The lost art of convalescing

Photo: Las Palmas Gran Canaria, not quite as hot and sunny as we hoped.

Jenni Russell recently declared in The Times that “We’ve forgotten the vital need to convalesce” and that “…. the Victorians were right about recovery time”.

The article lamented that our lives are so busy these days that we just don’t have time to recover properly from illness. We’re back at work, or whatever we do, so quickly we don’t recover properly.

Following the success of our winter sun training camp in Málaga last year, we booked a similar trip to Gran Canaria. Jan’s running would be back to normal after her monster 2018 challenge and Colin would be benefit from the climbing ready for the qualifying rides for Paris-Brest-Paris and the event itself.

It didn’t work out that way.

After our return from Arnhem, we both fell ill and didn’t fully recover, especially Jan, before our trip to the volcanic island. As Jan wouldn’t be running it seemed unfair for Colin to go off cycling so the bike stayed at home.

We decided to spend the week convalescing. Taking the air and getting some sleep.


Late on Saturday night we headed out to find a restaurant. No luck initially, all fully booked. Saturday night and Carnival fortnight. We hadn’t accounted for Carnival. Eventually we found a street café that didn’t look much but was brilliant. We shared a made to order paella which was excellent, as was the wine recommendation. The staff and owner were really friendly. When Jan started coughing they offered her water and advice on which pharmacy would still be open this late. Our meal ended with some local liquor. No idea what it was, but it could have done with some alcohol in it to make it less of a cordial and more of a liquor.

Having said that, if you are ever in Las Palmas, we can recommend Tasca La Lonja



Our first full day on the island. We only saw the afternoon. An exploratory walk along the promenade of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria then food shopping in El Corte Inglés. We have friends, P&T, who we exchange photos of entertaining things we see around the world. When we say entertaining, we mean entertaining to 12 year old boys. We sent them this:


In return, P sent us this from Shanghai:


All very childish, but good fun.


Monday – Thursday

We spent the week walking, eating, sleeping and the occasional snifter. Some nights eating out, others eating in. We prefer renting an apartment so that we can go to the local markets to buy food to cook that evening.

One walk was a 13km round trip to the old town of Veguete:


Another was a walk around the marina, followed by a snifter. Not quite the sunshine we had hoped for.


There are some interesting sculptures around the city.



Last day

Having exhausted all the points of the compass on our walks in Las Palmas we rented a car for the day to explore the island.

Driving the twisting roads along the Western coast we could see why all the tourist development was on the South and East coast. No room as the Atlantic battered the coastline from the West.

We drove into Puerto de Mogán, one of the places we had considered staying. We were glad we hadn’t booked an apartment there. We saw what it was like and drove straight out again. Lots of coach tours. Not our thing. We later learnt that Friday was the worst day to visit as it gets packed for the tourist market. We can confirm that.

Further along the coast we decided to head inland. We picked a village in the foothills at random for lunch. What a lovely little place it was, Agüimes.


Having recently used the word caldera in the Times crossword, we thought we’d go and see one. This volcano rim formed around a flat floor that was so fertile it was being cultivated.


A final climb to the summit of Pico de las Nieves at 1,949m to look across the island above the clouds.



Last night dinner

We booked what we thought was a really good restaurant for our last night. Not a star, but featuring in the Michelin guide, it looked the poshest one we could find. Dressing up the waiters in the full black bow tie ensemble doesn’t guarantee the food or service.

Enjoying our glasses of Cava an amuse bouche arrived. Of all the things to serve as an amuse bouche, cabbage soup with a tiny spoon doesn’t spring to mind. Then a waiter appeared with a bottle of red to open at our table. He spoke no English, so using our Italian we explained we hadn’t ordered it. In fact we hadn’t ordered anything.

We’d been “Fishered”. “Fishered” is a verb we use to describe when things go wrong in a restaurant. It seems to happen to us a lot. As there are no national statistics on being “Fishered” then we can’t be certain we suffer disproportionately, but we have a hunch we do.

Jan went with her northern roots and opted for the morcilla for her starter. Seven rounds of black pudding and rice arrived. “Good luck with that” said Colin as he waited and waited for his starter to arrive. More “Fishering”.


Having waited quite some time Colin speculated “If have one of your morcillas my starter is bound to arrive”. Guess what, it arrived just as I started my first mouthful.

After our starters were cleared away another waiter appeared with our amuse bouches all over again. To have cabbage soup once was bad enough but to be mistakingly served it again made us wonder if there is something about us that causes the Fishering phenomena.

The rest of the meal past without incident except for the house liquor. We like limoncello but the Gran Canarian version looked like two miniature specimen bottles that had just been filled. Strictly speaking not a “Fishering” but enough to make us laugh so much we forget to take a photo.

With lots of walking in between, our week started and finished with local liquors.

We returned feeling much better.


6 Replies to “The lost art of convalescing”

  1. Blobbing out was the right approach to this break but I see you couldn’t resist eyeing up a new bike for your forthcoming event. A


    1. It was good to get away, especially as we missed storm Freya. The fun at the restaurant on the last night didn’t spoil anything, it just added to the whole experience.


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