For those of you who don’t know, we’re here to start, and run, a tour guide business with my son, David. So the first thing we need to do is familiarize ourselves with the area and find routes that we think would interest our guests, and last week we did just that.
From our little town of Playa Del Cura, we headed North to Maspalomas, which is where the tour would begin and we can pick people up along the way without too much delay.
Driving through Maspolomas, however, we spotted a market and couldn’t resist stopping.
Not much there really except lots of leather goods, clothes and some African carvings. Michael needed to buy some shorts which is how we met Eduardo.
Eduardo was very charming and we couldn’t help but like him. He would have made a fortune as a used car salesman in Canada. 🤣 He picked out a few pairs of shorts and shirts for Michael, getting his size correct just by looking at him, all the while complimenting me for being a good wife to feed him so well. 😂
There wasn’t really anywhere to try anything on, so the charming and likeable Eduardo had him put the shorts on over his jeans.
Not only was this very amusing, but it had the desired effect and we bought two pairs of shorts and two shirts.
Back on track, we headed up into the hills.
On the way, we passed aloe fields
and the aloe shop where you can buy everything related to aloe vera.
About 30 minutes later, we came to our first viewpoint.
which affords us beautiful sweeping views of the Barranco de Fataga (Fataga Ravine)
and also happens to be an excellent place for stargazing.
We make a note to come back here at night. Continuing on, we pass the Camel Safari Park
before coming to the town of Fataga, also known as The Valley of a Thousand Palms.
About 2000 years ago, Gran Canaria was home to the Guanche natives. The conquest of the island by the Castilles started in 1478 and ended on 1483 when Guayarmina Semidán, the queen of Gran Canaria, surrendered. At the turn of the 16th century, in and around the ravines of Fataga, then known as Adfatagad, many of the final battles between the Guanches and the Spaniards took place.
The 19th century Fataga was not only a place of enthralling beauty, but it was also a rich agricultural and farming land. A prosperous, self-sufficient farming village for around 650 dwellers, it owed its success to the water source known as “El Cercado de Fataga” (The Orchard of Fataga) or “Fuente Grande” (Great Spring). Although still abundant with resources, its population has since declined.
The first building we see on the way in is this one with a tuba and clock in its front garden.
We stop in this quaint little town so we can walk around.
Most places are closed as it seems we’ve arrived during siesta, but there were a few places open – a small restaurant and a couple of shops that sold beautiful jewelry, bags and clothes made by local artists.
We come across this beautiful church called San Jose Church. San Jose dates back to 1880 and is dedicated to its namesake. It has a simple design that matches the old Canarian houses perfectly, and the massive wooden door showcases its antiquity.
Full grown Laurel trees surrounding the plaza only makes it more spectacular.
I’m guessing this is a statue of San Jose
We take a walk through the streets of Fataga in between the whitewashed houses.
Believe it or not, these streets are what the locals drive on. They look more like walkways than roads, but it seems to be normal for most of the rural towns. Yikes!
Most of these streets are uphill, so if you get tired, you can rest on this concrete bench
and get a drink of water from this tap
Going back down the hill, we come across this beautiful bougainvillia
Back in the car, we leave lovely Fataga behind. Some of these streets are not for the faint-hearted!
We continue our journey to San Bartolome de Tirajana where we’re hoping to find a winery.
San Bartomole de Tirajana is situated on the slopes of an enormous, extinct volcano, and is almost 900 metres above sea level. Often you can hear the word ‘Tunte,’ which is what the locals often call this village because it was built over the ruins of the original pre-hispanic settlement called Tunte. Proudly, the local inhabitants could also say that their region was actually the last conquested place of Gran Canaria.
In the historical centre, we found a beautiful church of San Bartolome
This was originally build in the first third of the 16th century, and then significantly reconstructed at the end of the 17th century
Inside, there are several religious images
including one of Santiago el Chico (Santiago the Lessor), thanks to whom the village became a centre of the Jacobite Pilgrims
We see a sign pointing to the winery, but can find no actual winery.
So we head out of town to Santa Lucia de Tirajana
By this time, we’re feeling a little hungry and a few minutes later we come across this restaurant perched on the top of a hill
We go in and order beer and wine
and this delicious mixed salad which was under ‘appetizers’ on the menu, but is clearly a meal in itself.
Everything is freshly made and the olives here are to die for.
The view from our table is spectacular.
Fed and watered, we continue on to Santa Lucia where, Google tells us, is another winery. But, once again, we can find no trace of it, so we just wander around for a bit before heading home.
The first chapel in Santa Lucía was built in honour of Santa Lucía in the second half of the sixteenth century. In 1761, as the chapel was not well preserved, the inhabitants decided to knock it down and build another one in the same place but on a different plot of land. The second chapel was blessed in 1761, although it did not survive long due to its poor state of preservation. It was finally demolished and in 1788 the image of Santa Lucía was transferred to the chancel of a new chapel, although this third chapel suffered the same fate as the two previous ones. Then in 1905, the church Iglesia de Santa Lucia was built right in the town square, on a rise, replacing the third chapel.
We decide to do some more research into the location of the wineries, and come back tomorrow.