Living it up big on Lanzarote

Trip Start Jul 04, 2006
Trip End Jan 16, 2007

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Monday 11th to Saturday 16th December
G'day. Just a short note from me before Gail begins her tale of our past week here in Lanzarote. After our last blog entry, the weather cleared up and it has been beautiful ever since. The majority of the week has been spent either lounging around one of the pools at our resort, or relaxing on the beach at Playa Grande, which is a five minute walk from our resort. The sunshine has been glorious with temperatures in the low to mid 20C with only a slight cooling breeze coming mid afternoon, so with a little care and plenty of sun tan lotion, you can stay out in the sunshine all day. After our day spent in the sun, we usually have a couple of drinks at one of the many bars and cafes' and watch the sun go down over the ocean and mountains around 6pm. Then back to our room for a clean up before finding a restaurant for the evening, and we have eaten at a different place on each of the past 11 nights.
Apart from that we have only been outside Puerto del Carmen on two occasions, so I'll let Gail get on and tell you all about that.
Tuesday 13th December
We decided to get out and about today, so we enquired about catching a bus to a place called Playa Blanca (sounds very Spanish) for the day.  Playa Blanca is a small resort at the very bottom of the island. By the time we organize ourselves, have breakfast, and go for a walk, it is almost lunch time, so we find out where the bus leaves from and at what times.  The bus trip takes about 40 mins and we travel through a fair bit of the country side, and it's a bit unusual as it is not countryside like anywhere else we have been.  The ground is all black and there is no natural vegetation. Where there are crops growing, it is just like they have dug out a square in the black sandy soil and planted some greenery.  There are no dams and no farm animals, and I suppose if you had to compare it to something it's like a desert only black. Even the numerous mountains are all shades of black and dark brown with no greenery at all (very weird).  Anyway we get to our destination which is a lovely seaside resort, and there are a lot of boat trips that leave from this side of the island, and we enjoy watching the ferry's carrying their human cargo to the other islands. We have left it a bit late this time to go over and explore the other islands, but maybe we will come back as there is a glass bottom boat tour that would be very interesting to do.  We spend a leisurely few hours exploring, and stop for a drink and nibbles at a lovely restaurant looking over the water. We decide on tapas for tea, and pick out an amazing restaurant above some shops which has an incredible view. We sit and watch the sunset while having the most delicious tea we have had since we arrived in Lanzarote, which is a huge compliment as we have had some marvelous meals. By the time we leave it is dark and after 7.30pm and getting quite cool, so we are glad to see the bus pull in on time for our trip home.
December 14th Thursday
Today we are going to do a bus tour, as we have sat around and enjoyed the resort for long enough and it is time to see a little more of the island.  The tour doesn't leave until nearly 10am so we have plenty of time to organize ourselves this morning without having to rush, which is very civilized of them. After much consideration we have finally chosen to do the South Island Tour, as there are a lot to choose from and it took us a while to settle on which one we thought would be best. When we leave it is brilliant sunshine, so we are looking forward to a fabulous day. The tour guide speaks many languages as she has to cater for a number of tourists who do not speak Spanish (like us). She starts her narration in English, then Spanish, followed by German, and we think the last language she spoke was one of the Scandinavian languages.
We start our tour at "El Golfo" where you can walk down to "El Charco de los Clicos" (the green lagoon) where apparently the water isn't really green at all. It is just ordinary sea water but when the sun shines on it there are algae in the water that give off a green glow, and if there is no sunshine we are told it looks like dish water.  Today we are lucky to have a lovely sunny day and as you can see from the photos it really is very unusual.  The bay itself has a stunning cliff edge, and it is here where the beautiful semi- precious green stone (Olivin) has been found in the rocks, and I buy a small piece of the stone in its natural state before we leave.
From here we travel to the base of the Fire Mountains where we can have a camel ride. I wasn't keen as they are very smelly animals, but Brian really wanted to ride one so we both get on with one on each side to ride the camel. Brian looked like a kid in a lolly shop and he had a great time, and I must admit they didn't smell as bad as I thought they would, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. 
The next port of call was the "Montana del Fuego" in the heart of the Timanfaya National Park where we are shown geothermal experiments demonstrating the power of the heat below the surface.
In the first experiment we are asked stand in a circle and hold out our hands, and we have been warned that this will be hot so are prepared. The guide digs into a small gravel pit only a couple of inches down, and he gets some gravel on his spade which he places a little in everyone's hands. It is very hot and you have to juggle it from one hand to the other so you won't get burned.
In the second experiment another guide is standing over a hole in the ground with a pitchfork in hand. When we form a circle around him, he grabs his pitchfork and places some brush into the hole and within seconds the brush erupts into flame just from the heat coming up from underground.
In the third and final experiment we are again asked to form a circle, this one was so impressive Brian decided to take a video of it.  The guide has a tube in the ground and a bucket full of water. We are all told to stand well back for this experiment, and he tells us to count to 3 then take a photo. He proceeds to very quickly pour the water down one of the tubes and walks away very fast, and within 3 seconds the water erupts from the tube in a fountain of steam.  Underneath the ground at only 16 meters down it is apparently 610 degrees centigrade, and as you would imagine it boils the water very quickly and it really was a great way to show this.
After the experiments we drive around the extensive lava fields formed by the 18th century volcanic eruptions. The driver puts on some taped narration at this time which also has some very haunting background music. The landscape is amazing, and I don't know if the photos will show how truly spectacular it was. He stopped at certain stops for us to take photos of interest but the whole trip around this spectacular lava fields with their different textures and colors is incredible. You can still see the melted rock and volcanic ash after nearly 200 years since the last eruption on the island.  We finish our tour and are taken to a lovely restaurant for a 3 course (mid afternoon) lunch which was included in the price, and then we are off to see the unusual vineyards of "La Guria" for a spot of wine sampling. This finishes a very interesting day spent seeing thing that I am sure are no where else in the world, and it was all very spectacular.
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