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Canada 2023: Day 21

Canada 2023: Day 21

24rd July. Kamloops day…

Lazy start.

Todays mission was to sort Hazel’s British Columbia driving licence. This meant a trip to Kamloops in the hire car. While there Hazel was also going to do some shopping at Walmart.

To gain her BC licence Hazel has to hand her UK licence in which does seem strange. Anyway the whole process only took about 30 mins.

Call me strange but I do like looking round “forign” supermarkets. What people buy gives some inside to the country. In this case the first thing I saw was “George” labelled clothing ! Suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised as Walmart own Asda.

After shopping we returned to Sun Peaks for a chill. Later we headed out to a quiz night at the pub over the road. We were in a team of 6 with Hazel’s mates. Our team won the quiz – a high to end the holiday on 🙂

The only downer on the day was the impromptu quiz meant we forgot about a fine fruit crumble that Hazel had made for us.

Canada 2023: Day 20

Canada 2023: Day 20

23rd July. Sun Peaks day…

Lazy start… walked around Sun Peaks & did some shopping.

Drove to McGillivray lake where the girls went paddling. I made friends with a butterfly

Any ideas what this is ?

Pizza for tea & an early night…

Canada 2023: Day 19

Canada 2023: Day 19

22nd July. Vancouver to Sun Peaks day…

Long driving day…

Started with a walk round downtown Vancouver which is a lovely city. Would come back here.

On driving out we did notice a huge amount of homeless people on the streets. Sad to see in such a prosperous society.

Long drive to Sun Peak & an early bed…

Canada 2023: Day 18

Canada 2023: Day 18

21st July. Vancouver Island to Vancouver.

Long drive from Brentwood Bay to Vancouver. We broke the journey at Cowichan Bay on route to the Naniamo ferry terminal.

Tonight we’re in a family room in hostel. This turned out to be a shit hostel. The room was only just bigger than the bed which was a metal framed double with a single as a bunk above it. No air-conditioning & way too hot. Ended up wedging the door open to get some air flow.

It’s not ideal wedging your door open in a dodgy hostel so we piled stuff behind the door so it couldn’t be opened without making a noise ! Anyway we’re all still alive.

The only photo is of our carpark ticket…

Canada 2023: Day 17

Canada 2023: Day 17

20th July. Vancouver island – whale watching…

Big day – whale watching in the morning & kayaking at night.

A playful baby humpback…

Night canoe at Brentwood Bay. Not many photos because it was too dark. The bioluminescence we saw as we paddled was beautiful.

When we returned to the Air B&B this fella was in the garden.

Canada 2023: Day 16

Canada 2023: Day 16

19th July. Vancouver island – a drive out to the west coast…

Today we drove out to Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancover Island. 

Several walks were done…

Canada 2023: Day 15

Canada 2023: Day 15

18th July.  Vancouver Island

Started the day with a walk in Goldstream Park. 

Then we went to Bamberton beach for lunch and a swim

Barbering beach lunch stop

Next was a ferry back to Brentwood Bay.

We saw seals .

While queuing for the ferry we were told of a better beach near our AirB&B. This was Island View Beach. So we went…

Fish tacos…

Just stunningly beautiful & i don’t mean the girls…

Then it was home for fish tacos & catch up on blog…

Canada 2023: Day 13

Canada 2023: Day 13

16th July. Market day in Sun Peaks

Girls just love a market & this one had some nice tat for them to look at. The stalls were spaced down the main pedestrian street.

Obviously there was nothing really worth photographing but I did manage to find someone selling local beer 😁

A faily chilled day with nothing else to report…

Canada 2023: Day 12

Canada 2023: Day 12

15th July.

Hazel was working today so we had to amuse ourselves…

After a slow start doing washing & paying bills we settled on a game of disc golf. The disc golf course is located up the mountain and easily accessed using the cable car.

There are no pictures of disc golf because we were being eaten alive by millions of mosquitoes.

After a round of disc golf we had a short walk before home for tea and medals…

Our Strava trail, the only evidence of disc golf – except for all the mozzie bites
Canada 2023: Day 14

Canada 2023: Day 14

17th July. Travel to Vancouver Island.

Early start to the day. Hazel had arranged for one of her mates to give us a lift to Kamloops to pick up our Turo hire car at 7:45. Turo is like AirB&B for cars. You’re renting of individuals not a company.

Hazels mate arrived early & we got to Kamloops an hour early for the car. We killed time in Starbucks having some breakfast. In the UK breakfast at Starbucks would normally mean selling a kidney or re-mortgaging the house. Not in Canada 😁

The car pickup was at the guys house – he wasn’t there. The car was so we started our journey to Vancouver Island. Turo worked well.

The drive was long but scenic. We broke the journey with a stop in Whistler.

Sadly when we returned to the car we found we’d got a parking ticket. Turns out we’d been ticketed while Sarah was at the machine buying a ticket. Bastards… Our first bad experience in Canada 🤬

We then had an hours ferry ride to Vancouver Island.

Stunningly beautiful – scenery & Sarah…

We arrived late to our AirB&B which was in Brentwood Bay, just north of Victoria.

Canada 2023: Day 11

Canada 2023: Day 11

14th July. Shreddin Sun Peaks Dude…

Today Hazel treated us to eMountain bike hire & had worked out a route for us.

We hired from Evolution. This time they were proper mountain bikes.

We set off and got about half a mile up a fire track when my bike broke. The derailleur was bent and the chane had come off one of the jocky wheels !

