Feed on
Campesina restaurant

Underground restaurant at the Campesina monument.

Today we’ve been on Lanzarote. We docked just before eight o’clock this morning – we were up before that as we had booked an excursion, ‘The magic of Manrique’. This was largely about the work of, and sites associated with, César Manrique who was an artist who lived on Lanzarote for most of his life. He died not long very long ago (in the 1990s, I think) in his 70s, so his life took in most of the 20th century’s major art movements.

We visited the Fondacian César Manrique, which operates a gallery and museum in the artist’s former home (more of that later), and a couple of other sites associated with him. Here I need to digress to describe the feature common to all these sites: they are on, or rather in, lava fields in the north of Lanzarote. The lava flows were many feet thick after eruptions hundreds of years previously. Manrique noticed that in some places odd things happened in the lava as it cooled. Specifically, he noticed that sometimes large ‘bubbles’ of air that had been trapped in the lava flow left behind bubble-shaped voids deep in the lava. In some occasions these bubbles were many feet in diameter. (He may not have been the first to notice these but it does seem that he was first to do something with the observation.) He built a house that made use of a number of these bubbles, connected with underground passages, with a conventional-looking house structure above ground. This all sounds terribly boring, but in fact the contrast between the stark lava all round, the very cleanly-built house (strong echoes of Le Corbusier or other modern architects in the strict geometrical forms) and the natural shapes of the bubbles, and the furnishings he placed in them – one of them, opened to the air, became a pool) produces one of the most dramatics, beautiful but ‘fun’ (in a playful sense) houses that I’ve ever seen.


Pool at Jameos del Aqua

Other sites we visited were the Monumento al Campesino, and the Jameos del Aqua. This latter was truly stunning, making use of some natural entrances, from above, into long lava tunnels – very long, and very big tunnels. Again, amazingly beautiful with that strong contrast between the stark lava landscape and the beauty of what has been created in the tunnels and the jameos (the vertical openings). If readers ever visit Lanzarote I strongly recommend this tour. Just one word of warning – if you decide to have tapas at Jameos del Aqua, make sure you can speak Spanish and are able to identify what’s on offer. We failed miserably on both counts and got plates of squid and horrible potatoes. We left most of what we’d bought and wandered off quickly but somehow carefully, with worried expressions on our faces.

Later, back on board, we enjoyed the best couple of hours’ sunshine yet. We were finally able to spend some time out on the balcony as we left Lanzarote, and we opened the wine we won a few days ago. Not bad, but the location and occasion were the best part of it.


Thomson Dream

One other thing – Thomson Dream arrived in port just after us.

Tomorrow we’re at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and again we’re doing an excursion. Tomorrow evening we will be eating in the Orchid Restaurant, and we’re looking forward to that.

One Response to “Cruising on Arcadia – Lanzarote”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: