Monday, 19 August 2013

Holiday blues

It has basically been 2 months since I departed for sunnier climes. Of course, July & August is when the whole world and his brother go away so naturally I've been left with a bucket load of nostalgia; and because my university timetable is an absolute pain in the arse August get aways are a no-no. Boo.

Time to post a holiday remembrance post, r.i.p xxxxxxx

I went to Gran Canaria with my boyfriend, had an amazing time, got a little bit tanned, got fat and because Ross is just as much of a geek as me we had fun visiting museums and churches, YAY.

View from the balcony! Behind the hotel isn't as pretty as in front of it...

La rotonda en el paseo maritimo; PLAYA DEL INGLES

Ross & I clearly do not have an skilful eye for symmetry, Hard work though!!

Red. Raw. Shoulders.

Brazil vs. Spain 30th June - Nail patriotism, Españaaaaa ! (even if they did lose)

El Ayuntamiento de las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Eeeep :)
Catedral de Santa Ana, 16th century Baroque. Much like churches and cathedrals you'd find on the west coast of America (from when the Spanish controlled CA etc!)
It is in the Vegueta district of Las Palmas, the capital of both Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands as a whole. The Vegueta district is known as the old town of Las Palmas. Full of historical things and just opposite on the other side of the main road is the Triana district - famous for its shopping strip !
Work began in the 16th century, but it took right up until the 1900's to complete. This is the reason for a lot of contrasting elements.
It's got a hint of Renaissance architecture in there with the triumphal arch - like entryways, a Little bit of Gothic in the Rosette window... but in general, it is Spanish Baroque. Just like Baroque in France and Italy there is an effort to connect the tiers of the building with columns which is perhaps the most obvious of the Baroque elements.

You can see here the engaged columns (a column in the round but engaged -touching- the surface of the Wall) and the Pilasters (flat-packed columns stuck on the Wall) placed next to eachother. It gives the sense that the building is stretching out sideways because the columns are getting more 3D and further apart the closer to the perimeter of the wall that they get. Fluid movement in architecture: Baroque.

Ionic column with girnormous abacus', it isn't supporting the entablature either but just the protruding área instead. Random & playful take on classicism.

French Gothic inspired Rosette window.

Ross with Gran Canarias namesake - the Gran Canines. Several of these plotted outside the cathedral.

Pretty Little cupola

We didn't take the lift, opted for the stairs. Turns out the route to the Campanario (bell tower) in old cathdrals are not so well lit. It was SCARY. But we got right to the top :)

Composite capital

All the buildings dotted around the Vegueta and Triana district look similar to this - apparently the área was largely built in the 17th century. I'm a bit confused on this one I'm not entirely sure what kind of style it is - but from what i've seen it looks like a mix between the Florentine Palazzo and Inigo Jones' Banqueting house (especially the Windows). An assortment of influences I imagine, just like the cathedral. Besides, it's looking way too white to be in its original state so I'm going to place my bets on the fact that it may have been altered a little bit at least. 

A homage to the Canarian bishops that had their ministry in America
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Monday, 12th October of 1992, 500 year anniversary for the discovery and evangelisation of America.


It's a shame I can't remember what this was about, or read the inscription at the bottom its too unclear! But I can only imagine it is King Fernando II de Aragon. If Las Palmas is particularly proud of the evangelisation of America this is bound to reference him. He, alongside his wife Isabella I de Castilla of whom he married to successfully marry their two kingdoms, 'finished off' La Reconquista. The Spanish Kingdoms had long been pushing their Catholicism downwards into the occupied Moorish territories but it was not complete until the royal couple took the last stronghold standing - GRANADA. Incidentally at the same time (1492) Christopher took his voyage to the Americas. Obviously, he didn't appear and America miraculously became Christian, but I suppose it's a fairly symbolic date.
Anyway, what makes me think that is that the statue is holding a ball, perhaps an allusion to the globe. This possible globe has a Latin Cross stuck in it as if he'd just climbed mount Everest and pierced his countries flag through the ground. Evangelisation of both sides of the Atlantic...the world? boom!

The pulpit

The inside, very decorative vaulting, half of the ribs aren't necessary - just for show.

18th century painting of the man who made all of this happen - the architect.


One of the side views of the cathedral.

Next we visited Christopher Columbus' place of residence in his stay there before he went off to discover America. This is in the same district as the Cathedral and has a library for students and a museum.