I had a closer look and it appeared the chain had been threaded incorrectly ! I scooted back to the bike shop. The bike mechanic said it was broken & they gave us another bike.

We rode off towards the fire track when my chain broke and fell off ! Second bike broken – now that’s embarrassing 😬

Back to the bike shop they’d run out of hard tail eBikes in my size so I got an upgrade to a full suspension version 😁

We set out again with me being very careful with this one…

On the way down Sarah’s rear brake leaver leaked oil – 3rd bike broken.

We made our way back to the bike shop where it transpires the bikes were new and it was their first ride ! Anyway the bike problems didn’t spoil a lovely day in the mountains 🙂

Back to the flat for some R&R…

Canada 2023: Day 9

Canada 2023: Day 9

12th July. Sun Peaks.

We all had a few too many last night so it was a late start to the day. We put some washing on and had a walk round town.

Hazel’s place…
Recreating last nights Sarah & the chair incident.
A deer wandered across in front of us.

Then a nice evening watching a film…

Canada 2023: Day 8

Canada 2023: Day 8

11th July. Calgary to Kamloops

Well it seems the assistant in the BK Whopper bar in Calgary Airport read last nights post on customer service – she was, or came across as really quite rude !

Anyway they sell beer so ordered Molson and two vege burgers. All good until my order is ready. Apparently you can’t drink in public in Canada so I couldn’t take my bottle of beer out of the burger bar to where Sarah was sitting 😕

Mellowing to my charms she offered a solution 😁

Does this make me a Canadian law breaker ?

The flight to Kamloops was on a tiny plane.

Cold and wet in Calgary. When we landed in Kamloops it was sunny & 30°C

We met Hazel at the airport and after some food shopping headed off to Sun Peaks.

After a short chill in Hazel’s flat we went out for Taco Tuesday at Hazel’s local.

Then it started to go wrong…

Can’t remember what it’s called but it’s a double Margareta with a Corona. Many were drunk !

To cut a long story short we had a great evening with Hazel & her mates. Sarah was a little squiffy & needed a sit down on the way home….

Canada 2023: Day 7

Canada 2023: Day 7

10th July. Lake Louise & Johnston Canyon…

It seems Lake Louise is popular. You can’t drive there but have to book a park & ride place. This booking has to be done on-line. That process was a nightmare ! Luckly once booked the park & ride bit was really well done & quite stress free.

What wasn’t stress free was the numbers of people visiting this small area. Luckly it was a bit like the lakes in that people don’t go far from their transport. We walked down to the head of the lake & got away from the crouds.

It was beautiful…

At the head of the lake Sarah had a swim – the mad fool 🥶🥶🥶

Back at the park & Ride we had Poutine a Canadian delicacy of chips, cheese curds and gravy.

Poutine. Looks grim but it’s really tasty 😋

Awesome, super excited to serve you, Funday Sunday, Taco Tuesday, great choice,

Fuelled by Poutine we went for a walk down Johnston Canyon.

On returning up the Canyon we heard rocks falling and the cracking of timber above our heads. We looked up to see a tree falling into the Canyon above us. We ran… Luckly the tree roots held & the tree didn’t fall onto the walkway else it would have been close !

This is a wide angle photo so doesn’t show how big the tree is or how close it is to the walkway.

After this close shave we ate out at a Taco bar to celebrate still living 😁

The food was good but the service ethos is starting to become a little annoying. Every menu choice you make is “awesome” and every waitress says they’re super excited to serve you Hmmm 🤨

A few beers then bed. Flying to Kamloops to see Hazel tomorrow…

Canada 2023: Day 6

Canada 2023: Day 6

9th July. Banff

Slept well in the Canmore Hostel – didn’t hear the live band in the hotel next door. We’re up by 8am to put a new ticket on the car. A ticket was needed but was free – work that one out ???

After making tuna mayo sarnies we headed out to Banff for a day’s eMountain biking. We were both looking forward to exploring Banff.

When we arrived the bikes were hybrids rather than mountain bikes. We ask for routes & three were provided. It transpired there were no mountain bike trails locally so the routes provided were on road.

The thre routes were ” Golf course”, “Tunnel mountain” and “Lake Minniewanka” loop. Being quite childish the name Minniewanka made me snigger…

Anyway some photos…

After riding we had an hour or so before a wildlife tour. The tour started from the same spot we hired the bikes from – simples…

The tour was on a small minibus. Our tour guide was Ray, a young girl with multicoloured hair and a loud voice.

We all got on the bus (12 people) and Ray told us the route for tonight’s wildlife hunt.

Sarah & I looked at each other as Ray said the exact route we’d eBiked earlier ! We laughed…

Anyway the tour was good and Sarah got to see a Wolf. No photo – it ran off.

Back to Canmore for a couple of beers… Night x

Pissed again…

Canada 2023: Day 5

Canada 2023: Day 5

8th July.  Banff

Today we move from Jasper to Banff.  The plan was to look at interesting stuff on the Icefields Parkway, our route home.

Athabasca Falls

Pretty waterfalls – see pictures below…

Athabasca Glacier

Short walk to the foot of the Glacier…

Tangle Creek

Tangle Creek is a pretty waterfall..

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake…

Then it was find the hostel, shower, beer & bed !

Tired so this is short – jus so we can remember what we did…

Canada 2023: Day 4

Canada 2023: Day 4

7th July.  Jasper in search of Yogie…

The nice Spanish cyclist – he snored all night 😡

I woke at 3am and ventured out to the loo.  Half way there I suddenly became aware I’m in bear country & not at the top of the food chain – I woke up quickly !     Luckily for me no bears were hiding in the kharzi

Breakfast was coffee and boiled eggs on toast while chatting with the snory French guy. 

