Part 1 – Friday
Binter Canaries now fly to and from Sal Island. The route at that time was Gran Canaria-Santiago-Sal then Sal direct to Gran Canaria (now direct flights from and to Sal). The flights were on Tuesdays and Fridays.
I’ve wanted to visit Gran Canaria since the regular flights started in 2014 and now I had the opportunity to travel there for some retail and scenery therapy. A long weekend was arranged with the flight from Sal leaving Friday afternoon and the return being the following Tuesday.
Those that had onward flights from Gran Canaria were sat at the front of the plane; others were allowed to sit anywhere they chose. There was ample leg room between the seats. For the afternoon on-board meal there were 3 choices on the menu and you could have water, soft drinks, beer or wine with your meal. However, if you were sat at the back of the plane some of the menu options favoured by others in the front may mean fewer meal options left for you. After the meal the stewards came around with tea/coffee, soft drink and wine or beers were available if you asked, followed by a biscuit, a few sweets and a wet wipe.
Binter Canarias currently use two other charter planes to bring passengers to and from Cape Verde.
On approach to the LP airport you could see the mountains stretching into the distance, a cloudy island today but a temperature of 23 degrees had been reported earlier. Those with onward flights at the front of the plane departed first and then we got onto the bus which took us across to the terminal. Within 30 mins of landing we had our luggage. We headed towards the ‘nothing to declare’ exit but we were told to go into the ‘declared’ passage. People were unloading their luggage off trolleys onto the scanner, this was the first time I had seen a luggage scanning machine on entry into a country, but after completing that process we all headed off towards the exit.
As arranged, my host Chantal was there to collect me (at a cost of 15 euros which was cheaper than getting a taxi) to take me to her house where I had paid for a private room in their apartment for four nights with shared bathroom and use of kitchen, the charge pp for a private room was 20 euros a night at this time of year.
As we drove away from the airport Chantal explained that the area around the airport was industrial and as far as she knew there were not any hotels there and even if there were any, there would be nothing around for guests to do and that it was probably better for people staying overnight to get a taxi to take people to hotels or other accommodation in Las Palmas, as that was where there are many shops and shopping centre’s (including the large shopping centre El Corte de Inglese and Marks & Spencer’s). There were also many restaurants and bars there amongst other things. Las Palmas was also about a 20min car drive from the airport on the north side of the island. However we were heading towards St. Brigida in the mountains.
On our drive down the motorway Chantal asked if I would mind stopping off at a store as I may want to buy a few things for my stay….mind, I was delighted! After about a 10min drive Chantal pointed out some large stores, Decathlon and Makro on the left of the motorway and practically opposite on other side of the motorway was where I saw, like a vision: IKEA, McDonalds and a massive Shopping Centre called Alcampo Centro Commercial TELDE, these were situated in the town called Telde. Chantal had to pick up a few things so I had 30mins to see just a few isles, so that was definitely on my list to return to over the weekend.
Perhaps there are some hotels nearby that would be good for those who had paid for a Binter flight ticket which allowed the purchaser of a particular priced ticket to take 2 x 23kgs of luggage back to Cape Verde.
TIP 1: Some of the cheaper flight prices only allow 1 x 23kg hold luggage so make sure you read the terms and conditions for each flight price before booking as, if you go over your luggage allowance and take another case they will charge you another 150 Euros at the airport when checking in!!!!
TIP 2: The stores and shopping centre’s are closed on Sunday’s. The only one that open’s on a Sunday (winter season only Oct to March, but check which dates exactly) is Las Arenas in Las Palmas, but note, not during the summer! There are a few small shops that open in Las Palmas on a Sunday.
Back into the car and another 5minute drive and we saw another large shopping centre on the right called MEDIA MARKT which mainly sells electrical items, but there are other shops too. Then just further along on the left hand side of motorway there was EL MIRADOR and I saw 3 large signs on the side saying, H&M, Primark and Zara, there were many more shops also.
It’s fresh up in the mountains and we arrived at dusk and I could smell the flowers and hear the birds in the trees, there was a beautiful view across to another hillside with houses situated amongst the greenery, fabulous. Baptiste, Chantal’s partner later told me in the summer it isn’t as green due to the summer sun.
The apt/house is in a gated community known as Cruce la Atalaya, Calle Montebravo, it’s on the way up to the town of St.Brigida which is 20mins drive from the airport, up in the mountains. I had chosen this place because of the greenery I had seen on photos, read feedback from people who had used similar accommodation and those that had stayed with Baptiste elsewhere. Other reasons being that it was close to a bus route No, 301 and 303 which would take 20-25mins to get me into Las Palmas Global Bus Station (GUA GUA).
Chantal showed me their apartment and my room where there were two single beds but I was the only one using it. I was actually their first guest in this apartment as they had only recently moved into it, though Chantal has had guests in her previous apartment. The living room and the view from the back of the house looking towards the green hills was refreshing. It was lovely and clean apartment, an excellent choice.
Chantal is a Yoga teacher and her living room area with wooden floor is used for yoga classes, what a great view for those attending classes. Baptiste her partner is a great cook and he enjoys cooking Asian food. He also will provide and serve meals for a dinner parties on request. They would ideally like to start a Yoga and Healthy Asian food Breakfast business to accommodate those who would like to combine their stay in Gran Canaria with exercise and health. I think that would be a great idea.
Chantal and Baptiste have a young family and they welcomed me to join them for some excellent food which Baptiste had prepared, recipes’ he’d put together and even some cheese he had experimented making in the morning.
A very enjoyable trip with Binter, a lovely welcome from my hosts then some photos of my trip to be uploaded to laptop with the start of my diary for a blog, a great time so far, then time for some zzzz’s. Looking forward to Saturday and an early start.
Click on the links on the bottom of each page for the next blog story about my trip to Gran Canaria: