Monday, 27 February 2012

Lanzarote 1

Mention of Lanzarote can draw mixed responses. It still has a slightly seedy image in some quarters based on the bars that occupy the seaside strip in Puerto del Carmen, the main tourist centre. Round the many hundreds of swimming pools in the area, retired Brits, Irish and Germans soak up the sun, often overwintering for several months, but not straying far from their pool towels. Ryanair has made it easier and cheaper to get there. Despite the bossy boots business style, I’m a grudging admirer of Europe’s largest airline.

 The true face of Lanzarote is  to be found outside the main centres; in the lava fields and volcanoes that created them, in the picon covered gardens and vineyards that somehow defy the desert conditions, and in anything to do with Cesar Manrique, the artist whose guiding hand influenced the development of the island. His legacy is to be found in the low rise architecture, white walls and green windows that define the properties. In the design of many of the tourist centres and public monuments and in his own art which draws heavily on the life of the Island.    This photo shows the south end of La geria looking towards Uga. Amazingly, each vine has its own microclimate protected from the wind by low walls of volcanic rocks.The smoke is from the burning of the vine prunings. Of the many Bodegas along this road, perhaps El Grifo is the best. It has a wonderful range of wines based mainly on the Malvasia grape, the workhorse for Lanzarote white wines as well as being one of the classic varieties in Madeira. 
This year on our visit, the weather was unusually cool, catching the tail end of the extreme cold in Western Europe. This made for even better walking conditions than normal and the the photo above was taken on the walk round Haria from the path near the goat farm, showing the village in the middle distance. There are lots of walks across lava fields and craters to visit.  More tomorrow.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. E-edition at and for the paperback.


  1. Fascinating account, Alan. Hope you bought some of the delicious local wine back with you.

    1. Yes- Bodegas El Grifo do a wonderful dry Malvasia.I persuaded the kids to take back six bottles in their many suitcases since I was highly weight constrained on Ryanair.Perhaps we'll have a glass sometime!