This was made shortly after Columbus' trip - before aerial photography it is BEYOND me how they were so impressively accurate! It's a bit of a weird perspective, (a bit like the map that is made with Australia in central position, has anyone else seen that?! Didn't realise it was a map of earth until I was 15 and I'd been doing Geography in the same room since I was about 12!). Anyway, I'm no expert on maps and that but what I do know is that the little isolated island to the right of the Meridian line looks A LOT like where I live. Wouldn't doubt Spain, France and Italy either!!

How weird!!

If my memory serves me correctly this is a part of the Catalan Atlas. 

This Atlas was done at a similar time as many others that were on display in museo Casa de Colon; all early 16th century. This is even more impressive than the last!

"This is the island of Saint Borondon, - The siren island - according to the ancients that saw it. If the illusion of this famous imaginary island had manifested throughout different ages in different forms, then in this version - probably from the 17th century - you can see Saint Borondon or Saint Brandano, the namesake of the fabulous island, saying mass on it, which takes the form of a whale, observing the location of the Canaries."

Right, so. I'm fairly confident that my translation is correct BUT that doesn't mean it's massively clear. It's taking about Canarian Folklore that tells us that since the 6th century AD, people have sworn to have seen this imaginary island floating about. They say it's hidden by clouds and disappears and reappears. A bit bonkers really, I'm sure if I had the entire series of wall stories from the museum this would make more sense! You've got the bloke it's named after aboard the island that's the shape of a whale (why, I don't know) doing mass (is that the verb for it? meh). The last sentence is a bit nonsensical to me too - but the gist is there.

There was loads of these little stories written on the wall of the courtyard of the Casa de Colon with illustrations to accompany them. I would have taken pictures of all of them except my boyfriend was bugging me to nick my camera to get about a billion photos of these two below:

Another roundabout, but in Las Palmas this time, outside the shopping centre.

Loads of handprints of 'famous' people of whom we did not know.

JUEGO DE TRONOS - game of thrones - in Spanish! Life = complete.
Waking up on the last day as very unhappy bunnies :( We had a 'blanket trip' booked for the day. This is where you get a man trying to tell you blankets and other random things with a free trip to cave houses and a cute village in return. The meeting was not time-share-like, it was easy peasy to avoid buying something, plus there was a raffle going, and the people were really nice! So it is really worth doing.

Apparently this street (completely lost the name!) is fairly renowned for all its random statues of children playing - I thought this one was cute! There's others, kids playing conkers, riding a bike.... etc.

Our final day was spent here: Guayadeque. The village of CAVE houses! This was there restaurant: £6 eurors for a mixed Tapas. Wasn't a great fan but the water went down extremely well high up in the mountains of a calima-ing Gran Canaria.

Yeah, I really don't know. A you know what in a you know where? a woman upside down doing yoga? Either way we were simply told it is a 'fertility statue'.

The inside of their little cave church! creepy.

Good old Greek Cross - bizarre in Spain, but then again a church in a cave is also bizarre.


The most house proud lady of all of the cave community.

Congratulations Isabel C.M. for being the best mum in the world, your daughter Chani loves you. Aw :)

THEY LIVE IN CAVES!!!!! This is what we saw as we entered, this little room, I imagine there's more behind that door.

Entrance to another crib

The bedroom!

Real Madrid fan - probably the ONLY time Canarians will consider themselves Spanish - Football - otherwise they insist that they are Canarian.

The people were literally the sweetest people I've ever met, so talkative! They get so haps when you tell them their cave house is nice.

Aguimes, a quick stop on the way back from the cave houses.
Who knows whether tour guides chat shit but two good things she told us about this place is 1) that there is a curfew for young girls under the age of 18 (or something like that) unless accompanied by an adult.
2) people who move out here leave their dogs on their roofs! If you ever buy a house here, check they haven't left their dogs....

Saint Sebastian with all his arrows.

Their local church - gutted it wasn't open. Similar to Santa Ana, just a little more plain.

The Plaza was covered in life size statues such as these. There was a congregation of poets on a bench and some other ones but this was my favourite. Legend has it that while under Franco's rule men and women of Aguimes would cross-dress and wear masks and partaaaaaay. This is significant because Franco banned fiestas, this obviously wasn't stopping the people of Aguimes - they just had to disguise themselves a bit.

Old Aguimes, noble Aguimes
Keep on dreaming your dream,
For an angel is watching over you,
And the wind is rocking you.
Part of a poem on a small wall in the Plaza, cute!!

We got to try out the Thomson Dreamliner on our way back, was too excited about this. Screens in the back of the chair in a short haul flight?! life
Have you been on holiday recently? Has anyone been here?

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