Saturday, 30 April 2011

Turning Negatives in to Positives

To me Lanzarote represents the resiliance and true grit of humans.  The inhabitants' ancestors not only survived the cataclysmic effects of volcanic action over millenia, but used the earth's upheaval to best advantage.  The whole island is evidence of mind over matter.  Lanzarotians have ingeniously used the rocks blasted from the centre of the earth and transformed the devastated landscape into somthing ruggedly unique and beautiful.  Fertile volcanic soil is protected from the wind by low, crescent shaped walls.

Crescent shaped walls protect plants from drying breezes.

Working at El Grifo
Grapevines grow in pits, and produce delicious and varied wines. We sampled some at El Grifo (established in 1775), with a small taster of local cheeses. There is a wine museum here where we were able to wander freely, even into the vineyard.  The vine pits look very practical as the top of the vines are just above ground level on sturdy frames.  We bought a bottle of Tinto Barrica, also a bright poster, designed by artist, sculptor, architect, environmentalist, Cesar Manrique. 

For more on El Grifo visit   

Bodega Rubicon
Later we enjoyed lunch at Bodega Rubicon   - wine producers since the 18th century.  We sat in the pleasant restaurant because it was blowing a gale outside. 

We shared a tasty meal of mixed salad, sauteed rabbit, squid and canarian potatoes.  As I wasn't driving I had a small glass of their red which was full bodied and to me tasted quite herbaceous.  The waiters were very pleasant and spoke some english.  The toilets were outside, underground and extremely clean.

The still hot, but currently dormant volcano Timanfaya, fascinated Grasshopper and me.  The restaurant at the top would be the first to go should the volcano errupt again.  Chickens are cooked over heat rising from a pit that apparantly sinks deep into the volcano.  Several times a day employees of the National Park amaze visitors by igniting a bush simply by thrusting it a few feet into a hole in the ground. In another demonstration of the sleeping yet potent power of Timanfaya, they pour water into a pipe set into the ground and run to avoid being blasted by the scalding plume of water and steam that shoots twenty feet into the air.  See more photos at

Igniting a bush on Timanfaya.
If I ever want an example of the power of positive thinking (and action), then Lanzarote and its people will jump to mind.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Seasons Club Tahiti -First Impressions

Grasshopper drove the hire car (Gold Car - easy pick up, friendly) the 14 miles from the airport. Very good directions were provided. Greeted by very friendly receptionist and directed to our apartment situated on the 1st floor overlooking the swiming pools. Smallish, but simply and nicely furnished with everything we need - fridge, cooker, microwave, TV (British channels), CD and DVD players, plenty of crockery, cutlery, glasses. V. Clean, comfy bed). After changing , thirst quenching drink beckoned at the pool bar. Very delicious meal in restaurant that night. The best seabream (me) and steak (G) that we´ve ever eaten. A great start. Looking forward to exploring more and a swim.

Midair Mishaps and Kindness

Even after eating half of Grasshopper´s sandwiches, I was feeling a bit peckish after throwing my box of salad away. Still stinging after paying the 64 pounds excess baggage fee I was reluctant to boost Thos Cook´s coffers too much - so tea, soup and two mini bottles of red were purchased (must avoid de-hydration when travelling). They joined the half litre of water purchased at WH Smith, my book and glassses already on a small flap-down tray. Not a problem until I tipped the almost full cup of Ainsley Herriott veggie soup into my lap. Hot, hot, hot! I desperately offloaded the drinks from my tray to Grasshopper´s across the aisle whilst whispering ´'Ring for the Attendant, ouch, hot soup´' in an urgent, pseudo calm way. In seconds I was whisked down to the loo, curtains drawn, wet towels and soothing gel provided for calming scalded parts. Once the scalding subsided I started scraping off sweetcorn and peppers from pink cashmere jumper (Tesco´s  - but hey) and denims, then soaking the affected clothing with cold water. After taking the walk of shame up the aisle, I settled into my seat, gratefully accepted the kind concern from all around, then downed the two mini reds (to combat the shock). The clothing had dried by the time we touched down, although I did smell like the AH Veg Soup until getting to the apartment and doing my laundry a couple of hours later. I am grateful to my flight neighbours and Thos Cook flight attendants for their help and kind concern.