Discovering the Canary Islands with Inntravel #UnexpectedCanaries

 

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I recently responded to a Tweet from Inntravel about their #UnexpectedCanaries campaign. I’ve been to the Canary Islands several times but I am rather ashamed to say that I have never really seen what I would call the real Canaries, or even stepped outside of the very touristy areas of Playa de las Americas in Tenerife or Costa Caleta in Fuerteventura. I do however know that there is a lot more to these islands than meet the eye, so I was keen to explore these destinations a little more.

Inntravel, the ‘slow holidays’ company, are currently using the #UnexpectedCanaries campaign to promote their holidays to the Canary Islands and in particular the newly added La Palma Volcanic Trail walking holiday.  Established in 1984 and based in rural North Yorkshire, Inntravel is recognised as one of the UK’s leading specialist tour operators. They are happy to tailor your holiday to suit you and have won numerous awards and accolades over the years.   Two-thirds of bookings are made by those who have travelled with Inntravel before, or by friends to whom they have recommended the company – if that’s not the best endorsement of a company, I don’t know what is!

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I have always wanted to visit La Palma, which is one of the lesser-known islands while also being one of the most beautiful! It is renowned for its incredible landscapes, imposing volcanoes, deep forests, welcoming beaches and star-filled night skies. When I first started visiting the Canary Islands it wasn’t really pegged as a holiday destination for us Brits but it has become better known as people have started looking for something a little different to the ‘Brits Abroad’ scenario, which sadly, is the main side of the Canary Islands that I know.

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The last place I visited in the Canary Islands was Costa Adele, which is more upmarket than the loud lairy neighbours of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, but still very much a touristy resort relying on British trade. We chose this holiday for ease and guaranteed sunshine. We went to an all-inclusive resort and pretty much stayed there for a week doing nothing but lazing around and swimming in the pool. Now don’t get me wrong, that is fantastic and just what we needed with small children but now my children are slightly older, I can’t help but look back at these holidays as missed opportunities and they are so far from what I would choose to do now! holiday time and annual leave is precious, so for me, it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.

What would I do differently?

If I went back to Tenerife again, I’d definitely like to try and discover the real Tenerife, get myself away from the tourist hotspots and immerse myself in Canarian food and culture.   I’m not sure how well it is publicised but Tenerife is a great walking spot, if you just move inland a little away from the resorts. The island has a variety of terrains to discover, with the impressive Mount Teide dominating the landscape.

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The Canaries have their own traditional food dishes such as Papas Arrugadas (also known as wrinkled potatoes) which are served with ‘mojos’ or sauces mojo picon and the mojo verde. I have actually tried this dish but I know there is so much more to the local cuisine with regional fish dishes and even desserts to be enjoyed. As somewhat of a foodie myself, this is definitely something I have missed out on!

There’s lots to be seen in the Canary Islands and lots to do if sitting by a pool isn’t your thing – you might be surprised! You should check out the Inntravel website to see what else is on offer!

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Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Inntravel.

On top of the world and totally off-grid!

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Over Easter we decided to give ourselves a much-deserved week off with the children. We’ve never been away at that time of the year before but we thought we’d take advantage of the Bank Holidays. The trouble is with Easter is it flipping cold, it’s normally very wet and that obviously limits your choices somewhat. We knew we didn’t want to go abroad so we plumped for somewhere that we would never ever go camping – Wales.

When I was a young child we used to go camping in Wales a lot, normally to Barmouth. It pretty much always rained, that is my everlasting memory. As a teenager I went camping in Aberystwyth with my youth club. It was April – I barely felt my legs for the entire time we were there. So yes, Wales, not really that high on my list of camping destinations.

With this in mind I long ago decided that Wales should be done by staying in a hotel or cottage, and I recently discovered a company called Sugar and Loaf whose properties looked rather lush so I snapped one up in the back of beyond. I won’t lie, I was totally won over by the hot tub – I am that fickle.  Now, when we originally booked this cottage back in August 2015, we did so under the belief that wi-fi would be installed. A couple of weeks out from Easter and we were contacted to be informed that this was not the case. What did I do?

Panic of course.

Our whole lives run online and we already knew there was no mobile signal to speak of in the area. The kids reaction was different “You’ll have to pay more attention to us then”. That’s sad isn’t it?

After my initial fear about being totally offline and the general annoyance at being let down subsided, I did actually start to warm to the idea. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad? I got myself organised, made sure I had maps, knew all the details of the things we wanted to do and places to go as Google would no longer be my friend and off we went.

How was it?

Bloody marvellous.

It was SUCH a relaxing week. Yes, of course Wales didn’t disappoint and there was oodles of rain – including a very well-timed thunderstorm during a 5 mile hike through Waterfall Country but there were also plenty of sunny moments and we were even treated to a complete whiteout blizzard which the children loved, what with the mild winter we’ve had. We walked, soaked in the hot tub, talked, played games, read, watched TV in our downtime (me and my 10 year old got proper sucked into Come Dine With Me re-runs most days) and it was totally chilled. There was no getting het up about what anyone had said on Facebook or Twitter, no checking of emails, no work intruding on our personal time and no news! Seriously, we didn’t buy a newspaper or watch the news so we knew nothing of what was going on in the outside world. As the news has been pretty horrible recently, this was a blessed relief.

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Going off-grid really wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, it was quite a tonic. 

I don’t normally buy into the idea of a digital detox – I don’t think it’s necessary at all. Digital is so ingrained in our daily lives, it’s never going to go away, and I would never try and give it up when living my usual life but on holiday? I think I am a total convert!

I think my new theme for our camping holidays this year will be “OFFLINE”.

Have you ever been totally off-grid for a holiday? Leave me a comment below!

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