Beautiful and fascinating, Lanzarote is very different from any of the other islands. It has all developed out of volcanic lava which sounds like a moonscape but it isn’t.
Development has been very restrained thanks to the influence of Cesar Manrique, an extraordinary artist of the 1900s, probably unknown outside of Spain. All buildings are white and none more than three stories high and even they are few. This looks very dramatic against the dark grey crumbles of lava which cover the soil.
Yes, there is soil which has developed, since the islands rose out of the sea, from lava and sand. There are almost constant trade winds so the plants are protected by hand built curved walls of lava rock. The winds are usually gentle and dispel the heat and humidity so the climate is comfortable year round. I loved it.
The Centro Antroposofica where I stayed is gorgeous. This is where we will have the eurythmy retreat. I spent the time with Roberto Schmid, who is in charge of the place, and his daughter and her boyfriend who had just arrived for a holiday from Germany. We all enjoyed each other’s company with much laughter and Roberto took me to all the places we might find interesting for excursions – including the home of Cesar Manrique.
When I left I flew back to Santa Cruz, Tenerife, ready to catch my flight to Madrid and then on to London next day. I didn’t see anything in Santa Cruz that I’d go back for either …
Gran Canaria was a delight. I stayed with a lovely, well-travelled and educated woman of my own age and we became firm friends in a short time.
Although I was only here for a day and half, Juan Luis and Paulette took me to a recommended place for accommodation in the evening and then for a dramatic day’s drive into the mountains next day to see a volcanic crater and some lovely villages. We had lunch in a cave restaurant with an incredible view. We achieved a lot and have accommodation settled and activities for the first 3 days. I now wait to see what Lanzarote has to offer. The pictures of the anthroposophical therapeutic & vacation centre on their website are gorgeous – we shall see…
This airport in Gran Canaria is huge and almost empty. It’s very new and, I suspect, built with anticipation of a big increase in tourism in the future.
I much preferred Gran Canaria to Tenerife, which is more industrial-commercial and had little charm from what I saw. Perhaps I just missed the good parts?
Today, I went out with others to more incredibly dramatic volcanic mountains and walked in an ancient forest which was rather disappointing – so dry. By the time they dropped me off at the parking lot where I had left my car it was 3:00pm and I was done. Another 2 hour drive to visit another place was beyond me. I phoned and left an apologetic message.
Tomorrow morning I fly to Gran Canaria, to be hosted and whisked around by more anthroposophical people.
I am more than ready for the impersonality of a hotel!!!
Today I drove to the south of the island to get the ferry boat to the island of La Gomera. BC Ferries do it much, much better!
Fred Olsen ferries are much bigger but have only a small outside deck. It had no cafeteria – only snack bars full of junk food. The gift shop had almost nothing in it, and the real clincher was watching the loading of vehicles. Cars drove on and had to turn around inside the ferry to be facing the right direction for disembarking. Trucks of all kinds, including articulated ones, had to back on!
As a walk-on passenger it cost me about $65 return and the trip was only 10 minutes longer than our own. I may not mutter about BC ferries quite so much in future.
I wandered around the town, found a tourist information office and got what I needed and then took a local bus to a village in the interior. The drive was stunning! Up steep hills, around hairpin bends with drops at the side of the road that were definitely not for sissies. It was gorgeous – pictures say so much more than words even though they were taken from inside the bus.
After 3 days in Bulgaria I flew to London and then on to the Canary Islands. It was a long day and I arrived in Tenerife, Canary Islands, late – and 2 hours later for me.
I’d been told to rent a car to get to my host but I hadn’t thought that through very well. Driving a strange car in the dark on highways with Spanish signage was very challenging at midnight.
That was the point when I really did wonder if I could do this – but I did. That was my biggest stretch.
This time my host lives in a very old, traditional collection of rooms accessed through gardens.
She had to meet me at the local gas station to lead me to their home, up and up and up tiny narrow streets, barely wide enough for a car to get through. A donkey would have been more appropriate.