Royal Beach Restaurant – Puerto Colon

It has taken a little while to get round to writing this as I find it difficult when friends are staying to sit down, get brain into gear and start writing. However with Carol staying for a couple of weeks we decided to go to Puerto Colon for a meal and a bit of evening entertainment. My first thought was to eat at La Pergola then move on to see Donna and Les (Innuendo) as it has been years since we last enjoyed them in the then Colon Beach.

I messaged ahead and found that Innuendo play every night except Friday at Royal Beach which has a lovely setting right on the sea front and the pictures of the food they served looked good – so change of plan, we booked a table and spent the whole of the evening there.

Carol and Jim had starters, a prawn cocktail, garlic prawns, and garlic bread. I’m so sick of never being able to eat a meal I passed on this and just had a drink while waiting for them to finish.

For mains Jim ordered the fillet steak medium/well with vegetables, Carol ordered the chicken in some kind of creamy, garlicy, Mexican, mushroom sauce, which came with salad and chips, and I went for a medium rare plain grilled fillet steak. The others said their meals were excellent. Mine, accompanied with a few chips was sublime.

As said I normally end up taking half my meal home and the dogs wait for their special treat, not because anything is bad, just because I can´t eat it all. But look at my plate!

As for service this was first rate, attentive without being intrusive but each member of staff was pleasant, helpful and enjoyed a bit of banter without being ‘in your face’.

It was nice to see Donna and Les again and have a catch up. I particularly like the easy listening music they sang while people were having a meal. Well they do start at 8.00pm unlike many entertainers who don´t get going until around 10.00. It is enough without making you want to nod your head or stamp your feet in time to the music, but makes for a good background atmosphere to enjoy your meal. I had forgotten just how beautiful Donna’s voice is, close your eyes and you would think it was Karen Carpenter singing.

Once people had finished eating and after a short break, things got lively with old uns but good uns like Mustang Sally and the Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling so everyone was on their feet.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and will certainly not leave it so long until we do it again.

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Day Trip to La Gomera

I’ve been asked numerous times about La Gomera, but despite being able to see its impressive silhouette from my patio, I have only ever been once. I can´t give any specific information other than what I gleaned on a day trip, but for those who wonder what that involved below is a trip report of my whistle stop away day.

I had forgotten there were two 6.30s in a day, so when the alarm went off it was quite a shock. After bumbling around for an hour, we drove down to the taxi rank by the Sunday Market in Los Cristianos where the coach was picking us up at 7.50am.

It arrived five minutes late and was almost full then continued round the town, finally arriving at the port in time to leave on the 8.45am Armas ferry. It was very well organised, we were given our return ferry tickets and told which coach to get on at the other side. The guide came with us on the ferry that took around 50 minute and halfway through the crossing we saw both whales and dolphins, which was an unexpected treat. The boat was lovely, far nicer than I remember those on the Dover-Calais routes, but I was told on good authority, Fred Olsen’s boats are better. She must be right because she actually said “not as good as Freddie’s” so I guess she knows him personally!

Our coach in La Gomera was waiting for us, right next to the ship and we headed off within a couple of minutes of disembarking.

For those who don’t know La Gomera it is the second smallest of the Canary Islands after El Hierro and the closest to Tenerife.

I don´t think I am particularly hard to please but I was a little disappointed. Don´t get me wrong, it was a nice day, but after the scenery of Masca and the Mercedes Forest  there wasn’t as much to see as I had anticipated.

We did a complete circular tour of the island following winding mountain roads and although we went to the National Forest, once you have seen a tree, you have seen them all. Maybe there was more, but checking a map afterwards, I don’t think so. It was interesting seeing where at one time different fruits and vegetables grew and where now there are just curious combinations of gnarled cactus, grasses, and palms. Many of these terraces have been abandoned because of the migration of local people to either Tenerife or South America, particularly Venezuela.

We had a filling lunch in Agulo, which consisted of bread and mojo, homemade soup from a special type of potato grown on the island. This was followed by meat stew, vegetables, and rice and for pudding, naturally, Canarian bananas and ice cream. All washed down with red wine and water. The restaurant was very traditional and while we were eating, we were entertained with a demonstration of the whistling language used by the locals. The people that did this, teenagers learn Silbo at school to ensure the tradition continues. It was fascinating, one young man went out of the room while another took someone’s sunglasses, and someone else’s cardigan and moved them to different parts of the room. A young girl then whistled to the man and purely by whistling, instructed him to what was placed where, and who to return it to. Very impressive.

la-gomera-1

We ended our journey back in San Sebastian, the capital where Christopher Columbus stayed before his journey to America. We saw the well where he collected the water for his ship, the house he stayed in and the church built in the 1600s which was built on top of the chapel he prayed in before he left. We also saw the Torre del Conde a good spot for the photo opportunity. I found it interesting because I had previously stayed in a parador in Guadalupe where Columbus stayed prior to collecting the money for his voyage from Queen Isabella. Otherwise, there was little to see in town as at the time we arrived all the shops were closed.

