Walking in Lanzarote 4-11 March 2012
Lanzarote is a rugged island that is peppered with extinct volcanoes, which provides interesting walking through varied scenery, and usually in good weather too. And, happily, that was the case for us.
The holiday I was on was pitched at two walking grades (D and D+) and although I kept to the upper grade by all accounts all of the walks were well pitched to their respective grades. Our two leaders (Alf and Diane) did a very good job in leading us along many interesting mountain, hill and coastal paths, and also in suggesting and helping to arrange a number of things for us to do on our free day.
Living on an arid island, over time the locals have developed interesting forms of agriculture so that they can produce crops in the least promising of circumstances.
For example our first walk took us through vineyards that were unlike any others I had ever seen, where the locals had scooped round depressions and built low shielding walls so that vines could make best use of the limited moisture that is available. Later on we passed many fields of black lava gravel that are used to grow the distinctive small potatoes that are also a feature of the Canary Islands.
Of course, the main features during our walks were the many volcanic cones, hills and mountains and their accompanying lava fields.
These sometimes stretched down to the sea. There were also fine coastal and cliff-top walks, particularly along the northern end of the island. In all, these surroundings provided good walks and views each day.
We often started and/or ended our walks in little villages, or sometimes by touristy developments or marinas, and these provided interesting contrasts to the often barren countryside. The quieter countryside villages had a nice unspoilt air to them.
Although this was a big group, the two leaders handled it all very well, as did the hotel, which was clean and comfortable. Although we were walking as two groups, each day everyone could choose which walk they preferred – and then everyone enjoyed coming together to chat about it all over nice meals that were taken in local restaurants on most evenings.
So, a good trip and one I would recommend for anyone who enjoys well graded wanderings, especially in the sunshine.
There is another real bonus on this trip, though. A local man, Cesar Manrique, was an imaginative artist, sculptor and architect, and examples of his works and renovations are to be found across the island. Many of us also found that visiting his extensive home provided the basis for an interesting trip on our free day.
The upper level is a modern looking and airy building that is set in the midst of a natural lava field and the lower level of the house and gardens have been formed by converting caves in the underlying lava. An interesting mix that also contains works of art, including some by Picasso. So, whether art lovers or not, many would find this an interesting trip. It is also easily accessible by a frequent local bus service.