Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lanzarote

Loved, loved loved Lanzarote! This was the island I was looking forward to most, and it lived up to my expectations! See below for why…

I started the morning with another training session. I was wussy and stuck to the elliptical walker as I didn’t want to overdo things after running the day before. Its a weird thing with cruises, but I always get very achy legs despite my endless walking while at home because I spend every day climbing and descending hundreds and hundreds of steps between the dozen + decks that contain public areas on these big ships. Most people use the elevators, and towards the end I get much more inclined to do the same, but I push myself up and down them as much as I can!

So, the reason why I loved Lanzarote… we had a tour booked called Fire Mountain and Camel Ride. And I rode a camel!!!

This one to be precise…

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Isn’t it a fine looking specimen? the actual ride only lasted about 30 minutes,and there were a few rocky patches – the camel getting up and then getting back down were the worst, but it was noticeably less comfortably going downhill than up as well. But I’ve never ridden a camel before, so I really enjoyed the new experience, and judging from the grins on everybody’s faces, I wasn’t the only one! M and I shared a camel, sitting on seats either side of the hump. He hadn’t been keen on it beforehand, but also really enjoyed it in the end. So if you get the chance, be sure to ride a camel some day!

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The scenery in Lanzarote was absolutely spectacular! Of course it was volcanic again, and like Tenerife and Gran Canaria we saw plenty of calderas and volcanic cones, but the range of colours and textures in the rock here was far more beautiful. This post make take hours to download through all the photos, but I am trying to filter them a bit for you!

Another part of the tour took us into the Timanfaya National Park, which is all volcanic land. Here there was a Visitors Centre near the active part of the volcano; here we were shown the power of the volcano in 3 ways. First they scraped aside a thin layer of gravel and handed each of us some gravel from just below the surface. This gravel was hot enough to make us toss it from hand to hand rather than being comfortable holding it. The next step took us to a pit higher up. The pit was deeper below the surface, and the guide stuffed some dry brush and straw into a crevice just a little way down. First it smoked a bit, then it burst into flame!

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Finally we went higher still, to an area where several metal pipes were inserted into the ground. The guide tossed a little water into a pipe to cool the metal slightly, then dropped a much larger volume down it. the water instantly turned to steam and literally exploded out of the pipe! Even though we’d been warned, it made everyone jump back and gasp when it came back, it was so unexpectedly violent!

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The Visitor’s centre also had a restaurant where they used the heat from the volcano to grill the food using a really deep pit:

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We then stopped at a winery to taste some wine. The rocky semi-circles are wind breaks to protect the vines from the constant strong breeze that whips across the landscape here. Its all done by hand – building the wind breaks, planting and harvesting – such hard work!

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Food today:

Breakfast buffet:

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Is that bacon and turkey sausage I see before me? Yep – and it wasn’t very nice, so that cured me of that urge!

Lunch buffet:

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Pre-dinner cocktail: Pisco cocktail – absolutely delicious!

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Dinner (not buffet!):

Starter: Fruit ‘minestrone’

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Followed by:

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Then Mushroom pappardelle:

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And low fat mango-lime frozen yoghurt:

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