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By Eric Bohman Nestled in a cluster off the coast of Northwest Africa is the archipelago called the Canary Islands. Although geographically part of Africa, the Canaries are politically part of Europe. Being an autonomous community of Spain actually puts these islands in the outer regions of the European Union—therefore, a little Europe within Africa! For those who enjoy trivia, the islands are not named after the small yellow songbirds (named canary), but rather the other way around: the birds are named after the islands, and the islands are named for their dogs! The name actually comes from the Latin Insula Canaria meaning “Island of the Dogs.” It seems the ancient Romans, who made early contact with the Canaries, took note of the large dogs that lived in the islands and that the inhabitants openly worshipped as holy animals… thus the name. The two larger and more inhabited islands, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, are the best known out of the group of ten islands. The two provincial capitals located on these main islands are extremely modern, offering all that any other capital in the EU could offer. However, the modern cities transition quickly into charming picturesque pueblos in the countryside that enjoy displaying (in the culture and architecture) their deep Spanish ancestry. Many village centers have fountains or parks that are well populated by locals. Quaint coffee shops are easy to find with tables and chairs located outside where one can enjoy the pleasant coastal climate. Fresh tropical fruits and 16