Dia de Canaria & the Best Seafood Ever & Registering at the Town Hall

With the help of our houseguest, who translated for us at the Town Hall, we arrived for our appointment on Friday morning and completed our registration. This is required in order to apply for our residency, but apart from letting the Government know where you are, it determines where residents can apply for things like social security and a host of other Government programs. I discovered that there’s two very different sides to Mogan. There’s the area where all the tourists go – where the beaches are of course –

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and then there’s the Mogàn where the locals live. This part of Mogàn is nowhere near the beach, it’s further up in the hills and completely different to what you see on the coast.

mogan

After chatting to a lovely lady who said a lot of words like “valé” (pronounced bahlay and meaning okay) and “perfecto,” she printed out a provisional registration of residency assuring us that the real thing will arrive in our email shortly.

We celebrated with coffee at a local cafetería where I got to practice my Spanish yet again by ordering “dos café leche leche largo” meaning, literally, two coffee milk milk large. Large, however, is not what you think. This image is the Canarian version of large.

cafe leche leche

It’s the Canarian equivalent of the British cup of tea or a North American cup of coffee; an essential social ritual to be indulged in regularly. You can’t really understand local life on the island until you understand how the coffee works.

Café leche leche largo is served in a glass similar to the one in the above image, with a hefty finger of condensed milk at the bottom. You stir it up, then drink it up; it takes some getting used to, but is definitely not suitable for diabetics. The leche leche always comes with sachets of sugar, but nobody ever uses them.

Click here for a hilarious (and true) blog post about how to order coffee like a local in Gran Canaria.

This weekend is a public holiday here in the Canary Islands. They call it a “bridge” weekend as it celebrates the beginning of summer, several patron saints and Dia de Canaria, or Canaria Day.

On the 30th of May, 1983, The Canary Islands officially became an Autonomous National Region of Spain when the Government of the Canary Islands Parliament sat for the firs time. The day has been marked every since by all municipal town halls, on all the 8 islands, in each of the two provinces that make up the archipelago, as the office day of celebration of all things Canarian.

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To read my post about how the Canarians celebrate Dia de Canaria, click here.

We had planned our usual beach day on Sunday, but it was cloudy and cool, so we took a drive to San Fernando where we read there was a farmer’s market and Dia de Canaria celebrations (or fiesta). Always up for a good fiesta.

The market was all we had hoped for with produce and other local offerings – beautiful knitted hats, jewelry and leather items. We bought some lovely apple cake from the bakery at the end.

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There were lots of people dressed in traditional costume

and a large crowd gathered in front of the 13 man band playing traditional, toe-tapping Spanish music.

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A large portion of the crowd were dancing and tapping their toes to the music. The Spanish really know how to enjoy themselves.

On the way home, we decided to stop in an Arguineguin for lunch. Parking is in such short supply in Gran Canaria, that we automatically look for paid parking, which is really cheap, or parking lots, as opposed to street partking, and we couldn’t believe our luck when we found free parking down by the docks.

Shortly after leaving our car, we spotted a restaurant between the parking lot and the dock

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Thinking that we didn’t really want to walk back up the hill to find a restaurant, we decided to have lunch here.

They found us a table straight away in an outside area around the corner where we ordered our drinks, which came almost immediately together with a paper place mat and our cutlery.

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And then we waited. We could see that they were really busy, so we sipped on our drinks and enjoyed the sea air and relaxed atmosphere. Nothing happens fast in the Canaries. Eventually, the waiter came and took our order. We ordered Mussels for Michael and Sole for myself.

By the time the food came people were lining up to get in.

The sole was the best I’ve ever had – ever. And Michael had the same to say about the mussels. The fish and shell fish is bought from the boats freshly caught that day and it showed.

We left feeling rather bloated making a note to come back regularly and bring any friends and family that may visit.

Sunday night in Puerto Rico saw us at Mogan Mall to watch a Spanish guitarist play live for Dia de Canaria. We arrived about an hour early and decided to stop in at a sports bar for a drink before making our way a little further up to listen to the guitarist.

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What actually happened is that we got involved in a football (soccer to my North American friends) match being shown live on an outdoor big screen, between Las Palmas and Real Sports Madrid.

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The Canarians are quite passionate about their football and their passion was catching. Families showed up with their food and drink brought from home and made themselves comfortable in the patio area belonging to the sports bar. The sports bar didn’t seem to mind and the bakery next door was doing a roaring trade since the bar didn’t serve anything more than peanuts and chips.

We never did get to see the Spanish guitarist, but the Las Palmas football team won the game 1 – 0 and everybody went home happy.

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