Last night we lingered over our coffees, watching the sun go down one last time. The lights came on in the waterfall running through the pool, an echo of the one in the atrium. We sat, chatting, watching them change colour from green to turquoise, blue, pink, purple. We both could have stayed sitting there forever. 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
Today was another wet one with another use of my bus pass to cross the Big Bridge. Along the river bank the water was very high and, apart from a lone duck, a water filled boat, a very friendly dog and owner and a nice sunset on the way home the day was uneventful. So, instead of waffling on about nothing, I thought I’d tell you about something else altogether. The story of the Mayflower and her connection with Southampton Continue reading
Sunshine greeted me when I walked into the gym this morning, well a bit of sunshine between the clouds anyway but I’m taking what I can get. Of course it was walking day but only a short one. The plan was to do thirteen miles, a nice little half marathon to get me warmed up but, as they say the best laid plans… Continue reading
The Beaulieu Estate, cars, bikes, historic houses, gardens and a lovely woodland walk
Beaulieu (pronounced Bewley), for those who don’t know it, is a tiny village on the banks of the Beaulieu river, no more than one street of quaint little houses a few shops and a pub, The Montague Arms. Even so, it attracts masses of visitors being home of the famous National Motor Museum, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. Large swathes of Beaulieu are owned by the eccentric Lord Montague, Palace House is his home and the Motor Museum houses his massive collection of cars and motorbikes. Continue reading
The ruins of Holyrood Church and a quest to find five sculptures
Holyrood Church is actually the shell of a church. It was built in the early fourteenth century and was one of five churches in the old walled city. Right up until the Second World War it was in use as a church but, during the terrible bombing raids in November 1940, it was more or less destroyed. Because of its long history, it was used by crusaders en route to the Holy Land and soldiers before sailing to the battle of Agincourt amongst others, it has been kept as a monument to sailors of the Merchant Navy. Continue reading
The real Richard Parker, a gruesome and spooky tale of shipwrecks and cannibalism
Southampton, Hampshire on the sunny south coast of England is my home town. It’s a city filled with history and this is one little bit that has some surprising connections with the film Life of Pi. If you’ve seen the film you will know its the story of a shipwreck and a tiger called Richard Parker. What you probably won’t know is that Richard Parker is also the name of several real people (and a fictional one) who were shipwrecked. Continue reading