Gran Canaria
(click on thumbnails)
Accomodation, food and drink
santa catalina
Las Palmas is the capital, we stayed in hotel Santa Catalina, situated in a park surrounded by a residential district, to the north there is a shopping district and beyond that the pleasant city beach with some mainly modest restaurants. To the south are the (few) historic buildings. (walk to both from behind the hotel) To the east are the marina and a new bar area, bizarrely difficult to reach beyond the six lane road and complete with posted dress codes. We ate in the Santa Catalina  and "Madras" (both excellent) at Buenos Aires 8, between the historic area and the Santa Catalina.
refugio For the mountains, the Hotel Refrugio is ideally situated. As will be the parador alongside it now under construction (Feb 2007).
We had booked The Refugio via the internet and arrived at a bad time, Sunday afternoon, with the place packed with locals and in seeming total confusion. There appeared to be no knowledge of our (acknowleged) web booking and it took over half an hour to get our room. I would suggest confirming a booking with a letter. Once things had calmed down it became apparent that there was a pleasant restaurant area in the centre of the building and lounge with panoramic mountain views. The food was substantial mountain fare and good. (Dinner finishes early at 8 pm).
Most people will know of someone who has holidayed at Maspolomas. This large resort  surrounds an area of sand dunes. Efforts have been made to protect the natural habitat but surrounding something with 300,000 tourist beds has an inevitable consequence. Puerto and Playa Mogan in the south west in an atractive resort/ yatch basin which probalby gets called the Venice of the Canaries (unillustrated).
The Landscape

(left) the wide barranca leading into the mountains from the Maspolomas area.
(right) the central mountain area.
Almond blossom
teide sunset Sunset from the Refugio, with Teide (Tenerife) in the distance (right).
The central mountains
One of the (few) black sand and pebble beaches at the end of unmettled berranco tracks at Playa de Tasártico
Shadows and fog near Mirador de Balcon on the west coast.