Tag Archives: Manrique

Lanzarote Day 6 – The Third Man(rique)

Wednesday 2 March 2022 – As yesterday, our plan was to explore more of the northern end of the island, ticking off tourist boxes as we went. That Manrique had a hand in much of the content of the day. It’s a tribute to the man’s vision, influence and energy that this will be the third day of exploring his works across the island.

So, to start: Jameos del Agua. The word “jameo” is of ancient island origin and refers to a hole that is produced as a result of the collapse of the roof of a volcanic tube. Jameos del Agua was the first Art, Culture and Tourism Center created by César Manrique, and it is the reflection of one of his creative pillars: the harmony between nature and artistic creation. The space includes a restaurant/nightclub, an underground lake, an auditorium and a pool; it’s quite a place, and a deservedly popular tourist attraction.  We thought it would be best to start the day here before it got too overwhelmed by bloody tourists.

Apart from the fact that it’s signposted from all over the island, the entrance is relatively easy to find.

After buying tickets, you go down stairs into the restaurant/nightclub part.

You can, if you wish, pause to stare down into the depths of one of the caves to some subterranean water.

There is a subterranean salt lake,

which is quite zen to stare at for a bit, accompanied by birdsong

provided by chaps like this.

In the water there is a unique and endemic species of squat lobster,  Munidopsis polymorpha, which is blind and albino.

The water is beautifully clear

and you can walk alongside it and look back along the tunnel from the other end.

After this zen experience, you emerge blinking to what looks like a swimming pool.  Well, it is a swimming pool, but, allegedly, only the King of Spain is allowed to swim in it.

The setting features a lone canary palm tree stretching over the water and several species of cactus (I won’t bore you with pictures – there are plenty of cacti shown later in this post).  At the far end is the entrance to the auditorium which is another zen sort of setting

which features several touches typical of Manrique, such as lobster door handles

and a remarkable light fitting (seen here reflected in the mirror which forms the back wall of the auditorium).

The auditorium section concluded our visit to this remarkable place.  Having been inspired about the aloe plant by our visit to Yaiza’s Aloe Museum, we thought it might then be interesting to visit an aloe plantation.  The company Lanzaloe has a showcase park near Orzola, at the northern tip of the island, where you can walk around and learn about the growing of the Aloe plant.  Quite large areas are given over to the plants. We’re not quite sure if they flower constantly, or if we were just luckily visiting in the right season, but the yellow flower spikes made quite a sight!

That the plants flourish in such numbers is due to a process labelled “fertigation”, which Lanzaloe are quick to explain is a natural and sustainable way of using composted aloe and goat manure, and vermiculture, to create an organic liquid that promotes growth.

The site also features some cute cacti

as well as some olive and argan trees.

After this visit, we decided that it would be a good idea to go for some lunch, erring slightly on the early side in the hope of avoiding full restaurants. We drove into Orzola and, mirabile dictu, found what looked like it might very well be a parking spot.  It was surrounded by blue lines, and we weren’t at first sure what this meant; but we found a sign which explained it all.

I find the self-reporting aspect of the parking rules to be rather amusing, and, indeed, somewhat charming.  Fortunately, Jane had pen and paper and so we were able to leave a note of our parking time on the dashboard and we set off into Orzola.  We didn’t get more than a few yards when we stumbled across La Nasa Restaurante El Norte, which looked to have tables available, so we went in and were very cheerfully and briskly served a decent fish lunch.  It was a nice lunch, but not a Nice Lunch, if you see what I mean – we were out in about an hour, but had dined quite well; Jane even had a parrot fish.  It repeated a bit on her later, but that’s another story.

Where we had parked was near the Orzola rocks, so we went for a wander among them to settle the lunch a bit.

Among all the lumpy bits of volcano which form the rocks is some actual sand-coloured sand, which is something I didn’t expect – I tend to expect black sand in such assertively volcanic places.  The ocean splashed pleasingly against the rocks, as you can see in the photo above.

Our next item, again inspired by the Yaiza Museum, was cochineal; slightly to the south is an area around the town of Mala which grows large amounts of prickly pears in order to harvest the cochineal beetles that infest them in order to create cochineal dye. We’d read about the Cochineal Museum in Mala, so thought we’d visit. Reader, we found the museum. It was closed.  It’s all a bit bizarre – there’s a building with “Museo de Cochinilla” in large friendly letters on the outside, but its doors are locked and there’s no reference to it on Google Maps.  If Google Maps says it doesn’t exist then it doesn’t exist – but there it was.  A Schrödinger situation if ever there was one.

