After an eventful flight, Lanzarote welcomed us with a sunny embrace. Fiat 500 hire car collected, “Do you need a map Sir?” “No thanks, you only have one road” replied The Boss, there is more than one road but he would rather get lost than buy a map. First stop Lidl, for essential supplies, killed a bit of time before we decided to risk our luck and check in early at the apartment in Costa Teguise.
Our apartment key was found from a jumbled pile of about sixty door keys in a reception area that looked like one we would imagine in a war zone. We were warned about refurbishment work and luckily our apartment was well away from the war and facing the sea. A lovely receptionist took us to the apartment and proceeded to point out every knife, fork, pot and pan. Left to our own devices we settled in and popped one of the two kettles on.
The following day was windy as we headed into Puerto del Carmen to meet up with Twitter friends that had been here for a few weeks, Gail, Mark, Lorna and Glen. A sea front walk up to Arrecife airport and back again with the men, for some reason, watching out for ‘Sea Monsters’ on the beach whilst we all received a free exfoliation treatment courtesy of the wind and the sand, which eventually, encouraged us into the shelter of a local bar that just happened to serve large jugs of fruit ladened Sangria and ice cold beer.
Back at the apartment and the day long wind had succeeded in chilling our non heated, tiled floor apartment. Wrapped in quilts and listening to music, courtesy of my iPhone shoved in a glass beaker, now christened ‘the docking station’, we settled down on the settee with our books, freezing. It is at this point I must point out that having been here two years ago in unbelievably hot January sunshine, this time we were armed only with hand luggage, (had I mentioned that?), so I’d only brought minimal attire, shorts, t-shirts, sandals and the jumpers we wore to get us through Gatwick. The summer quilts were stripped off the spare beds at bed time in a vain attempt at trying to keep hypothermia at arm’s length.
High winds had beaten our apartment black and blue during the night. Rubbing the sleep from our eyes and throwing back the curtains revealed that Lanzarote was the chosen destination of the wind for a day trip today. Bright blue skies back dropped our roof top vista. Palm trees bowed westerly to the god of the winds, whilst normally calm seas crashed in the distance.
Up and at ’em. We’d promised ourselves a cooked breakfast at ‘Cactus Jacks’, a short walk away. Walking with the wind on our backs it almost blew us onto the sheltered veranda where ‘Jack’ a kindly, Irish gentleman welcomed us and asked if we ‘really’ wanted to sit outside. Of course we did, TV blaring Sky Sports News inside, the windy viewings of the morning posed better viewing this bright, fine, fresh morning.
Breakfast snaffled, large steaming mug of tea in hand and we settled back to watch the world get blown by. ‘Jack’ stood leaning against the door frame, regaling us with his Lanzarote winter weather stories of years gone by. Across the road, an empty mobility scooter set off, powered by the wind, hell bent on a course of expensive destruction. Passers-by ran to catch up with the scooter before any damage was caused.
In an attempt at walking off the hefty amount of calories we’d just consumed, we headed towards the beach. People were out, bent double against the wind, hats pulled firmly down over their ears, Big winter coats zipped up to their chins, jeans and sunglasses as the waves crashed against the rocks. Us? Shorts, T-shirts and that all important thin jumper, (did I mention we’d only brought summer clothes in hand luggage?)
In reality, the weather changes quickly in Lanzarote, the winds ensure that, so the little Fiat 500 enabled us to scale the nearest ex-Volcano for a vista of the entire Island then drive towards the sun most days. Having toured all the ‘pay’ tourist attractions in 2016 we were able to concentrate on our favourite spots this time around.
We hadn’t, however, been to Teguise, in the centre of the Island. Apparently there is a massive Sunday Market with excursion trips arranged from every town and resort. We assumed mass chaos, and did not require any sunglasses, designer? handbags, table cloths or soap, so we arrived after the masses departed, to sit in the beautiful town square watching as tourists retreated to cars, buses and coaches clutching bags of (fake) designer tat.
The Castillo Santa Barbara sitting high above the town was a more interesting draw for us. Perched on the edge of an enormous crater this castle offers stunning views and an extra €3 each got us inside so we just assumed a staircase to a better view point, wrong, a very informative museum documenting the Islands history of foreign invasion and Piracy. Very notably, many of our UK naval heroes from history classified as Pirates. Including ‘Pirate’ Horatio Nelson, who lost his arm leading a ‘landing party’ raid on the Island. Leaving the castle ‘The Boss’ left half his scalp on one of the low stone arches, he reckoned compared to Nelson, €3 and his scalp wasn’t so bad.
A walk back from our ‘All you can eat’ Chinese restaurant in town, sporting the biggest food babies since Christmas Day, wrapped up in our thin jumpers and cardigans, (we only brought hand luggage, remember). Chatting about the wind speed and how it possibly was the nicest Chinese food we’d ever eaten, time to cross the road and head for the supermarket for a bottle of Spanish plonk to finish the evening off. Safely across the road and The Boss decides that we’ve been together long enough that I should be able to read his mind. He decides to go left whilst I continue to walk straight, walking right across me. Apparently, I should’ve known we were going to move slightly left. Tripping me up, he sends me into what was later described as a rather comical sprint with arms flapping in the wind as I tried to save myself from falling, rather unsuccessfully and very unladylike I find myself sprawled face first and spreadeagled on the floor. Within seconds the most gorgeous smelling man is helping me to my feet, asking me in a Spanish accent if I’m OK. The Boss, neither Spanish or gorgeous smelling, is by now, on my other arm as they lead me to a bench so I can lick my wounds and pick the grit out of my hands. I’m OK, but bashed and bruised and now in need of a stiff drink. Bit embarrassing to meet my Spanish hero in the supermarket a few minutes later as we paid for our plonk.
A trip to Puerto Calero on the bus was an adventure. We met up with Mark, Gail, Glen and Lorna and queued halfway down the street for the bus. Squished like sardines into a metal box without air con in the blazing sunshine. We head for the back seats as the lady driver put her foot down and took no prisoners on the journey. Great to see how they mark bus stops here in Lanzarote.
Squeezing ourselves out of the bus into the cooler sea breeze we head towards the small marina where boats worth more than our houses bobbed about on the twinkly sea. Starting with a coffee in one of plentiful bars we head towards the cliffs. The walk was busy as we plodded along slowly enjoying the spectacular views of coastline. Although the path was quite rough in places I still managed it in sandals. The banter, laughing and joking between the six of us spurred us on.
Two week’s passed too soon. While the weather was a fair bit colder than our previous visit to the Island, we still warmed our bones on plenty occasions, leave with a decent tan and had the unexpected bonus of numerous enjoyable social meet ups. A return next year is looking likely and our new job will now enable a much longer stay.
The return to the airport triggered the usual ‘Stress Head’ in The Boss. Not helped by the random ‘hands and pockets’ swab check people picking him from the queue, then the swab flashing red on three separate machines. Luckily, rather than choosing the ‘side room’ option they just continued testing the swab on every airport machine until the 6th one flashed green. He now thinks buying 2nd hand Fat Face shorts from Ebay is not such a good idea, clearly the previous owner was some sort of ‘Drug Lord’ and stuffed his pockets accordingly.