The trip notes set today’s scene:
Today’s moderate 12 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately four-and-a-half hours with a total ascent of 450 metres and descent of 650 metres.
Our start point for the walk was Haria, to which we were bussed. This is where Francine and I had bumped into hoards of people on our solo Saturday, there being a market in full swing. Today was much calmer and we took time in Haria to sample a barachito. Ramon had been encouraging us to sample one of these Canary Islands speciality coffees all week and, with the prospect of more uphill work, we finally succumbed. The key ingredient, it seems, rather than the coffee is Licor 43. The construction of the drink in layers is nothing short of a work of art in itself. Of course, the first thing you have to do is stir it and spoil the presentation.
Our route would take us up to the high point of Lanzarote at 627m. Given our previous uncomfortable scramble up a black gravel path to get to the Mirador del Rio, I was not particularly looking forward to today’s prospect but two things came to my rescue. Firstly, this path up was firm with many rocks acting rather like steps – no sliding backwards. Secondly, yesterday’s gentle 12km saunter along the Puerto del Carmen promenade seemed to have loosened up my legs which were now not feeling any ill effects.
As we approached the summit for lunch, slack-jawed we watched a dragonfly – yes, a dragonfly – fly by and over some bushes. It flew by again but never settled. This was a good thing since I had left my camera, now viewed as pointless ballast, back at the hotel to lighten my uphill load. Had it settled for identification I’d have been spitting feathers. It MAY have been a Wandering Glider, a species given to crossing oceans, but I really couldn’t tell. What it would do with no fresh water is anybody’s guess.
The view from near our summit lunch point down to Famara in the middle distance was undeniably very impressive. Atlantic breakers crashed in making it more of a surfing beach than a swimming beach, not that either kind of beach is of practical use to me. It’s pretty, though, being vividly blue.
After lunch we tackled the majority of the 650m descent to get to Famara where we’d be picked up by the bus again. The gulley heading down was, in walking terms, quite technical for those using trekking poles. Most of the path was relatively narrow, with twists, turns and some loose rocks. It was sensible to concentrate on the technique of picking your step, planting the pole first, then and only then taking the step. I could hear distant echoes of our first skiing instructor. Incidentally, the middle distance crest along the left of the picture is a popular spot for those who’ve had enough to drive their cars off the cliff – a sort of Lanzarote Beachy Head. Cheerful!
Ultimately the path widened a little and the gradient lessened; we’d done the trickier part. Then we finished with something of a slog along a road into Famara itself to swallow a refreshing beer or two before re-joining our bus.
I’d walked past the jolly waiters at the Shai Indian restaurant every day up ‘til now, sometimes muttering “mañana” as they beckoned me in. This evening we did go and very good it was, too. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, having chosen a hot chicken jalfrezi – the waiter/jester joshed that I was no longer his friend – and been very impressed. It most certainly beat tasteless frozen prawns in supermarket mojo rojo.
Having begun with misgivings, this proved to be my favourite day. The climb up out of Haria was enjoyable, given the stable path, and the more challenging descent to Famara provided interest and gave a sense of achievement. The beers at the end weren’t half bad, either. Capping it all off with a damn fine curry was the icing on the cake.