Travel Story 

Surfing, sangria and siestas

Alternative adventures on a Canary Island

Story and photos by Lindsay Mackenzie

"Where are we going? Come on, you can tell me now, we’re at the airport," I reminded him.

"No," he said.

Hmm. Didn’t think that was going to work.

You see, my boyfriend Geoff thought it would be cute (it was) to not tell me where we were going for a 10-day vacation until we got to the airport. He only told me what to pack, that it would involve windsurfing, and that our destination was "sort-of" in Europe.

As we finally walked up to the ticket counter to check in, we were greeted with an enthusiastic "hola" from the ticket-woman. Instantly images of Spain appeared in my mind: wandering along La Rambla in Barcelona, visiting Granada’s Alhambra, sipping sangria in Sevilla.…

"Two for Fuerteventura please," Geoff announced to the ticket-woman. Then he looked at me smiling smugly, happy he didn’t let the secret out until that instant, just the way he planned it. I grinned back, not wanting to ruin the moment by having absolutely no idea where he was talking about.

Still smiling, I put my bags on the conveyer belt and watched them roll away, hoping they knew more about where we were going than I did.

Once I was sure the moment had passed, I asked Geoff where exactly it was that we were going.

"Fuer-te-ven-tura," he spelled out, knowing my ability to retain foreign languages ranges somewhere between dismal and utterly non-existent.

"It’s not really in Spain," he explained. "It’s one of the Canary Islands. You know where the Canaries are don’t you?"

"Oh sure I do (lie). Wow, the Canaries, I can’t wait."

Still no closer to knowing where we were going, I reassured myself with the facts: it’s an island, somewhere near Spain, and he told me to pack warm clothing. Sounded fine to me.

Hey Romeo, sand dunes aren’t romantic

Being new to the tropical vacation scene, I was expecting palm trees and beach cabanas set amidst a leafy jungle backdrop bursting with parrots and colourful flowers (after all, it was an island). You might imagine my surprise when I looked out the airplane window as we approached our destination to see what appeared more like a desolate dumping ground for exiled criminals. The island we were about to land on was covered in lava-rock and sand dunes, hardly a patch of greenery as far as my sleepy, jetlagged eyes could see. There were some old volcanic craters, but no palm trees.

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