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12-19 December 2000


After about four hours flight we arrived at Lanzarote around 3 p.m. (4 p.m. German time). The transfer to our hotel "Lanzarote Princess" in Playa Blanca took about 45 minutes. At this time of the year we got a good price with the four-star hotel which is conveniently situated close to the centre of Playa Blanca and only a few minutes walk from the Playa Dorada, a sheltered beach of fine white sand. The hotel offered quite a good night entertainment like musical shows (we saw "Grease" and "Beauty and the Beast"), a Flamenco and a magical show. The buffet often had a theme like Italian, Mexican, Chinese or Canarian food.

Lanzarote is the most easterly of the seven major Canary Islands and lies in the Atlantic Ocean only some 100 km from the African coast. The island covers only about 60 km in length and 20 km at its widest point. Its surface of solidified lava and volcanic rock looks like a moonscape which was sculpted by the volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736. Lanzarote's white houses form a pretty contrast to the black soil. The island enjoys an average temperature of 22 ºC all year-round. The former fishing village Playa Blanca, situated at the southernmost tip of the island, is the smallest and most tranquil of the major tourist resorts. It has a beach of fine golden sand and a picturesque promenade with a good view of Fuerteventura. As it is a flourishing resort there's quite a bit of construction work going on at the moment.

During three days we rented a car for only 9.300 Pesetas (56 Euros) with Felycar. You can get even cheaper offers but not including full insurance. On the first day we drove through the wine region of La Geria. The island's special way of cultivating wine by planting just one vine each in little craters of black lava sand sheltered by small black stone walls was declared as "engineering with engineers" by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. We strolled around the former capital Teguise and visited the Fundación César Manrique (1000 Pesetas). This famous artist built his unique house which is now a museum right into the lava stones. Afterwards we visited the cave system Jameos de Agua (1000 Pesetas) in the north of Lanzarote. The 'jameos' are natural entrances to subterranean volcanic pipes, generated by molten lava descending towards the sea. Inside the grotto is a lake which is the only place in the world where a species of blind white crab can be found. We surrounded the Malpaís de la Corona which also offers some patches of white sandy beaches. We enjoyed the fantastic view onto the islet Isla Graciosa but avoided paying the entry fee to the viewpoint Mirador del Río also constructed by César Manrique. We visited Haría in the "valley of a 1000 palm trees". This abundance of green is very rare on Lanzarote. From the chapel Ermita de las Nieves we had a good view of the steep cliffs of the north-west coast. We also had a look at the modern windmills in the Parque Éolico. As it was getting late we headed back to the hotel afterwards, passing by Femés which offers a good view onto Playa Blanca.

On the second day we went to the Playa de Janubio, a beautiful beach of black lava sand at Lanzarote's west coast. Then we explored the spectacular coastline of Los Hervideros where the surf rushes in and out of the openings and cracks formed by lava rock. El Golfo is a green lagoon inside an ancient volcanic crater, colouring caused by the algae that inhabit its waters. We stopped in Yaiza, one of the prettiest villages of Lanzarote, on our way to the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, the most extensive volcanic region of Lanzarote with more than 100 volcanoes. The entry fee of 1000 Pesetas included a coach tour through the Montañas del Fuego or Fire Mountains. We had the opportunity to glance into several craters from the top. The restaurant El Diablo serves meals grilled over geothermal heat. Even near the surface the temperature rises to 400°C ! As a show for the tourists water is poured into some holes in the ground causing a geyser to erupt with a hissing noise. You can also ride a camel through this area but we didn't. We continued our tour passing through the villages of Mancha Blanca, Tinajo and Tiagua, the latter with a picturesque old windmill. We drove as far as La Caleta and the Playa de Famara, a surfing area, then returned to the hotel.

On the third day we visited the tourist resorts of Costa Teguise and Puerto del Carmen and also passed through the capital Arrecife. The architecture of Costa Teguise goes back to plans by César Manrique and its main beach Playa de las Cucharas offers white sand. In contrast to all the rest of the island the traffic along the promenade in Arrecife was quite heavy and there was no parking available, so we didn't stop. Puerto del Carmen is the biggest and oldest tourist place and offers everything the fun-seeking tourist requires. It has a pretty promenade and the longest beaches of the island. In the afternoon we got back to Playa Blanca and continued towards the nearby Playas de Papagayo, several pretty coves with fine white sand which are only accessible for 500 Pesetas via a dirt road, but they are well worth it. They are also unofficial nudist beaches and the cliffs above offer a fantastic view of Playa Blanca and Fuerteventura or the south-east coast on the other side. You can also rent a mountain bike in Playa Blanca or take a boat to visit the beaches. Unfortunately new hotel and apartment complexes are rising in the vicinity of the beaches which therefore might not remain secluded very much longer.

The remaining days of our holiday we spent at the pool or walking around Playa Blanca. The heated pool wasn't too cold but we didn't swim in the sea, quite a few people did though. Once we also had lunch in a restaurant on Playa Blanca's pretty promenade tasting the famous salty potatoes "papas arrugadas" and a tortilla (Spanish omlette). The sun was shining every day. Only two days were a bit cloudy and in the evening it cooled down a fair bit. The steady wind could turn quite cold when there was no sun. On the day of our departure it was raining very hard, so we had picked the right day!


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