The end of September was when I finally had my chance to slip away from the office for a week for my annual holiday. The approaching the autumn months meant I was in search of sunshine for a reasonable price and I decided Lanzarote was the place to be. So with a stupidly large suitcase and my boyfriend Sol in tow, I headed off to the Canaries.
With youthful looks like mine you would be forgiven for assuming I have bags of energy and like to get down with the kids in the local discos. This is not the case, myself and Sol prefer quiet peaceful holidays, so the quieter chilled out resort of Playa Blanca was an ideal location.
Beach at Playa Blanca – Image © Kevin Eaves
The coastline in Playa Blanca is broken up into three beaches, all of which are great for sunbathing and swimming. The beautiful blue seas are an ideal place to try one of the many water sports on offer, and despite his fear of heights Sol decided we should give parasailing a go for the first time. After a hairy few minutes (and a little bit of cursing) Sol even ended up enjoying it.
After a busy day of flying through the skies and frying in the sun, we decided to take a stroll down to the Rubicon Marina. It’s probably the most tranquil part of Playa Blanca where we enjoyed lovely Mediterranean food and sangria whilst admiring the boats and feeding the fishes between our courses (stale bread I should note, not my food!)
Cesar Manrique designed BMW
Whilst chillaxing was very much on the itinerary, I also wanted to explore as much of Lanzarote as possible during our week there. A name that is almost impossible not to hear whilst on the island is Cesar Manrique. He was an artist who had a big influence on Lanzarote’s architecture and tourist industry and though he died a decade ago, he’s still very much admired amongst the locals. So myself and Sol took a tour the island to see some of his work up close.
Megatron or farmer? Manrique’s Monumento al Campesino
Our first stop was in pretty much right in the middle of Lanzarote in the middle of a busy traffic intersection. There stood Manrique’s sculpture named Monumento al Campesino, which means farmer monument. I was told it’s a sculpture of a farmer and his dog and donkey. Once I found the right angle it did look a bit like a man… or a Transformer and his robot dogs. Either way standing at 15m it’s an impressive sight. It was created using water tanks from old fishing boats painted white as a way of preserving the memory of the hard working farmers on the island.
(Youthful) Vanessa in the Cactus Garden
Next on the tour was the famous Cactus Garden, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. It’s a beautiful celebration of everything green and prickly (except some were not green). Tall, short, fat, skinny, metal – the Cactus Garden seemingly does not discriminate which cacti it takes on. Manrique collected his cacti from all over the world to create a collection of over 10,000.
Sol in the Caves
On the way to visit his home we stopped off at the Green Caves. This had nothing to do with Manrique but I heard it was pretty awesome so worth a stop. These caves are one of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world and hundreds of years ago were used to hide from pirates. There’s a fair bit of stooping to avoid the low ceilings but it added to the feeling that I was on some kind of adventure. The caves are visually amazing and even contain an impressive auditorium where concerts are held. There’s also an incredible secret at the end of the tour – it’s basically the best thing I’ve ever seen in a cave, but I’m afraid I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Only visitors to the Green Caves can know…
Finally it was on to the Cesar Manrique Foundation, which is based at one of his last homes before he died. The house itself was built on volcanic eruptions, with the basement making use of five volcanic bubbles for each room. With the plush furniture, swimming pool and dance floor I felt like I was walking through the set of MTV Cribs – but more arty than hip hop!
In between the cocktails and lounging we found there were plenty of other attractions to see. As we were already based in the South it made sense to visit the Timanfaya National Park to see some volcanoes up close. Unfortunately you can’t run around on the actual volcanoes as I hoped to, but you can take a coach tour and take in some amazing views that make you feel a bit like you’re on Mars.
There is also a restaurant at the park where you can enjoy food cooked from the heat of the volcanoes. Also on a Sunday morning the old Capital Teguise comes to life with a huge outdoor market, where you can barter for all kinds of souvenirs, get lost and then stumble across some street entertainment as we did.
BBQ cooked over a Volcano
Out of everything we saw though, it was hard to beat Lanzarote’s stunning sunsets and we were lucky to have the perfect view from our villa.
If you fancy checking out Lanzarote for yourself now’s the time to do it – it’s an excellent destination for autumn and winter sun. Compare prices for holidays with dealchecker here.
Images © Vanessa, except where stated otherwise.