There aren’t enough words to describe the joy that I am currently feeling – it’s so good to be back on the road . As for most people, the past two years have been tough. My travel plans have been on hold for too long. I’m not in a good place (mentally) when I cannot travel.
I nearly got away at the end of last year! On the 14th of December I was about to check in at Birmingham airport for a flight to Mexico. I was within two places of doing so but ‘bottled out’ at the last minute. It just didn’t seem right to be travelling in the middle of a pandemic.
Christmas 2021 was my first in the UK since 2012. Little did I know at the time, but the Christmas of 2012 would be the last one that I would spend with my mother, in the following May she sadly passed away.
In January of this year, with travel restrictions crumbling away, I decided to bite the bullet and return to the Canaries. This time with a trip to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The last time I was here I visited Tenerife, Las Palmas, and La Gomera, in December 2020. Back then I had to abort my trip due to the diminishing number of commercial flights that would get me home – just at the start of the UK’s second lockdown – in January 2021.
Arrecife pop. 45,630
Lanzarote’s capital is a small, agreeable, south coast city with a pleasant Mediterranean style promenade, an inviting sandy beach washed by the sparkling Atlantic, and a disarming backstreet hotchpotch of sun bleached buildings, unpretentious bars, buzzy shopping streets and a plethora of restaurants (to suit every taste). I based myself in a small apartment, along the main drag, with a delightful sun trap balcony and overlooking the sea.
Teguise pop. 1,770
Lanzarote’s original capital and one of the oldest towns in the Canaries, Teguise simmers with a North Africa-meets-Spanish pueblo feel. This intriguing mini-oasis of low-rise whitewashed buildings is set around a central plaza and restored 15th-century church, and surrounded by bare arid plains of central Lanzarote. Though firmly on the tourist trail, Teguise’s old town is a delight to explore, with good restaurants, a handful of lively bars and a string of monuments testifying to the town’s dominance until Arrecife took the baton in 1852.
Volcano House. César Manrique Foundation. Tahíche
César Manrique Foundation is headquartered in a spectacular dwelling designed by César Manrique himself upon his return from New York City, when he decided to locate permanently in Lanzarote. This was his home for the 20 years running from 1968 to 1988, the longest he ever lived in a single place. It is sited in the midst of a lava coulee formed during the violent eruptions that rocked the island between 1730 and 1736.
Palm Grove House. César Manrique House Museum. Haría
The César Manrique House Museum is located in a handsome palm grove in the picturesque village of Haria, which still conserves many of Lanzarote’s traditions. In Haría, the artist found the quietude and harmony with nature that he had always pursued.
In early 1986, he began to build his new home, re-using and adapting a run-down farmhouse sited on farmland he had purchased in the nineteen seventies. Manrique revisited the language of traditional architecture with a modern vision governed by aesthetics and comfort. He lived here until his death in 1992. In 2013 the house was opened to the public as a home and museum. Visitors are afforded a view of the rooms and the studio where the painter worked and lived during the last few years of his life.