Why Lanzarote? Ehhh, because we live ten minutes from Cork airport and we could get a direct flight from there to Lanzarote, of course. And we seemed fairly certain to get good weather there. So other than "sun" we arrived into Lanzarote with no expectations whatsoever, other than that I'd previously spent a week in the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura and was fairly unimpressed.
|My favourite pic from the holiday!|
Thankfully, our expectation were well exceeded, mostly thanks to a visionary artist/architect called Cesar Manrique. Back in the 60s, he spotted Lanzarote's tourism potential, and managed to convince the powers-that-be on the island not to allow high rise development, such as has marred so much of the coast of Spain. Many of the attractions on the island were also designed by him - Mirador del Rio, a beautiful viewing spot at the North of the island, the guest centre at the heart of the volcano park and his own residence, which is designed so the lower floor is made up of bubbles in an old lava tunnel, to name but a few.
Some of Manrique's works on the island:
|Jameos del Agua - an underground cave system, built into|
lava tubes. Based on an idea by Cesar Manrique
We unwound pretty well - ate way too much, drank way too much, watched Ireland annihilate Australia (woohoo!) in a lively bar at 9.30am, walked a bit, swam a bit and lolled around a bit.
We also rented a car and did some touring around. There's loads to see, and even though it takes at most an hour to drive the length of the island, we found that after having the car for three days, there was still stuff we hadn't seen.
|View at Mirador del Rio|
I'm always interested in agriculture in different countries ('cos I'm a country girl, I guess) and boy do they face challenges on Lanzarote. Wind, sun and lack of rain combine to make their lives difficult. Everything they grow has to be given shelter from the elements, and they do this by building little individual windbreaks out of lava rock around their plants.
|Ploughed fields, covered in moisture retaining lava gravel|
|Individual stone walls for plants. And they think they have it rough|
on the Aran Islands!
Add into this the fact that the ground is covered in volcanic rock of some sort, and you'd wonder how can anything survive, yet they produce an award winning goats cheese, there's a large area with lettuce & other greenery and there's a thriving (& unique) wine-growing region. This last one was what most grabbed my attention!
Pruning and picking are are also done by hand and are made even more difficult in that the farmers have to slide down into each "dimple" to work on each plant, so Lanzarotean wine is not cheap, but I can personally testify that it's excellent. Our favourite was the Malvasia Secco from the Stratvs vineyard - there's not much of this around, though, but there's plenty of El Grifo wine available, and it's pretty drinkable too.
They also seem to be growing corn. I'm not sure how successful this is. Maybe it's intended as fodder for the goats?
Great fun, but Health & Safety would never let them away with it here!
|The dining room at Stratvs Bodega|
We were getting reports from home that doggies, horses and cats were all fine, until I got a slightly worrying text from Denis on the last day, saying he was on his way back from a walk with Cookie and
"it may be a case of too little too late. You will appreciate the import of the above when you see the state of your back kitchen...."
Gulp. We weren't sure were we facing major toilet mishaps or what. Thankfully it turned out to be "or what" :
|The result of a leaving hyperactive young terrier|
alone for long periods
She had unpacked all of Tansy's horse-gear boxes and had cleared every shelf she could reach of every item. Thankfully, she's a disorganiser, not a chewer, and no lasting damage was done. I think she is aiming for Scampy's "Naughtiest Dog" title. She could indeed be a contender!