Island of the Dogs

I was dreaming about the summer and it was going away! In my free time I was checking flights and one day I found a good deal. Gran Canaria. 50 euro, return ticket. “Let’s go there” I told to Jakub, and he agreed indifferently. Did he not believe me? I often tell him about flight deals, all over the world. This time I really meant it and after I bought the tickets I was already on the island (but first only in my imagination).

Days were passing, temperature was slowly falling (I was even more happy that we were going to Canary islands!) and finally the day of departure came. We spent the night on the airport and enjoyed the sunrise from the airplane. It was raining in Las Palmas and we saw two beautiful rainbows. From that moment I knew I would like it there.

You can get from the Gran Canaria airport to Las Palmas by bus nr 60. It costs 2,30 euro. Interesting facts: In Canarian Spanish they call the bus – GUAGUA. Small diferences between peninsular and Canarian Spanish language is use of USTED form, and lack of ZETA letter. On Canary islands there used to be the whistled language but during our time there, nobody whistled at us ; )

We got off at San Telmo station and we started to look for a flat of our airbnb host. When we left our things at his place we went out to sightsee. After a good coffee we were able to enjoy the charm of Vegueta. It’s a historic district od Las Palmas. In comparison with the other part of the capital it looks like a different town. Narrow streets, the cathedral with classicistic fasade, beautiful tenement houses, and it was… quiet. We were under the impression that there were not many tourist beside us what allowed us to enjoy amazing surroundings in peace.  Saint Anna Square (La Plaza de Santa Ana), Town Hall (Casa Consistorial) and the House of Cristopher Columbus are worth one’s attention. It is said that Columbus stayed at that house during his first journey to America.

From Vegueta you can go to Triana, another historic part of the town, decorated with modern facades. It used to be sailors’ district. Now the only thing which brings us back to the old times is San Telmo hermitage originally built in 16th century, currently from 18th century. Saint Telmo is an enigmatic saint, because… there are two of them. San Telmo – San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo and San Erasmo de Formia, known as San Elmo. First one was from Spain, second from Italy. Both are sailors’ patrons. In the Middle Age in the Mediterranean region many sailors used Catalan language. In Catalan San Elmo = Sant Elm. It’s easy to make mistake (maybe to increase probability of survival they prayed to both of them). Whom of those saints were in charge of St. Elmo’s fire – electric discharge on ships remains unsolved puzzle. The other puzzle was why La Triana was decorated in Christmas baubles, although it was the beginning of November?

We wanted to go further and we went by Avenida de Canarias to Santa Catalina Park. On our way we were watching how Canary Islanders spend Saturday. Some of them actively: jogging, football on the beach. Some of them lazily: making competitions of radio controlled model ships. We took a break in the park, which had separate part for dogs and it was the most beautiful dog park we had ever seen. It had antique stylized sculpture.

On our way back we found Ciudad Jardin (which literally means Garden City). There are an amazing, colourful villas and beautiful Doramas Park. I was imagining that I lived in one of those villas. Preferably a blue one. But I have to admit that I found yellow ones very appealing. Maybe because they fitted there the most. Yellow is the colour of canary, and the inhabitants of Canary Islands are called the same word as canary (In Spanish Canario is both a bird and a human living on Canary Islands). It’s funny – you can say to someone that you have canary in the cage at your place and no one would think that you have human there!

At the end of the day we tried a local beer which under low temperature changes colour of its label (“drink when the dog becomes blue”).  You may have noticed dog figures on the photos. This is because Canary Islands are not truly islands of the canaries but islands of the dogs. Canaries were named after the name of the Islands and Islands were named after the dogs. A bit crazy, isn’t it? Maybe not so much, when you consider that dog is called Canis in Latin. That’s why everyday on Canary Islands is like a dog’s day .

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13 thoughts on “Island of the Dogs

  1. Pingback: Macaroni with sand | Polacos de Polonia

  2. I have been to the Canaries before, although it was actually my first ever trip abroad when I was 1 years old! So I have to say I remember nothing of this trip, although I have some wonderful photographs playing on the beach with my young parents! It’s not somewhere we have thought about going back but looking at these amazing photos it should be! It looks wonderfully full of a culture of it’s own!

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  3. Well I never knew that! The dogs not canaries bit I mean, though the latin makes sense I guess. It’s good to hear that there is another side to the Canaries than the hideous sprawling package resorts, and can’t believe that airfare was so cheap! Wishing I was going too now it’s all cold and wet here in the UK

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  4. The colors here are wonderful. I really know so little about the Canaries-looks like I need to do some research!

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  5. So nice to see another side to the islands, instead of the crowds and resorts. I have a soft spot for island life, maybe because I’m an islander myself. Very interesting the name coming from dogs (from the latin) and not from canary… I thought it had everything to do with the bird!

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  6. The Canary Islands sound great and I can’t believe you got a 50 euro return ticket! Ridiculously cheap vacation! Loved that they used to whistle for their language and it’s sooo cute they call buses ‘gua gua’ – this is the sound a dog makes in Spanish right? Great article 🙂

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  7. Really not many people on your photos! Good to know that it can be so non-touristy in a city on Canary Islands! Were there many stray dogs?

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