It’s clear that the area is still one where prickly pears are grown in profusion

and the beetle infestation is clear to see.

Not all plantations are so well-organised, though.

Mala is also home to another of Lanzarote’s famed tourist attractions, and another Manrique creation – the Cactus Garden. Again, the entrance is difficult to miss

and, once inside, you realise that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

For those interested in cacti, there is an extraordinary variety in different shapes and sizes.

(I have several dozen other cactus photos, but I won’t bore you with them.)  The garden features several typical Manrique touches, such as cactus-shaped door handles

and some attractive features among the cacti.

There’s a coffee bar with a decent view over the garden, which also features a very Manrique staircase down towards the exit.

Our visit to the cactus garden over, we had just one more thing to see – the salt flats at Los Cocoteros, just along the road a bit.  As well as the salt production facility, the village has a “Piscina Natural”, a seawater swimming pool.  I took a video pan across it – it’s a bit noisy and shaky because of the wind, but I hope it gives some idea of the facility, which is filled with sea water coming in through a couple of large tubes at one end, and has a beach at the other.

The salt flats here are nowhere near as extensive as the Salinas de Janubio that we saw a few days ago, but there’s still  lot of area given over to salt production.

These are new salt flats – there’s also an area which was once given over to salt production but that seems to be disused now.

This left just one final box to tick, and it’s not really a tourist tick box, just something we passed on many occasions, including our original drive to the hotel from the airport, and wanted to take a photo of.  Doing this involved exiting the motorway and parking on the slip road with hazard lights flashing whilst I dashed across the road. But that sounds more perilous than it actually was.  Anyway, here’s the photo.

For me, these buildings have overtones of Binibeca Vell, the artificial fishing village-cum-resort on Menorca.  Whatever, they’re very appealing buildings and it occurred to me that one reason they’re attractive is that they’re different from the norm in Lazarote, which is angular and blocky, like below.

We have no idea what those buildings are, but their difference from the norm is striking. I think that’s why Teguise has such a different feel, too – the buildings have curves and angles that are not 90° and so feel refreshingly different.

That concluded our day; for once we had formed a plan and largely stuck to it, although the existence or not of the cochineal museum was a small diversion.

Accordingly, we have Done Lanzarote (Timanfaya bus ride excepted), which leaves us with a day to laze about, check in for our Friday flights and find a final Nice Lunch somewhere.  It’s been a full-on six days of relentless tourism and gale force winds and it’ll be nice to take it easy before we travel on to Gran Canaria.  Lanzarote has been a revelation and we’ve had a great time exploring it.  As I say, the adventure continues on Friday as we go to Gran Canaria, and I hope you want to check back in later to see what we make of the place.

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?



Lanzarote Day 4 – Colora Tourer

Monday February 28 2022 – The day dawned with much more promising weather, although the yellow wind alert was still in force for the island (quite correctly – see later). So it was that after breakfast (including the usual very welcome couple of mugs of Earl Grey) we headed off to complete the major unticked tourist boxes for the south of the island – Caldera Colorada and the Timanfaya National Park bus tour (because you’re not allowed to walk in it).

The first part of the plan seemed to be going well when all of a sudden….

This was a temporary road block and we never quite worked out what was going on to cause it. After a few minutes the van backed away and we carried on on a completely clear road. Shortly afterwards, we parked near the Colorada crater and followed the path that led round it.

It’s quite near El Cuervo, which we walked into a couple of days ago, just a couple of kilometres as the raven* would fly if it weren’t for the bloody wind.

The bloody wind was practically non-stop gale force.  While it never actually blew us over, there were times it seemed near to doing so. Because of the geology (you can see from the lumps above), the northerly gale meant you were either struggling into it, or being blown along from behind, depending on which side of the hill you were.

(Parenthetical note – it’s interesting to look at the Terrain View of the area in Google Maps.  It gives a good insight into just how lumpy Lanzarote is. Colorada is marked top right and you can see Yaiza, where we’re staying, bottom left.)

As we started the loop round Colorada, we could see Cuervo in the distance.

As we walked along, the coloured part of the mountain, the south westerly slope, gradually came into view.

There were some people actually clambering up the side.

I’m not sure whether this is allowed, but there’s a sort of track leading up at an angle, so I suppose people do it regularly.  We decided against it and carried on until the full glory of the coloured slope was revealed.

