Out for a Blow

Lanzarote can be windy; VERY windy. It was blowing a hooley when we arrived yesterday, it blew a hooley throughout the night and it is still blowing a hooley today. Still, we have a parked rental car and it’s time to unpark it, brave the unfamiliar roads and the unfamiliar Spanish language satnav, and go exploring.

Tour guide Francine decided that we should head west to Timanfaya National Park. This is volcano territory where much of the island got covered by lava during the eruption of 1730-1736. Yes, apparently a series of eruptions lasted for 6 years. Part of the plan also included a stop at El Golfo for lunch with its reputedly fine collection of fish restaurants.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’d seen the famous black soil – actually more like black gravel – of Lanzarote wandering about along the promenade near our hotel. Now we saw a whole lot more of it. It looks a bit weird but makes a dramatic backdrop to the plants planted in it.

We headed off for the Timanfaya National Park but it seemed as though most of the population of Lanzarote had had the same idea; traffic was jammed up trying to gain access which looked as it it was being strictly controlled. The Spanish can be good at strictly controlling things. The road was blocked in both directions by cars attempting to turn into the park whose approach road was already full and stationary.

Eruption visitor centreEventually we manage to skirt around the blockage muttering choice phrases like, “bugger that”, and continued to a Timanfaya Visitors Centre which looked much more civilized. The building contained a mass of graphics explaining volcanic activity (for those who were fluent in Spanish) with an external observation platform looking across the now solid black lava field.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn our outward journey we’d seen what was, to us, a rather surprising sight. On our way back we decided to call in and look more closely. What we’d seen was a car park beside strings of Camels taking people for rides across what looked like a black desert. Well, it WAS a black desert made of classic Lanzarote black lava gravel. This was a huge operation; I counted about 100 camels, though most today were sitting resting.

We did call in to El Golfo for lunch though our first attempt was foiled by a road being cortado [cut, i.e. closed]. So, we had to backtrack and go another way. For a starter we had some navajas [razor clams], which were the best we’ve had, followed by half a whale masquerading as a Snapper, which was the fish of the day and less than scintillating. It was good enough, just not an exciting fish.

Returning to the hotel was stressful … very stressful. Spanish satnav did not understand the beach where our hotel was located. So ever-resourceful Francine programmed in Puerto del Carmen just along the coast. We got into Puerto del Carmen but could find no way out of it heading east – at least, not without going the wrong way down a one-way street, which I did begin to attempt. My passenger/primary navigatrix screamed dutifully so I spun around. We only appeared to be allowed to go west. Having recovered from the one-way street episode, Francine programmed Arrecife (the capital) just to get us out of the mire.

We made it but needed a drink … but then, we always need a drink.

Posted in 2022 Lanzarote

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