Getting Lost in 2017: A Year in Photos

Guanarteme Sunset
Playa de Las Canteras (Gran Canaria)

Getting Lost in 2017:
A Year in Photos

The end of the year always leaves me with notes of nostalgia, and this morning as I lazily sipped my coffee I got to thinking about all the places I’ve gotten lost in 2017 (and some plans for the coming year!)

This year was great for local travel within Gran Canaria as well as a few other islands in the Canary archipelago. I’ve had the opportunity to pop over to mainland Spain (Madrid, Barcelona and Granada) more than a handful of times, and even snagged a couple of long layovers in Amsterdam and Geneva on my way to and from east and west coast visits to the states.

Here’s a look back at some highlights of 2017 as I start to make plans for the upcoming year!

January: Gorgeous La Gomera

(La Gomera, Canary Islands 🇮🇨, Spain 🇪🇸)

Garajonay National Park La Gomera
Garajonay National Park (La Gomera, Canary Islands)

2017 began on a high note as I kicked off the new year with a long-awaited visit to the gorgeous little island of La Gomera, one of the smaller western Canary Islands.

Breathtaking would be an understatement. Dramatic cliffs plunging into the Atlantic, quiet swimming coves and acres of banana plantations flaunting every imaginable hue of blue and green. The dense laurisilva forests of Garajonay National Park made for some unforgettable hikes and the Mirador de Abrante’s epic vistas of Tenerife’s Mt. Teide peeking out from behind the blue sound left us all speechless.

Hermigua La Gomera
Hermigua (La Gomera, Canary Islands)

And to top it all off, the grub. From La Gomera’s traditional almogrote cheese spread to the warm comfort of potaje de berros and fresh local fish, Gomeran gastronomy was definitely a highlight of the trip, and as far as I’m concerned, the best cuisine of the Canary Islands.

Mogán, Gran Canaria
Canary Cuisine in Mogán (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands)

February: Carnaval & Cumbres in Gran Canaria

(Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 🇮🇨, Spain 🇪🇸)

Carnaval in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Carnaval del Día. Vegueta, Las Palmas
Carnaval del Día. Vegueta, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)

February means one thing in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Carnaval. Local party goers spend months preparing their costumes, while dance troops and murgas perfect their choreography.

Carnaval in the Canaries is not to be missed. And to top it all off, one of my best and longest friends came all the way from Los Angeles to experience the madness for himself!

Getting to Know Gran Canaria

Tejeda, Gran Canaria
Tejeda (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands)

Having just moved to Las Palmas in September, I had spent most of the sunny autumn months soaking up the sun on Las Canteras beach and had yet to experience the rest of what the island had to offer. With Carnaval winding down and the February chill in the air, it was finally time for some overdue exploration throughout the rest of the island.

Beach season was on hold, so we traded in our bikinis for hiking boots and spent some time hiking and exploring the rugged mountainous interior regions and fell absolutely in love – with the nature, and with the amazing local eats.

The whole region surrounding Tejeda is breathtaking, but one of the most memorable excursions was in the peaks of a tiny village north of Toscón de Tejeda, where we dipped our toes in a frigid turquoise lagoon, perched ourselves precariously above a Grand Canyon-esque cavern, and stayed one starry night in the cave house of a friends’ great, great grandmother.

We also fell in love with the quaint little town of Moya highlighted with the stunning backdrop of the Barranco de Azuaje – perfect for hiking and breathing in that delicious, fresh mountain air.

March: Home Sweet Home in Gran Canaria

(Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 🇮🇨, Spain 🇪🇸)

With an expensive trip to the states on the horizon and a post friend-in-town budget, March started out looking like it would be a quiet one. Luckily with temperatures on the rise and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, there wasn’t much time to get bored!

Mogán, Spain ariana 10-2016 WM.jpg

After months of enjoying the northern coastline, I finally made it down south to visit the famous dunes of Maspalomas and the canals of Mogan (“Gran Canaria’s Venice).

