Lanzarote Travel Journal
> How it all began...
A week of warm sunshine during our long and cold Dutch winter. We thought about it quite some times, but it never became reality. We did check the internet before for temperatures of various destinations in December. My conclusion was the same every time: many destinations closer than 5 flight-hours that are told to be "sunny holidays in winter" and "getting tanned in..." by the travel agencies are not really that warm in this time of the year. Many places in northern Africa and Turkey have temperatures of 16 degrees, 17 max and these are no "shorts-temperatures" for us.
> The Plan
It was obvious that we had to look a bit further and that's how I ended up at The Gambia, where temperatures are still over 20 degrees and where it is sunny most of the time in December. Unfortunately appears to be too late to book a trip for Christmass time when I found out about this warm and sunny paradise and there were no accommodations left for a normal price. The nearest place that had flights and accommodation left were the Canary Islands. The most sunny and dry island during winter months seemed to be Lanzarote and that's why we decided to find out and try a week on this island. We booked a one week holiday and were curious if it should really be warm enough to make it a pleasant trip to the sun.
> Journey to Lanzarote
About one week before departure our flight schedules and other information were sent to us by e-mail. Our departure time was terrifying: on December 25th we would fly at 05.05, in the middle of the night! And that's why we go to bed at 8 pm on Christmas evening, convinced to get at least a few hours of sleep before we have to leave to Schiphol airport at 00.30. But soon we find out that this is not the way it really works, we don't get sleepy at this early hour of the evening and we try to become sleepy by watching the Christmas special of the tv-show All You Need Is Love. It works! At 22.30 we're both sleeping, but not for long. Just before midnight the alarmclock wakes us up and soon we're in the car heading for Amsterdam. For the first time we park our car at the RAI, which turns out to be a good choice. Book everything a few weeks earlier by internet, pay, when you arrive drive in the indoor (!) parking garage and the bus is already waiting for you to bring you to Schiphol in only 15 minutes. This is much cheaper than parking at Schiphol; this means we can have extra luxury diners this holiday.
We are surprised by the view of an abondoned Schiphol after we checked in at the only desk that's open during these hours. Surprisingly the shops open at 3 am and completely unexpected we can do some tax-free shopping. We are happy with this, as we still need an extra memory card for our new Samsung Pro 815 and a little later we can board the Transavia plane that will bring us to Lanzarote wíth our new card. The flight is okay, we're still a bit sleepy but sooner than expected the clouds suddenly disappear and we see a few wonderful islands down there. Which one will be it, on which one shall we land? After a narrow curve we head straight to Lanzarote and only a few minutes later we find our luggage, and the local host finds us to bring us and a Dutch family to a taxi-van. In only 10 minutes we're at the Don Paco-Castilla apartclub where we change our trousers, sweater and wintercoat for something more convenient. Now we can pick up our rental car. Nothing reminds us of the fact that it actually is Christmas time, except for the tree and the Christmas music at the reception desk of course.
> Lanzarote Day 1
With the Seat Ibiza we just picked up we drive to the sunday market in Teguise, wearing shorts and t-shirts. Our travelguide writes about the great number of people visiting this market every sunday morning. Well, not in December, there are some people but not the expected great crowd. Nice market, cute little village, but horrible French fries. The fries we have on a sunny (lovely!!) terrace is the most disgusting I ever had. Nevertheless, the sun makes it all wonderful, but we feel a bit tired now and go back to our apartment at the Don Paco-Castilla block in Puerto del Carmen. Back there, where we have a swimming pool right in front of our door, we get all the matrasses outside on our terrace and take a nap in the warm sunlight. A couple of hours later I wake up feeling sick. I'm feeling aweful and go inside to lie down on bed. Unfortunately it's not that I only féél sick and it looks like I have a very bad foodpoisoning. Strange, because we both had the same food today and Peter is still feeling fine. I think it were the French fries and it probably will take some time before my stomach gets some rest again. It's late when we finally fall asleep.