First activity of the day was a trip on the Jasper sky tram.   This is a cable car that takes you half way up Whistler mountain.  The plan was to walk to the summit which is just over 8000ft high.

Looking up Whistler mountain from the Jasper sky tram base station

We were lucky it was a clear sunny day which allowed good views.

The haze we were told was due to wildfires.
Looking back on the cable car station as we started the walk

After Whistler mountain  we went into Jasper for a cool beer and a look round.  It reminded us of a very spread out Keswick – outdoor shops surrounded by mountains.

We went into a bar for a cool beer.  Nice beer but expensive – just like keswick !    Now I don’t normally take photos in public toilets but I had to take this one of the gents urinal.

Makes you want to stand a little closer 😉

After the pub we drove to Medicine lake & Maligne Lake.

After Medicine Lake we drove to Maligne Lake to see a friend of Hazel’s.  Sadly the 60 mile round trip was in vain as she’s in Jasper on her one day off a week !   Meline was too busy so we moved on quickly.

The drive home was interesting as we saw this fella wandering buy…

After our encounter with Yogi we did a walk down Maligne canyon. For this walk we were lent some bear spray by the hostel warden.

Rambo Nick “armed” with bear spray hanging off my rucksack sack !

I was excited about a wilderness walk where bear spray may be needed. Dont get me wrong I didn’t want to go around pepper spraying bears. I’m well aware of what the outcome would be and I don’t want to harm them anyway. (I’m a vegetarian don’t you know) It was the thought of being in such a wild and untouched place we don’t really get in the UK.

The sad truth was it was a really popular walk. Hundreds of screaming kids… No self respecting animal would be withing 5 miles of this place.

So I felt a bit of a nob being armed like Rambo on a “family” walk. It was a beautiful place so here are some photos.

The Internet a little slow today so only two pics….

Canada 2023: Day 3

Canada 2023: Day 3

6th July. Calgary to Jasper

Today has been another really long day…

We were woken at 4:30am by a phone call from the uk – I’d not turned my phone on silent. Doh…

Todays plan was to get the bus back to the airport & pickup a hire car. Then drive, via a Walmart for food to Jasper. Simples.

We said goodbye to the hostel at about 9:30 after another hearty breakfast. We caught the 300 bus to the airport.

We’d picked the cheapest car we could with a company called VIP. What could go wrong…

…well nothing really. After some admin mixup VIP had booked us with Hertz for the same price. Hertz were nice and allowed us to take the car early so we were on the road by 11:30.

The roads out of Calgary Airport were busy but we managed find Walmart. I was looking forward to this because of the Facebbok group “People of Walnart”. If that’s to be believed the place will be filled with very “Special” people. Check it out. Just search FB for #peopleofwalmart you’ll love it.

The drive to Jasper was a long one – 440km and 4.5 hours according to Google.

After a couple of boring hours the scenery started to improve with big mountains on the horizon. When we got on the Icefields Parkway the scenery was just stunning.

Poor picture of the glacier. We didn’t get any good photos so you’ll just have to trust us – it’s beautiful here…

Now the speed limits on this road are low and between 50 and 110kph at random sections of the road. The locals just ignored any limits which lead to some sketchy overtaking.

We came round one right corner to see a groupe of cars on the opposite carriage way all stopped in a group by a turning. I had my eyes on them looking for any stupid overtakes that would put us in danger.

What I didn’t see was they were looking a a bear on my side of the road by bushes on the hard shoulder. So we passed within 12″ of the bear at 50mph !

On passing the group of cars we could see they’d stopped to look at the bear. Given Paddingtons size I think our Hyundi would have come of worst.

We laughed at the thought of these people admiring this beautiful animal only to see us run it over !

As we drove on, I said to Sarah she should get her good camera ready. She laughed and said they’d be no chance of seeing another. Five minutes later we passed another smaller bear coming out of the tree line at the side of the road ! Again no photos ☹️

The hostel we’d booked is basic but in a beautiful location.

Maline Hostel, Jasper

Mixed dormitories, no showers and compost toilets.

Toilets to the right 🤣

Tired, we cooked pasta & went to bed after chatting with some of the other guests and Scott the hostel warden.

Luckly we were only sharing with a nice Spanish cycle tourist.

Canada 2023: Day 2

Canada 2023: Day 2

5th July.  Calgary.

The day started well.  Sarah got an email saying our bags had been delivered & I got an email from NS&I  😁

Last night we arrived in rain so I opened the blinds to see what sort of day it was and saw this fella…

On the way to the hostel I saw squirrels as well.  Amazing wildlife for a city centre.

We retrieved our bags, showered and went for breakfast.  The hotel breakfast was a help yourself buffet of coffee, juices, bread, waffles, boiled eggs, yoghurt & fruit. This was served in the communal kitchen which had chairs & tables.   We ate with youths – we’re definitely the oldest swingers in town here !

Today we wanted to see Calgary.  Given the size of it we were only ever going to see a small part so we picked on the Downtown area which seemed to have interesting stuff.  I’m trying a wordpress gallery below – tell me if it works !

We then went for some lunch at the River Cafe on Princes Island Park.   We just wanted a drink & a quick snack so we ordered a coffee, a beer and a mixed meats and cheeses board to share between us.

This mixed meats and cheeses board was an individual starter which we shared.