Maspalomas Dunes 12-2016 WM.jpg

It was a great peak into the other end of the island, but I’ve always been more inclined toward the less-touristic beaches, so of course I found plenty of time to enjoy my usual spots in Las Canteras and my favourite little northern villages – Agaete and Sardina.

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#islandlife #quesuerteviviraqui

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April – California & Amsterdam

🎶California, I’m Comin’ Home 🎶

(In & Around Los Angeles, CA󠁵󠁳󠁣, USA 🇺🇸)

08-2015 Clair's at the Museum. Long Beach, CA 30 th birthday (13).JPG

Months of anticipation and excitement finally came to a head in April as I packed my bags to spend Semana Santa back at home in Los Angeles, celebrating the first birthday of my perfect and precious niece. With only ten days to see, do and eat all of my favorite things from back home, there was no time to spare.

Cruising through Marina del Rey on my beach cruiser, grilling veggie burgers in Dockweiler Beach and even introducing my mom to the secret redwood grove hidden in northern Orange County.

Ten days flew by and before I knew it I was heading back to the airport, reluctantly kissing my sweet niece goodbye. But the week wasn’t over yet, and before heading home to Spain, I had a long layover ahead in a city I’d always wanted to visit bus had as yet eluded me… Amsterdam!

Out & About in Amsterdam

(Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱)

Amsterdam me canal bike 4-2017 WM fuji.jpg

Living on a little island means flights can be pricey and everything takes longer to get to, so I try to take advantage of every opportunity to make the most of my time in continental Europe. This time meant booking a little 20 hour layover in Amsterdam.

My Italian amici Luca (who lives in Amsterdam) picked me up from the train station and took me on a tour of the city, complete with tulip markets, cheese tasting (translation: pure bliss) a glimpse into the Red Light District and Heinekens at a sunny outdoor café amid the Museum Quarter.

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#springtime in #Amsterdam 🌷

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Twenty measly hours was absolutely not enough to get my heart’s fill of Amsterdam (or cheese dipped in mustard!) but the city is small and very walkable and it allowed me a little taste until I find time to make it back and really savor everything on offer there.

May – Exploring El Hierro

(El Hierro, Canary Islands 🇮🇨, Spain 🇪🇸)

El Hierro La Maceta maybe me 5-2017.jpg

The tiniest of the Canary Islands, El Hierro packs a lot of punch for its size. With a long-awaited long weekend looming in May, we found some cheap flights, packed our bags and hopped on a tiny propeller plane to little El Hierro.

Piled up in the rental car, we set off along the twists and turns of the seemingly deserted highway, awestruck at the views from mountain miradores, cooling off in sapphire natural pools and stuffing ourselves with seafood that we watched come out fresh from the docks.

El Hierro is a perfect escape for a long 4-5 day weekend. It’s small enough that you can see everything there is to see, but without the stress or worry of having to rush. Time runs more slowly here on the islands in general, but El Hierro is a whole other world of quiet contemplation and relaxation at its finest.

June – Back to Barcelona

(Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain 🇪🇸)

barcelona street art

Any teacher can tell you that June means one thing – FREEDOM! Schools out and so was I, preparing to head back to the states for a wedding, but not without a stopover in one of my favorite Spanish cities.

Back in 2009, Barcelona was my first stop in Spain, and the first Spanish city I fell in love with. Living in Madrid, I had been able to visit once a year or so, but at this point it had been about five years since my last taste of the city.

And it was as wonderful as I remembered it.

Barcelona Hidden Plaza

Vibrant street art, sun drenched terrazas, the bravura of Guadi’s Sagrada Familia and the hidden secrets around every corner of the Barri Gòtic. There is truly something magical about the capital of Cataluña, and each time I visit, I discover something new and fall just a little bit more in love.

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#nicecurves #casabatllo #gaudi

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July – Hitched in The Hamptons
& a Jaunt in Geneva

(Long Island & The Hamptons, New York, USA 🇺🇸)

The Hamptons Sunset 7-2-2017.jpg

July meant another trip back to the states, only this time to the east coast. One of my best friends and college roommates from California was marrying the love of her life (a New Yorker) in a cross country backyard bash in the Hamptons.

