Matthew Hirtes
Author, blogger, and travel writer, residing in totally tropical Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Entries by Matthew Hirtes

'The GR1: Spain's Sendero Histórico' by John Hayes, a Review

(2) Comments | Posted December 28, 2015 | 1:28 AM

2015-11-24-1448364141-2172881-TheGR1cover.jpgPhotograph by Cicerone

Guides/schmuides. In the digital age we live in, do we really need to reserve space in our luggage for a book? If the title in question's The GR1: Spain's Sendero Histórico, there's a case for making room.

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'The Long Siesta' by Nick Sweet, a Review

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 7:32 AM

2015-10-14-1444860062-5301101-TheLongSiestafrontcover.jpgPhotograph by Grey Cells Press

Regular readers of my HP blog posts will already know the location of my favourite Spanish city. For the benefit of any new, or indeed irregular, readers, allow me to reveal that my fave Iberian metropolis is...

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Jessica Alexander, Co-Author of 'The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World', an Interview

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 9:19 AM

2015-09-02-1441198702-2844592-TheDanishWayofParentingauthors.jpgPhotograph by The Danish Way of Parenting

Last month, I reviewed The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl.. I'm following up this review with an interview....

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'The Skipping Verger and Other Tales' by John Reid Young, a Review

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2015 | 3:17 PM

Photograph by John Reid Young

Where I live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arenales, is not far from the colonial part of the city. As in the Ciudad Jardín. Despite the name, the colonists here were British rather than...

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'The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World' by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl, a Review

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 5:35 PM

2015-08-10-1439231531-1447659-TheDanishWayofParenting.jpgPhotograph by Ehrhorn Hummerston

If only I'd read The Danish Way of Parenting before tangling with my nephew, Carlos. We were on Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Las Canteras beach and Charlie Boy was refusing to share his toys with his...

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'Moving to Spain with Children' by Lisa Sadleir, a Review

(4) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 11:29 AM

2015-04-23-1429801940-4745620-MovingtoSpainwithChildren.jpgPhotograph by Family Life in Spain

Let's clear something up. Lisa Sadleir is no Chris Stewart. Meaning that Moving to Spain with Children is no Driving Over Lemons.

That's meant as observation rather than criticism. Whilst Sadleir's unlikely to be nominated for...

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The A-Z of Spanish Culture: Beyond Toros and Flamenco by Pilar Orti, a Review

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 9:03 AM

2015-01-21-pilarplzacastilla.jpgPhotograph by Kevin Koekkoek

Take a moment to study the above photograph. Now, what do you see? Spotter's badge if you reply Plaza de Castilla, the northern Madrid square which dominates the Chamartín business district.

But what do you think of the...

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Forgotten Stories From Spain: 1984 and the Spanish Civil War by Paul Read, a Review

(4) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 12:59 PM

2014-11-06-ForgottenSpain.jpgPhotograph by Paul Read

Where does a free society end and a police state begin? It's a question which vexed one of the world's finest political commentators, George Orwell, during his six months' service in the Spanish Civil War. And a question...

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How to Live in Denmark by Kay Xander Mellish, a Review

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 1:48 AM

2014-09-21-HowtoLiveinDenmarkcover.jpgPhotograph by Kay Xander Mellish

It was a podcast which made orange-shaped-headed idiot savant Karl Pilkington famous. And although she hasn't achieved household-name status like Pilkington, Kay Xander Mellish's How to Live in Denmark has won her a...

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As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee by P.D. Murphy, a Review

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 8:55 AM

2014-09-05-AsIWalkedOutThroughSpainInSearchofLaurieLeecover.jpg Photograph by Amy Goodwin

Meet Paul Murphy. A middle-aged man with a plan. To follow in the footsteps of his literary hero Laurie Lee, who he quite a boy crush for; retracing his idol's route along the Spanish leg of his classic As...

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Explore Metropolitan Gran Canaria With Mr Gran Canaria Local

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 4:57 AM

Gran Canaria Urban: Meet Mr Gran Canaria Local aka Matthew Hirtes and his guide to GC's cities and towns

2014-08-18-ArucasHuPo.jpgPhotograph by Gran Canaria Local

The Canary Islands are not famous for their cities. With good reason,...

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How to Discover the Great Outdoors on Gran Canaria

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 8:39 AM

Gran Canaria Turf: Meet Mr Gran Canaria Local aka Matthew Hirtes and his guide to GC countryside

Photograph by Gran Canaria Local

When you tell people you live on Gran Canaria, they immediately think you're sunning...

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No-one Knows Gran Canaria Beaches Like Mr Gran Canaria Local

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 5:44 PM

Gran Canaria Surf: Introducing Mr Gran Canaria Local aka Matthew Hirtes and his guide to GC beaches

Photograph by Gran Canaria Local

I grew up in London and the East Midlands, including a seven-year spell in...

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Conversations With Spirits by E O Higgins, a Review

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 5:49 PM

My Big Fat Disclaimer: Let's get this out of the way first. In what feels like back before the day, I briefly worked with Edward Oliver Higgins. An experience which, hopefully, informs this review, and not only by my caring to share his little-known middle name to a...

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It's Business Time on Gran Canaria

(8) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 5:57 AM

If you've ever read any of my back catalogue, you probably won't have me pegged as a business traveller. Check the profile pic if my work's totally new to you. Yes, I've got an economy-class mugshot, haven't I?

So, it came as some surprise to be invited to review

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Tenerife, Loving My Neighbour

(4) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 5:51 AM

There's little love lost between the neighbouring islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. If you want any evidence of this, go along to a derby between rivals UD Las Palmas and CD Tenerife. Whilst both, despite proud histories, find themselves in the Segunda A division, encounters are as fiercely competed...

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Portugal's South Central, The Alentejo

(8) Comments | Posted June 8, 2013 | 9:26 AM

As the bus pulls into Porto Covo, I espy a man in a Mercedes eight-seater waving at me. After unloading my suitcase, the man approaches and I mouth, "Balthasar?" Shaking my hand with the force of a non-marine Portuguese man of war, the elegantly-coiffured man replies: "Balthasar's sick, I'm Alfredo....

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Arribes: Everything Else Is Noise

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 5:28 AM

2013-04-15-ArribesDVDcover.jpg Photograph by Zev Robinson

Arribes: Everything Else Is Noise focuses on the Arribes del Duero region within the province of Castilla y León. This is Spain's north-west and it's every bit as gritty as NW England, mirroring the hard-knock life experienced by inner-city Manchester...

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Sevilla Mia

(8) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 12:08 PM

Back in my London days, a great late-night favourite of mine was Hanway Street aka Little Spain, a narrow street of dives and drinking dens. My personal favourite was Sevilla Mia, My Seville, a basement bar where you were as likely to see an impromptu flamenco show as enjoy a...

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The Canary Islands: The Seven Wonders of the Mid-Atlantic

(11) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 5:49 AM

El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, and Tenerife. Count 'em. Yes, seven islands. Three may well be the magic number, but seven conjures up images of magnificence and, indeed, wonder.

El Hierro, the most westerly of the isles, is where the wild things live. Where juniper...

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