Tag Archives: Light and shade

Lanzarote – Jameos del Agua the eighth wonder of the world?

The giant lobster sign

The giant lobster sign

Cueva de los Verdes was not the end of yesterday’s adventure by any means. Our next mission was Jameos del Agua and, as it turned out, we didn’t need Tom Tom Tim to help us find it. It really was just down the road from the Cueva de los Verdes, unmissable. Continue reading

Lanzarote – Cueva de Los Verdes

Cueva de Los Verdes

Cueva de Los Verdes

As we lazed about yesterday, we decided we’d do some sightseeing today and, after consulting our Lanzarote guide book, two places jumped out at us, Jameos del Agua and Cueva de Los Verdes, both of which were very close to each other. The problem being they weren’t all that close to us. According to our map both were around twelve miles away, walking distance, just, but not in the Lanzarote heat and not with the huge possibility of getting lost. Continue reading

Lanzarote – Taro de Tahiche

The entrance to César Manrique's amazing house

The entrance to Cesar Manrique’s amazing house

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

Lanzarote – Costa Teguise and the Gran Melia Salinas Hotel

The Melia Salinas, beautiful

The Melia Salinas, beautiful

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.

The sun, low of the Costa Teguise shops

The sun, low over the Costa Teguise shops

Bougainvillea, if only they'd kept still I'd have taken a better photo

Bougainvillea, if only they’d kept still I’d have taken a better photo

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.

A pre dinner walk along the shore

A pre dinner walk along the shore

Big black boulders, a gold flecked sea, paradise

Big black boulders, a gold flecked sea, paradise

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!

We found a lovely spot by the pool

We found a lovely quiet spot by the pool

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

Eastleigh to Southampton – the Itchen Navigation Path

The Itchen Navigation Path

The Itchen Navigation Path

Back when I did my first ever Moonwalk training I attempted to walk the Itchen Navigation Path from the Southampton end. It leads all the way from the White Swan at Mansbridge to Winchester. At the time I found it tough going, quite overgrown in places, a bit muddy but, more importantly, frightening because it was so lonely. These days lonely, off road paths don’t scare me. As I stood there wondering whether I should give it a try, a dog walker came out so I figured it must be passable. Continue reading

London – The Moonwalk marathon, what a way to see the city at night!

Heading for the Big Pink Tent

Heading for the Big Pink Tent

The London Moonwalk is an annual event and this would be my second one. It’s a tough challenge to walk twenty six point two miles but when you don’t start until midnight and you’re dressed in leggings and a decorated bra it is more like torture and should probably be banned under the Geneva Convention. Still, it is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and it’s a novel way of seeing London. Continue reading

Barcelona – the famous unfinished church Sagrada Familia

First sight of the famous landmark up close

First sight of the famous landmark up close

Sagrada Familia outside and in – Barcelona

The building is impressive, despite all the scaffolding and cranes and has to be seen to be believed. Each side is different and our first view was of the face depicting the crucifiction. This was also where we got our first glimpse of the queue to get inside. Walking round into Carrer de Provença, we stared up at the mass of spires then turned into Carrer de la Marina to gawp at the astonishingly intricate nativity scene built by Gaudi himself. Turning into Carrer de Mallorca, we found most of the building ensconced in scaffolding. Then we were back where we started staring at a very big queue. Continue reading

Marrakech – back to the madness, Djemaa El Fna at night

First view of Djemma el Fna at night

First view of Djemma el Fna, Marrakech, at night

Djemaa el Fna Marrakech at night, the greatest free show on earth

After a relaxing day I decided to go back to Djemaa el Fna to see what the fuss was about ‘the square’ at night. I took a petit taxi from my hotel and, even before I saw it I heard the cacophony of drums, eerily wailing pipes and voices. The centre of the square was lit by the food stalls. The smoke from their fires rose up into the night and tempting smells from their wares drifted into the crowd. I was soon caught up in the throng and carried along. Continue reading

Marrakech – a caleche ride to Majorelle Gardens

The only way to travel

A Caleche ride through Marrakech, the only way to travel

Yves St Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens Marrakech, an artists paradise

I decided my next day in Marrakech would be a lazy one so, on Mohammed’s recommendation, I took a gentle ride in a caleche to the Majorelle Gardens. Basically there are two ways to travel around Marrakech, petit taxis, and caleche. Petit taxis can be picked up almost anywhere, you will see queues of them waiting outside most hotels. They and are cheap, if a little rickety and the driving will probably have you squeezing your eyes shut most of the time. Continue reading

Marrakech – a secret, hidden garden, the Saadian Tombs

Intricate carvings and patterned tiles

Delicate carvings and intricate tiles, Saadian Tombs, Marrakech

An evil sultan, and the story of the enchantment of the Saadian Tombs Marrakech

Our final visit was to the Saadian Tombs. These graves have a history to rival any fairy tale. Hidden by an evil sultan they were lost and forgotten in the heart of the city for centuries almost as if he cast a spell. You will need a guide if you want to find them. Continue reading