Tag Archives: Landscape

Lanzarote Day 5 – It’s That Man(rique) again

Tuesday March 1 2022 – Long read alert – lots of photos!

We had formulated a plan for the day. Remarkably, the plan held together up to but not including lunchtime, after which we fell back into the old ways of making it up as we went along. Jane’s rather good at that, so we’ve had a good day and I have lots and lots of photos to share with you. There, I bet that makes you feel good.

The Plan, such as it was, was to get to a tourist tick box at the extreme north of the island,  and work our way basically southwards with a couple of eastward diversions.  The starting tick box was the Mirador del Rio, one of the many César Manrique landmarks which can be found across the island, and a very popular site, hence wanting to get there fairly early, before it was overrun by bloody tourists. That bit of the plan worked well, and the car park had plenty of space when we got there. (It filled up quickly and newcomers had to go to an overflow area)

It’s deservedly popular.  You buy your ticket and go into the building there, and the first thing that greets you is a coffee bar with very striking panoramic windows.

As you’d expect in a Manrique creation, there are typical touches all over, including the coffee bar’s light fittings

and a curved seating area with a porthole view over the car park. (The porthole is the only building feature you can see from the car park.)

From the coffee bar, you go outside and get blown to smithereens by the bloody wind are immediately presented with a splendid view over the neighbouring island of Graciosa.  You can then climb a spiral staircase

to a higher level, where you get an even more impressive view.

Upon leaving you are offered the chance to follow a narrowish road that follows the clifftop for a couple of kilometres.  The views are spectacular, but the track is sufficiently narrow that it can be difficult to stop to take photos, so we didn’t.  However, courtesy of the “Walking in Lanzarote” book, we’d read about a path that led off to a “stunning picnic spot”, so we thought that might be worth a punt.  I’m glad we did.  It was a short walk to what did indeed look like a convenient place for a picnic.

and it did indeed offer a splendid view.

If you look closely at the piece of mainland closest to Graciosa Island, you can just make out some salt flats (Salinas del Rio).  I only mention this because one option at this point would have been to continue down the mountain on a very perilous-looking track and walk to the salt flats and then back – back up the perilous track.  This walk is described in the book as “very strenuous”, to which my reaction is “no, really?”

Our route took us next to the town of Haría, where César Manrique made his final home, which has now been turned into a museum.  As we approached Haría, we had no idea how big the town was, whether the museum had parking or how crowded the place would be.  So we followed the first signs to a car park that we saw, which led to a frankly rather scruffy car parking area in a rather scruffy-looking area of town.  But at least it was somewhere to leave the car, and so we set off in search of the museum.

It was a mile away. On the other side of town.

However, as we discovered during the walk, there are many handsome buildings and pleasant sights in Haría; it’s not all scruffy.

We eventually found the museum.

It has a car park.

We bought our tickets and went in.  You’re not allowed to take photos inside, something which annoys me, as I can’t see what the justification is for the prohibition beyond selling you a book with photos in it. And actually the place was, unlike the Fundacion location in Tahiche that we’d visited yesterday, quite prosaic. It was just a home, not a work of art – and a very obviously 1990s home, at that. Nice enough but really not that striking (except the bathrooms – Jane thought that he gave great bathroom).  The outside is pleasant though.

and you can visit his studio

where I risked the anger of The Authorities and grabbed a quick illicit shot as I left.

Overall the place might be of great interest to a Manrique devotee, but I’m not one. That, and the photo prohibition, left me less than impressed.

And it was a mile back to the car.

But there were some more handsome buildings and nice sights to see en route, so it wasn’t too bad,

and it appears that the Aloe thing reaches even out here.

Miradors abound in this neck of the woods, and we wanted to visit the next significant one, Mirador de Haria, as it offered (as well as a view of Haria, as might be inferred from the name)  glass walkways over a precipice, just to give you that extra fillip.  Sadly, too many other people had had the same idea and there was nowhere we could leave the car safely to go in.  So we carried on to the next, somewhat higher, viewpoint, which is called Mirador de los Helechos.  Parking here was easy, and it was clear that a decent view would be forthcoming.  The turnstiles to access said view required a €1 coin, which was a bit of a facer, since we had no coins at all.  We went into the restaurant to try to get some coins, and it became clear that if you were to buy a coffee they would let you out to the view. So we treated ourselves to the second coffee of the day and accordingly got out to see what is indeed a great view.

If you look closely you can just spot, on the left hand side, the Mirador de Haria.  Here, let me show you:

You can see how inconveniently small the car park is.

