Week two on the Canary Islands was in Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the second of the Canaries' “shared” capital cities. The hour-long ferry ride was pretty choppy but otherwise comfortable. We had sandwiches and drinks at Comics Food&Drinks just after getting off to set us up for the short walk to our AirBnB apartment - “Casa Chica” - where our host Cathrina met us for the check-in. (She greeted us with kisses on both cheeks and explained that there was an “h” in her name because her mother was Irish.) The place was definitely “chica”...spacious and airy. Around us were parks, hills, blue skies, and fresh air - perfect for vacation!
We approached the 4-month mark in our "home free" adventure and decided on a couple of "kicked-back" weeks on the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic, 100 km (62 mi) off the west coast of Morocco. Weather on the Canaries is described as the "Eternal Spring", with high temperatures averaging between 61° in February to 73° in August - not at all a tropical paradise, but pleasant shirt-sleeves / jacket temperatures and very rare rain. First stop is Las Palmas ("The Palms") de Gran Canaria, the largest Canarian city and one of the two "shared" capitals.
In just 20 years Barcelona has gone from hosting fewer than 2 million tourists per year to over 9 million. It has become Europe's third most visited city, behind London and Paris, and is nowhere near as large as either of them. Every one of the important sites now requires a time-slot ticket and Barcelona's mayor recently began a plan to limit the volume of tourists.
We timed our visit for the first few days of February and, while it was still teeming with visitors, we were able to enjoy Barcelona and came away eager to return, armed with some knowledge of how to beat the bustle and enjoy this great city.
Sandwiched between our excursions to Etna, Malta, and Ragusa, we managed to squeeze a bit more fun out of the tiny island of Ortigia.
What makes the the Duomo a Frankenstein's monster of a building? What's that nondescript door in the wall to the right of the Duomo? And where can you go to hear eclectic live music in Ortigia?
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Nancy McCabe &