I always say that the test of true friendship is the ease of reconnecting after a long time apart, and with this group of incredible friends, it’s always as if not a day has passed.

Jax Wedding 6-2017 WM

We spent the week floating from one event to another – bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, brunch on the east bay and of course the big day itself.

Though I’ve been to NYC a few times, this was my first time in Long Island and the Hamptons and it was a refreshing peek into what the state of New York has to offer.

A Juant in Geneva
(Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭)

lake geneva geyser MAYBE insta
Lake Geneva, Switzerland

On my way back to Spain, I made sure to check for a flight with a long layover so I could enjoy a cheeky detour on my way home, and I was in luck! A 24-hour layover in Geneva, a city I’d never been to but had always caught my attention.

I left my bags at at the airport and took off for the city, a quick train trip away from the airport. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and Geneva was glowing.

I spent the day strolling around the cerulean waters of Lake Geneva and dipping in and out of cafés in the bohemian neighborhood of Carouge. It was a lovely taste of Geneva, but it absolutely left me wanderlusting to come back and explore the Alps and smaller countryside towns.

lake geneva statue artist unknown instagram
Lake Geneva, Switzerland

August: Cumpleaños en Cuenca,
La Paloma in Madrid & La Rama de Agaete

La Paloma de Madrid
(Madrid, Spain 🇪🇸)

My flight from Geneva brought me back to my old stomping grounds – Madrid. While most locals ditch Madrid’s August sizzle for cooler coastal breezes, I always enjoy seeing the city in its quieter semi-deserted summer state.

Madrid in August is a whole other animal, with many shops shuttered for a month-long holiday and leisurely strolls along the usually jam-packed Gran Via.

It’s also the celebration of one of my favorite Madrid festivals, barrio La Latina’s annual La Paloma. Hot summer nights intensified by live music, colorful flags and cool vermouth cocktails. I simply love summer in the city!

La Paloma Lavapies Madrid 8-2017 (20)

Cumpleaños in Cuenca
(Cuenca, Castilla-la Mancha, Spain 🇪🇸)

With my heart full after a much-needed visit to Madrid, it was time to set off on a little romantic getaway to continue my time honored tradition of never celebrating a birthday in the same place twice. Since I’d commemorated my cumpleaños in Madrid the year before, it was time to celebrate somewhere new, somewhere I’d never been but had long been on my list – Cuenca.

aCasas Colcadas Cuenca

Cuenca is an ancient medieval city famous for her gravity defying casas colgadas perched above the deep gorges of the Huécar and Júcar rivers. The city is surrounded by thick, verdant greens of the Serranía de Cuenca and is nothing if not dramatic.

Rio Jucar

Five days of meandering along cobbled alleyways, sipping cafés beneath the shade of verdant groves along the river and catching my breath crossing the Puente de San Pablo, a 115-year-old bridge towering 50 meters above the gorge. Cuenca was everything I hoped it would be and a little more. Not a bad way to start off my next loop around the sun!

La Rama de Agaete
(Agaete, Canary Islands, Spain 🇪🇸)

Agaete, Gran Canaria. La Bajada de La Rama. 8-4-2017 (1) wm

Back home in Gran Canaria, I was lucky to catch one of my favorite Spanish summer festivals – La Rama de Agaete.

Agaete is a coastal fishing town on the northern coast of Gran Canaria, and one of my absolute favorite parts of the island. Normally a quiet village, Agaete lights up and lets loose whenever there’s a festival, and La Rama de Agaete is their most significant celebration.

We braved the scorching heat, eucalyptus branches in one hand and a cool caña in the other, and danced along with the papagüevos until the sun dipped into the sea and children emerged with their traditional farolillo lanterns.

La Fiesta de La Rama. Agaete, Gran Canaria, Spain. 8-2017

For me, immersing myself in these time honored traditions is one the most impactful elements of living an expat lifestyle.

September: Back to School in Arucas

Arucas house WM.jpg

With summer reaching its end and a new school year on the horizon, I decided to do some exploring around the city where I’d be working the following year – Arucas.