There’s a view over the towns of Haría and Máguez, which you can see to the right here (I’ve left in the other mirador for context)

and the towns present a bit of an optical illusion of a witch riding a broomstick, with the upper part, Máguez, being her hat.

It’s interesting to see the extent to which the land is  cultivated, and this viewpoint gives a good insight.

You can see that terraces have been created from bottom to top of hills.  It must be back-breaking work to cultivate them but it’s clear that this is the way of things.

By this time, lunch was calling, and this is where our plan basically came unstuck. We had hoped to lunch at another viewpoint, Restaurante Mirador de Los Valles, a bit further along. But by the time we got there, it was full.  We would have phoned to book, but since we had no idea what time we’d get there we thought we’d try our luck.  Since it was by now 2pm – prime lunch time in these here parts – our luck was out. The staff made a desultory attempt to put us at an outside table, but since the wind was gusting around and they didn’t even come for several minutes even to ask if we wanted a drink, we decided to move on and try our luck elsewhere. So the improvisatory nature of this holiday came once again to the fore and Jane suggested we go to the nearby town of Teguise. This turned out to be an excellent idea.

Teguise was at one stage the capital of Lanzarote, and it shows.  There are many fine buildings and plazas and a general sense of Being Something.

On a hillside overlooking the town – and closed for obvious reasons when you see the photo – is something that simply had to be photographed – Santa Barbara Castle.

(I guess you have to be of a certain age to appreciate the significance of the name.  If you’re not, then look it up, OK?)

One place we wandered past had a blackboard publicising tapas on a roof terrace, so we thought we’d give that a shot. The first impression was a bit strange – it was dead quiet as we walked in. But a waitress encouraged us up the stairs and there was a nice terrace; in the shade and out of the wind.

We noticed that there were water bottles jammed into the eaves of the roof.

On reflection, we thought they were probably there to dissuade roosting and/or nesting by the doves which were in plentiful evidence.

The menu was handwritten on a notepad, but included some tapas and they also offered gin, so we stuck with it and it turned out to be a very nice lunch, particularly once a noisy family with kids had left.

The place was actually the Social and Cultural Centre of Teguise – a very quirky and slightly odd building

but handsome from the outside, like so many others in the town.

We walked around the town after lunch, admiring the place, and I tried my hand at some Arty Photos,

and a few other views of the place.

We saw a couple of unusual statues. The first was of a typical musician who might be part of a local troupe.

The second is a masked monster, to do with Carnival time – and, unplanned, we’d arrived on Mardi Gras; a complete accident of fate.  Amusingly, as we walked back to the car, we saw a chap dressed in a similar way to the statue for Carnival celebrations that very evening.

Because we never cover as much ground as we plan to, there were still many, many tourist boxes to be ticked in the northern reaches of the island – too many to attempt at this point, so we decided to head back to the hotel; after all, we’d had a full day. Just look at all them photographs!

So the morrow will see us back in the northern part of the island, where there’s aloe and cochineal and salt, and caves and cactus, and probably a whole load else.  So you’d better check in and see what we managed to cover, eh?



Cami de Cavalls day 18 – Departure day and final thoughts

Saturday 2 October 2021 – We’ve been home for a couple of days, so now that we’ve caught up with the unpacking, washing and ironing, and are starting once more to get used to the rhythms of life at home – which don’t sadly, involve drinking gin every day – I thought I’d reflect on our final day in Menorca, the journey home and any other rambling that occurs to me.

We were due to be taken to the airport by taxi at 1345, which gave us the morning to fill. Although we’d seen pretty much all that Ciutadella had to offer the tourist, it’s such an attractive city that we went wandering round anyway.  This was last Thursday, 30th September; when we visited Menorca previously in 2019, October 1 was the date when all the bus services beyond the main route connecting the large towns was suspended, as this was officially Out Of Season.  So it was interesting to note, as we walked around in the harbour, that some of the restaurant umbrellas were being jetwashed.

Now, it may be that this is a standard practice for a Thursday, in preparation for the weekend; or it may be that this was an end-of-season activity, preparing to put things away for the winter. We don’t rightly know, but it had a slightly sad valedictory feel to it, somehow.

We carried on wandering around, noting a couple of other quirky artworks.

