These canarian potatoes are a typical traditional meal, and you will find them everywhere. I just love them and eat them all the time, even at home.
Papas is the canarian word for potatoes, and arrugadas means wrinkly. This wrinkled effect comes after the potatoes have been boiled in water with seasalt for about half an hour. So easy, and so delicious. Try them with a red or green mojo, and you will definetly fall in love with them... ;)
This is a very traditional sauce (salsa) used in the canary islands. You can have it either red or green, and is very delicious along with papas arrugadas. The sauce is made mainly of chili and garlic, and recipes can vary both in flavour and strength, from the extremely hot and spicy to medium or very mild.
This is one of the most famous dishes in all of Spain, and also in the Canary Islands. You can not be in Spain without trying this!
The most normal ingredient in the paella is seafood, chicken and rice, but there are a numerous ways of making it. Usually every chef (or family) have their own variations. So if you don't like it in one place, give it a try somewhere else and you might love it.
The paella is cooked in a special pan that is very wide and the sides go up a little bit. The more surface the better. Many of the toppings are added as a last step at the top of the paella.
The canarians love partying, and has plenty of festivals. If you have the opportunity you should try to attend one of them. Every city has it's own festivals, and there are plenty that are celebrated all over the island.
The most famous is of course the carnival in february/march. But they also have great festivities in easter (Semana Santa), and the rest of the year.
There are too many to list them all here, but ask your hotel or your travel agent if there are any festivities when you are there. If there is any, you should try to go just to enjoy the atmosphere. The canarians really know how to party and enjoy themselves.
The guanches was the people that lived in the Canary Islands before the spanish came here in the 1400's. The guanches fought hard to defend theirselves, but in 1483 the spanish had control over the whole island.
It's still a mystery where the guanches originally came from. Some say they are the remains of the lost Atlantis, others say they were berbers that migrated here from north of Africa. Because they were tall, blond and blue-eyed some even say they were vikings from the cold north that settled here.
Anyway they lived here for centuries and all over the island you can find remains of their cities, like in Cueva de los Cuatro Puertas. Today there are no guanches left as they were either extincted or mixed with the spanish that moved here.
The best place to learn more about the guanches is in Museo Canario situated in the Vegueta district in Las Palmas.
Walking along the boulevard Faro de Maspalomas we always saw people at the beach, making the most amazing sand sculptures by mixing the sand with water.
Some of the makers were real artists.
Some sculptures stayed for several days in tact, others disappeared or were destroyed overnight.
Not so much a cultural trip as a cultural event, I travelled to Gran Canaria for Maspalomas Carnival this year, it was a very enjoyable visit. I'd heard about it from family living on the island and it lived up to expectations.
There are events going on all week, but the first one I visited was the election of the drag queen on the Thursday night in the Yumbo Centre in Playa del Ingles. It was televised on Canarian tv and there were big screens so the crowd could see. One of the best places to watch is from the restaurants overlooking the stage, but to get a table with a good view you'll have to book in advance, some of the tables don't have a good view at all. It was a very good show, and a good night out.
On the Friday I went to the "tourist day". There is a small procession along the beach between Meloneras and Playa del Ingles for the rescue of the sardine, with people dressing up in medical gear and carrying the sardine. Then there's a party by the beach with free Paella, free beer and free local rum (Arehucas etc). Or at least I didn't pay for anything...
Saturday is the night of the big parade, everyone gets dressed up, sweets get thrown from the floats, and if you have a plastic cup you can go up to some of them and get it filled with rum (spot the theme here?). Some of the costumes are great, but it's just a question of making some effort to take part, you don't have to do huge amounts. Lots of people in drag, and just a great night out.
Unfortunately I had to fly home early sunday morning and missed the end of the festivities, but I'd definitely go back. I think it's in March at some point most years, check with tourist information if possible to make sure you catch it.
Around 9:00 am a caravan of tourists starts, People walk along the beach from Playa del Ingles to Maspalomas to find a nice place to spread their blankets.