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Sunday, 27 April 2014

DOES ANYONE LOOK AT BLOGS ANYMORE....

....or have they been overtaken by Facebook et al.?

Here's just a short comment for anybody who may be browsing.

Today is 27th. April, the last day of the ski season in the French Pyrenees. I had my last ski of the season yesterday and there was plenty of snow left, better than some previous years and enough, you would think, for several weeks more. But we've had some odd weather today, 10-minute bursts of sunshine alternating with 10 minutes of heavy rain and strong winds. Real April showers. It was lucky I managed to mow the lawn last Thursday morning.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Caesar Manrique's House in the Lava bubbles Lanzarote

Manrique had a number of homes on Lanzarote. This is the best known. Ruth is pictured here outside this "house" in the centre of the island, with one of his sculptures behind her.
 

Me at the same place.


It's really difficult to photograph three-dimensioned images with a 2D camera but these are our attempts.  This is a shot taken at ground level looking down into the house.


And this is looking across the top of the house at the countryside. As you can see, volcanic ash is not very fertile.


This is taken from inside the house, looking up to ground level. Because it doesn't rain very much in Lanzarote a watertight roof is not necessary, but protection from the wind is.


Again, a shot looking upwards.


In one of the seating areas.


The indoor garden.


Caves of the blind albino crabs

These photos are out of order. At various place on Lanzarote there are caves formed by volcanic gasses at they bubbled up from below. Many of the caves, of course, collapsed but there are still many which remain. From some of them Manrique made his subterranean home, but this one, filled with seawater which has permeated in from the ocean remains as a spectacle. It is the home of blind albino crabs, apparently unique in the world.
 

This is a shot of the interior of the cave/bubble. You will get an idea of the size by comparing with the people at the far end.


A swimming pool has been made in some of the collapsed section of the cave.



 
Note the people on the right-hand side of the cave.
 
 
 
It seems to be bloody freezing in France today and I am back in long trousers. It is hard to imagine that I was in shorts over a month ago.
 

Amador's corner with Andres and Borro and Emilio

Twice while we were on Lanzarote we visited a bar recommended to us by Dick, El Rincon de Amador. Amador sold the bar a couple of years ago and it is now run by Emilio but every night, as far is we are aware, there is local Spanish live music.
 

These are Andres and Borro.


And this time with Emilio providing the rhythm section.


This animated clip may work for you. It didn't for me!


La Graciosa and theMirador del Rio

 
There's rather a lot of photos in this post, so most of them will be uncaptioned.
 

Close to the sea near Malpas de la Corona, towards Orzola. I picked up a volcanic stone which we brought home. (Malpas isn't Welsh or Cornish, by the way.)


This is the apron on the harbour at La Graciosa. The restaurant where we celebrated my birthday is beyond the single person in the photograph


This is looking at the hinterland of the island. As you can see, the roads are all sand.


This is the light at the northernmost tip of Lanzarote.


And now we come to the viewpoint on Lanzarote looking across to La Graciosa. Viewpoints are not my strongpoint, so to speak, but this one was stupendous. Another one of Cesar Manrique's creations, it is situated on the northwest coast and I shouldn't have gone to it if we hadn't been so close. There were a few cars around the entrance, pictured below, which gives no sign of what you are about to see.

You go in and this is the view, more than 1500 feet up and looking down on La Graciosa, from where we had just come. If you go back up two pictures you will be able to see the hillside from sea level.




Myself and friend enjoying the view.


The Atlantic Ocean.



Another view of La Graciosa.



Friday, 11 April 2014

TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE IN LANZAROTE

 
Life must have been particularly hard on Lanzarote before mass tourism started. The main industry was agriculture and this in a land with no trees, no grass and only 100mm of rain a year onto a black , gravelly, volcanic "soil". Unusually for us, we decided to visit the agricultural museum in the centre of the island.   This is the surrounding terrain.

In this picture you can see the three-quarter circles of rocks which are placed around each grape-vine, each planted in a depression in the ground. We tried some local wine and it was quite good. The big rectangle is a walled concreted area used to capture rainwater which is then stored underground. 



This is some of the farm buildings

And these two, shots of the fields....



Camels were the main form of transport and beasts of burden. And they had chicken and goats but no cows.


A tethering point


And two examples of copies of Guanche figures.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Teguise Market Lanzarote


Dick and the Lanzarote Guide both recommended the Teguise Market on Sunday morning. We were only there for one Sunday, so we went. It is, it has to be said, a pretty big market, spreading as it does through the whole village/town. And although a good deal of the wares on sale were Chinese and/or plastic there seemed to be a fair amount of locally-produced goods on offer both food and crafts. We parked a little outside the place and walked in, passing by a house in which were displayed some copies of statuettes made by the original inhabitants of the island, the Guanches.  That would have been OK, but the owner of the property had been overtaken by delirium - probably caused by the 361 days of sunshine the island experiences per annum - and had crammed the former garden with hundreds of artefacts of decreasing cultural content. Here is one.



There are still a number of these windmills on the island. There is a shortage of water power there, but no particular shortage of wind. As you can see, aesthetic values score fairly low down when virtually all building materials have to be imported.


Teguise was formerly the island's capital (since removed to Arrecife) and the Spanish colonial style is still evident there.
 
 
Inside the church (packed with curious visitors) was this curious Christ on the Cross, badly in need of a haircut. Is there a story here? 
 
 
I can't remember what this statue was about. I know it was pretty difficult to photograph, with all the traffic going past.



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Santander to Lanzarote Water Taxi

Well, we know there isn't a water taxi all the way from Santander to Lanzarote but it's a way of grouping the photos in this post. We had decided to celebrate my birthday this year in Lanzarote after last year's expedition to Barcelona. The reasons for the choice were (1) we had never been to the Canary Islands and (2) I had messed up a Ryanair booking to London and needed to use the flights elsewhere. Accordingly we had a 5 hour drive to Santander airport on the north coast of Spain to catch our flight. Whilst at Santander we repeated our practice of photographing our feet, as we had done on our tour around Europe 6 years ago.  
 

The next shot actually is of me sitting (or slouching) on the water taxi which plies between Puerto del Carmen and Puerto Calera on Lanzarote. It's quite a short trip , in fact we walked it one time on the cliff path, but we mostly did it to see the dolphins. There had been some a couple of days before and would be again, before and after our next trip on the taxi, but we didn't see any.


A selfie!