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Datum: 26-03-2017    Lanzarote - Arrecife Part 2
The city and the area
Lanzarote distinguishes itself by its bizarre moonscaped surface, white houses, swaying palm trees, black lava sand, volcanic ground and fanciful rocky coasts. Besides there is an emerald-green salt lake, you find protected vines and deep cave systems (we’ll look into that later).
Arrecife itself it not much to look at, even a bit dull. After half a day you’ve seen everything. The city does have all the facilities, like big supermarkets, electronics shops, and several clothing shops. We even could buy our vacuum bags at some sort of ‘Blokker’(Dutch shop for household items). In one of the supermarkets we find peanut butter! Well, some kind of peanut butter, anyway…. Not as good as Calvé, but a reasonable alternative. Fred’s glasses are done for, so we have to look for an optician. Fortunately, Fred still has his old glasses and all the data to order a new one. Within 10 days he will be the proud owner of a new one!

As said before, there is the city lagoon Charco de San Ginés, with its many restaurants, which has a lively atmosphere. On arriving from sea you the Castillo de San José lying on a hill. When you walk from the marina to the city along the coast road, you pass the 16th century Castillo San Gabriel. This castle is placed on a peninsula and is connected to the mainland by way of two footpaths and bridges. Looking out over the sea, you have on your left-hand side a beautiful view over the Boca Juan Réjon, a cove, which is closed off naturally by rocks. This makes for some nice wave breaking.
On your right-hand side is a bay, where you can anchor quite well; this bay is fenced by the Punta Lagarta. On the beach near the castle, an artist has made some sand sculptures: several animals and ‘Star Wars’-characters. Walking on along the boulevard, you see the highest building of the island, Gran Hotel and Spa. Behind this hotel lies the Playa del Reducto, a beach of almost 500 metres long, with a promenade. On the beach itself there are no bars; to enjoy a drink or a bite, you have to cross the street. We see half a dozen old men busily chatting away on a wall. 
Behind the complex of the marina is a glass building, Cabrera Medina, where Tourist Information and ‘Rent-a-car’ are established. At this last one we hire a car, for one day (€ 35,00). The lady behind the counter is not what you call friendly; she snarls at us. “Show your driver’s licence, sign a paper, pay and here are the keys. The car is over there” (as she points to a large parking lot), like: “find out for yourselves”. We get a snow-white Seat Ibiza, a small snappy car.

Actually, there are only 3 main roads on Lanzarote LZ1 (northward), LZ2 (southward) and LZ3 (around Arrecife). Apart from that you have much more small roads, which all look well-tended.
The roughest nature of the island, Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, lies in the southwest of Lanzarote. This protected area makes it clear that Lanzarote is of volcanic origin. The national park is named after the first village that was wiped out by the volcanic eruptions of 1730-1736. In total no less than 11 villages vanished from the surface of the earth during 6 years of eruptions and 180 square kilometres were changed permanently. These eruptions started on September 1st 1730, according to tradition and where the heaviest ever on Lanzarote. There was another eruption in 1824, but this one was not as devastating as the ones in the 18th century. You can visit the park every day between 9:00 and 17:00.
We leave early, to stay ahead of the tourist packs. It is a bit cloudy today and there is a cool wind. We dress accordingly and take some shorts with us, just in case it gets warmer. We drive along the LZ2 direction Tias and Yaiza, take the bypass around Yaiza, the LZ-67, to the entrance of the park. We arrive at 8:30, so we have to wait until 9:00 before we can buy a ticket (€ 9,00 per person). We drive on to a large parking lot at restaurant ‘el Diablo’.
From there on you are not allowed to drive into the park, but you get on a coach. This coach ride takes about 30 minutes and is included in the admission fee. During the tour, on a beautifully built asphalt road, you get a lovely view on part of the 25 craters and more than 100 volcanic cones. Through multilingual explanation (Spanish, English, German, French) you learn about the history of the park. By the way, you are not allowed to leave the coach anyplace. On a number of spots, the coach halts and you have time to take some pictures. Taking a nice pic is a bit hindered by the reflection of the windows of the coach.
Because you can’t leave the bus and nobody is allowed go through the park, you don’t see garbage anywhere. That makes this unspoilt surroundings even more special. And if the wind should blow in some garbage, it is cleaned away immediately. It is a very special ride through this moon-like landscape, where the colours change from black to grey to red and back. Here is a photo-impression, which says more than words.
That there is truly volcanic activity is made clear when we get back at the parking lot. They show you in 4 different ways that the heat is very near the surface. One of the guides of the park makes the guests form a circle and hands over a bit of lava gravel, which he picks up from a particular spot on the ground. The gravel is almost too warm to hold (I have taken a little bit back for my granddaughter Bobby).

