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Phespirit goes to Fuerteventura
Corralejo     February 2011

Phespirit left the arrivals lounge at Fuerteventura airport and was blasted by a wind of such ferocity that it was hard to remain upright. Heading north by coach on the coast road to Corralejo, warm behind the glass, he observed large breakers pounding the shoreline, foamy white horses out at sea, kite-flyers with taut lines on the beaches, and hunched figures promenading in anoraks. The weather forecast had predicted two days of very strong winds. What would the next day bring?

High winds and grey skies greeted Phespirit on his first morning in Corralejo. These were clearly set persist all day, which meant that lounging on the beach would be out of the question. Instead he started with one of the hiking days he'd intended to save until the end of his week's holiday, when doubtless he would be too sunburned for sunbathing. Since the winds were coming off the coast from the north, he caught the number eight bus inland to Lajares and set about walking back to Corralejo on a neat patchwork path of rocks via a couple of extinct volcanoes. He paused at the crater rim of Calderón Hondo to feed pine kernals to Barbary Ground Squirrels.

Next morning the wind was a touch lighter and the clouds had dispersed considerably. Phespirit headed for the beach and enjoyed what by noon was a warm, clear day. The sunburning commenced, albeit limited to his right shoulder. After a good night's sleep, he was up early-ish and down to Corralejo harbour for the 10:00am boat to Isla de Lobos. Having seen most of the tourist sights that north Fuerteventura has to offer during his previous trip to Corralejo in 2001, a day on Isla de Lobos was - a decade later - his last remaining essential mission.

The island is a little over four square kilometres in size, mostly low-lying bumpy land, with only the semi-collapsed cone of Montaña La Caldera rising to any great height. Aside from two tiny zones of 'general use', the rest of the island is a protected 'parque natural' and graded in zones of 'moderate', 'restricted' and 'exclusion'. A slow circuit of the island, with detours up the volcano and down to the beach, filled a very nice day. Back on the main island, Phespirit's last three days were spent sunning, hiking, and sunning again. Scarcely could anything be more simple or pleasurable, but he was let down by his own poor body maintenance.

By the end of the next day's sunning an excessive redness coloured his face and upper chest. Worse still, his prolonged barefoot wanderings across sand had removed large patches of blistered skin from his toes. Sensible shoes and factor 50 suncream would be needed to get him through the remaining days. Needless to say Phespirit had not packed his sensible shoes, so he was back in sandals for the following day's hiking. His sandals were almost as badly broken down as his feet but mercifully his hike was on a fairly level track. The route took him from Corralejo to El Cotillo, echoing the line of the coast for 22km through the northern badlands of Fuerteventura.

Once more unto the beach, dear friends, once more; the sun remained unchecked by cloud but was firmly blocked by Phespirit's latherings of factor 20 and factor 50. That evening his still-deteriorating feet just about carried him to the harbour for a blow-out fish-of-the-day meal at La Marquesina restaurant. He literally limped across the finish line, yet it had been worth it. Phespirit remains a big fan of Fuerteventura.

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