We got a shock when the bill arrived  😭😭😭   Seems the River Cafe is 28th out of over 3000 Calgary restaurants on TripAdvisor !

This didn’t include the 15% tip !  
It was nice but we won’t be going back

We walked further down the river & saw some eScooters.  Sazz downloaded an app & 5 minutes later we were off…

I was sceptical, but I have to say these are a great laugh & a brilliant way to get around.  They’re especially good on smooth dedicated cycle paths.   I think we did about 5 miles & cost us £10 each.

Decided to go back to our room & have a cheeky snooze before the evenings festivities.  On the way back we nearly got pepper sprayed by druggies who were fighting in the street.  Never a dull moment in Calgary !

So drug addicts, and by drugs I mean opiate based not just blow. There’s loads in Calgary & they’re everywhere. They’re totally fucked – it’s so sad but makes good people watching.

Anyway we rested. I watched the Tour highlights and we were out again by 7:30. We were both hungry as we’d only eaten a starter between us for lunch !

We ate cowboy style tapas & drank beer at a local bar. Calgary is lit up well at night…

Anyway time for bed…

Canada 2023: Day 1

Canada 2023: Day 1

4th July. Birmingham to Calgary

Today has been a really long day…

Stayed at my old uni friend Kal’s place in Brum on the 3rd. He’s looking after the car – thanks Kal 👍

Woke at 2am to get an Uber to the airport. Uber arrived on time, but roadworks meant the driver took us to Coventry & back to get to the airport. Not good but still arrived in plenty of time.

Tipped our friendly driver and walked into the terminal when my banking app pinged. I looked expecting to see the £30 somthing bill from Uber. The Uber bill was £96 ! Apparently because the ride was longer than expected (road works) they can charge more. Not happy – has anyone had this happen ?

We checked our bags no problem & still had time for a pint in Spoons

A pint before flying is always needed – even at 5:30am 😁

We arrived about 30 minutes late into Frankfurt but still made our connection OK. The next flight was the biggy – 7 hours to Montreal. An OK flight & got a few hours kip.

In Montreal we were delayed by nearly 2 hours for thunder storms. That wait in a cramped holding area was joyous – NOT. If we don’t get covid after that I’ll be amazed.

The final leg from Montreal to Calgary was 4 hours. We arrived OK but our bags didn’t appear on the carousel !

We talked to a very nice man on the Air Canada desk who tracked them down – they were still in Montreal. Joy…

The nice man promised to have them delivered to us tonight and gave us an emergency travel pack each. All we could do was leave our details and set off for our accommodation, which was a hostel in Downtown Calgary.

The hostel’s better than expected & even includes breakfast. I’m just writing this while waiting for our bags – I’ll let you know tomorrow if they arrive…

Mallorca day: 5

Mallorca day: 5

  • Todays mileage: 8.1
  • Total mileage: 113.2
  • Disasters: Just the bloody weather again 😭😭😭

Well today did start with wordle. We didn’t need a weather app to tell us it was miserable outside. So we had a lazy morning. The weather improved through the morning so about 11am we set off for a ride to meet Nicola & David in Port de Pollenca.

We didn’t get far before wind and rain made us reconsider our plan. We diverted to Alcudia old town for lunch. We just chose the first cafe that we could 1. Sit inside 2. See the bikes. This turned out to be a specialist ham cafe which didn’t give the best choice for us (well Sarah really) veggies. Anyway there was a nice dish and good coffee.

Quality Ham, cheese, olives and tomato 😋

From here it was a quick (and cold) cycle back to the hotel where Sarah hogged the walming shower for what seemed years… After a short rest we started to pack the bikes – we’d finally given up on cycling in this wet & cold country !

As we were packing the bikes outside we noticed today must be arrival day for chavs – families streamed passed us with kids that probably should have been in school. One family of haggis munchers with a room near ours had particularly loud and badly behaved kids. We ignored them & got on with bike packing. Then in ear shot of Sarah they comment “when one bunch of cycle wankers leave another bunch turn up” about a couple of cyclists arriving. Nice – so we’re officially “cycle wankers” now 😁

Anyway bikes were packed and the last of the cooking white consumed – all with a few rays of sunshine at last 😬

Then a group of Spanish girls started singing along to what must be the Spanish equivalent of Radio 1. They were quite tuneful but it doesn’t bode well for sleep tonight 🤨

Having finished all our food (and wine) we headed out to a local restaurant. We chose S’Amfora for two reasons 1. It was near to us. 2. It had reasonable google reviews. This turned out to be a good choice.

Best piece of pork I’ve had in a long time 👍

We chatted with the owner who was a lovely guy & were given some Mallorcan spirit as a digestive. Served ice cold it was very tasty 😋

…and so to bed before an early start

Mallorca day: 4

Mallorca day: 4

  • Todays mileage: 38.6
  • Total mileage: 105.1
  • Disasters: Just the bloody weather again 😭😭😭

The day started looking at our phones – not Wordle but the weather app and rain radar. We were trying to work out a plan for the day. Heavy rain was forcast so the debate was hire a car or go out a little later & hope to miss the showers.

Then out the blue Sarah shouts “Dave and Nicola are in Port de Polensa” So a phone call was made and a plan for tonight made…

Car hire looked expensive so we opted for a cycle to the east – out towards Arta. It started dry and we made it to Can Picafort. Just after that we came across a Neolithic burial site at Son Real. A Lovely 2km ride through woodlands to the coast.

