From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Half of the Wagons go to Lanzarote

The Long-Suffering Husband and I took a week long break and headed off to Lanzarote to try and remedy our chronic Vitamin D deficiency after this year's craptacular Irish Summer.
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:
Cactus Garden

 Ladies Bathroom

Gent's Bathroom

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!

To protect the vines from the steady and desiccating winds, each vine is planted (by hand) in a conical "dimple" about one meter deep.  A teeny stone wall is built at the top of each dimple to further protect the vine from the prevailing North wind.  A thick layer of volcanic rock which has been broken down into gravel (picon) is then put on top - this helps trap moisture, and the conical shape helps the moisture run down to each vine.  It makes for some interesting landscapes:

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?

Lanzarote cornfield
Another highlight of the trip was watching Spaniards playing with volcanos.  If you take the bus trip around the volcanic park Timanfaya, you'll be treated to this experience at the end.  They have a couple a fumaroles just beside the car park.  They place a piece of dried brushwood over one, and WHOOMPH! it goes up in flames.  Then they chuck a bucket of water down another, stand back, and a couple of seconds later, WHOOSH! the volcano spews it back up in a geyser of steam.

Great fun, but Health & Safety would never let them away with it here!

The dining room at Stratvs Bodega
We ate out "posh" twice - once at the Stratvs Bodega restaurant which was excellent (interesting menu, great setting and service) and once at Oskar's restaurant in Costa Teguise which was very good (food was good but not so exciting, lovely outdoor patio and pleasant waitress).

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!


  1. Fantastic. This allows me to comment...About the general subtitle... Are you and Anne escaping from that 'long-suffering husband, or....

  2. Looks fantastic, glad you had such a good time. Re the back kitchen, I kept picking things up and positioning them even higher, but there's only so much shelf space ! Thank goodness she's not a chewer, it would have been a very different story had Roxy been there !

  3. Hello!

    I just wanted to say thanks again for submitting this to the BT Blog Carnival! (The first photo is my favorite) In fact, this article has been included in the 10th BT Blog Carnival which was published today.

    If you could retweet, stumble, or "Like" this edition of the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. :) It would also help people discover your article, too!

    Thanks again :)