Our man NEIL CHANDLER is barkin' mad for Canaries
GRAN Canaria. The Big Dog, I think that means.
You see, the Canary Islands aren't named after birds but after the Spanish word for dogs. Click here now for amazing offers to Gran Canaria!
It's the birds that are named after the islands.
So the Canary Islands are Spain's version of the Isle of Dogs.
They're in a better place though - about 100 miles off the west coast of Africa, a perfect position to soak up some winter sunshine. Temperatures there this past week have been hovering around 22 degrees.
South-east of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria is a real jewel.
I've done some in-depth research on this (looked it up on Wikipedia) and it seems the island's first inhabitants used to worship dogs and treated them as holy animals.
We stayed at the four-star Gloria Palace Royal hotel in Playa Amadores (Lovers' Beach), lodged amid volcanic peaks and overlooking the turquoise Atlantic.
The beach, a crescent of golden sand with an almost Caribbean feel, has been awarded a Blue Flag.
Ball games and loud music are banned, and there are bars, tapas and seafood restaurants dotted along the back of it.
Many beach-goers stay until the rays die down because it is a great vantage point to watch the sun setting over the towering volcanic Mount Teide, on the neighbouring island of Tenerife.
While my hotel may have looked like the digs favoured by the Tracy family of Thunderbirds fame, it had a luxurious feel and its seafront position means all the rooms have a sea view. An added bonus was the gorgeous infinity pool.
We were half-board and the food was too tempting, ensuring a lowcal lifestyle was in order when we got home. There was a buffet, a la carte restaurant and show-cooking so we never got bored.
There were also all the facilities you'd expect for a four-star hotel - wi-fi, nice bars, a gym and even a nude sunbathing section!
Entertainment featured singers in the evening lounge bar and the young reps did sterling work keeping kids quiet. With bars and restaurants just 200m down the road, we had everything we needed. Want incredible deals to Gran Canaria? Click here now...
But for a home-from-home night out, the bars of Puerto Rico are clearly the places to go.
If you want to see a sunny version of Blackpool, with cold Carlsberg on tap, you'll love it.
It is also home to the fabulous Star Bar, a welcoming watering hole which features on Facebook under the optimistic title of the Star Club Dancing Palace.
It's popular with Scandinavians but should be with any nationality, due to the presence of an Irish Country & Western singer glorying in the name Tommy Sombrero.
He had the crowd in the palm of his hand with covers including Whiskey In The Jar and an array of Johnny Cash numbers.
To get the night started, Playa del Ingles (the English Beach) is the island's party capital.
If you're gay, Gran Canaria and Playa del Ingles are the destinations for you. A gay pal suggested the cabaret bars and nightclubs at Playa's Yumbo Centrum in Avenida de Espana are the place to be.
For shopping, there is Kasbah in Playa Del Teide, selling bargain leather goods, clothes and gifts.
If you fancy doing something different, reps in the hotel will organise days out.
We took an amazing trip from the bay to see wild dolphins and the squeaky chaps were quite happy to flip around within feet of the boat.
We saw plenty of them - and, if you're really lucky, you might even clock a whale or two.
We also took a jeep ride into the island's amazing interior. One part is known as the Mini Grand Canyon and, having seen the real thing, I can testify to the similarity.
The 4x4s and our entertaining guides made it an afternoon to remember, particularly when we stopped off to eat a prickly pear, keeping in mind Baloo from Disney's Jungle Book as we did so.
We listened closely to the guide's instructions on how to eat one safely - but were still picking needles out of ourselves for days.
If you're ever in the situation where you need to eat a prickly pear, here's how to do it.
First, dust off your cactus fruit with some grass, to brush away any needles.
Then, using a spike broken off a nearby cactus, use it to cut off the top of the pear as though it's a boiled egg.
Finally, squeeze on both sides of the fruit to get its innards into your gob (and, in my case, a dark purple stain all over the shirt).
Keep this in mind for the next time you're stuck in a desert.
This could be the only travel feature you'll ever read that will save your life? Fact File SEVEN nights in Gran Canaria, staying at the four-star plus Gloria Palace Royal Hotel in Playa Amadores, above, on a half-board basis, cost ?495. Price includes flight from Gatwick on May 5 and is based on two adults sharing. To book visit directholidays.co.uk or call 0844 879 8191.