2km cycle through woodland to the beach…
Son Real – Neolithic site and beautiful beach…

From Son Real we went to Son Serra before heading inland to Santa Margalida for a coke. After this it rained heavily on our route home making the journey a cold one ! By the time we made it back to the hotel the sun made a brief appearance. We managed one beer at the bar before heading in to get warm.

After a warming shower we headed out to meet Dave and Nicola in Porta de Pollenca. We had a fine meal at Tolos.

Lovely meal – Tollos is a great spot.

Summary of our route

Mallorca day: 3

Mallorca day: 3

  • Todays mileage: 18.8
  • Total mileage: 66.5
  • Disasters: just the bloody weather…

Not much to say about today really. Bad weather’s come in and it rained for most of the day. We went for a circular cycle – Pollenca, Port de Pollenca, Alcudia old town & home.

We got drizzel before reaching Pollenca. During our coffee stop the rain started with a vengence. The route to Port de Pollenca was no joy so we just headed along the sea front towards Alcudia old town. The only consolation was the wind was behind us.

At Alcudia old town we had food & Sarah did shopping in one of the many tat shops for tourists. From there it was a short drizzly ride back to the hotel to dry out.

Sarah wouldn’t buy this for our house ☹

The rain stopped so we had a walk around & got some food. On our walk we both got the feeling it was like walking in one of those Zombie apocalypse films. So many hotels were closed and for sale. It really felt spooky. The pandemic has really had an affect on the economy here.

Just one of the many closed Hotels…

A fine chic pea curry & a €2 bottle of red finished the day.

€2 a bottle – you gotta love the Spanish ?

Mallorca Day 2:

Mallorca Day 2:

  • Todays mileage: 37
  • Total mileage: 43.7
  • Disasters: zero ?

Opening the curtains found a gray day – not what we’re used to in Spain but it’s dry so all’s good.

Todays plan was cycle to the lighthouse at Cap Formentor. It’s a beautiful route and a classic for all cyclists who visit Mallorca. I won’t bore you with a description of the route but here are some photos…

The lighthouse at Cap Formentor. The last section of road to the lighthouse was closed for road repairs so we didn’t quite get there.
Just pretty scenery….
It’s a windy day…
6% for 3.5km is what I read… ?
Stopped for a beer at Tolo’s the cycling cafe with Wiggo memorabilia
Wiggo’s Pinarello. Note the chains stopping me putting to to better use. …also the price of a pint is a little steep ?
Summary of our ride…

A meal in the hotel and a few glasses of vino tinto ended the day ? Sadly there’s a low sitting over Mallorca so its not looking promising for tomorrow.

The low over Mallorca ☹

Mallorca 2022. Day 1:

Mallorca 2022. Day 1:

Today started with an early start – 3am alarm for 6am flight. This may be a little early but security is always a lottery & we have bikes to get checked as well.

The drive to the airport was stress free without traffic & checking/security quite quick. This gave time for…

Breakfast & a pint ?

Smooth flight, immigration and transfer made getting from plane to the hotel stress free. I must say I like Jet2, the staff are always helpful. The only bit of stress was having to wait an hour and a half for the room to be ready.

The view from our balcony while we waited for the room !

We then built the bikes up & went shopping for a couple of days food. Shopping packed away and half a bag of Lays demolished we set out for a little explore on the bikes to see they’re working.

Exploring Alcudia…

I cooked chic pea and anchovie risotto for dinner – not my best but we were very hungry so it got eaten. Couple of beers & early to bed.

Oh should have mentioned how cheap the wine is – a 1 litre carton of cooking white was 1.6€ and a decent red was less than €3. I love Spain ?

Lanza 2019. Day 8…

Lanza 2019. Day 8…

The day started with a dash to return the hire car. All good with that process…. Cicar was the rental company we’d been advised to use – cheap prices and zero hassle. This turned out to be true – thanks Phil for the recommendation ?

After the walk back Sarah & I went straight to breakfast. Myrtle couldn’t quite make it out of bed so we got her some fruit.

After checking bags with the handy Jet2 service we went round the tat shops of Costa Teguise ? I looked for the positive in this – it got my step count up which gives extra G&T points for the afternoon ?

After a nice lunch I got a table in the shade by the bar. G&T + Private Eye, all was chilled until they turned on loud music. Now I’m not against music but this was pure Radio 1 shite… Hmmm… BP up another notch ?

Our transfer is 6pm with the flight at 8pm so it’s gonna be a late one. I may add to this later but to be honest reading about chillin by the pool is boring – sorry…

STOP PRESS… I’ve managed to sneak a Canarian snack past the diet police. These little parcels have a creamy tomato filling and go well with G&T.

So I got a a little worried that I was misleading you on the snack front so I did a little research….

They’re called empanadillas, Spanish for little pastry packages filled with meat, fish, vegetable or cheese. (Large, pie-size ones are called empanadas.)

Empanadillas have been popular in Spain since, maybe, the 7th or 8th century, when Arabs introduced them during the Moorish caliphate. (Known as sambousek, they are still popular in the Arab countries of the Middle East.)

In medieval times, Spain’s Sephardic Jews lived alongside the Moors in Córdoba, Sevilla, Toledo and many other towns. From their neighbors, they learned the art of making little savory pastries, which became part of cherished foods for special occasions.

After 1492 (the year Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand conquered the last Moorish kingdom of Granada; funded Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the unknown, and issued the expulsion order against Spain’s Jews), many of Spain’s Sephardim, forced to flee, were welcomed by the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). There Moorish empanadillas met Turkish börek, also a filled pastry. The Spanish-speaking Jews (their lingo is Ladino) took on the Turkish name, but added the Spanish diminutive ending, calling their turnovers borekas or burekas.