The lump in the foreground is a massive rock, called a “Volcanic Bomb”, which gives you an idea of how it got there – not something to be standing under as it came out of the sky. The red volcano’s colour is caused by a richness of iron oxide in the cinders that poured out during its eruption – among the last of the Timanfaya eruptions in the 1730s.

As you can infer from the terrain map above, the area has no shortage of substantial hills, each evidence of volcanic activity and each having a different colour cast.

The photo above is of Montaña Ortiz (so tiz).  Almost unobserved in the foreground we spotted a pink geranium, just about holding its own against the wind.

One nearby volcano, Volcán de Las Nueces, provided a final striking image for the walk.

It’s a walk well worth doing; there are over a dozen information boards at strategic points around the volcano, giving insight into the geology at work and its effect on the landscape.

Our cobwebs having been thoroughly blown away, we set out to tick the other boxes – the Timanfaya Visitor Centre and the Timanfaya National Park itself.  The former is quite large and has a lot of information for those who are interested in the specifics of vulcanology, but somehow didn’t grab our attention, so we didn’t stay long. Had there been a coffee bar, we might have taken a breather, but there isn’t one.  There are toilets, though….

The day’s plan came severely unstuck some 4km down the road from the Visitor Centre, when it became apparent that the queue for the National Park was huge.  Traffic was backed up in the opposite direction for several hundred yards, so we decided that no bus trip was worth that amount of aggravation.  An early lunch seemed a good idea, and we had a recommendation of a specific restaurant – El Pescador in Playa Quemada. It turned out that getting there early (about half past midday) – without a booking – was a good idea as it soon got really quite busy.  We had a good lunch with a mixed fish grill, and we’re happy to add our vote for the place.

Jane suggested that we should try to start exploring more northerly parts of the island, so we headed off in that general direction. As we were going along she suggested that we should stop at a feature called Las Grietas, a crack in the side of Montaña Blanca, just past the town of Tias.  And so we did.  From the outside, it doesn’t look much.

But climb in, and it’s pretty dramatic.

A person can just about squeeze through, and it’s a little tough to climb in the loose gravelly surface, but thoroughly worth it, even though you get shoes full of the little stones.

(That was just one shoe’s worth.)

As we headed back to the car, we noticed a couple of young people seemingly camped out beside it.  When we got there, it turned out that they were a French couple who had no transport.  They couldn’t call a taxi because there was no mobile signal and they asked us if we could give them a lift to the airport. They were lucky – Jane’s French is very good, courtesy of the time she spent living in Paris, and so it seemed reasonably safe to help them out – the airport was only a couple of miles away.  So that was our Good Deed For The Day – they were very grateful.  We never established exactly how they managed to get themselves to Las Grietas, but we were glad to help them, anyway.

We resumed our original plan, which had been to see some of the northerly bits, with the possibility of visiting The Other salt factory, Salinas De Los Cocoteros.  En route, it became clear that we were heading into César Manrique country, as this installation on a roundabout showed.


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We were by then close to the César Manrique Foundation, set up to allow people to visit the house that was his home from 1968 – 88, and also the setting for a gallery of some of his art – and at the moment still home to a celebration of the centenary of his birth in 1919. As you might expect, it’s a striking place, with a cactus garden outside it

and another of his wind-driven mobile art works by the entrance.


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There are plenty of his artworks on display and the house itself is very unusual – Manrique exploited volcanic bubbles to create the lower floor

and the general atmosphere is very congenial.

Just by the house is a roundabout where Manrique was killed in a road accident in 1992.  There are two more of his wind-driven mobile artworks by and on the roundabout to mark the scene.

Our next stop was a feature nearby called the Stratified City (known in Spanish as Antigua rofera de Teseguite), which is a large set of rocks which have been created over the course of thousands of years by wind, sun, and rain. It’s quite a sight.

It’s also quite a site for idiots leaping about and taking selfies, but that’s just my age showing again.  I still don’t understand the thought process that says that a fabulously old geological feature can somehow be improved by having a gurning face in it. Anyway, we wandered off the main part and found a few quieter places for photos, and it’s quite an awesome place.

By this stage, the sun was nearly setting so we decided that Salinas De Los Cocoteros would have to wait for another day and we headed back to the hotel for a quiet evening.  We still have many, many tourist boxes to tick in the north of the island, and it looks like the weather tomorrow will be as nice as today’s – and a lot less windy.  So please check back in then and see how we got on, won’t you?

* El Cuervo is Spanish for raven…