The Canary Islands Rock!
Volcanic rock, that is...
The first year we moved to Sweden, we stayed in Stockholm over the Holidays. It was fun. We celebrated with family and friends, made local day trips and even went to Swedish Lapland in the Arctic Circle. Honestly, I think I suffered from PTSD due to moving during COVID, and I could not bear the thought of another international trip. Somewhere around February of that year, we missed the sun. Stockholm is beautiful in the winter. I’m sure I’ve posted plenty of pictures of lovely, snowy, sunny days. The reality is that it’s grey most of the winter. Sunny days are few and far between, and the days are short. So we made a mental note to get some sun in the winter when possible. With that hard-won lesson in mind, we went to the Canary Islands over the winter break this year.
The Canaries are a local favorite destination for Northern Europeans seeking winter sun. They are the Spanish Islands off the coast of Morocco and the closest European location to the equator. We booked a trip with a company called TUI; they take care of the whole package. We were on a charter flight directly to the island of our choice - Lanzarote. TUI representatives are at the airport, and they whisk you directly to your hotel on a bus. A 30-minute ride later, you are on the beach, lying in the sun. Our week was perfect weather. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. Here are the Cinnamon Sticks shortly after we arrived:
This picture captures the mood of the whole trip:
Our condo at the resort had a small kitchen. When we booked it, we thought we might do some self-catering and cook dinner there occasionally. But we ate out every evening, a great break from our regular cooking routine.
We had a lovely - but artificial - beach. The light sand was shipped into a protected cove; it didn’t take long for the girls to adjust to their new environment.
The island is volcanic and away from the beaches, it looks like this:
Needless to say, we spent most of our time next to the beach. Getting used to the sun setting at 6:30 pm instead of 3:30 pm in Stockholm took a lot of work. But we soldiered through.
Our little cove was pretty protected, and the area around our hotel was well-defined. The Cinnamon Sticks enjoyed the freedom to wander and explore on their own. This usually involved souvenir shopping and eating ice cream, which allowed Mrs. Cinnamon Bun and me a chance to have some uninterrupted conversation, a rarity in our everyday life.
We ate many of our meals at the restaurant Casa Joaquin, which was about 20 meters from our apartment. Our first paella try was uneventful, but we ordered the local specialty version filled with sausage and beans. It was a hit with the Cinnamon Sticks, and someone ordered it almost every night!
We ate at a couple of other places, including a fantastic Italian restaurant that Mrs. CB found. But on New Year's Eve, we had no choice but to return to our favorite: Casa Joaquin!
The Cinnamon Sticks even got huge deserts!
We didn’t manage to stay awake for the fireworks, though…
TUI also sponsored a host of trips around the island. Most consisted of bus trips to various volcanoes and beaches. Mrs. CB would have happily gone on an excursion every day. But the girls and I were having too much fun doing next to nothing at the beach. We comprised and rented a tiny car for one day to get some culture at Jardín de Cactus. It was amazingly lovely and otherworldly.
By the end of our trip, our youngest went totally island girl: sun hat, nut-brown tan, stray cat, shell bracelet, and sparkly blue mermaid nails… Clearly, we had to return home or risk losing her to beach life forever.
We made the return journey rested, recharged, and grateful for a week of fun and sun!
I feel Africa calling… To be continued…