We finally arrived back in Los Cristianos harbour at 6.00pm where we were directed to various coaches for different drop offs. It had been a long day, not what I had anticipated, although I couldn´t really tell you what that was but enjoyable.

la-gomera-2

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Do not forget your EHIC

Your holidays are booked and you are looking forward to the adventure, but what if you suddenly need medical help.

Don’t forget as an EU citizen, (at least for the time being) if you unexpectedly fall ill during a temporary stay in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland you are entitled to any medical treatment that can’t wait until you get home. However, you must have your EHIC with you – no excuse it is FREE.

There are, however, a couple of things you need to be aware of.

Children need to have their own EHICs when travelling. You can make an application on your child’s behalf and they will receive their own card.

Are you planning a cruise? Then the EHIC won’t cover you on the cruise ship, so it’s important for you to take out private travel insurance before you go. If, however, you stay in accommodation on land while you’re in an EEA country you’ll be covered for any treatment you need during that part of your stay.

Some unofficial websites will charge you for ordering your EHIC. I recommend you do it yourself, as it is very easy. Order your free EHIC directly through the NHS Choices website: HERE and don’t pay any unnecessary fees.

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Hawkstone Follies

As mentioned several times on this blog we usually go to the UK in the spring. Following last year’s jaunt to Dorset when we visited Bournemouth, Shaftesbury and Weymouth I was planning this year to take a closer look at Kent. However when I mentioned this to our daughter Kate she said she would like to spend a couple of days with us and visit the area around Ironbridge as we had enthused so much about the wonderful museums and the Victorian town of Blists Hill. She would have happily visited on her own but felt she might miss some of the ‘best bits’. So that is what we did.

Jim and I decided it would be our treat as it solved the problem of what to buy Kate and Ashley for their birthdays. Kate has just bought a new comfortable car so she could do the driving (I trust her driving more than anyone I know) and we set of for a couple of days ‘Up North’.

I have blogged about the Ironbridge area on a few occasions and you can see these if you click the links above but the other place I thought was fun to visit was Hawkstone Park and Follies. On our last visit here we bought Pong our Shih Tzu a certificate that said ‘I survived Hawkstone’ that had to be at least 20 years ago.

Whilst the park is nice, it is just one of those typical English Country Parks, however, the Follies is something else!

A woodland fantasy of cliffs, caves, and monuments built over 200 years ago. After years of neglect, the estate was restored and reopened in 1993 but we were told there are still treasures waiting to be discovered, hidden away in the undergrowth.

After entering the park, visitors are mesmerised with the glory of nature a blend of beauty, streams, and dells. On one side a stretch of rugged reddish rock, on the other the crumbling ruins of an ancient fortress, with a silvery lake shimmering in the distance, all surrounded by dense woods. Proceeding along the drive, and passing through a rugged archway, hewn out of the solid rock, the visitor catches a glimpse of Hawkstone Hall.

Myths and legends abound here –Hawkstone is believed to be the home of King Arthur, with tales being told about his adventures. It is also said that a small green chalice found at Hawkstone Park was believed to be the Holy Grail.

To describe the scenery of Hawkstone Park as “beautiful” doesn’t do it justice. It is much more. It is magical, surprising and captures the imagination. It really is a must see.

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Pilgrimage of San Isidro (Los Realejos)

The first pilgrimage to San Isidro took place in Los Realejos in 1676 when country people made an offering to their patron saint. The tradition continues today and floats, some drawn by oxen but mostly built on trucks, parade through the steep amber walled and dusty streets celebrating the town’s bygone heritage.

Each float represents a farm, a street, or district, and they are decorated with plants, branches, flowers, farming implements and the head of a pig that has been ‘sacrificed’ for the fiesta.

Balconies and windows along the parade route are festooned with flags, shawls, and tablecloths all to mark the celebration.

After the religious service in honour of San Isidro, the floats slowly move along the route. The people on them, all wearing traditional dress, hand out “papas arrugadas”, small potatoes boiled in their jackets, gofio, boiled eggs, and wine to spectators. Stalls are set up along the streets and typically, sell sardines and potatoes, and wine bars offer free tastings. There is a livestock fair where all the best animals of the area are exhibited and the party continues for the whole day.

This popular feast has to be experienced rather than just watched, and has been declared of national tourist interest. Apart from its obvious historical attractions, it is an extremely nice area to hang out in. The fiesta takes place between end May and beginning of June, but as I’m currently in the UK I want to post it now in case I forget once I return home.  🙂

For news updates around south Tenerife check Queenies Daily Snippets
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