> Lanzarote Day 2
The lovely sunshine is gone, today starts as a rainy day. The temperature is still fine though and in shorts again we go to the Cueva de los Verdes, the ideal excursion for a rainy day, as Cueva means cave. The cave is beautiful and very different from the caves we've seen before, but my stomach thinks all this activity is a bit too much. After the guided tour we pay a quick visit to the Jameos del Agua. César Manrique designed a garden and a museum here, at the end of an underground lava-tunnel. My stomach tells it's best to head back to our apartment now. We take it slow the rest of the day and enjoy ourselves with the weather-forecast on the Dutch TV channel that tells us that it will be freezingly cold in The Netherlands, at 0 degrees Celcius. So, over 20 degrees and some rain aren't bad after all.
> Lanzarote Day 3
Today I'm almost recovered and we get into our car very early. The sun is back today and we take the road through the northern hills to the small church high on a cliff: Ermita de las Nieves. From this church we have a splendid view over the Famara coast. We go for a short walk in the surroundings of the Ermita and admire this white building surrounded by palmtrees once more. Via the village of Haria, situated in the 1000 palm valley, we drive to the Mirador de Guinate, another great viewpoint with a view on the island La Graciosa. At the third viewpoint of the day, the Mirador del Rio we see some other tourists for the first time since we're here on Lanzarote. The parking place is almost completely full and we wonder what it looks like during summer. We first check out the environments, to see if we think it's worth to enter the César Manrique building at the Mirador, as we payed a high entrance fee yesterday at the Jameos del Agua where we only spent a short time as we didn't like it that much. The Mirador offers a great view over the salt-refineries below, the coastline, the island La Graciosa and the 4 other islands on the north side of Lanzarote. But the grounds on the left side of the building offer the exact same view, so we decide to leave the building there and just enjoy the view outside in the sunshine.
Meanwhile we're getting a bit hungry and we drive back to Haria for lunch. At the cute market square the elderly islanders come together as well to have a chat. This gives us the chance to take some nice pictures again. With enough food in our belly and at least as much food in our backpack we drive back to the village Las Rositas, close to the Mirador del Rio, where we leave our car behind and start an interesting descent to the beach far below. After an hour of steep, rocky coast we're finally at the sandy beach with dune vegetation and we sit down to have a closer look at the dates we bought earlier in Haria. We're right across the island La Graciosa and in the small part of the ocean between us and the island some young people are having fun with their surfboards. Imagine what it must be like to carry these surfboards all the way back to the parkingplace where we left our car. The climb is tough enough for me without any surfboard. Luckily I have a good excuse: hey, I was sick?! When we're back in Puerto del Carmen in the evening we have just enough energy left to walk to the centre to find a nice little restaurant.
> Lanzarote Day 4
Another sunny day, but the wind is much cooler than before. Unfortunately we only find out about this when we're already at Timanfaya national park. So we're shaking from the cold while standing on the warm vulcanic grounds, listening and watching the demonstration about hay that starts to burn in a hole and the geyser effect on water that is poured into another hole. Luckily there are enough spots for us to get a bit warmer, like the 6 meter deep oven with a temperature of 400 degrees.
After a very special ride through these Montañas del Fuego or fire mountains we drive back home to get trousers and jackets, before we go to the windy coast of Los Hervideros. There are various things to see at this rough coastline of lavastone, like the Salinas de Janubio,the salt refineries that look like a colorful make-up box from up the hills. When we continue our tour we have a few stops at places where the waves pound on the rocky black lava. At Los Hervideros itself you won't regret that you brought your a raincoat. Every now and then the waves reach the path where visitors are walking, or the wind blows the water up from the holes below.
At the end of the coastal road we reach El Golfo, a vulcanic crater right on the beach. Here you can see the different colorful layers from the rocky coast and the black beach is an interesting sight as well. There's a little green lake in the cater, that got its color from the many plankton. When we're checking this place out it all of a sudden starts to rain for the second time this day, but a little later we see the sun again.
