Lanzarote 1998

Lanzarote Travel Blog

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Beach of next door hotel

May 10th to May 31st we went to Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, belonging to Spain.

Those who have been there will ask, "three weeks to Lanzarote, isn't that a bit long?" At first glance indeed, the island is basic, bare and boring. However, after closer inspection (which we did in our three week stay), I can tell you they forget to mention the island is beautiful, peaceful and consistently warm. It feels like spring, all year round. True, the rest and peace seekers will enjoy Lanzarote the most. Especially in Playa Blanca, where we stayed. There is hardly any nightlife, no disco's and not much to do for children.

The rich nature of Lanzarote
We loved it therefore.

 Lanzarote is a volcanic island, shaped mainly by eruptions between 1730 en 1736. There also was a big eruption in 1824, which lasted three months. Lava and ash covered the islands' fertile soil. It is now a dry, black and red stoned island. Between April and October, there are no more than two days of rain, average temperature between 21 and 25 Celsius, seawater 18 to 23 Celsius. Due to its position in the Atlantic Ocean, a breeze constantly blows over the island. Not a bad one; it brings just enough coolness so you don't overheat.

We flew Transavia Airlines from my favorite airport Amsterdam Schiphol, to the capital of Lanzarote: Arrecife. From there by bus in southwestern direction to Playa Blanca where we stayed in apartment building 'Playa Limones'.

the local grocery store.
Quite often, when we go abroad, we rent an apartment. We have several reasons for that. First, it offers more space then a hotel room, with separate living and bedrooms. Second, it comes with an equipped kitchen or kitchenette, which gives you the opportunity to cook. Both my wife and I like to cook. My wife is even a professional chef. Cooking on vacation enables you to shop at local markets, grocery stores and so on. That way, you encounter the local people and their culture. You can live in their rhythm and feel like a local. It helps to speak the native tongue. Fortunately, my wife speaks Spanish.   

Although we try to live among and like the locals, that doesn't mean that we don't want to see the sights as well. Therefore, we took a bus tour to see the entire island. Among other things, it brought us to national park 'Timanfaya' with its montaƱas del fuego as well as to the underground water caves 'Jameos Del Agua' in the north east.

The mandatory camel ride

MontaƱas del fuego (meaning mountains of fire) is an adventure. Before entering the park, there is the mandatory Camel ride. Camels are smelly beasts that have a funny, sickening way of walking and an even more peculiar way of standing up and getting to their feet. Camels are dressed with a couple of very uncomfortable, wooden planks with iron rods. The camel driver calls it a chair. After we had been shaken and stirred trough the gorgeous, unreal, volcanic landscape, the bus took us on a route through the national park. The elementary colours (black, red, ochre) in combination with the hills and craters, give the landscape a moonlike look. The bus drives close by these craters and more often than not, you hope it doesn't fall in one. On one of the peaks (Islote de Hilario) there is a restaurant called El Diablo, The Devil.

Weeds in the pit catch fire immediately
Here you stop for a demonstration. A guide shows you how hot the ground still is, by throwing weeds into a pit and water in a narrow shaft. The weeds immediately catch fire and after a few moments the water or better yet, the steam, rushes out of the shaft like a geyser. The ground has a temperature of 400 Celsius, only a few feet under the surface. You can feel the heat under your shoes.

The tour also took us to a wine tasting in La Geria. The farmers plant their grapevines in holes in the ground. Half a wall that is about 3 feet tall surrounds the holes. The black, grainy lava soil heats up during the day. When it cools off at night, condensation forms on the granules. The plants use this water to grow. The walls were built to protect the plants from the wind. The walls 'grow' higher as the plant grows taller. The wine that came of these plants was horrible. I've tasted vinegars that were better than this wine.

The vineyard
However, taste is a personal experience and differs from person to person.

After the wine tasting, we went up north to the underground caves. On route, we passed the salt beds of Janubio, large basins where they evaporate seawater to collect sea salt. Janubio is the largest production saltpan on the island. During our trip, we had a great view of Haria, an oasis in this dry land. The locals call Haria 'land of the thousand palm trees', you probably understand why. Finally, we reached the caves 'Jameos del Agua'. A Jameo is a place where the roof of a volcanic tunnel collapsed.

Pool designed by Cesar Manrique at Jameos Del Agua
Air bubbles in the lava form these tunnels. In the open spaces, there is a garden and a museum.

The 'Jameos del Agua' exists of a small and larger lake. These lakes have an underground connection to the Atlantic Ocean. In the cave lake water live tiny white, blind shrimps. White and blind of course, because there is no light in these caves. Attributes like colour and eyesight are obsolete. If you keep on walking through the caves, you reach the largest Jameo. There you'll find the beautiful garden with quite an extraordinary swimming pool. The garden and pool are an architectural highpoint in the career of local sculptor, painter and architect Cesar Manrique, who is also one of Spain's pioneers in modern art. The museum at the end of the garden tells the story of the history of Lanzarote and its volcanic geology.

As you have just read, there is plenty to see and do on the island, and I haven't even told everything. If you are a party lover, go to Gran Canaria, but if you are a nature and culture addict, go see Lanzarote for yourself.

Happy travels!

Miss_Drake says:
Reading your blog I was back there again. I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.
Posted on: Apr 02, 2008
Ronniew says:
Leuk man, om zo'n verhaal met foto's eens van iemand anders te lezen. Wij hebben een top vakantie hier gehad.
Posted on: Apr 01, 2008
Sunflower300 says:
This sounds like my kind of holiday. Some of your photos remind me of Hawaii (not the camels though).
Posted on: Dec 11, 2007
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Beach of next door hotel
Beach of next door hotel
The rich nature of Lanzarote
The rich nature of Lanzarote
the local grocery store.
the local grocery store.
The mandatory camel ride
The mandatory camel ride
Weeds in the pit catch fire immedi…
Weeds in the pit catch fire immed…
The vineyard
The vineyard
Pool designed by Cesar Manrique at…
Pool designed by Cesar Manrique a…
steam geyser
steam geyser
Very salty crater lake
Very salty crater lake
Cave (Jameos del agua)
Cave (Jameos del agua)
Hotel pool by night
Hotel pool by night
coastline by apartment
coastline by apartment
I dont remember if this was a sun…
I don't remember if this was a su…
Harbour nearby
Harbour nearby
Dont burn your butt dear!
Don't burn your butt dear!
The boulevard
The boulevard
Beach early in the morning
Beach early in the morning
You are looking at half a crater. …
You are looking at half a crater.…
Garden of the apartment complex
Garden of the apartment complex
Ocean view
Ocean view
Next door hotel complex
Next door hotel complex
Great view
Great view
They smell like hell and the camel…
They smell like hell and the came…
Great view with mountain
Great view with mountain
Our apartment
Our apartment
View from our apartment, if you lo…
View from our apartment, if you l…
Each house/apartment had a little …
Each house/apartment had a little…
I like see through pictures.
I like 'see through' pictures.
the only natural light in the cave
the only natural light in the cave
Spectacular view
Spectacular view
Another spectacular view
Another spectacular view
Departure from Arrecife to Amsterd…
Departure from Arrecife to Amster…
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Lanzarote
photo by: EmyG