Sunday, 23 March 2014

Lanzarote, part three - the lighthouse and Montana Roja.

Saturday – market day in Playa Blanca, so we first went down to browse, then fetched the bikes and set off westwards. You’d be surprised just how much ground you can cover in a day, and on these sort of prom’s, the going is easy (apart from the crowded bits).

Sue took to it like a duck to water, so I just said; “Stop quacking, and get cracking -  pedalling!” ( groan)

A lovely day for it!

 Looking across the stones to Fuerteventura.

Again, not hungry, but VERY tempted by this – the fish was landed, prepped and STRAIGHT into the kitchens.
Now THAT’S fresh!

Come on Sue, keep up.

After a short while, we reached the  Faro de Pechiguera lighthouse. This new lighthouse was built in the 20th century to replace the smaller, old one, which has stood here since 1866.

The new white one dwarfs the old stone one.

The first thing we noticed was the crashing waves. REALLY exciting to see.
The strong breeze was causing the spume to feather off the crest of the waves. The higher the wave, the better the stream.

The noise was amazing. ROARING and booming.
It was like heaven to us!

It was a dream for me to take pictures here.
(I came close to getting a soaking, but not quite).
You can see the waves crashing in, click HERE 

 I always wanted to get this shot.

 Doesn't have to be sand for Sue to relax!
The sound of crashing waves just SENDS her!

The old and the new stand side by side.

 Sue sits and enjoys the show & the great view across the waves to Fuerteventura & Isla Lobos.

We spent the best part of an hour at Faro de Pechiguera before being drawn to the ‘red mountain’, or Montana Roja, which commanded the skyline from here, even more than from Playa Blanca.
We rode the bikes as far as we could before locking them up at the start of the upward path, and following the stones. Stones are fine, but it doesn’t take Hercules to pick them up and turn them around to point the wrong way (which the kids in the UK would have done by now).

The walk was an easy 20 minute climb to the rim of Montana Roja, the path was dry and stony, and in sandals, a bit uncomfortable!

As if we didn’t know!

Halfway up, we looked over to the cafe we passed on the transfer from the airport.
Sitting as it does in the cup of the pass, I remarked then, what a great position it was in.
This photo emphasises that fact.

 Soon, we were on the rim of the crater, looking over to the ferry coming in and across the bay to where we were yesterday, Castillo de las Coloradas.

As a change from rock-balancing, people had done stone hearts on the crater floor.
(Click on the picture to enlarge to see things better)

Sue admires the view in a stiff breeze. We had to be careful here, as the gusts could easily take you by surprise, and were very strong.
You can see how unforgiving the edge of the crater rock is, but the path around it is a lot smoother and navigable.

Looking back from the top marker cross.
(I wonder why, whoever built it, thinks it needs that huge cairn??)

Looking down on the Pechiguera lighthouse.

The ONLY life we saw was this little lizard. I really do wonder what they eat,
and how they eke out a living in this harsh terrain?

Looking back across the bay to the other volcanoes.

We walked right around the rim, before dropping back down to pick up our bikes. Exploring done, it was time to hit the beach.
We went to Playa Flamingo, and did a bit of snorkelling and swimming. We didn’t stay too long though, as there was a cool, evening breeze, especially felt more when you were wet.

We locked the bikes up at the hotel (not having to return them until the morning), and after dinner, went to look at the beach. At night, it was fully lit with spotlights on tall poles.

Just time for a nightcap before bed. Click HERE

Friday, 21 March 2014

Lanzarote, part two - Rubicon harbour and Papagayo.

After the sleep of the innocent (bolstered by the super-comfy bed), we rose to a clear, azure blue sky.
We sat on the patio and enjoyed a coffee, and a quiet, uncluttered view of the gardens, before getting ready for breakfast.
Breakfasts in the hotel were just a delight! SO much choice, and so well-presented and cooked (as I suppose you should expect).
It’s always nice though, to find you’ve hit on a good base for your holiday.

