Saturday 23 April 2022

 A Relaxing Time in Los Gigantes

One view from our balcony
At the end of March, we travelled to our favourite corner of Tenerife for an eleven-day holiday hoping for some sunshine after the Welsh winter. Los Gigantes is a resort town in the Santiago del Teide municipality on the west coast of the largest Canary Island. Its main feature is an array of giant rock formations, Acantilados de Los Gigantes, that rise from the sea to a height of 500 -800 metres and give the town its name. Los Gigantes means 'The Giants'. The first time we visited the town coincided with the annual four-day Carnival. Described as 'a riot of colour... (with) fancy dress competitions, dancing and processions...The burial of the sardine marks the end of the fiesta." Watching the festivities from our balcony inspired me to write a short story about a little girl lost in the crowds. It's entitled 'Burning Our Sardine' and appears in my collection of short stories, Smashing the Mask and Other Stories.

One strikingly beautiful dancer dressed head to toe in bright turquoise made her way to our side of the street and made eye contact with me. The sequins on her leotard glinted in the bright sunshine and accentuated the curves on her slim but shapely body. Huge aquamarine feathers plumed her head and shoulders, forming wings. I smiled back at her as she moved her neck and arms as if she was a performing a dancing ritual to attract a mate.
    “I’m back. Where’s Mia?” Lucy’s concerned voice brought me back to the present. 
    “She’s watching from the front,” I said, looking towards the place where our daughter had been standing moments before. I went cold. Goosebumps formed along my neck as I realised she’d gone.

Because of COVID, this year's Carnival has been postponed to later in the year but we did have a troupe of 
colourful dancers visit the hotel in a practice run.

Although the sun was hot and shone as brightly as we'd hoped, there was sometimes a strong wind. The dramatic coastline with the sea pounding on the rocks was quite a spectacle on our walks. 

For me, a relaxing holiday like this means plenty of time for reading. I like nothing more than to escape through an author's words and lose myself in the worlds they have created. I'm always drawn to dual time-line novels and especially ones where the reader is taken to another country. One novel that stood out for me was 'The Postcard from Italy' by Angela Petch. It's a beautifully crafted novel where I'm transported to Puglia to sample life in the 1940s as well as the present day. I felt I was there in Italy with the characters. The heartbreaking yet uplifting story captivated me from beginning to end.

The other novel I want to mention is 'The Olive Grove' by Eva Glyn. Not a dual time-line as such, the novel opens in 1996 but the rest of the story is set in 2019. However, there are frequent references to events in the past as we get to know the character of Damir. The wonderful sense of place is almost a character in its own right. I was taken straight to Croatia, marvelling at the views and getting to know about the Croatian way of life. A poignant, emotional novel, its characters were with me long after I finished reading it.  

Thank you for reading. What novels do you like to read on holiday? I'd love it if you left a comment. Thank you.

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