Saturday, November 16, 2019

Back to Lanzarote

Our journey back to Lanzarote started with one hour delay and made me nervous that we might miss the plane. But luckily nothing else went wrong, we were at the airport on time and we landed in Lanzarote at late afternoon. We rented a car, then drove to marina. After unpacking, which didn't take long as we only had hand luggage, we drove to Playa Blanca and had some delicious tapas for dinner. 

Next day we still had the car, but it was already passed noon as we drove off. We drove to the North of the island and our first stop was near Salinas and Los Hervideros. Then we drove to Teguise and stop at Santa Barbara castle. There is a Museum of piracy there, but they were closing it in couple of minutes, so we didn't have to make a decision if we want to go in or not. So we just walked around a bit. Castle is not very big...
...but the views from it are pretty good - this is the view to the North.
Next we drove all the way to Mirador del Rio on the NE edge of the island. We were there several times already, but this time we even payed the entrance fee and went in. While the building is nice, it was designed by Cesar Manrique, there isn't much there other than coffee and souvenir shop and a couple of modern sculptures. And of course great view, but from the road couple of meters away you can get the same view without paying.
This is the strait between Lanzarote and Isla Graziosa...
...and this is Caleta del Sebo on Isla Graziosa and left below are small saline plants on Lanzarote.
On our way back we stopped in Haria in La Puerta Verde because I wanted to eat the wonderful gofio dessert again. Captain chose mango mouse with goat yoghurt and some flowers. I wanted to make some photos of it, but once they brought us our desserts we got big eyes and dug right in and didn't think of photographing until we ate it all. It was both really great, they obviously know how to cook and maybe we should have come here for complete dinner and not just desserts.

Next day we started early, we drove off before nine o'clock. We read that the best time to visit Timanfaya is before hordes of tourists and buses arrive in the middle of the day. There is an entrance fee, but you get a bus tour around volcanoes for that. All is well organised, and it has to be, since this is the number 1 attraction of the island and as such pretty crowded. We parked the car near the restaurant and got into one of the busses. The tour took little more than half an hour and it was breathtaking. Unfortunately all our photos were taken through the bus windows, so we were fighting with reflections, but I can totally understand why they don't want to let people out of the bus. You still get the feeling that you are right in the middle of it and you cannot get that by driving by car on any other road.

This is the restaurant, designed by Cesar Manrique as well.
My happy face after the tour says it all. Even with all the volcanos that we climbed and all the colourful  and oddly shaped rocks and lava that we've seen on our previous explorations, this tour topped it all.
One more photo from the parking lot.
Near the restaurant there were some demonstrations of how hot the ground still is - they put some dry branches into the hole in the ground and it started to burn...
... and pour some water into the tube in the ground and it became a geyser.
They also use the heath of the volcano in the restaurant to grill meat and potatoes.
We decided to try some chicken and it was good. It maybe wasn't the best chicken we ever had, but it was a great experience.
After lunch we drove back to the entrance and made some more nice photos.

And we were shocked to see how many cars were waiting to get in. We were soooo happy we were early enough to avoid the rush hour.
Our next stop was by the camels. Camels were working animals on Lanzarote for centuries, they were better adapted to dry land without pastures than cattle or horses. Nowadays there is less agriculture than before and most of the work is done by machines. So camels got a new job - they carry the tourists around Timanfaya. It is a small tour, nothing like a bus tour, more a camel riding experience than the volcano tour. We didn't want to ride camels, we just wanted to take a look and visit the small museum that is on the site.

It was a nice place to make a stop.

Next we drove to El Golfo for an ice cream and then along the NW coast towards marina - by on some pretty rocks...

...colourful hills... beaches...
...and a lake.
On the black beach I collected some more olivine stones. They were just lying in the black sand, but on many other times I just picked them from parking lots. They are just small shards, not suitable for jewellery, but to me they are still precious. Mostly they are green, hence the name, but sometimes there are crystals of other colours hidden in the stones.

Last two days were pretty relaxed, we did some small things around the boat, washed some laundry and spent some time with friends. Who would have thought there would be three boats from Slovenija here at the same time. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Last weeks

We're in Slovenia at the moment, visiting our families. We're returning to Lanzarote tomorrow. We've tried to spend as much time as possible with our families and friends, but unfortunately two weeks are not enough for everything we hoped we would be able to do.

While we were on Lanzarote it might have looked like we were just driving around and having fun, but we also did some actual work on the boat. The biggest project was resealing the big panoramic window that started leaking earlier this year. We removed the old sealant with the most fitting tools we had - carpet knife, several small screw drivers, and a manicure set. It took a while to scrape everything out, then we smoothed the groove with sand paper, vacuumed it and cleaned it with isoprophynol.
And then the new sealant got in.
Since it very seldom rains here, we tested it with the water from the hose and - yippie! no water came inside of the boat. And it also looked much better than before.

Before our departure we had some cloudy days and even a little bit of rain. But the days were still perfect for long walks. On one of those days we walked towards the Playa Papagayo on the SW corner of the island.
There were people swimming and children playing in the sea, but I only managed to get into the water knee-high. Maybe if it was sunny that day, and water had a degree or two more...

We wanted to rent a car to drive to the airport on the day of our departure, but we ended renting it for almost three days, because every following day is much cheaper than the first. So we explored the island some more.

This is the NW corner of the island with new and old light house.
It looked like even those few drops of rain on previous days made vegetation greener and many plants started to bloom.

The sea looked relatively calm, only on shallows was the swell visible.
We tried to drive on yet untravelled roads and came by this is the mine with red and black gravel.
We drove by Femara cliffs again and discovered couple of caves just below the peaks. It looks like people used them in the past and also made the walls and the floor smoother and more levelled.
This is one of the entrances.
In the afternoon we stopped in Haria in restaurant La Puerta Verde for a dessert. I'm already fan of gofio, that we had some days earlier in Caleta de Femarra, and when I saw they had a gofio dessert here, I had to try it. The base was a layer of local honey with almonds and gofio crumble, on top was gofio ice cream, coverd with gofio mousse and sprinkled with more gofio crumble. It was to die for, maybe the best dessert I've ever eaten. And even better if you pair it with local sweet wine.
On our way back we drove through the middle of the island through the lava field.
Next day we decided we would do the Timanfaya tour that we wanted to do for some time now and always found some reason to postpone it. On our way there we saw a bus that drives around the craters - you are not allowed to drive around the area in your car.
But even though it was Monday, there was many cars at the entrance waiting to get in. So once more we drove on and the tour is again postponed. Instead we drove to Volcan del Cuervo and did a hike around it. It is a fairly recent volcano, not even 300 years old.
The surroundings are pretty wild looking as well.

In many rocks there are olivine stones.
Part of the rim of caldera was blown away during the eruption so one can get into the caldera easily.
This is part of the blown away rim, it's laying couple of hundreds of meters away.
Inside there are rocks of many colours and shapes and it looks like the eruptions must have happened only just yesterday.

And amongst it lots of olivine...
It was a great hike and volcano was very much worth the effort, even on a really hot sunny day.

After the good lunch in a small restaurant in one of the villages and a short visit to El Griffo vinery we drove on through the wine country. I love this house covered with bougainvillea plant.
The vines sitting each in their own balcony are so pretty.

Sometimes they sit in the bottom of the hole in the volcanic sand.
Nearby was also this pretty hill.
I can't get tired of all these colours and shapes and volcanoes. When we return we'll need to do some more sight seeing, and we definitely have a Timanfaya tour on the agenda, as well as another visit to Puerta Verde in Haria to have some more of that heavenly gofio desert.