Arucas in a charming little city in northern Gran Canaria, set atop a hill surrounded by banana plantations with bird’s eye views of the coastline below. The city is most well-known for the towering church of San Juan Bautista and the Arehucas Rum Distillery, where visitors can tour the facilities and taste the many varieties of rum on offer. So what better way to get to know the city than to get to know it’s primary export? 😉

October: Work & Pleasure in Madrid

Go Outside WM blog

October meant back to Madrid, but this time as a guest speaker at the annual BEDA Symposium (Bilingual English Development & Assesment). Obviously though, if I had to board a flight to give a presentation about teaching English creatively, I might as well make a weekend out of it (thinking creatively at its finest 😉)!

With just five days in my beloved Madrid and a conference on the horizon, I did my best to squeeze in some of my favourites – a lazy stroll through Retiro Park, a mouthwatering tortilla at Bodega de Ardosa, and late night laughter with my favotie Madrilleños in barrio Malasaña. I think despite how many years I’m away, Madrid will always feel like home.

November: Taking My Time in Tenerife

(Tenerife, Canary Islands 🇮🇨, Spain 🇪🇸)

Santa Ursula, Tenerife Sunset 290 drinks (14) WM

November meant another BEDA training session, this time in the neighboring island of Tenerife. I lived in Tenerife for two years when I first moved to the Canary Islands, so this would also be a rendezvous in some of my favorite old haunts.

We stuffed our faces in three of my all-time favorite guachinches, enjoyed sunset cocktails at the always impressive Terraza Sunset 290 and strolled through my favorite streets in Santa Cruz. It’s always a peculiar kind of nostalgia revisiting a place I once called home – both refreshing and melancholy at once.

December: Christmas in the Canaries &
A Granada Grand Finale

Tenerife Fañabe Christmas 2015.JPG

And that just about brings us nearly up to date! The last month of holiday festivities has been a whirlwind of celebrations, meetups with friends near and far, a visit from my brother and sister-in-law and TRAVEL!

We celebrated four days of Christmas here in Las Palmas – a Christmas lunch with my school colleagues, a big group get together at Las Canteras beach, a Spanish Christmas Eve with my best friends’ family and a British Christmas karaoke bash with some expat English friends on the island. And, of course, plenty of time for a dip in the sea and a sandy snowman under the Canary Island sunshine!

Madrid, Spain

The next day we headed to the airport to meet my brother and sister-in-law in Madrid (yes, Madrid once again!!), where we spent the next two days dashing around the city trying to show them anything and everything we could pack into a time crunch.  Food & drinks, landmarks & parks, and not to mention the Christmas markets and Christmas crowds?! Two weeks would hardly be enough to introduce my brother to Madrid, but I did what I could under the 48 hour circumstances. Le sigh.

4-2016 Krakow, Poland Old Town Semana Santa Market WM

And then finally, to my happy place. Granada!

Granada, Spain: Ringing in 2018!

Granada 2011

Granada is magical. The city exudes charm, whimsy, and buenas vibras from each winding alley, cobblestone path and trickling ancient fountain. It is a place that can only be experienced, as words could never do her justice. So what better place to bring the out-of-towners to ring in a brand spankin’ new year?


The week in Granada was a whirlwind of tapas, getting lost in the Albayzín, and of course a visit to the Alhambra. We rang in 2018 with 12 grapes and sparkling cava, and a post-midnight dash up to the Mirador de San Nicolas, where I let the wonder and awe of that magical place wash over me. In all my travels, few places have come close to the sensation that that very spot gives me once the sun goes down and the crowds shuffle away.

And on and on we go!

Another year gone, and another one to come. Our 2018 travel plans are still very much up in the air, but I’ll definitely be visiting California in a few months and plan to explore Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Palma before school let’s out in June. As far as big trips go, there are a few possibilities on the horizon: visiting the novio’s family in Uruguay, perhaps finally making it up to Machu Picchu, and maybe even a cheeky visit to Jordan’s Petra.

What are your travel plans for 2018? I’d love to hear about them below!

Happy New Year!

