There was a bit of an altercation on the promenade right outside out hotel yesterday afternoon. A huge dog, Commando thinks it was a bull mastiff, attacked a small dog. Everyone around the pool was alerted by barking and yelping and stood up to see what was going on. The big dog actually had the little dog in its jaws and was shaking it. The owner was trying to get it to stop but not very successfully. Eventually, after what seemed like an age but can’t actually have been that long because Commando had started to walk out onto the promenade to help but hadn’t actually got there, a huge shaven headed tourist threw a bottle of coke over it and someone else hit it on the head and it dropped the little dog. I’m not sure who the little dog belonged to or what happened to it but the owner of the big dog wandered off as if nothing had happened. Funny, as we were just commenting earlier that, although there are cats everywhere here, you rarely see a dog. Probably a good thing. Continue reading
We ate at the hotel last night and Commando indulged in a half bottle of wine. I didn’t, I’m not really much of a drinker at the best of times (anyone who knows me will testify to my inability to hold my drink) and in the heat doubly so. It was a buffet style meal and Commando proved how he can really tuck it away by eating enough to feed a small country. How does he do that and stay so slim, it’s so unfair? I had a salad with a little cheese and salami followed by chicken cooked in a tagine with a few vegetables. I did, however, succumb to the huge selection of deserts, all tasty little bite sized morsels so tempting you wanted to try each one (I think Commando did). I had five little things on my plate but, once I’d eaten a little macaroon thing, a chocolate mouse thing and half a kind of lemony thing (all tiny squares no more than a mouthful each) I couldn’t eat the rest. I think I went into sugar overload after that because I felt quite sick.
Yesterday lunchtime we accidentally had a huge lunch. We decided to grab a sandwich at the pool bar and it turned out to be a giant affair with chips and a big mound of some kind of coleslaw type salad. I couldn’t eat it all but I had a reasonable try. When it came to our evening meal we decided to share a pizza at Camel Cafe as neither of us really wanted much. The pizza was lovely but then we made the mistake of ordering a desert, our first desert since we arrived. I blame Commando as it was his idea. We chose a desert to share, thinking it wouldn’t be too big that way, although we didn’t really know what it was going to be because it was just called Camel Special Desert. Obviously there wasn’t going to be any actual camel in it, we were pretty confident of that much.
Funny how we all come to depend on twenty four seven wifi access without even realising we have. With no beach wifi and the hotel charging prohibitively high prices, Internet access is something to be rationed to once or twice a day from cafes and restaurants and even then it’s fairly patchy at best. You don’t see the locals walking around with mobile phones glued to their ears or constantly checking their emails. I guess not too many of them even have mobile phones. In actual fact, apart from being able to post my ramblings, it’s almost a relief to be able to get away from texts, emails and being accessible to every man and his dog round the clock. In fact it’s relaxing.
I took advantage of the free wifi last night at Camel Cafe to post about my Moroccan adventure so far and we lingered over a leisurely meal and some drinks. I find I don’t have much appetite in this heat. I had an amazing pepper steak which came with cauliflower, green beans, carrots, chips and, inexplicably, also rice. I managed to eat the steak, about half the vegetables and a few chips but I couldn’t even contemplate the rice. Perhaps if I lived out here I’d be skinny, then again, I’d probably get used to it after a while. Who knows, with the small meals, the walking and taking the stairs instead of the lift, I could even end this holiday lighter than I started. That would be a first. Mind you, I may be getting ahead of myself, it’s early days yet. Continue reading
As we stood in the car park of Jameos del Agua, trying to work out which of the small silver cars was ours, Commando said, “we could drive to Timanfaya while we have the car?”
Timanfaya National Park is where the Mountains del Fuego, or fire mountains erupted between 1730 and 1736, burying villages and turning the fertile lowlands into a sea of larva. It’s at the opposite end of the Island to Jameos del Agua, probably twenty or more miles away. In the normal course of things not a terribly long drive but on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car in a strange country… “It’s a long drive,” I said.
“If we don’t do it today, when will we?” Commando countered.
