The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and, in an instant, the sky cleared just as quickly as the clouds had rolled in. The warmth filled the island and all at once, the visitors froze. In unison, we breathed in the salt of the ocean and bathed in the sunlight for as long as the sun could hold off the clouds. This was the scene of our Saturday amidst the season that holds the official start of winter, the longest night of the year, and Christmas Day.
You see, during December, the only warm locales of Europe are located just next to Africa. The Spanish Isles of the Canaries are a hop over from Morocco and yet the two countries overlap in nothing but sun and the Atlantic waters.
Our getaway to paradise is an expert tip from Christmas past. A time when we were excited to be living in Europe, only to have moved there mid Fall when the air bypassed cool temps to a coat-and-scarf-chill and we realized we were at Canadian levels of latitude. Having never seen a white Christmas, we took off to Austria to bond with the snow. Only to arrive back home to Brussels and receive unprecedented snow until April.
We learned our lesson.
The cold weather only holds my attention for about a week until I crave the sun on my bare arms. My ankles suffocated by the layers of socks tucked into my tall, leather boots. The Southerner in me secretly wishes for a warm Christmas, so that we can sit on patios, cold beverage in hand, and never have to worry about cold sweats when someone suggests a recreational game in the backyard. Though, I grin and pretend to be cozy in the overflowing cotton that cushions my human mimicking a snowman, leaving only my head poking out like a cartoon figure. And where do I even start with what to do with my hair.
The following Christmas we spent the week in Gran Canaria and decided the slow vacationers were our crew. It was as if we all knew how quickly the next cloud could bring in the chilly breeze, so we appreciated our exclusive warm weather holiday in Europe more than any of us ever could in the sweat of the summer.
For our first Christmas back in Europe, London harpooned us back into the memory of endless cold months and we quickly clung to our secret winter escape.
We’d try another island this time, to test if paradise was a fluke.
Fuerteventura is the second largest and the only Canary Island without a wine country, though they’re currently testing the waters. In true Montgomery fashion, we booked last minute. I asked for recommendations on Instagram and quickly realized when people hear Canary Islands, they want you to go to Tenerife. But, alas, we did not. It was too fun guessing if we were pronouncing our destination correctly before we arrived. (fw-air-teh-ven-tur-ah) The island is quiet and rural with pockets of towns.
We stayed at Barceló Castillo Beach Resort and had the all-inclusive feel, while opting out, for our short stay. We had our pick of pools and restaurants with nightly entertainment on-site. The only thing on our itinerary was sun. Our tan lines as badges of temporary honor, we hopped from the slow island life to the cold island life back in London. All-in-all, we’ll choose Gran Canaria if we repeat one of these two islands. If we had stayed any longer, we’d have wanted a downtown area to mosey around in between beach and mimosa sittings.
Have you been to the Canaries? What’s your favorite island?