This time last week we were enjoying summer temperatures in Lanzarote. On our return, it was quite a shock to discover that Bordeaux is still plunged in the chilly depth of an inhabitually bleak winter.
Several people had warned us that Lanzarote is a volcanic island meaning that the landscape is grey and arid while I associated the word Lanzarote with the worst of shudder-inducing British tourism. There was none of that and we loved it. The hues of the volcanic landscape actually range from a dull black through fruity purple to burning ochre. The volcano-sides are dotted with semi-circular hollows dug out to protect the vines planted deep in the dark ashes. Perhaps there are some horrible tourist holes but we didn't see any: Lanzarote was lucky enough to be home to an artist names César Manrique and he did much to protect the coastline and limit development to low-rise villages of white casas.
Fully intending to do some hiking while we were there, we had squashed our walking boots into our suitcases, but didn't get as far as actually putting them on. I think that if we'd had two weeks, we would have got round to it, but we only had one and there were so many other interesting things to do and see, and of course eat. So we spent the days visiting the cactus garden, the Mirador del Rio, the Manrique cultural centre, and Timanfaya national park where we ate meat barbecued with the natural heat of a volcano.
It is taking me ages to cull, organise and upload all of our photographs. Here's a selection — the rest will be here.