Road tripping in Gran Canaria

One of the most eventful days ever is going to an end.

Just back from a road trip in Gran Canaria. Our initial plan was to check out small villages around, chatting with locals and eating great tapas. As Ive never been to Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Can before, we took what my ignorant mind would assume would be a quick pass by before heading to more remote corners of the island. Somehow Ive figured Las Palmas is a little bigger than Eivissa, the capital of Ibiza. Don’t ask me why! Entering the city I soon understood its even more of a Capital city than my bloody own capital Oslo of Norway (which happens to BE a official capital by the way!!) Considering population figures Oslo is bigger, also the areal is MUCH bigger, but again I was reminded about Spanish history and how influential it is, what a great era they once had – hence the pompous antique buildings today representing the cultural center, cinema, concert halls, and of course shopping malls.. And the streets just never ended…!

Fifty traffic lights later always surrounded by vibrant city life and hordes of tourists, neatly planned parks and wide avenues I was again reminded how small and town-looking for instance Oslo is. Nearly suprised by my own non-awareness of how AWESOME Las Palmas is, I texted my new Gran Can friend Borja and apologized. He forgave me thank God, and at the same time gave us tons of tips on what locals like to do in his city.

Wanting to go back for the crazy celebration of San Juan, we decided to leave Las Palmas alone for today and headed to the tiny village Santa Brigida.

On the way we picked out the narrowest streets on the map to feel lost in the middle of nowhere, and counted to 200 cactuses before deciding to stop. Like always, that is a killer plan to get thirsty. And what do we find? Calletera Vandama, whatever that means, which situated us on the bottom of a hill with a sign indicating we had two options from now. Either to go play golf, or to follow the sign with a fork and a knife on it. Golf in the freaking dessert doesn’t sound very interesting although I thought for a while it could be funny to go see what freaks had placed a course on TOP of a mountain in dessert surrounded Gran Can, for the fun of it. And to check out what color the (potentially fake) grass had, in order to tick it on or off the Responsible Tourism Gran Can list I’m making.

Nah, we chose to follow the fork sign.

Arriving to the parking lot I read BODEGA, and was sold. Winery. Yes. We like! As Hilde is pregnant, Arild and I figured we’d get even more alcohol if we shared a homemade bottle. And the best was that Hilde agreed to just watch us drinking imagining how nice it must taste in a place like the one we had found. From seeing the cars in the parking lot we sensed that the place was popular among the posh locals. Maybe they were golf players coming here to dine, we thought?

Either way, its beauty had to be explored further, so we approached the restaurant and an old handsome man welcomed us with someone we’re sure was his son. We entered and discovered a place so historical, peaceful, and green: Bodega Bandama. It’s named after the street, just that the V is swapped with a B (B & V pronounces the same way in Spanish).

Both outside and inside it was full of flowers and plants, with a modern, yet cute looking bodega fenced with glass walls into the corner of the restaurant.

We got the menu which seemed amazing, but as it unfortunately exceeded our budget we went to the bar instead. The owner – that spoke English abnormally well (considering he is Spanish) – correctly guessed what country we’re from and accompanied us in the bar for a chat. He told us he inherited the place like 50 years ago and confirmed it was his son we met earlier. The homemade wine was delicious and after two glasses I felt in love with the thought of just staying here learning all about wining (one of my old dreams), and marrying his good looking son! 😉

Starting to get hungry, and keen on seeing more of the area, we decided to leave this timeless little spot and promised the old man we’ll be back another day. A little tipsy we headed toward the next village where Arild and Hilde yet had not been and where rumors told us there was an interesting monastery. From the bodega it took 15 minutes to get to Santa Brigida, a tiny town where we easily understood they love painting their brick stone houses in all kinds of colors. Often even defining the rocks in the cement in another color than the wall it self, a funny style that make many houses look like the skin of a giraffe:

In Santa Brigida we asked some toothless locals pimping in a bar what good restaurant we could find, and got instructed around the corner to the town’s square. The paella was perfect, even more accompanied with the local beer Tropical and a burning sun above us.  The waiters were super smiley and service minded, probably even more so today as Spain was about to play against France in the quarter or semi finales (is there a difference?) Two of the waiters were actually Argentinians, something I spotted on their accent, and told us they are many on the island working in the catering sector. One of them was hanging up a huge Spanish flag over our heads to the clients’ thrill, and bottle corks started popping. They offered us a Ron de miel (honey rum) after the meal to digest better, and since this was going to be my first Honey Rum, and I always love these Spanish local liquors defining parts of their local drinking culture, I got super eager to take a picture of the bottle.

And now something awful happens: Eager to document bloody EVERYTHING I got the rum bottle handed over so I could “capture it forever”. Pulling it towards me, I accidentally hit an ashtray (I didnt even know was on our table) to the floor where it literally exploded into pieces and went in ALL directions. Ive never seen anything like it!

Everybody literally stopped living for 3 seconds till the glass pieces found their place and the crushing sound disappeared. I hardly dared to look over to the tables next to me, just sat there with the hands in front of my face saying No, No, No… The waiters came running and said “no pasa nada.. no pasa nada”, and when I looked up I met people’s terrified eyes and saw a lady picking glass from her t-shirt.. I ran over to the tables around and asked if they were fine, told them how sorry I was, how clumsy I am.

Soon everybody around had assured me they were okay, but somehow my mind just couldn’t believe it. Arild (that obviously also was shocked (Hilde was in the loo at the time)) tried to calm me down and soon people started smiling again and cheerfully singing ‘Espana, Espana’ (for the upcoming match).

Oh my. That feeling in my chest was worse then the feeling I got taking the timber sledge on water with my mum at the age of 5, being forced to sit IN FRONT of her, sure I was gonna fall out and into the sea.

The next 15 minutes we spotted glass pieces in other restaurant clients’ chairs -FAR away from were we sat. That nobody was injured is really a true miracle.

My paralyzed state slowly blurred first 30 minutes later when we arrived to the monastery up in the hills of Santa Brigida. Hilde told me there were monks living here for life, but at the time I couldn’t even think of what to expect by that. It was my first visit to a monastery, never actually thought of what they’re all about.

I am so thankful for having cool friends with ideas like these, cause that visit turned out to change parts of my view of life.

To be continued asap!

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