Day 2 was an early start, 9am pick up to go….. horse riding!! I’d booked this a few weeks ago via Facebook messenger (I mean technology these days is awesome) after reading positive reviews on trip advisor. I was the first to be picked up, with a further 3 people joining along the way, one of whom was the ride leader, Hope from Derbyshire. She moved to GC 2 years ago, rides during the day and works nights in a bar, cushty eh?
We went north of Playa del Ingles and into the mountain range to El Salobre stables. For 55€ there was hotel pick up/drop off, all equipment and a 2 hour hack into the mountain range. You could also buy an optional CD of all the photos they took on the day (and there were a lot) for an extra 10€. Walking through the stables I found myself in my happy place, I’d forgotten just how much I love horses.
I was paired with a horse called Julieta who had to be at the front of the group of 9 (I later found out why). She was beautiful, the perfect height and temperament for me. We headed out on the hack, a mixed group of experienced, semi-experienced and complete novices so it made an interesting ride.
Turns out Julieta was fast, really fast. With the instructors horse in front, she lead the pack and knew exactly where she was going and what we were doing. At walking pace this was fine, but when it came to trotting she was off! I haven’t trotted in years, and I’ve lost all of the muscles I used to have as a young rider so rising trot was a bit of a disaster but I clung on and thankfully it was fairly short.
I thought trot was quick, but Julieta ramped it up a gear in canter. Hope warned me that she was fast and that “I better be good” implying that if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t last long in the saddle. 6 of the 9 horses cantered together in single file – Julieta knew it was coming, she was chomping at the bit quite literally in anticipation. She went for it and I did my best to keep up with her, I didn’t do too badly. I was much better at canter than trot surprisingly, (I think I like sitting down too much) and even managed to take a moment to enjoy it!
Thankfully when we weren’t going like the clappers, it was a nice relaxed walk up hills and down valleys though the dry, volcanic, wild west-esque terrain that looked like a movie set for a Western. The brown, dusty hills were covered in cactus and apart from the odd cat (there are loads of cats in GC #winning) there was nothing else in our patch of barren wilderness.
After an hour or so, one of the guides turned round to me and said the words “And now time for the gallop”. My reaction was “Que?” (or “What?”) I thought being Speedy Gonzales was over – turned out Julieta was only getting started. As soon as we turned onto a particular track, she started going wild, rearing up, bucking, I desperately tried to calm her but she wanted to get cracking. So I let her get on with it and we went for the fastest gallop I’ve ever done and it was AWESOME. Well, it finished awesome, I accidentally dropped my reign in the beginning (not sure what happened – I was overcome with adrenaline or something) which is not ideal when needing to control your crazy-ass horse at unfathomable speed but I just repeated to myself “hold on, don’t fall off”, regained my composure and by the end I felt like a cowboy! I think I even did a “Yeehaw” (loser). Julieta loved it, she was in her element, she would have carried on for miles if she could, she was so excited she kept trying to trot away from the group and do her own thing *kindred spirits* love her.
We headed back to the stables were I dismounted with absolutely no grace whatsoever, put her in the stable, took off her bridle and loosened the saddle girth. Julieta is awesome, and we formed a bond that day.
Thoroughly recommend El Solabre stables to see Gran Canaria in a different way to the usual, 3 days later and I still can’t walk properly.
The rest of the day I spent on the beach at Mogán, relaxing and evening out my awful t-shirt tan from the ride #racerbackstyle. Even though it was hot in the sunshine, it was still that wee bit too cold to go in the sea past the thighs though, brrrr.
Friday night was Paddy’s night. Not usually one to celebrate this particular saint, I thought “why not, I’m on holiday, let the drinking commence!” Puerto de Mogán is quiet, so we began on the terrace of the hostel (a couple of English peeps, 1 German and an Irish) telling stories and listening to wild hippy music whilst looking out over the port and the sea. Keen to check out the local “night life” we went to a fairly crap bar that seemed to be the busiest in town, (circa 20 people apparently means busy). We stayed for a few drinks, laughing and eating peanuts out of their shells until a few of us decided we wanted to ramp it up a gear. So myself, a girl from East Croydon and an Irishman headed in a cab to the livelier resort of Puerto Rico in search of some kind of actual nightlife and dancing.
The Irishman was a fan of Puerto Rico, and with it being Paddy’s day it was sold to us as a safe bet. That couldn’t have been further from reality. The place we ended up in was a bar owned by a guy from an 80s pop band (not going to say who just in case it goes viral *no one reads this so its Showaddywaddy*) which would have been perfect if we were 60+ retirees, but was not what I had in mind for a “top night out”. They play bingo there for Pete’s sake, it’s nearly 1am! We took our complimentary Paddy’s day hats and left swiftly, without looking back.
For some reason we then went on a bar crawl around a dingy shopping centre in search of a party (clearly we were doomed to fail) and ended up in a further 2 terrible bars drowning our sorrows on cheap local liquor. The Irishman went off in search of his Swedish tinder date, (don’t ask) and myself and the Croydon lass saw our opportunity to leg it back to the hostel as far as the taxi could take us.