> Lanzarote Day 5
In the morning we first pay a second visit to Teguise, today there is no market and it's very quiet in the village. We do see the inhabitants strolling through the streets, working and being busy in and around their homes. The many Christmas decorations again remind us that it's Christmas time, but temperatures tell us something else. When we leave the village and drive all the way up to the nearby Castillo de Guanapay we see the clean white houses of Teguise far below. Dark clouds are coming together in the whole environment, we see it pouring with rain in the distance, but in Teguise the sun is still shining. The result of this extraordinary weather is a new photo, before we continue the road to El Mojón, where it's sunny again. We take a picture of the little church, as many did before us, but today we're the only tourists in the village. When we follow the quiet road we see large fields with giant cactus plants. Many of the cactus carry fruit, most of them are red.
When we're in the Jardin de Cactus, a little later, we see that this island is a good place for cactus plants to grow. César Manrique designed this cactus garden in an old quarry, there are thousands of wonderful cactus growing. Most of them don't have flowers at the moment, but they still are very pretty. We enjoy a cup of tea on the terrace, with a lovely donut and a wonderful view over the garden. The renovated mill is above us, but today it's not working.
A bit further along the coastline we relax in the sun and watch the windsurfers in the ocean, before we head for Órzola, the most northern village of Lanzarote, a real fishermen's village. In a fishrestaurant we have very good grilled fish and seafruit and by the end of the afternoon we're just in time at the harbour of Arrecife to see the last sunlight on the fishingboats and the Castillo de San José.
> Lanzarote Day 6
The next morning we discover how wonderfully quiet the abandoned fishing-village Playa Quemada near Puerto del Carmen is. We decide to return the next morning to have breakfast here and continue our tour to Femés, a small village with again a little white church and a beautifull view over the coastline. A moment later we are down at the coast and turn into the road along Los Hervideros for the second time, to take some more pictures. We try one of the little sand roads in the surroundings and immediately we get punnished for our spontanous action and get stuck in the sand with our car. A bit more throttle helps and we decide to be a bit less adventurous and park the car in La Asomada for a walk through the wine-area of Le Geria. The hike takes us for a steep climb to the top of the volcano Tinasoria and from where we have a great view over the entire island. The wind blows very hard up here and we descend to walk back through the wine-fields. These look ingenious, because all vine tendrils are standing in holes of volcanic ashes and each of the bushes is surrounded by a wall of black stones. Once we're back in the car, we feel pretty tired and the only thing we do is eating a delicious paëlla in a nice restaurant.
> Lanzarote Day 7
Today is already our last day on Lanzarote, tomorrow we'll fly back to the cold and windy Netherlands. In Playa Quemada awaits us a sunny, abandoned beach and after our breakfast we discover its surroundings. Two mountain-trails lead up, but we descend and walk along the nice fishermans-houses with small boats next to the sea.
We discover some other villages in the inland: San Bartolomé with its beautifull square, Tiagua where we visit the open-air museum and Tinajo where we eat some delicious cakes. In the middle of the last village we see a gigantic Santa Claus on a roundabout made of light strings and the Christmas songs reverberates from a stereo underneath.
In the evening we go to Arrecife, we expect the capital to have the best fireworks on this last day of the year. It's very hard to find a restaurant that isn't closed on new year's eve, but the food at the chinese restaurant tastes excellent. We take our time and are hoping that the city-centre won't be as desolate after dinner. It turns out to be false hope. At 10 p.m. there's really nothing to do in the streets, so we return to our apartment to watch a movie and enjoy the fireworks from our terrace. This is probably the most quiet new year's eve ever, but at 12.30 we go to bed as we're exhausted. But that's a perfect time, because we are expected at the airport at 8.30 for check-in. Goodbye sun, goodbye warmth, see you next time.
> More Info
Also check our Spain info page, where you can find a lot of information about Spain and come see our Lanzarote Photos.