Full up, and ready to go, we took the short walk to the front. Again, see how they have used the local rock as decoration?
Trees too, planted so beautifully alongside the cacti. As on other islands, irrigation pipes are never far away, as there would never be enough natural water to sustain the trees and plants (but I daresay the cacti would be ok).

 Last night, we turned right towards Playa Flamingo. That end of Playa Blanca is a bit too ‘busy’ for us – a bit like Alcudia (or Skegness). Ok if you like a bit of brash, loud music, fish and chips etc, but we preferred a more genteel feel. We turned left, and headed for the Rubicon marina complex.
This is looking back, the mound you can see is Montana Roja – we had that in our sights for later in the holiday!

The lovely Rubicon marina. Again, done with great thought and taste.
A surprisingly large marina, with lots of walkways, bridges, pools, bars and shops.
Of course, there were the ever-present harbour mullet. You can see them playing water polo with a whole bread roll, click HERE

The old lighthouse, now a restaurant called ‘One’.
After our trencherman breakfasts though, we were not in the slightest bit hungry!

Palms in black volcanic ‘soil’, against a faultless blue sky

A group of youngsters were being given sailing lessons.
This was their fleet of craft (note the chain again)

The Blue Note cafe and bar. They had live jazz music every night, so this became a favourite haunt of ours.
It was about 20 minutes saunter from the hotel, so just right in our eyes.
They also did a mean cocktail, with or without alcohol.
It was good to sit in the warming sunshine, looking over the marina and just feeling the holiday come online.

A simple courtyard, but again, great use of the chain rail feature.
We really loved the white overtones on Lanzarote, often with a blue side note.

These strange weeble-like sculptures were in a closed-off yard. What were they?
You can see a panorama of the marina, click HERE 

Leaving the marina, we climbed up some steps, and carried on along the slabbed prom’.
The cliffs looked so unnatural, being volcanic. One thing was obvious – NO animals (except the odd lizard).
On Fuerteventura, those ground squirrel were all over places like this.

Next was the old Castillo de las Coloradas.
Wikipedia says;
Castillo de las Coloradas is one of the few historic sights in Playa Blanca.
Just east of the Marina Rubicon, this 18th century construction was once used as refuge from the pirates that attacked the island.
The watchtower’s bell was rung to warn when pirates approached the harbour.

A-harrr, Jim lad!

A view back to the castillo from the promontory.

Clear skies and hot sun prompted us to press on and make for the beaches at Papagayo.

Sue, looking across to Fuerteventura in the haze.

No, she didn’t bend it – it was like that anyway (honest, officer).
All the way along this long prom’, the sides were always decorated with cacti and interesting rock gardens and formations.
Here, the tiled prom’ changed to an equally lovely pebbledash-type surface.

Sometimes, a blaze of colour from a wall of Bougainvillea.

Ahead of us, the prom’ stops, as we reach the national park of Papagayo.
You can see the ‘path’ you have to clamber up to the right of the hotel. Of course, you CAN take the road behind the hotel (but that’s for wimps).
Lots of people drive to the beaches there, as they are some of the best on the island.
It’s about a 15 minutes drive from our hotel, & it costs three euros to take your car in, but that includes parking. 

We were intrigued by this roof – a volcano in the middle of other hotels?

 Ahhhh – a man-MADE volcano!
We just HAD to go in and have a look.

Very nice too! Geared towards a sort of spa experience, we gathered.

The inside of the ‘volcano’ roof.
At night, they had red lights (to simulate lava flowing) on the outside.

After that, we walked to the first beach, Playa Mujeres, at Papagayo.
After our long walk, we were happy to just crash out on the sands, and soak up some of that
warm, Canarian sunshine :-)

 After all that hard sunbathing, it was cocktail time again at the Blue note.
You can see a video of Sue enjoying one HERE
On the way home, we booked to hire two bikes for tomorrow. It was time to cover more ground in a westward direction.
We wanted to get to the lighthouse, and more.

Later on, after a fabulous four course dinner in the hotel, we went back to the blue note for an evening of jazz music.
You can see a short video of the playing HERE

Relax Sue, you’ll need your strength for tomorrow – and the bikes!