The Help."
Fresh breeze, the sounds of wildlife and the smell of flowers and greenery ... It must be such a perfect resort.
Beach pool is made of real sand - creates an overall impression that went into the sea.
Do want to be dragged to the beach to the ocean, where the hotel is such beauty? Also a bar at hand.
Flamingo, however, also dead.
There are several restaurants, decorated in African style.
From the first time at the hotel, you can easily get lost.
The hotel is relatively inexpensive by European standards, as well as all the hotels in Gran Canaria. The cheapest room costs about 100 euros.
Very pleased that the island is built a lot of new hotels with nice modern design.
... Until one of the towns - Maspalomas - suddenly there was a real gay parade who changed my ideas about everything living on Earth. This will be a separate post, stay tuned)