So there you go a little bit of culture…

Time to leave for the airport so it’s bye bye to the wristband of unlimited Gin ?

Lanza 2019. Day 7…

Lanza 2019. Day 7…

Instead of returning the car we extended hire for another day. This gave us a chance for further exploration of the south west.

We first went to El Golfo and walked to the Black Beach. A pretty walk but nothing stunning. Best part of El Golfo was discovering Orio ice cream bars – just lush…. you gotta try one ?

Oreo ice cream bar – my new favourite…

We then followed the western coast down past the blow holes of Los Hervideros and the salt pans at La Hoya. Again pretty but nothing earth shattering.

We then made our way back to the hotel for a late (3pm) lunch.

Then we went to a local beach for Hazel to try snorkling for the first time. The bay had a sandy entry surrounded by rocks which was perfect for seeing a variety of fish. Photos below…

Luckly car keys did stay dry in the drybag

A sea monster….

Some fine fish but poor photo…

After snorkling we walked to the nearest bar for a beer. Whilst chillin watching the world go by we noticed there was a large number of able bodied adults and kids riding about in mobility scooters !!! Was going to get photos but thought I’d get punched ?

Then back to the pool for more G&T’s & a chill out ?

Lanza 2019. Day 6…

Lanza 2019. Day 6…

Today’s plan was a road trip around parts of the island we haven’t seen yet, namely Teguise market, the secret forest, Haria and Caleta de Famara.

Teguise market was BIG ! Loads of stalls spread through the town centre. Tourist tat but some really nice stuff as well. Shopping not my thing but it was a nice atmosphere – no photos though…

Next we went to the Secret Forest. Not very secret if you ask me as we found it with Google in less than a minute !
It’s known as the Bosquecillo and is well hidden from view, situated on the top of the Montaña de Haría, to the side of the radar station. Now, you might be disappointed if you’re expecting a huge deep forest, but there is a really lovely area planted with trees, picnic tables, built in barbecues, a children’s play area and absolutely stunning panoramic views down to Famara.

After a short walk and lizard hunt we headed off to Haria where we had some Tapas in a local Sociedad that was recommended by diving Alan.
The sociedad is an institution in Lanzarote. Indeed, they are throughout rural Spain. You’ll find one in each town or village, and it’s usually run by a family or a couple. They stand for election to the role every three years. The great benefit of this is that the proprietors are focused on offering good food and drink at great value, because by offering this, they can be assured of being re-elected in the future.

More info on Sociedads can be found at:

True to form we had a great meal for €20. Sadly I was driving else I’d have tried the local wine as well ☹

One thing we all liked was the sauce that we’ve been given with several meals now Mojo sauce.

It’s great on Canarian potatoes:

From here we drove round to the bay we saw from the Secret Forest cliffs. It’s a long rough track to get there but worth it. The girls had a swim.

Hazel took this one !

From here we had a scenic drive back to the hotel…

Lanza 2019. Day 5…

Lanza 2019. Day 5…

Today’s plan was to walk around the rim of a volcano, Montana Blanca to be specific.

Montana Blanca (Caldera Blanca on the map) is situated in the middle of the island and is one of Lanzarote’s highest volcanic mountains. It starts in the village of Montaña Blanca and goes along dirt trails around the volcano before leading you up the volcano itself.

The trails leading to the volcano are wide and easy. The initial part of the climb is on dirt trails, whereas the second part is on more technical trails. The path up to the mountain top can be a bit more complicated. The views up this track are beautiful, overlooking the mountain valley.

So the idea was for an early start to avoid walking in the midday heat. So we went easy on the cocktails and an early night was had by all.

The early night didn’t help Hazel who had difficulty getting up for 7:30. When she did rise there was no smile on her face – working for a living is going to be a shock !

Hazel had been doing a sterling job as navigator to date but it was just too early for her today so Sazz was on Google maps today ? Surprisingly all went well & we arrived without incident…

We started walking with broken cloud which kept us cool for the walk.

We walked in for about 2 miles before starting the climb up the crater, the total distance was 6.6 miles. The following pictures don’t really do it justice – a great walk if your ever in Lanza

Lava tube – this is big enough for Sarah to climb into.

After the walk we revisited a “locals” bar we’d found in 2018 on the way back for food. Again the food was brilliant – and cheap. We’d really recommend this spot if you’re in the area – hopefully the map & screen shots should be enough to find it.

Then it was back to the hotel pool for G&T’s…

Lanza 2029. Day 4…

Lanza 2029. Day 4…

Today started with a little bit of a thick head after last night’s over indulgence ? Despite our lethargy we still managed to pick the hire car up at 9:30.

Today’s plan was to explore the north end of the island, driving through lava fields to Orzola.

Once out the bussel of Costa Teguise buildings were replaced with a lunar landscape of lava. Beautiful in a barren way…

Where the road met the sea we pulled over to take in the view of a small bay. The the girls got chatting to a couple who recommended we visit the following:

We left the bay for Orzola where we had a lovely walk to a deserted beach shown below. What a contrast to the tourist beaches…

After the walk we had lunch in a cafe before setting off for the Lava tubes.

For 9€ each we had a guided tour of a 1km section of the 7km long lava tube. Very impressive – photos below…

Lanza 2019. Day 3…

Lanza 2019. Day 3…

Today was D day – that’s diving day ?

