I like history and have touched on some Canarian history on my blog. I find the history of the original settlers interesting. Some of the Canary Islands past is good, and some are not so good.
There is a dark day in the recent history of the Canary Islands. On March the 27th 1977, the worlds deadliest aeroplane accident happened at Los Rodeos airport on the island of Tenerife.
Five hundred and eighty-three people died when a KLM and a Pan Am aircraft collided. The accident would never have happened if it was not for a chain of events on the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria.
The Canary Islands Independence Movement was founded in 1964. The movement wanted Canarians to go back to their old ways. They also did not want any tourism on the Islands. The movement never gattered much support but did engage in some violent acts.
In 1976 they bombed a mall in Las Palmas Gran Canaria. One year later they attacked a florist shop at Gran Canaria airport.
On that March day, the group threatened to set off a second bomb at the airport, and this forced the airport to close down. All air traffic was diverted to Tenerife setting off a chain of events that ended with 583 people losing their lives.
Los Rodeos airport struggled to cope with the increased traffic, and a deep fog did not help. Both control towers could not see each other. The official report said the KLM flight took off without clearance.
The Canary Islands Independence Movement ended its armed struggle in 1979.
A bad day for Sir Francis Drake in Gran Canaria
On a recent visit to Playa Melenara, I was reminded of a better day in Spanish history. The statue of Neptune in the sea was commissioned to remember the defeat of Sir Francis Drake on Gran Canaria.
To the British, Francis Drake was a hero. The Spanish considered him a pirate.
Drake who was on his way to the Caribbean decided to attack Las Palmas for some provisions and plunder.
As they approached, Las Palmas Drakes fleet was seen by the local Spanish Garrison. After losing some of his ships and under fire Drake made his retreat.
Not long after Sir Francis Drake died from dysentery in Panama.
Retire to the sun somewhere a bit different
During my visit to Playa Melenara, I thought how this part of Gran Canaria could be a nice place to live. Not everyone wants to be part of the tourist hordes in the southern resorts. Living in a big city such as Las Palmas in the north is not for everyone.
With this in mind, I have done a little review of some other options for places to live on Gran Canaria. The cost of living and to rent or buy a property would be less than the popular areas most people choose.
Playa Melenara is in the district of Telde and 21km from Las Palmas on the east coast of Gran Canaria. It is 8km from the airport.
The beach is a black sand beach, and there are some great bars and restaurants next to the beach.
There is a coastal 9km walkway that connects Melenara with other small towns and their beaches.
There is a small port area nearby, and the local fishing cooperative has a restaurant that is famous on the Island.
There is a local bus that runs from Telede and Cruce de Melenara.
Not many tourists. Cheaper prices. Relexed.
This area of Gran Canaria is prone to winds. Some flights from the airport fly over here.
3km to the north of Melenara is the sleepy town of La Garita. Las Palmas is 18km away and the airport 10km. The beach here is also black sand.
La Garita is connected to Melenara by a coastal walkway, and the town has bars and restaurants.
This area is a favorite for surfers and families.
There is a local bus connecting La Garita with Telde. To connect with Las Palmas or the south, just exit at bus stops at the nearby GC-1 motorway.
Quite town. Seaviews. Cheaper cost of living.
Quite town. Prone to winds.
12km from the Airport as you go south Arinaga attracts many Canarian visitors at weekends. The town has a well-kept promenade.
The town has a great selection of high- quality places to eat. The beach is stony, but people swim from the promenade.
More shops and bars than Melenara and La Garita. Regular bus service to the south.
Prone to winds. There is a reason all those wind turbines are in Arinaga.
My fascination with the 1983 graffiti continues. Everywhere I go in Las Palmas I see it. Whoever is doing it seems to select mostly rundown unoccupied buildings.
Here are some of the latest examples I have seen.
So who is the artist? Why is it 1983? Why am I so curious. Is it me?
Music is a beach
There is always something happening in Las Palmas. Last Saturday night I came across an orchestra on Playa Las Canteras.
An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a night of classics and American swing dancing.
Puerto Rico Gran Canaria Apartment for rent
If you fancy a break away to Gran Canaria, I have a special offer for an apartment in Puerto Rico for available days in May and June.
It is a one bedroom with two beds apartment. There is a pullout bed for a child and a sofa. The apartment is suitable for two adults and one child.
The apartment is in a quiet complex with a swimming pool. The beach is a 15- minutes walk away. Some great bars and restaurants are also nearby.
The May and June offer is just 35 euro per night. A minimum stay of 4 nights is required. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see a short video of my time in Playa Melenara click here
Join me on my journey.
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