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Phespirit goes to Fuerteventura
Corralejo     March 2001

AROUND FUERTEVENTURA

Map of Fuerteventura

1 Corralejo

The resort town of Corralejo has a modest little shopping street with plenty of restaurants and duty free shops, and a series of small cafés line the waterfront coves that lead to the harbour.

The beaches of the town appear noisy and crowded compared with the space and freedom of the Playas de Corralejo a few kilometres away.

The choice was not a difficult one.

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2 Cotillo

Phespirit ascends to the roof of Castillo de Rico Roque, the small 17th Century fortress - similar to a Martello tower - of this village on the north-west coast.

Views to the north are of the village harbour and building work for tourist accommodation. Views to the South are of fierce waves rolling onto fine, sandy beaches hemmed in by rude cliffs.

Inside the castillo the two floors are utilised for small exhibitions of contemporary art. Not especially to the taste of Phespirit.

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3 Lajares

A small, unremarkable village in a pale, dusty, rock-strewn setting at the crossroads between Corralejo, Cotillo and La Oliva.

Goat farming appears to be the main business of these parts, with a commercialised sideline in authentic handicrafts.

No need to stop long.

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4 La Oliva

This is the largest inland town at the north end of the island. The leading attractions are:

  1. Casa de los Coroneles (House of the Colonels), a mansion which once housed the military rulers of the island;
    [closed for restoration]

  2. The white walled parish church with dark brick tower;
    [closed for restoration]

  3. Centro de Arte Canario (Centre of Canarian Art), which has some quite interesting and varied works in its gallaries;

And, yes, that last one was open to visitors!

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5 Antigua

Phespirit hoved into Antigua for a tasty meal of chicken and chips with jugs of sangria at La Flor de Antigua restaurant.

La Flor is situated on the outskirts of town, amidst broken plains of coarse, rocky red sands punctuated by smallholdings and the ubiquitous roaming goats.

This truly is the hot and desolate heart of the island.

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6 Betancuria

Betancuria is the original colonial capital of the island, founded in an oasis valley in 1405. It is also said to be the first established town in any of the Canary Islands, and continued to serve as the capitial of Fuerteventura until 1834.

The town is dominated by the Iglesia de Santa Maria, a one-time cathedral that was destroyed in 1539, rebuilt in 1620 and now has an 18th Century look and feel. The Judgement Day painting in the South-West chapel is quite action packed, and the black-robed carving of Santa Maria herself is exquisitely sorrowful.

Phespirit looked at these things, wandered along the main street, and enjoyed a Solero ice lolly in the shade of the church. At four in the afternoon temperatures were around the 35°C mark.

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7 Ermita de la Peña

By the reservoir between Pájara and Vega del Rio de Palmas lies the chapel of the "lady of the rocks". This small shrine marks the spot where a monk was found in swoon, claiming to have received a vision informing him that a missing icon of the Virgin was buried in the rocks at that very place.

And lo, a quick dig turned up the missing Mary.

There is definitely room for cynicism here.

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8 Pájara

Another small inland town with a dry river bed running through it. What makes Pájara special is its church, or rather the designs carved into the outside of the church.

Phespirit noted a couple of faces beneath feathered headdress, a couple of pumas, doves, snake heads, snakes eating their own tails ..... all Aztec designs.

These on a church, Iglesia de la Virgen de la Regla, dating from 1645-1687, in a period when there was supposedly no European understanding or appreciation of Aztec art.

It is a bit odd, really.

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  1. Corralejo
  2. Cotillo
  3. Lajares
  4. La Oliva
  5. Antigua
  6. Betancuria
  7. Ermita de la Peña
  8. Pájara
text
images 1
images 2
Corralejo Cotillo Lajares La Oliva Antigua Betancuria Ermita de la Peña Pájara