(The chap with the plunger was connected to a drawing of a pile of TNT.) We’d bought a couple of bottles of the local gin to take home with us, because we know that, unlike much booze that is consumed on holiday in The Foreign, Xoriguer gin travels well.  So we complemented it with a purchase of some sobrasada, the local sausage meat which figures prominently in Balearic recipes, particularly tapas. Let’s see if that travels as well, eh?

After a final farewell coffee in Es Pou, it was time to get back to the hotel and await the cab to the airport.  From there on, the travels went perfectly smoothly, with the minimum of time wasted standing in a queue waiting for the check-in desk to open.  The flight was on time – well done, EasyJet – perfect punctuality for both outward and return journeys and a perfect amount of gin and junk food available for purchase on board – and the UK passport gates seemed to be talking to the other Covid systems so we wafted through the border with no queue at all and without having to show any paperwork beyond our passports.  My bag was number 19 on the conveyor, with Jane’s not too far behind, the taxi was not only awaiting us but had enough fuel to get us home, and so we entered our front door some 80 minutes after the plane touched down, which was nice.  The 15°C temperature and the steady rain was less so, but it was still good to get home and find it still standing.  No-one had raided our cars for fuel, either, which was comforting.

The only fly in the ointment was our Day 2 Covid test back in the UK.  We’d booked it and DPD were supposed to deliver it, but failed because their driver (who I’m pretty sure has delivered to us before) got us confused with the nursing home at the end of our track.   The UK government web pages don’t specify what you’re supposed to do if the test delivery is cocked up. And anyway the rules change on Monday.  We’ve both taken Lateral Flow tests (negative) and have a full audit trail of the efforts we’ve been to to get a test delivered in a timely fashion, and I have no idea whether The Men From The Ministry will follow up in any way.  We’ll just do the PCR tests assuming that DPD don’t cock up again on Monday, but it was very frustrating.

So, here we are, back home, and here I am on a rainy Saturday in Surrey, with the temperature at 13°C outside, thinking final thoughts about a memorable 18 days.

  • It’s been a great experience; although we’d recreated the mileage a year ago, it was pleasing to know that we could still take this sort of mileage in our stride.  Although we did less vertical ascent than last year, we found this year generally harder going; the heat was one factor and the surface underfoot was another which made this year’s exertion greater.
  • The pattern of the days was different from my original expectations. Like last year’s re-creation, I had hoped to be able to walk about half of each day’s distance, find a hostelry of some sort, have a drink and some lunch and then finish the walk.  As it turned out, with only a couple of exceptions, we did all of the walking without breaks of any pith or moment. The heat had a lot to do with that – we wanted to get the walking done before the day got too hot.
  • The exercise emphasised to me what a wonderful thing the human metabolism is.  On our longer walks in the UK, ones on which we take water with us, it is not unusual for me to have to dive off into the bushes for a discreet pee.  Over a fortnight of walking in the heat, despite taking on a fair bit of water as I walked, not once did I feel the need to relieve myself; and I never got dehydrated, either.  My bodily systems just sent the water where it was needed, including as sweat to try to keep me cool.  It nearly succeeded in that last. Nearly.
  • One of the great things about this holiday was the fact that we could indulge ourselves with slightly too much to eat and drink (what’s a holiday for if not that?) and not come back half a stone heavier than when we left. Garmin Connect estimates that covering the Cami used up 18,625 calories, which converts to just over 5lb in weight.  I have arrived back weighing pretty much the same as when I left the UK.
  • Would we go back to Menorca?  Actually, probably not, not at least in the foreseeable future.  It’s a lovely place and I’m glad we (a) visited and (b) went back; but we’ve now seen a great deal of what the island has to offer, and there are plenty of other places in the world we haven’t yet been to that I think now have a higher priority (particularly whilst we have our health and mobility).
  • Would we recommend it?  Yes.  The island’s a delight, the Cami360 team do a great job, and I would unhesitatingly recommend it as a walking holiday, though I think it wouldn’t be wise to undertake it in the heat of August.  Apart from anything else, they need tourists – we were quite surprised at how few English voices we heard, and one of our taxi drivers was quite vocal about the excessive number of Spanish tourists that have visited this year.  Covid has had quite an impact it would seem.
  • Photography note: I could have taken my Big Camera with me, but didn’t.  I trusted that a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 would do a good enough job and it has.  I also had a small video camera with me (DJI Pocket 2, since you ask) but I only used it once and actually the phone would have done a pretty good job if necessary. The light was normally perfectly good, there weren’t any tricky wildlife shots or other unusual circumstances where a more capable camera would have been needed, with the one exception of the Cova des Coloms, where I would have liked to have with me a camera that could cope with a bigger range of light.  But one photo out of a couple of thousand doesn’t in my mind justify having to lug the extra weight, particularly in that heat.

