Canarification: discovery of Gran Canaria

Weekly Wrap. Week 9.

What a week! I have never had my breath taken away by the weather like this time. It not enough to say that Dovile and I have fallen in love with Gran Canaria to be honest. We were complete in awe of it. Starting with the marvellous weather from the day we landed, to weather which locals consider “dangerous” and ending with breath taking views, wherever you turn your head to. Simply astonishing island. And as I was writing in the first place, the sunny weather just blew me away, from the very first moment it started shining brightly and bring warmth. Nevermind the very unpleasant burns I got right on the very first day and within 2 hours, I still would not change a thing.

Luckily, with the help of my wonderful wife, I was able to keep up with the training schedule almost to its fullest. There were some mishaps here and there, but in general, from the point of view of my training and workouts – it was as successful, as it could have been. And I can not praise and give credit to Dovile enough for it. She helped me find the pool to swim in, she swam together with me and went to a less picturesque and interesting city, than we stayed in. Dovile also was very considerate of my health and amount of Sangria I should put into myself, so I do not ruin the next day’s workout. We still got hammered on one evening, but I repeat – she was very cautious 🙂

Gran Canaria is a very mountainy island and at first I was fascinated that I will be able to have my own “Giro D’Italia” experience (a race in Italy, at the start of summer, where cyclists climb a ton of mountains in the area, surrounding Dolomites), but it took me a simple ride up a rather simple mountain to realise how scary it is to descend those. I climbed a rather short mountain with elevation around 300-400 meters, but descending through the sharp turns and speed you do not really control – that was exhausting, taxing and terrifying experience. Basically through all of the descent I held on to my brakes as hard as I could, never releasing them. There is a lot to learn for me to be able to cycle in the mountains. I finished this week with a very stressful Friday for both, myself and Dovile, transfer to Lanzarote and soft-start of my training camp. Week 9 “blew my socks away” and keep reading to find out what in particular happened.

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Nobody expects Spanish pastry and paella

One of the words, which do not exist in any language, but followed our vacation in Gran Canaria was “mlem”. It comes from trying to understand dogs and ruff-ly (I could not help myself) translates to “very tasty”. And that is how we kicked the very first day of our arrival to this island – we got a huge cup of cappuccino with a croissant to match in size for me and some excellent “Pastei De Nata” for Dovile. It did not take long for us to establish sort of a tradition to have a “mlem” incorporated in our day. Safe to say, it is close to impossible to stay on a “smart food” diet in here and I did not even try.

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In general this part of Spain was very welcoming, pleasant and had delicious food all vacation long. Extremely pleasure-some experience, especially after the our personal disappointment which was Thailand. Might be that we got to a point that we understand better what we want from our travels and how can we help each other to fulfil those desires. One of the most joy inducing things we have done and it was solely Dovile’s initiative – was to go jump through the waves. Keep in mind that the coat we stayed at had some wind and that wind kept bringing huge waves, at the height of 1,5 meters sometimes. It was the most fun to let yourself go to the power of such wave and see what happens next. Because it tosses you wherever and you feel like a snowflake in the wind. I could not stop laughing for no particular reason from the moment the first wave hit me, to the point when last one threw me back to the shore.

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 Altogether

The whole experience was simply mesmerising. I might have let out a high-pitched noise, when I first saw the pool we were supposed to swim in. It was my very first outdoors 25 meter pool. And the sight of it for me was something that made me extremely happy. It is absolutely different to being in an indoor pool, which reeks of chlorine, is sort of illuminated, but it is still dark. Here, when I saw the pool, it was something heavenly and it invited for a swim right away. Despite the fact it was a bit cold and windy, I still was filled in with the sudden urge to jump into it. And I did and it was wonderful.

It was extremely pleasant to do runs outside in shorts and tank-top shirt, instead of having 2 layers of clothing on my legs, 2 pair of socks, 4 layers of clothing on my upper body and heavy winter shoes. I understand that I am more of a minimalistic runner, when it comes to the preferences. I much prefer to run in as little clothes as possible, so it does not minimise the movements and is easy on your body to carry it through. So it was another great experience to just run along the coast in the sunshine. And here is my infamous burn from the first day and first few hours:

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 Black Friday

It all was going towards an excellent vacation end, before jumping off to my camp at Lanzarote. However Friday got darker with every moment of its morning. At first, I noticed (even though I checked 3 times and at least once day before) that I booked the wrong date for my flight from Gran Canaria to Lanzarote. Panic, a lot of disappointment in myself. However, a call to the airlines – for a fee they will be able to switch the ticket no problem. Feeling lucky. On our ride into the airport, Dovile receives an e-mail from Ryanair that her flight is delayed. She has a connecting flight with Ryanair from Birmingham back home. We spend the time at the airport, worrying if she makes the connection. Luckily it seems that there is a slight chance to make it happen as she takes off. I land in Lanzarote few hours after she took off and start worryingly review the flights in Birmingham. Sever weather conditions are hitting the airport. However flight to Vilnius seems to be on schedule.

Turns out the flight from Vilnius to Birmingham was returned back to Vilnius, as the weather was not allowing it to land. I quickly run to the hotel I stay at and start working on operation “let me get my wife back home”. I started checking all the possible routes back home from Birmingham, all the different options of stay, booked few hotels impulsively, cancelled them, scanned for all possible flights, evaluated the wait times, etc.. After few calls, we decided that Dovile will fly from Heathrow airport with the earliest LOT flight at 06:30. All we had to do now is to get her to that airport, through poor weather conditions, which were hitting UK for the past few days. She battled through all that in an astonishing fashion, keeping up her composure and strength. After some worrying hours in the hotel, I get a text from her, that she finally reached Heathrow. All that needs to be done now is to wait for the flight, which is in around 6 hours. Dovile decided that she will try to get some rest before the flight. We both hang up and I restlessly try to sleep. Alarm goes off, 30 minutes to Dovile’s flight – I wanted to check up on her. Luckily, all is fine. She checked in, LOT services are excellent to her and 15 minutes after she sends me a picture from the cabin, showing that LOT treats her well. As well with my favourite chocolate – Prince Polo. Relieved, I lay in my bed and get some rest.IMG-622bf27a0fc2a339439b526d5e91ecca-V.jpg

Random

Song of the week: Sigur Rós – Varúð
Reading: Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth
Game: Undertale (PS Vita) On Hold: Assassin’s Creed: Origins (PS4) / Starcraft 2 (PC)
Average Weight: do not have means to measure

This is another belated blog post, but I hope it was worth the wait. A lot of things happened, a lot of things I want to share. I am writing it from my training camp in Lanzarote, which as been a blast. It definitely is an excellent end to an excellent vacation which we experienced, despite some mishaps. I will be sharing my thoughts from the camp next week onwards and hopefully, I will be able to get onto the steady route of writing again.

Enjoy and thank you for stopping by!

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