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.

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