Thursday 8 January 2009

The rebirth of Palmitos Park

Was good the first time

I first went to Palmitos Park [1] just over 4 years ago in the company of a female couple who had broke away for a week of passion from a loveless marriage and a hateful mother.

We had such a wonderful day and walking through the park was such an experience, I always wanted to visit again.

The fury of a sacking

Then in July 2007 fires viewable by satellite engulfed forests of Gran Canaria and destroyed about 70% of the park where some of the rare animals also perished.

The fire was an arsonist attack by someone who had been laid off and whilst someone demanded the death penalty for his outrageously heinous and destructive act that caused untold amounts of suffering and huge compensatory bills a more serious matter was ignored.

The fact that in many cases a person’s job is the centre of their stability and sanity, they are humans first, with feelings, responsibilities and concerns which if not properly addressed in the management and administrative desires to streamline, downsize and restructure can lead to irreparable consequences.

Open again for business

The proprietors of Palmitos Park immediately took on the task of rebuilding the park and bringing it back to its former glory with even more to show to amuse, impress and enthral.

The park opened again to the public on the 4th of August 2008 and I decided I would visit again to see the place and see how it had recovered.

Set in grounds, well, not grounds but a gorge that has been landscaped in a melding of nature and human influence covering about 200,000 square metres, it is mainly a botanical garden and an aviary, but there are mammals, reptiles and fish there too.

Crazy thoughts and amazing results

The best part of an afternoon can easily be spent there, taking you to elevations so high with breath-taking views and then into deep gullies all accessible with properly sign-posted exhibits around the park.

A site is dedicated to how much destruction the park suffered and the regeneration process; all the pictures would be uploaded in due course.

One thing I find most fascinating about this park is that many years ago some mad visionary would have prospected for the land to build the park and the land owners might have thought he should be certified.

I chatted to an older couple there and considered how overwhelmed they would have been if they were presented with all that land on an idyllic island to make the magic of an abode talk less of a tourist attraction of international repute and significance.

Taming the landscape

The Canary Islands are full of crazy ideas of 20 or 30 years ago that have become landmarks of the must-see variety, what these people have done is to combine that quality of genius and imagination with the altruistic goal of conservation and produced these amazing attractions.

Like I have written of before architects are no more afraid to build into the hills, gullies and literally untameable landscape; I think the courage to do these things came from the madness that drove the other men to tame landscapes that once looked like they would remain pristine through to eternity.

If you are ever in Gran Canaria, make Palmitos Park a compulsory destination on your itinerary, even if you did nothing else.


[1] Palmitos Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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