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Phespirit goes to Lanzarote
tour     March 2001

AROUND LANZAROTE

Map of Lanzarote

1 Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is supposedly one of the three main tourist resorts in Lanzarote - albeit the smallest - but for Phespirit it was merely a harbour for the bulky Fred Olsen ferry that makes the forty-odd minute crossing from Fuerteventura.

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2 Parque Nacional de Timanfaya

The 20 square miles of lava fields formed during the 18th Century volcanic eruptions have been declared a national park since 1974. Visitors are treated to three presentations:

  1. hot gravel is shovelled out from a foot below the surface and tipped into soon-to-be-scalded outstretched palms;

  2. dried brush wood is forked down into a crater where it is observed to spontaneously catch fire;

  3. water is tipped into a sunken pipe to artificially create a twenty foot geyser.

The landscape is enough, though. No need for gimmicks.

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3 La Geria

La Geria is the top wine producing area of the island. Unique in arrangement, this long valley of dark volcanic ash is cultivated in innumerable rows of small round shallow pits protected by low walls of dark lava rock. Within each pit a single vine is planted.

Phespirit indulged in a spot of wine tasting at Bodega La Geria and fell in favour of the dry red Tinto Madera 1999. Admirers of syrupy sweet white wines are also well catered for here, with a medium sweet weighing in impressively at 15% .....

..... but give Phespirit a dry wine every time.

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4 Teguise

The former capital of the island, resplendent with original buildings from the 15th Century onwards, well restored and painted white with green windows and doors - the standard Lanzarote colours.

Phespirit visited the Sunday market, where he mulled over buying cheap, poor-quality olivine crystals, but eventually restricted his spending to a miserly 250pts for a lemon and sugar crêpe.

Crêpes always look nicer than they actually taste.

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5 Las Peñas Del Chache

At 671m, Las Peñas del Chache is apparently the highest point on Lanzarote. The uppermost reaches are inaccessible, having been fenced off by the military to guard their radar station - an appalling orange and green dimpled globe - at the summit.

From the roadside Bar Restaurante Los Helechos just below the peak one can still enjoy fine panoramic views down the valleys to the east coast and out to the Atlantic.

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6 Jameos del Agua

A "Jameo" is an underground lava tube into which the ceiling has collapsed, revealing a once-sealed volcanic cave to the surface.

In the 1960s legendary local eco-artist César Manrique set about transforming Jameos del Agua from a makeshift open rubbish tip into a serene complex of enhanced natural gallaries.

In practice, this means a café, a cave pool of blind white crabs, a beautiful swimming pool area (no swimming permitted), a volcano information centre and an auditorium, made from and in harmony with all natural materials.

There is a wonderful atmosphere about the place, very peaceful, very calm, a place to sit and warm and worry about ..... nothing.

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  1. Playa Blanca
  2. Parque Nacional de Timanfaya
  3. La Geria
  4. Teguise
  5. Las Peñas Del Chache
  6. Jameos del Agua
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Playa Blanca Parque Nacional de Timanfaya La Geria Teguise Las Peñas Del Chache Jameos del Agua