Adventures in the Canary Islands – texto en inglés y podcast

¡Hola de nuevo!

Hoy tenemos un nuevo texto en inglés, sobre mis recientes aventuras en la isla de Gran Canaria.

Es un poco más largo que los otros textos que hemos visto por aquí.

También lo tenemos como capítulo en el podcast, para que escuches un poco a la vez de leer.

El podcast también está en muchas aplicaciones, echa un vistazo aquí si quieres: más sitios dónde escuchar.

Explico un poco del vocabulario más difícil al final.

Bueno, sin más, el texto…

Gran Canaria adventures

I recently spent about a month in Gran Canaria.

So today I’ll be talking about my adventures in the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands, in case yo don’t know, are a group of Spanish islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco. There are 8 larger – and many smaller – volcanic islands down there, and one of the largest among them is Gran Canaria.

I decided to go to Gran Canaria when the Catalan government closed all the businesses in Barcelona because of the second wave of the Coronavirus. I looked online, and apparently, things in the Canary Islands were pretty normal, without a lot of restrictions. It’s the only place in Spain without a curfew at night.

So I took my girlfriend, a backpack, and a carry-on, and headed to the islands. It’s only about two and a half hours by plane from Barcelona to Las Palmas, the capital city of Gran Canaria.

We got there around midnight, and checked into a hotel near the Triana area of Las Palmas.

Triana is named after the famous neighborhood in Sevilla. I liked the area a lot. There’s a pedestrian shopping street, a lot of bars, and generally a good vibe. The architecture is unique and interesting.

christopher columbus museum gran canaria

The old part of the city called La Vegueta is beautiful, too. There are some very old buildings, some churches, a museum dedicated to Christopher Columbus – who stopped off in the Canaries on his journeys to the Americas – and some very nice restaurants. 

Top things about Gran Canaria

Most people go to Gran Canaria for the weather. In a normal year, the Canary Islands receive over 12 million visitors from northern Europe: it’s cheap, it’s close by, and you don’t need a visa to travel within the European Union.

So people from the north come down to enjoy the sun: even in November, the weather during the day was in the 20s, and you could sunbathe or swim at the main beach in town, Playa de Las Canteras.

The other thing I enjoyed, of course, was the food.

We didn’t eat a lot of typical Canarian food, although there are a few good local restaurants around. A couple of things we did try were papas arrugadas, with their special spicy sauce called mojo picón.

Then there’s a fish called cherne that’s popular down there – apparently in English, the word is “wreckfish”. And while on one of my mountain adventures, I had an excellent meal of cabrito: roasted goat meat with garlic. More about that later.

My favorite restaurants in Las Palmas were 5 Sentidos, for the steak tartare, and a place called Anteo for the octopus tacos and the ceviche.

I also had some great cocktails at a place just outside the cathedral, called 8 Canes. They make a negroni with mezcal that’s awesome. 

You should definitely visit one of the local markets if you go there: I really liked the Mercado Central – the central market, where they had all kinds of strange and exotic fish.

Hiking in Gran Canaria

One of my big hobbies is hiking. So after a few days of taking leisurely strolls at the beach or in the city, I decided to look for more difficult hikes to do around the island.

The island is a large mountain of volcanic origin, and the highest point is at about 1900 meters above sea level. Doing some research, it looked like I could walk towards the center of the island and see some of the towns along the way.

It even looked like it would be possible to walk from one end of the island to the other, following the local “Camino de Santiago” – or Way of Saint James, as we say in English.

Eventually I decided to do a series of 3 hikes, from Las Palmas to the high part of the island – called La Cumbre. The first day was from Las Palmas to Santa Brígida, and it was pretty eventful, because my hiking app told me the wrong route and I had to improvise a new one with Google Maps.

Anyway, Santa Brígida was small, with a few restaurants and some historic buildings. I had a terrible lunch, but the town itself was nice.

After lunch, I took the bus back to Las Palmas. And a couple of days later I continued with the second leg of my hike, from Santa Brígida to La Vega de San Mateo. Most of that walk was through a little canyon full of desert plants, and it was very relaxing.

I only saw one other person in the canyon: an old guy coming in the opposite direction. There were some very steep parts of the hike to La Vega, but it wasn’t too difficult except for that.

The third day of hiking took me from La Vega to the top of the island. There are a couple of rocky peaks that are officially the highest points of the island, but the area called La Cumbre is a flatter area that’s at almost the same altitude.

I didn’t really know what I’d find up there, but on the map I saw that there was a restaurant – also called La Cumbre – right at the top. I set that as my goal and got walking. It was very nice, a high-altitude walk along the rural highways with almost no traffic. This time, I saw one woman on a horse, but no other hikers.

When I finally arrived, the restaurant was great: that’s where I had the goat meat. Actually, one of my favorite things about hiking in Spain is that you can visit all the small-town bars and the restaurants in remote locations, and see things that most tourists never will.

After lunch I headed back down another route, to Cruz de Tejeda, a small town with a few restaurants and a large hotel. The route to Tejeda was really beautiful: the viewpoint along the highway has one of the most amazing views of a mountain landscape I’ve ever seen.

Once again, I don’t know what it’s like in a normal year, or in summer, or on a weekend, but I hardly saw anyone else the whole three days.

And back to Barcelona

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Las Palmas, with a roast chicken and some mashed potatoes – nothing fancy. We also celebrated my birthday.

After about a month, the Catalan government decided to let some of the businesses re-open. So, after much discussion, my girlfriend and I decided to come back to Barcelona. 

Now, it’s almost Christmas, and 2020 is coming to a close. So we’ll see what happens in the new year.

I hope things get better here in Spain, around Europe, and wherever you are. Merry Christmas to all!

Un poco de vocabulario del texto

Aquí tienes algunas de las palabras más complicadas que hemos visto en el texto. Nada muy difícil…

carry-on = maleta de mano

curfew = toque de queda

to be named after something = llevar el nombre de algo

sunbathe = tomar el sol (aquí vocabulario playero)

awesome = impresionante, estupendo

hiking = senderismo

leisurely strolls = paseos relajados

eventful = lleno de incidentes (aquí tienes más sobre -ful y -less)

the second leg = el segundo tramo (“leg” normalmente es pierna, pero aquí significa otra cosa)

highways = carreteras

viewpoint = mirador

¿Quieres aprender mucho más inglés?

Mi libro sobre el vocabulario tiene muchas palabras útiles, para que no te quedes en blanco al hablar.

Está en Amazon en muchos países, y tiene una valoración de (casi) 5 estrellas entre los lectores.

Más info aquí: Vocabulario en Inglés: Guía Práctica

Nada más por hoy.

Buen aprendizaje,

Daniel.

P.D. Tengo más textos por aquí en la web. Por ejemplo, un texto con phrasal verbs y también uno sobre mis 12 años en España. ¡Disfruta!

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