The audience is invited to stand around a pothole. You feel and see the warmth coming up from it. He puts a bunch of straw on it and pretty soon the straw starts smoking and within 10 or 20 seconds catches fire. Nothing more than the warmth is enough, no fire. There are funnels, driven into the ground. As soon as the spectators are at a safe distance, the staff member pours a little water in it. Some steam comes out of the pipe. This is a taste of what is to come. The tour guide tells us to keep our cameras stand-by, because we have only 2 seconds to react. A large amount of water is poured in….within 2 seconds the water shoots up several metres. At the restaurant is a well 6 metres deep, that blows volcanic warmth. The temperature in the hole is more than 300 degrees Celsius. Over the hole there is a grill, where the restaurant cooks its potatoes and barbecues its chickens.
Afterwards we have a coffee and then drive back to the main road, turn left and continue on the LZ-67 direction Mancho Blanco’s visitors-and interpretation centre. The exposition is interesting for getting a better idea how this island has come to existence. They organise walking-tours with a guide from here and we hope we can get in one. But alas, the tours are fully booked for the next 2 months! We can be put on a waiting-list, but for that we have to be present here on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 9:00 every time. So it is not going to happen, is it? Going into the area independently is prohibited and if you try this, you are fined, which can amount up to € 600,00 p.p.!
We drive back on the same road and pass a spot where you can make a ride on a dromedary. But we don’t do that, on principle, animals should not be exploited for tourism. From Aiaza we take the L7-704 to the fishing village of El Golfo. The village Las Casas de el Golfo is named after the former volcano. At the restaurant we have a couple of ‘entrada’s’ (entrees), which is more than enough for lunch. After that we walk into the village to look at the breaking waves, which is a spectacular view, especially at a cove.
We continue our way via the LZ-703 along the west coast, direction La Hoya. Underway we pass by a salt extraction area, hills with black lava sand, where they built little walls against the hill, in a bend, to protect the planting against the wind. In the distance we see the next island, Fuerteventura. We ride back to Arrecife on the LZ-702, along the east coast at Tias, to end up back in the city of Arrecife.
While underway, Fred gets a message from his optician: his glasses are ready! Through the tangle of one-way-streets in Arrecife we finally find a parking spot more or less in the neighbourhood of the optician. We have to wait a while, since the shop is still closed, but not soon after that Fred has nice glasses again! Then to the supermarket, back to the marina, where we hand in the car. All in all an (event) full day.

Packages sent and received
We have ordered several things in the Netherlands and Ingrid has neatly sent everything to us. A ring to attach the fisheye lens to my camera, my medication and a couple of Wi-Fi-sticks for Fred. Also, my friend Anneke has put a whole bunch of things together, which I ordered and very much wanted to have, like certain spices, liquorice, chocolate sprinkles and peppermint. Thanks to all you lovely people!

Other sailors
In almost every marina you see, what I call, a “lost boat”. Very neglected, ropes hanging loose, sails perished, turned green and grey. What kind of story would there be behind this, I often wonder. Likewise in this marina. A couple of boats, one with a Dutch flag on it, but inhabited by a Spaniard (?) and the other one with a little dog on board. They both look special, like some kind of hermit-boats. The pier where they are berthed is not very well tended, it’s smaller and has no lights, obviously a special spot for special boats. Is it a coincidence that Mark is berthed on this pier too? Although… at our pier there is also a ‘special’ boat, yellow, with a green deck. There must be a story to this, perchance we will find out about this….
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