Here’s a map of where we actually walked. The various colours are assigned by Garmin depending on the speed we walked.

So there we are – another holiday over and another set of blog pages satisfactorily drafted.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I have had writing them.  There’s still a lot of uncertainty about international travel so our plans for future trips are still somewhat fluid.  But I plan to be back among these pages with more photos and commentary and I would be delighted to have your company whenever that happens.

For now, stay well!


Cami de Cavalls day 17 (1) – The Rain In Spain

Wednesday 19 September 2021 – Before I get on to any further details of What We Did On Our Holiday, I thought it was worth reporting that both Jane and I were declared free of the dreaded lurgy by the Spanish authorities, which means we are free to leave the country tomorrow. So, we had just one more full day in the delightful city of Ciutadella.

The weather has been lovely these past couple of days – sunshine and not too much humidity.  The Met Office forecast for today, though, suggested a 40% chance of a light shower.  So when this happened



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Steve Walker (@spwalker2016)

it was a bit of a surprise, not least for the hotel.  The restaurant is in an open courtyard, and has many umbrellas and suchlike devices for shade; but these were not equal to the task of withstanding this deluge.  After the rain stopped, we went to get breakfast and were confronted with scenes of mild chaos.  I have a suspicion that the restaurant is a little undermanned (like the hospitality industry everywhere, really), as the staff there always seem to be scurrying to keep up; so when half the tables and chairs were soaked (and, I might add, cornering at speed in the courtyard was a tad perilous), they were really struggling.  So we went back to our room for half an hour to let them catch up, and when we went back things were somewhat better, though not completely under control. The practical upshot is that we got our Earl Grey and I got my Marmite, so this, along with our clean bill of health, made for a reasonable start to the day.

Ciutadella is a lovely city;  we know this from a previous visit and time here during the Cami walks, and it is the reason we had decided to stay here for a couple of days’ relaxing after our exertions.  Actually, this was possibly a very slight tactical error.  Yes, it’s lovely, but it’s also quite small, and we’d by now explored most of the easily-accessible nooks and crannies.  It might have been a better idea to find somewhere new on the island for these relaxation days so that we had better scope for exploration and discovery. On the other hand, the Can Faustino is a delightfully luxurious hotel, which has been a pleasure to stay at.

We decided to walk around the city some more, and, to give us a sense of purpose, rather than simple aimless wandering, we conceived – and superbly executed – A Mission Of Importance:

but, in discharging this solemn duty we got some more pictures from around the city.  Buildings and harbour area are really striking

and there were also some lovely quirky little vignettes, starting with this unusual piece of garage flooring.

There were also some nice instances of street art of various sorts

(actually, I think the last of these is more likely to be an advert for the supermarket round the corner, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, eh?)  So it was a pleasant walk in sunshine and relative cool – about 25°C; looking at the weather forecast for Surrey, I think we’re in for a bit of a shock when we get home tomorrow.

Before we headed back to the hotel, we decided to revisit a scene of horror and gruesome memory from our previous visit to the island, two years ago.  Then, we were staying in Mahón, and took the bus to visit Ciutadella.  Very soon after leaving the bus station here to walk into the centre, we happened upon this scene, which I reconstruct for you today.

It was sufficiently photogenic that I thought it would benefit from being just a little above street level to take a photo, so I stepped onto the nearest of the planters you see in the foreground. Imagine my surprise! when instead of supporting my weight and giving me the elevation I had expected, the thing tipped over as I stepped on it with one foot, with the result that its cast iron edge arrived with some force on the big toe of my other foot. It bloody hurt – and I use the adjective advisedly, as we had to find a café fairly sharply so we could steal handfuls of their paper napkins to stuff into my shoe to stop the blood making even more of a mess of it than it already had. Amazingly, these deadly dangerous devices can still be found lurking all over Ciutadella, lying in wait for other passing unfortunates to victimise, with not a single health and safety warning sticker to be seen.  Disgraceful, I call it.

After this opportunity for closure (my toenail has by now just about grown back, thanks for asking), we decided it was time to head back to the hotel and gather ourselves for the evening’s delight – an evening meal in the lovely Moli des Comte building that I first mentioned about a week ago. That’s why I am writing this blog entry now, because I’m likely to be too pissed tired to finish it later.  I will report further; I’ll post an update when I can.