I decided to pre-book our meet and greet service so upon arrival at Gatwick I could simple hand over the keys and be on my way. My mum rang the company with whom I had booked and requested that the car be picked up as per my booking, it was then we heard the dreaded words, “we don’t have any booking for that registration number”. It must be wrong, can you double check. “definitely no booking I’m afraid and we don’t have any available spaces”. I reviewed my booking confirmation in utter perplexity – it was then that I discovered I had booked a month early for the 23rd November! Yet here we were a couple of days before Christmas with a car full of passengers and three cases. The most frustrating thing about this was that I didn’t receive any kind of nudge from the company I had booked with to let me know! I could have then atleast rebooked!
With the help of my brother in law (thank god for his work trips to Scotland) we managed to locate the long stay car park and got to the check-in booth only 30 minutes later than planned. Yes I got hit with the additional cost of parking, but I was determined to put the mistake behind me as soon as possible and focus on enjoying my Christmas in the Canaries!
Off the plane and straight into the sunshine, no better feeling when its pouring with rain on departure. When we arrived at the our ‘Sunshine Villa’ we were greeted by a few novelty Christmas decorations in the living room – a nice touch. The pool stood out straight away and I had to get in – this is a benefit of an early flight, it gives you the time to enjoy a little bit of the day you arrive still. Having already stayed in Gran Canaria before we were familiar with the nearby shop and made a pitstop there to pick up some groceries for that evening. Generally I’m against revisiting somewhere, but for the Christmas period (when the whole idea is avoiding the stress of it all back home), it nice to be stress free when you arrive too and know where everything is before hand.
While it may not technically be a mountain, our villa looked out on a very large hill – one that me, my oldest sister and her Fiancé said we would conquer on our last visit. This time we did and it was well worth it. Up at 8am in the hope of reaching the summit before the sun did, we started our assent by walking as far as we could by path. Eventually we reached the end of the path and we ended up in some sort of religious area; it looked more like a forgotten graveyard! It was then we had to start scaling near vertical walls – which we all managed quite easily, the gradient levelled off and we made it to the top. Along the way we noticed loads of piles of stones, not ones that have occurred naturally either. So we took it upon ourselves to create our own little mound (I’ll add a picture below). The way back down was a little more sketchy than the reverse but, after a little bit of bum-shifting we managed to get back down without injury and were on our way back to the villa to tell the others of our escapade! I love doing things like this, at the time they seem hit or miss, but they are the things you remember about the holiday.
First of all we went down to Durty Nelly’s and all had a full English breakfast, there is no better way to start a Christmas Day, so it was handy that Nel’s provided a top notch fry up for us all (and beans on toast for the vegetarians)! Back to the villa for some mid-morning sunbathing and in my case a drop of travel reading, you can’t beat it. Shortly after we all gathered around the outdoor table, with our santa hats on, and opened the presents we had bought each other. Ever the comedian (or so I think) I bought each person two matchboxes, now here me out. The first contained self inflating snow, some beads, a couple of match sticks and some glitter – you can work that out. The second contained three boiled sweets, a christmas hat and a joke. If we were going to be away for Christmas I wanted us to have a proper lunch and didn’t I deliver! A started of sage and onion stuffing, followed by a turkey main and a christmas pudding to finish. Not so much a gourmet offering, but a great laugh and definitely something I recommend. I purchased the snowman sets and the lunchbox from InAMatchbox.com – great fun.
After the presents we had a bite to lunch at home and continued to enjoy the sun until it went down around 5pm, now that’s how to spend the 25th December. We hadn’t pre-booked a table for the night out so were a little concerned we may struggle to get in somewhere – little did we know. Walking down the strip, by the main beach, we were offered a table for 7 in nearly every restaurant we went passed. Eventually we settled on a Uruguayan steak house, mainly because my dad got chatted up by a woman I will forever call ‘snakeskin’ due to her cowboy hat, but we were not disappointed. It was my first fillet Uruguayan steak and it was fantastic – I will make sure to visit Uruguay one day to see if the meat tastes even better in its homeland!
All in all it was a great trip away with the family and it was great to break down the Christmas period into simply spending time with them. No one was worrying about organising food and drink or how many presents were under the tree. If you have never been away for the festive period before then give it a try, you never know – you may love it too.