El Muelle shopping city
I could have just as easily titled this post Cheesy Tourist Shot of Gran Canaria #1. Before your very eyes, you see the signpost that greets visitors to the modernist Centro Comercial El Muelle. This Las Palmas shopping centre is one of the more pleasant on the peeper on the whole island. Not the oldest nor the youngest. But the happy medium.
Popular with children of a certain age, i.e teenagers, El Muelle is very much hangout zone. As well as a bowling alley and cinema, there are your usual brand-name takeaways plus shops which wouldn’t look place on your average British high street. There’s also, less predictably, a padel (an Argentian sport splicing squash with tennis) club and spa.
As well as a backdrop to a million wish-you-were-here images to send to those back home, this signpost gives you an idea of where the city’s at. Literally. What the signpost doesn’t tell you, however, is that it’s a mere 130 miles (209 km) off the coast of Africa whilst Cadiz, the nearest port on the Iberian peninsula, likes 777 miles (1,250km) away.
El Muelle (The Dock) is located appropriately enough in Las Palmas’ port area. El Puerto has established itself as the leading port in the Mid-Atlantic. Standing at the crossroads between Africa, America, and Europe, it’s forged connections with 510 ports in 135 different countries.
Although the arrival and departure of cruise ships brings oohs and aahs from locals and visitors alike, Las Palmas’ port is principally a container one and very much a working one. Reflecting the city’s status as the seventh-largest in the whole of Spain. Gran Canaria: it’s oh so much more than your normal tourist destination.