On Lanzarote
we walked
hot, hot


Ireland, December 2008

For Christmas this year some of us would be spending a week on Lanzarote, one of the volcanic Canary islands off the west coast of Africa. We left Dublin one very early morning in December on an airliner from jet2.com - McBear said it was a Boeing 757 - bound for Arrecife on Lanzarote. Here's Roger looking out the window as the Sun was about to rise over the eastern horizon.

Click each photo to enlarge

Matagorda, Lanzarote, December 2008

We would be staying in a bungalow at the resort Costa Sal in Matagorda near Arrecife, the main town on Lanzarote. Roger of course was concerned whether it would be a 2 star bungalow like the one we had had in Skiathos, Greece. McBear said that Costa Sal was rated as 4 star.
"Okay," Roger said. "If that is the case, we can safely enter the bungalow."

Matagorda, December 2008

It turned out to be a brilliant house. Here we are trying out the bed in our bedroom. Honey Bear (from MacDonald's) and Christmas Bear (a charity bear) had been with us before. But for Tutty Bear (a pharaoh bear from the TutAnkAmun exhibition in London), and Ulysses (a TA dog), this was their first trip with the Travelling Bears, and they were excited.

Matagorda, December 2008

We went outside to study the surroundings. In the horizon we could see lots of hilltops all around. Tutty noticed the hills.
"They look like pyramids like the ones we built in ancient Egypt, except these are roundy and some of them have had their top chopped off... They look strange."
McBear said they were volcanos. Lanzarote is in fact an island made up by lava from volcanos. The ground all around us was arid and bare and Lanzarote is more or less a desert island.

Matagorda, December 2008

We had planned to bring our own recycable Christmas tree, however, due to the awkward nature of Christmas trees stuffed among other items in the luggage, we decided to leave our tree at home. Unfortunately, they didn't have suitable trees on Lanzarote, so we were looking for alternatives. McBear proposed we'd chop down a palm tree.
Roger started to tease McBear.
"Look, does that palm tree look like a standard Christmas tree? There's no branches at the bottom!"
McBear then proposed we could find tubes & brushes and stick it all to the palm tree with glue so at least it would have the right shape... We left McBear before he could come up with more ingenious ideas...

Matagorda, December 2008

McBear then proposed we'd enjoy the lovely beach near our resort. By chance we passed a souvenir shop and to our surprise we found a Brøndby fan cap, the famous soccer team in Copenhagen. McBear once had lived on Western Brøndby Road in Copenhagen himself, so we decided to buy the hat as a gift for Bamse at home.
We were enjoying the beach until suddenly a jet airliner passed us at low altitude! McBear was all excited. Roger immediately knew what was happening.
"Now, don't tell me, you've found this spot because of landing aircraft! In Greece, we were blown of the road by the blast from starting aircraft; In Iceland, we stayed at a hotel which happened to be the old Reykjavik airport terminal and now... this!!!"
But Like McBear, Tutty was all excited.
"Those flying thingies look like the white storks we have in Egypt - except the ones here make a lot more noise!"

Lanzarote, December 2008

We rented a VW Polo for the week so we could get around the island. Lanzarote is a small island, only about 50 miles long and 12 miles wide, so it's fairly easy to visit places. The next four days we drove 400 miles. Tutty was impressed by the speed of the Polo and said it was much faster than the horse carriages in ancient Egypt...

Lanzarote, December 2008

Roger pointed out that models always sit on the front of cars on photos, so he wanted to have his photo taken sitting on the front of the Polo.

La Geria, December 2008

On our way we stopped at some wine bodegas. Lanzarote has some of the weirdest shaped vineyards in the world. Each vine is planted at the bottom of a shallow pit because the lava granules are able to retain enough dew for the plant. Further, the farmers have built crescent shaped walls of lava bricks as protection against the prevailing wind.

La Geria, December 2008

Lanzarote produces some 1.5 million litres of excellent wine every year. Here's McBear and Roger on top of an old wine barrel. In the horizon we could see the volcanos in the Timanfaya National Park.

The last eruption occured in 1824 and parts of the center volcano are still several hundred degrees hot inside. The colours were fantastic. No wonder the volcanos were called mountains of fire.

El Golfo, December 2008

We went to El Golfo, which is a small fishing village on the west coast of Lanzarote. Here, we enjoyed lunch while big waves were pounding the beach.

Teguise, December 2008

From El Golfo we headed northeast to Teguise, a town that was once the main town of the island. Here we are at the local square in front of the church.

Caleta de Famara, December 2008

On our way towards north, we stopped at the beach in Caleta de Famara. The wind was calm so it was warm enough for Roger to take off his jacket. However, to protect his head from the sun, he borrowed Bamse's Brøndby-cap. In the background we could see the mighty cliffs of the north west part of Lanzarote.

Lanzarote, December 2008

Near the town of Arrieta we stopped to enjoy the Garden of Cactus. Here, the famous local ecologist and entrepreneur, César Manrique gathered lots and lots of cacti. In fact, the garden has more than 1400 different cacti growing in all sizes and shapes.

Timanfaya National park, December 2008

Next morning we headed for the Timanfaya National Park. The park is home to the vast lava fields that covers large parts of Lanzarote after the eruptions from 1730 to 1736 and again in 1824. Here we are at the entrance to the national park. The entrance sign shows the Devil holding the name of the park.

Timanfaya National park, December 2008

On our way to El Diablo, a tourist center and restaturant, we stopped at the bottom of the Montana Del Fuego, Mountain of Fire. Here, tourists can do a dromedary ride up the volcano.

Timanfaya National park, December 2008

Here we are at El Diablo, and we had our photo taken. Actually, just after this shot had been taken, we were to have a photo taken of the entire group, however, a gust blew us all over the edge behind us and we were all rolling and tumbling downhill! In panic one of our humans cried:
Roger of course didn't mind, however, to the rest of us it was a bit of a revelation that our names were not mentioned...

Timanfaya National park, December 2008

McBear and Roger went on a bus tour round the national park. We were actually driving uphill almost to the top of the volcano.

Timanfaya National park, December 2008

Next day we went on a walking trek through the lava fields. The trek is free, however, one needs to book a place in advance through the visitor centre. The guide explained all about the volcanos.

Matagorda, December 2008

In the evening McBear and Roger went outside at the swimmingpool to do some star gazing. Lanzarote is located south of Europe, so the famous constellation Southern Crux is visible. The Crux can not be seen on most of the northern hemisphere. It wasn't dark enough the see the Southern Crux, however, a very bright Venus was shining over the horizon.

Arrecife International Airport, December 2008

Then Christmas was over and it was time to head back to Dublin. In the airport we enjoyed the lovely business lounge. McBear was explaining about the Boeings and Airbuses outside on the platform. Roger in an most unusual fashion found himself leaning against the armchair with his arm digging deep in a bag of ... crisps!!!!

Check out the map of Lanzarote

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