Up early, breakfast & ready for pickup at 8:45am by Peter from Calipso Diving. All good so far… Peter is an east Londoner who’s been here for 23 years. Seems a nice guy & not money orientated i.e. no big groups.

To cut a long story short Peter is the Dave L of the diving world. Lovely guy, knows his stuff but badly organised and his gear really wasn’t maintained. We didn’t dive with Peter because he’s messed up on the number of instructors he needed. We dived with his mate who was on holiday as well !

The gear was shit – my reg free flowed if not held and Sarah’s had loads of sand in which blew out when she turned the air on ! We did two dives – both shore dives. They would have been better as boat dives but he didn’t have one. Both LONG swims…For the divers we did two 30m dives with a 50min surface interval. Walm waters and great vis made it easy. There was loads of fish life but no Angle sharks this time.

After diving we had a late lunch & a snooze before hiring a car for tomorrow. We used Cicar which is Phil’s recommendation. We pick up a Fiat 500 at 9am tomorrow ?

What did Hazel do while we were diving I hear you ask… Typical student stuff – late start & an episode of love island ! Anyway pictures and videos of diving to come…


We’ve got into the cocktails so any sensible stuff will be added tomorrow xx

…cos the moral of this story is that no matter how much they water down the cocktails – if you drink enough you’ll get pissed ?

Lanza 2019. Day 2…

Lanza 2019. Day 2…

After a good night’s sleep we surfaced for breakfast about 8am. We’ve decided the food isn’t as good as the last place but that’s a high bar.

Breakfast discussions centred around Sarah’s desire for Hazel to windsurf and Hazels desire not to windsurf !

Sarah then decided Hazel should do a try-dive, again somthing Hazel doesn’t want to do. I think Hazels regretting coming away with us already….

The days plan was to have a walk and see what’s around, which we did. On the seafront we hired a bike. This bike was as heavy as the sun – especially when I was the only one peddeling !

After an hours giggles riding this up and down the seafront we went in search of dive shops. We spoke to two and have booked with Calipso Diving for tomorrow.

After that we chilled by the pool for the afternoon with a few G&T’s…

Lanza 2019. Day 1…

Lanza 2019. Day 1…

A break in commissioning gave an opportunity to get away for a week ?.

Not much time for planning so went with what we knew – Lanzagrotty. Literally just picked a hotel in 10mins – none of my usual research which has made me nervous ?

This time we went for a hotel in Costa Tiguse, just the three of us as Hazel is back from Uni and needed a break after a terms partying !

The holiday didn’t start well with me massively mis-judging the time it would take to drive to Newcastle airport – we arrived way too early and ended up with over three hours to kill.This gave me time for a cheeky pint & for Hazel to decide she needs another bikini…

This and the bussel of a busy airport gave some serious people watching time…

…and the observation of the day is young women’s eyebrows – WTF are they doing ??? Stenciled, Sharpied bat wings above the eyes ?

To me they really do look ridiculous, especially combined with camel length eyelash extensions. Is it me just getting old or does anyone else think they look stupid ?

I’d have loved to provide some pictorial evidence but covertly photographing women is apparently frowned upon !

Anyway flight ok & arrived at hotel in time for the last of food and wine. Tired now so time for bed ???

Winter break to Lanzarote November 2018…

Winter break to Lanzarote November 2018…

So we decided to have a little winter sun – we deserved it !     After  a frustrating time looking at all the holiday sites we booked a package holiday with Jet2.  The hotel we chose was the Flora which is near the old harbour in Puerto del Carmen.  With hindsight we think it was a good move being in town as we could easily walk to shops, bike hire, diving shops & bars.  Anyway a little about Lanzarote….

The island of Lanzarote lies just 125 kilometres off Africa’s Saharan Coast and is the most easterly of the Canary Islands (Spain). The island is 60km long and 20 km wide, making it the fourth largest island in the Archipelago.

One of the first things that visitors notice is that nearly all of the buildings are white – this is largely thanks to the work of local artist, César Manrique, who worked tirelessly to protect the island’s traditional architectural style and avoid over-development.

Lanzarote has a Subtropical Desert climate with average daytime temperatures ranging from about 21°C in January to 29°C in August. The island receives, on average, just 18 days of rain per year, making it a very popular destination for sun-seekers.

Volcanic in original, large areas of the island are dominated by volcanic scenery; the spectacular Montañas del Fuego were created during the eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736 when over 100 volcanoes erupted and devastating a large part of the South-west of the island. Even today, temperatures just below the surface reach over 400°C. Many of Lanzarote’s most popular tourist attractions are also volcanic in origin, including El Golfo (a flooded and partially eroded volcanic crater) and Jameos del Agua (part of one the World’s longest volcanic caves).

Unusually for a volcanic island, many of Lanzarote’s beaches are of golden sand (Playa Blanca, Papagayo, Famara) and even white sand (Caleton Blanco). As you night expect, much of the outdoor activities are based around the sea, with great surfing at Famara, windsurfing at Costa Teguise and several great scuba diving locations around the island.

We found Lanza an island of contrasts.  On the coast you have lots of tourist development – the sort I don’t like; Irish bars, restaurants selling an all day “full English” and sports bars.  Call me a travel snob but the point of going to a different country is to see and experience its culture !   It doesn’t take much effort to get away from the fat tattoo’d lager soaked tourists.  Out of the towns the landscape changes quickly to a “lunar landscape” of volcanic activity which is brilliant to explore.  Away from the coast the towns & villages are have a local feel with no “Full English” in sight.

