LANZAROTE is the most northerly of the Canary Islands and is also one of the smaller islands. The first impression you get as you drive out of the airport is how black it is and as the most recent volcanic activity was only in the 1860s the evidence is actually very fresh geologically. When doing research prior to our holiday there did not seem a lot of things that you MUST see on the island. This holiday was one taken with our daughter, son in law and four month old granddaughter so we wanted somewhere warm, not too far to fly and where medical attention could be easily obtained if needed and Lanzarote fitted the bill nicely in March.
What do you do on a small island with a tiny baby? Well as our little granddaughter is a very amenable baby we did quite a lot.
TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK:
One day we went to the famous Timanfaya National Park. This is almost like visiting the dark side of the moon. The landscape is black there is very little vegetation just miles of black rock and sand in various shapes. It cannot really be compared with anywhere else I have seen and is a must see if you are visiting Lanzarote.
THE GREEN LAKE:
El Golfo is a tiny village and it is where you will find one of Lanzarote’s natural wonders, El Lago Verde, or the green lagoon. This little lake of emerald green water is the center of a volcano that has been partly eroded by the Atlantic sea. The green colour has been created by the accumulation of algae which makes it slightly less appealing but it was interesting to look at.
JAMEOS DEL AGUA:
The collapsed volcanic tube has been converted by Cesar Manrique into a stunning place of natural and artistic beauty. The pool in the base has tiny little blind, albino crabs in it which I had never seen before. The café is so lovely and cool compared to outside and you can enjoy the hanging gardens and the pool/lake in the cave. At times this is covered to make a stage and the whole area converted to a concert hall.
This part natural and part artistically created man made cave is a true delight. The white and blue pool (you cannot go in it) is a visual treat with plants hanging down and the blue sky peeping through the open cave top. A combination of tropical gardens, bars and a restaurant surround this underground lagoon and creates an atmosphere which is hushed and cathedral like.
There is a further art exhibition area and a gift shop but we didn’t bother with these as we were enjoying the cave experience and the fantastic hanging gardens which cascaded down from the rocks around the cave opening .
CESAR MANRIQUE FOUNDATION:
Having been so impressed with Manrique’s creations in Tamanfaya National Park and Jameos Del Agua we decided we would continue our sightseeing with a visit to Manrique’s personal home which has now left to the Cesar Manrique foundation.
This ‘house’ was designed by Manrique to use the natural volcanic rock formations and he created a fantastic house built in and around the rocks. It was fantastic; some of the walls were smoothed out and painted in a thick shiny white paint which lightened up the underground areas. The seats were shiny brightly coloured plastic – a bit like those in Elvis’ Graceland.
Playa Blanca has a very long sea front walk way which we enjoyed on a number of days. You walk past restaurants and shops at the town end but gradually you pass fewer buildings and looking out sea wards you can see Fuerteventura in the near distance. It is a pleasant quiet area in March but I suspect it gets busy in summer.
There is a small market on Wednesday at the Rubicon Marina which was a pleasant place to wander around in the sunshine beside the harbour area. There were a number of cafés and places where you could sit with a drink and people watch or look slightly further and watch the activity in the harbour.
Teguise was once the Capital of Lanzarote but today' and is a really lovely little old town with over 500 years of History. On Sunday there is a busy Market with hundreds of stalls and entertainers around the area. The local bars and stalls serve a selection of food and drink to keep you happy while wandering round in the sunshine.
In the market square there was a group of older people dressed in traditional costume singing and playing instruments. It was a most sedate affair but quite interesting and picturesque with the church behind but not greatly catchy musically.
The entire town was one huge market and there were so many different stall selling everything from fresh cheeses ( we bought several) to aloe vera creams to T shirts and toys and many other clothes some more attractive than others. It was a lovely sunny day and we had a great time wandering round with the push chair stopping to enjoy different local snacks and a coffee or two.
On the way from the car park to the market there was a house with the most extraordinary garden. It was full of what most people would regard as rubbish, computer screens, chairs, prams and dolls and some were quite disturbingly contorted. It was most bizarre and I can’t imagine what he was trying to create as it was obviously intentional but truly ugly and quite disturbing too. Everyone was stopping to look.
Although Lanzarote is not a huge island it is extremely different scenically. Everywhere is black, the soil, the rocks and the sand. The houses are often painted white to contrast with the blackness. The area around Playa Blanca is blacker than the other end of the island but it is marginal. The landscape is strangely lunar and bleak and there is little natural vegetation. The vineyards have small stunted vines hidden in half moon hollows to protect them from the wind. It was interesting but I’m not sure that I would like to live there as it could get very monotonous.