Love and light,

Erica 💙 🍾🥂

© Erica Edwards and, 2016-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Erica Edwards and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2017 A Year in Photos.png
Reflections of a life abroad
Quintessential Cuenca Hanging Houses
Carnaval in Santa Cruz de Tenerife: The Biggest Bash in the Canary Islands (Pinterest)
Top Ten: Bewitching Barcelona (pinterest)
Discover Moya in Gran Canaria, Spain (pinterest)
20 top tips
eating my way



20 Comments Add yours

  1. Grace | Impulsive Adventures says:

    Wow! What an amazing year of travels. Moving to Spain is my dream, and the Canary Islands look gorgeous ❤ Definitely going to need to make it out there sometime when budget permits. Keep enjoying the island life! (And I'll keep being jealous from grey Pennsylvania)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading! 2017 wasn’t too shabby at all 😉 If you’re ever intersted in checking out Spain for the longer term (9 month English teaching contract), let me know and I can set you up with some info about companies that provide visas. Happy New Year!


  2. A picture speaks a thousand words right…. Well, judging by this… Your 2017 rocked!

    You managed to fit a lot of travel in, all while working. I am interested in reading more about ESL teaching, I will have to click on to a couple more posts about it.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!


    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading! 2017 was pretty great, can’t wait to see what 2018 holds in store. I’m working on a series of posts about how to teach English in Spain via the various companies that sponser Visas… so far only one is up, but the rest will be coming soon! Love & light!


  3. Lara Dunning says:

    The Canary Islands keep moving up higher on my list. Love seeing all your photos and reading about your travels in 2017. I have a few things in the works for this year so so far, mostly local things in Washington State and British Columbia, but I also hope to make a trip back to Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      The Canaries are beautiful, I hope you find a way to make it over! I’ve never made it up to the Pacific North West, but I have a couple of friends who’ve recently moved from California to Oregon and Washington, so hopefully soon! Happy New Year 🙂


  4. Rohan says:

    Looks like you had an incredible 2017! So many beautiful Spain pics. I really loved Madrid the couple of times I visited too. Sounds like 2018 is alreadys shaping up to be awesome. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading! 2017 was great, here’s hoping 2018 is even better! Happy New Year!


  5. laewing23 says:

    Love this recap! You have quite an action packed year. It looks like it was amazing though. The Canary Islands seem so wonderful. I can’t wait until I actually make it to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks you! The Canaries are great, I hope you make it out sometime 🙂 Happy 2018 and cheers to lots of adventure in the year to come!


  6. What a brilliant 2017, and full of memories! I’m with you on Madrid in August; it’s a fantastic time to visit. You stirred memories of mine with Cuenca too; we visited when I was a child, and I remember being adamant about wanting to live there (despite being really scared of heights).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I imagine Cuenca must have been a dream visiting as a child! You must have felt like a princess a amid the medieval architecture and dramatic scenery! I hear you on the bridge though… I’m not even scared of heights, but crossing the San Pablo Bridge on a windy dark night definitely gave me that sinking feeling!


  7. AmyEA says:

    Looks like you had a great year! The Canaries are fairly off the beaten track (especially for us americans) Can’t wait to see what you do in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      It’s true, the Canaries are definitely more of a beach holiday destination for Europeans that Americans! That may change soon though since Norwegian Airlines is considering opening a weekly flight between New York and Las Palmas!


  8. wegowithkids says:

    Wow – you had an amazing travel year in 2017. I also visited LA and only wish I made it to Spain. Happy New Year, and I hope you have even more wonderful adventures in 2018.


  9. What a fantastic year of travel you’ve had! Your Spain visits were my favorite as I really need some Spain travel in my life. 😉 Canary Island especially. How gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rhiydwi says:

    Wow, what a year! I’ve been reading a few of your Spain posts tonight and I’m sort of filled with jealousy right now. Hope your 2018 adventures turn out as amazing as your 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I suppose I can’t complain 😉 Cheers to a 2018 filled with adventures for both of us!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Karen Johnson says:

    Completely impressed with your style and how expressive you are! You must make a fun teacher. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Aww, thank you so much Karen! That means a lot 🙂 🙂


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