Thursday, 1 March 2012

Lanzarote 4- La Graciosa

The view from Manrique’s Mirador del Rio at the north end of Lanzarote is the island of La Graciosa, reached by an excellent ferry service from the village of Orzola, an old fishing port on the north east coast. La Graciosa was uninhabited until the end of the nineteenth century, when the first colonists arrived to work a salt fish factory. As evidenced by the large number of salt pans at different locations on Lanzarote, salt played a large part in the early economy, both for salting fish and for export. Early settlers on La Graciosa had to endure hard living conditions without a local supply of drinking water as well as the strong winds, difficult land and isolation.
     Nowadays small scale fishing is still a local occupation, there is even a fish shop, but tourism has taken over as the main source of income. The main settlement, Caleta del Sebo is well supplied with restaurants bars and accommodation for a ‘get away from it all’ holiday.
     The hinterland is dominated by four volcanoes which determine the network of paths and tracks that attract walkers and cyclists, mainly on day trips.   Playa de las Conchas on the north east coast, below Montana Bermeja, is conveniently about an hour's walk from the ferry and has golden sand and an epic view of the smaller uninhabited islands of Montana Clara and Alegranza below.

Further down the same coast is the surfing beach of Baja del Corral, a hidden away Mecca for determined surfers, although the beach there is very rocky but the waves just right, coming straight in from the Atlantic. Montana Amarillo is in the background dominating the south end of La Graciosa.
Finally, I was surprised to see what I think is a relatively recent addition to the tourist menus in Lanzarote. I'm referring to limpets of course, albeit smothered in garlic mojo sauce, rather like snails in France. That comparison isn't inappropriate but the rubbery limpets make the snails look soft and tender. I'm sure that they were only ever eaten in the North of Scotland in very hard times which could descend on Lanzarote when the current generation of affluent European pensioners hand the baton to their impoverished successors. 
I'm looking forward to going back next winter.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. E-book at and Paperback at

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