“If you’re sure?” Continue reading
Today’s mission was Taro de Tahiche, the astonishing house built by artist Cesar Manrique in 1968 on the larva fields just outside Costa Teguise. From the rather basic map we had it seemed it was only about six or seven miles. We asked the very helpful concierge if it was walkable and, although he looked a little surprised that anyone would think a six or seven mile was was walkable anyway, he said it was possible, not too hilly, not too hidden away. He even showed us on the map where it was and what route to take. It all seemed fairly straightforward, what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading
My first impression of Lanzarote was that people seemed very friendly. A taxi driver, seeing us looking lost as we emerged from the terminal directed us to the kiosk where we needed to pick up our transfer. The Scottish woman working there was super helpful, telling us about the island and what to see, obviously a little in love with it herself. An unfamiliar vista of volcanic mountains, black soil and strange contorted larva mounds beside the roads sped by outside the window of our transfer taxi. The hotel, designed by César Manrique, was beautiful. Best of all there is free wifi, ok so it doesn’t seem to be the speediest or most reliable but the price is good.
We took a little walk to get acclimatised to the twenty seven degree heat and our surroundings. The scenery is stark in comparison to England’s verdant hills and verges but it has a beauty to it, black or red soil dotted with fat trunked, stubby palms and globular spiny cacti, square white buildings and everywhere black volcanic rock. Walls, paths, sculptures all carved from blocks of grey black porous stone. I guess you build with what you have available and on a volcanic island that means igneous rock.
The sun was getting low in the sky as we walked up the hill past little supermarkets, shops and bars, low cloud hid it from view but the clouds were haloed with bright light and beams spread out across the blue sky like something in a painting. Snap, snap, snap went my phone. Strange papery petals in brilliant cerise on the bourganvillia outside the hotel were blowing about so much I had trouble taking a photo. In actual fact the papery petals are not petals at all, but bracts of leaves, the flowers are the tiny white frilled circles in the centre that look like stamens.
A pre dinner walk along the shore outside the hotel gave me even more beautiful snaps of the sunbeams radiating from a golden cloud turning the waves breaking on the greyish sand to liquid gold. Breathtaking stuff. Then there are the huge black boulders, worn smooth by the waves framing a gold flecked sea and the white buildings of Costa Teguise spread out before us. There will probably be walks along this shore and lounging on this beach tomorrow.
Hunger took us into the hotel restaurant for dinner. Our half board meals are buffet style with a banquet of fresh salads, meat and fish cooked to order, pastas and fresh sauces not to mention the array of fruits and ice creams. With good food like this every day I’m hoping for a nice healthy holiday and not too much extra poundage at the end of it. Mind you the tiramisu ice cream probably doesn’t count as healthy but still, it’s been a long day, with not much in the way of food at all and I am on holiday!
Part of being on holiday is relaxing and the next day was a chill out day. After breakfast we wandered round the pool looking for some sun beds that hadn’t already been nabbed by the early morning towel brigade. Luckily, as it’s out of season and the hotel is by no means full, we managed to find two beds in a quiet corner by a little pool with tinkling fountains and a fringe of umbrella plants. We set out our blue towels and Commando settled down to sunbathe. Continue reading
Casa Milà or La Pedrera – Barcelona
The next thing on our list was Casa Milà’ known as La Pedrera or the stone quarry because of the way it looks. This was the last building Gaudi worked on before he devoted all his time to Sagrada Familia. Built as rental flats for Pere Milà Camps it is now the property of Caxia de Catalunya. There is an exhibition of Gaudi and his works on the upper floors but sadly we had no time to see it. Some of the flats are now privately owned. How wonderful it must be to own and live in such a magnificent building. Continue reading
El Prat de Llobregat Barcelona
If it hadn’t been for our worries about wasting precious hours of our short weekend break struggling with public transport we might never have explored El Prat, the little city surrounding Barcelona Airport. As it we we plumped to stay close to the airport on our first trip to Barcelona and discovered a little gem. I probably wouldn’t stay in El Prat again as I’d rather be in the centre of Barcelona to experience the nightlife (as we were on our next visit) but, if you find yourself with time to kill before a flight, or if you need to stay close to the airport for an early morning departure it has a lot to offer. Continue reading
How best to get around in Barcelona?
The airport at Barcelona is Aeroport del Prat just fourteen kilometers outside the city centre at El Part de Lobregat. The first time we visited Barcelona we decided to stay in El Prat as we weren’t sure what transport would be like and didn’t fancy wasting our first hours of a very short break struggling to get to our hotel. We also plumped for the taxi transfer service provided by our hotel the 3 star, Minotel Ciutat del Prat just to be on the safe side. Continue reading