Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Lanzarote Part 4......

We only booked one sightseeing trip during our visit to Lanzarote last December, to Timanfaya National Park, which is host to Fire Mountain.  This massive volcano erupted in 1730 and lasted 6 years until 1736.  These eruptions transformed almost a quarter of the island into a sea of solidified lava, multicoloured volcanic rocks and copper-coloured sand, with wide areas covered with thick layers of lapilli (coarse ash). These materials formed the malpaís (badlands), and more than 250 years after these eruptions, there is still hardly any vegetation here. For the time being, the area is quite safe, though underneath the surface it is still bubbling and an odour of sulphur hangs in the air. It is also classed as the closest to the moon's surface as you will find on earth.

Click on photos to biggify.

The boundary to the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya is marked by a sign carrying the mischievous El Diablo (The Devil) logo - designed by Cesar Manrique,  the island’s best-known, internationally renowned artist.

 Our first stop was the El Diablo Restaurant with its interesting barbeque that uses geothermal heat and a cast iron grill placed over a hole in the ground – another ingenious César Manrique idea.

If you look closely at the photos above you can see the glowing embers deep underground and we could feel the heat rising from the hole and also through the footplate surrounding the hole.  We were advised not to stand there too long or the soles of our shoes may melt!

Staff members also give impressive demonstrations which show the intense heat of the earth just below the surface.  The first demonstration was when a staff member dug a small hole and dropped some cinders into everyone's hand - we had to juggle them from one hand to another because they were HOT!   For the next demonstration he pushed some straw into a hole - here's the result...

 The most impressive demonstration, for me anyway, was when he poured some water into a pipe in the ground and seconds later a jet of steam shot out of the pipe.

Driving up the mountain the scenery we saw is unbelievable.   We were not allowed to get off the coach so most of our photos are taken through the window.  I've put together a slide show to give you some idea of how incredible it it. Do click on the enlarge icon in the bottom right hand corner of the slideshow to get a better view.


Our next stop was the camel train.   MWM and I didn't have a ride on the camels but lots of people did, we just took photos.

 You'll never guess what we saw on our next stop - only a vineyard!  

We were amazed to find out that wine is actually grown on this unhospitable landscape but in the valley of La Geria vines are individually grown in their own funnel-shaped hole that is rimmed by a low wall made of lava rocks for protection from the Passat winds.

Thousands of those "Zocos" can be see along the mountain slopes.  The soil is covered with black lava ash called "Lapili" or "Picon", which protects it against drying out.  The porous material absorbs dew during the night and releases it into the soil during the day.  Mainly the Malvasia grapes are grown here but also, to as smaller extent, the Muscatel grape.  Of course we got to taste.

Our last stop on the tour was Los Hervideros (boiling waters)  a  stretch of bizarre-shaped cliffs is slightly north of the popular resort of Playa Blanca towards El Golfo.

This coastal area has an abundance of underwater caves produced by the solidification of lava and erosion. Los Hervideros refers to the amazing display that sees the waves force water into the labyrinth of caves with such a dramatic power it appears as if the sea is bubbling and boiling. Visitors can wander around pathways in the cliffs and watch the display below. 

Sometimes, when the Atlantic Ocean is rough and producing heavy swells, sprays of seawater are forced several metres into the air accompanied by a roaring noise! An awesome sight!
What a fantastic day trip that was, we saw so many awesome sights and it was a perfect finale to a great week away as we made the journey home a couple of days later.  I hope you've enjoyed this  trip as much as we did. 


Melanie said...

Amazing photos! I want to go for a visit now!

Maggie May said...

That is quite a history attached to the island. I can't help but wonder what happened to the population when that volcano erupted for 6 yrs? I must look it up on Google.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Flowerpot said...

Looiks a fabulous holiday Ak - and great pics x

MorningAJ said...

What a fascinating place that looks. The only thing I can compare with it is Iceland. That looks a bit like the surface of the moon in places. And it has hot spots and geysers of course. Geology can be amazing - but it's also a bit scary!

Daryl Edelstein said...

What a fascinating place ... I love that they can cook over those pits!

Akelamalu said...

It's so worth a visit Melanie!

Apparently the population were all evacuated before the volcano erupted Maggie.

It was Flowerpot, glad you enjoyed the pics. x

Oh I so agree with you AJ!

Yes I found that fascinating too Daryl!

Jenny Woolf said...

Bit of a coincidence, the last blog I read was also about a trip to Lanzarote! It's obviously a popular place right now. The posts cover basically different things, and I'm putting together an image of the place as really interesting and unusual. I am starting to know where I will want to go next Winter!

Ron said...

What an amazingly interesting and fascinating post!

And your photos are BEYOND stunning!

Love the ones of the camels. Especially the one of you and that one camel sleeping. How adorable! I think camels have the cutest faces.

Excellent tour of trip, m'dear! You always do such a wonderful job in sharing your jaunts with us.

Thank you!

Have a great day.....X

Valerie said...

Oh shucks, is that the last one? I've enjoyed joining you on your trip. My memory is poor these days, I don't remember the camels.

Banker Chick said...

So beautiful and desolate.

tony said...

Yea,I've Been To Tenerife & Fortuventura but never Lanzarote. But Your Persuading Me To Go.All Four Elements in ONE PLACE!

Akelamalu said...

It's a popular place Jenny

So pleased you enjoyed reading about our trip Ron. I agree about camels, though I'm not fond of them spitting! LOL

Maybe the camels are a new thing Valerie, not having been before I wouldn't know. Glad you enjoyed it.

It is definitely desolate but amazing at the Bankerchick

I've been to Tenerife and Fuerteventura too Tony, Lanzarote is quite different. :)

G-Man said...

Pearlie Mae...
You always look so peaceful and Natural holding a glass of booze!

Akelamalu said...

It's my favourite pose G-man LOL

Beach Bum said...


This was great travel writing.

Cloudia said...

like our big island (Hawaii) in many ways!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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Travis Cody said...

Those landscapes are fascinating.

Akelamalu said...

Why thankyou Beach x

Hawaii looks like Lanzarote Cloudia???? I've always imagined it to be lush and green. :0

Yes they are Trav

Finding Pam said...

What an awesome trip. I enjoyed reading all about it. I can't imagine growing grapes in that soil.

Mama Zen said...

What an amazing place!

Akelamalu said...

I was really surprised to find they grew grapes there too Pam!

I really is Mama Zen

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

wow, very interesting. and beautiful!

smiles, bee

Secret Agent Woman said...

What an interesting place - looks like a really great trip.