The bottom line – we had a great time in Lanzarote and would go back as we feel there is more to discover.    Links to each days blog below…

Finished work:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

Day 8: Travel home :’-(






Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 8:

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 8:

Day 8 – a day of travelling… The day started my meeting the good ladies from Jet2 who offer a free service to collect and check in hold luggage. A great service which saved us lugging bags through to the airport. A free service & we didn’t have to sign anything allowing them to sell our data – a rare thing these days… Funnily the girls didn’t see the funny side of my joke about using our bags as drugs mules – probably heard it before.

The tranquility of the hotel was replaced with the madness that is a busy international airport.

Unfortunaly the wristband didn’t work here so we had to hand over real money before getting food or drink !

Luckily the flight left almost on time & Sarah and I were sat together this time. The flight time was announced as 4 hours 50 minutes, almost an hour longer than on the way out. Something to do with the prevailing winds I think.

The flight was full but passed with only a small amount of turbulence, which is something I really hate.

Back to earth with a bump – 5 degrees and raining at Glasgow – joy…

Oh well that’s the end of playing with WordPress until the next adventure.

I think I’ve now got new blog notifications working now so add your email address & you should get notified next time I write some shit ?

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 7:

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 7:

Last day of the holiday today and after hearing the weather reports we really don’t want to come home…

So it was an early start to make the most of the day – a cycling day today.

It didn’t take long to get out of the tourist sprawl on the coast and get into the lunar landscape that is Lanzarote.

The idea was to head north and cross the island – coast to coast Lanza style…

The route we chose kept us to the quieter roads and took in some of the island many valcanos. Really great cycling.

Our far point was La Santa where we stopped for a coffee and cake.

Really nice coffee & Cake but we got ripped off for €19. Won’t be going back there…

The route we took is shown below

One thing to note for anyone fancying cycling in Lanza

  1. Unless you stick to the coast Lanza is not flat but the climbs are good because the gradients aren’t too steep.
  2. The road surface varies from brilliant “billiard table” smooth tarmac to very rough gravel/tarmac roads. Unless you stick to major roads it’s not obvious what you’ll get from a map !
  3. The vast majority of drivers on Lanza show cyclists great respect. It feels quite safe to cycle here.

The route passed through wine country but instead of neat rows of carefully pruned vines (a la France) we saw this…

Grape vines grown in bomb craters…

Apparently water is the big issue on Lanzarote and these “craters” help preserve moisture and protect the vines from wind.

Just before the final decent to Puerto del Carmen we stopped for lunch at a small bar in La Asomada called Bar Achimencey. We thoroughly recommend this place. It was a “locals” bar & the food was traditional Canarian cuisine. The food was brilliant and in contrast to the earlier spot the prices were reasonable ?

A fine feast…

From there it was all down hill to drop the bikes off. We’d hired the bikes from

Great service & really friendly, again we’d recommend these guys.

A short walk back to the hotel for a well earned G&T and to write this blog. Unless you’re into cycling and/or visiting Lanzagrotty soon it’s a bit of a shit read – sorry…

So much to see & do in Lanzarote that we need an extra week – thinking about a sickie… ???

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 6:

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 6:

Magic does exist… I’ve discovered the wristband of unlimited alcohol…

The wristband of unlimited alcohol…

Works best after a day of activities but makes you have silly WhatsApp conversations with your mates instead of finishing this blog…

We woke with the best of intentions – to cycle in the day & do a night dive in the evening – but the best laid plans…. We hired a car & went looking at volcanos instead of cycling.

The crater inside Montana Cuervo…

Brilliant day out. Absolutely stunning “lunar” landscape.

Info board around Montana Cuervo…

We did a walk round Montana Cuervo & drove round other sites. Such a contrast to the “tourist towns” on the coast.

Volcano crater…

From volcanos we had a bite to eat & went for a night dive off Playa Chico beach. Not as much life as we’d hoped for but good fun…

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 5:

Nick and Sarah need some winter sun… Day 5:

Today’s story is the passing of a good friend…

Don’t panic this isn’t going to be a maudlin post. Yes a friend has passed but it was his time & my heart is filled with great memories…

The friend who has passed is my Monitor II dive computer. Today my trusty friend flooded with sea water.

Monitor II – VIP my good friend…

We became friends back in the 90’s when I was young and stupid. This Swiss made friend kept me safe through a lot of daft exploits allowing me to reach adulthood. (Ok some will argue I still haven’t grown up yet)

So my good friend passed on the first of two dives. The first dive was in a sculpture park.

Museo Atlántico is an underwater museum featuring sculptural works by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

The project consists of 12 installations and more than 300 life-size human figures in 12 to 14 metres of water.

This work, called Portal, forms part of an underwater botanical garden.
The sculptures aim to portray “the dialogue between past and present and the divisions within society”, with some of the most notable works including The Rubicon, The Vortex and The Raft of Lampedusa, which references the influx of refugees on the Spanish island.

Sculpture depicting a migrant boat…

We had a great dive round this park and I took lots of photos & video – all with my £40 GoPro knock-off.

Who’s that photo-bombing my arty photo…

The selfie couple…

The picture above is a faceless couple taking a selfie with the migrant boat in the background. I took a selfie with the selfie couple – the irony…

The second dive was on a nearby underwater lava flow at about 18 meters depth. Loads of life again. This video shows a lava tongue undermined by the sea.

The videos not the best quality but I’m struggling to get WordPress to upload big files. I’m sure it’s user error compounded by copious amount of post dive gin & tonic…

One more dive to go tomorrow – a night dive !