Sign for the Lava Fields

Sign for the Lava Fields

We arrived in Lanzarote at 8am and,as my back was feeling better we decided to risk going on the tour we had booked to “the fire mountain”. This was a spectacular drive to the SE of the island and through the lava fields.
Once again we had a guide who gave us an excellent commentary on historical, geographical and cultural facts about the island.
I noticed that the traffic islands had a mulch of black material and this was explained when she told us that, as Lanzarote has no springs or rivers and very low rainfall, water conservation is of great importance for any horticultural effort. They plant into the earth and then mulch with a very thick layer of lava gravel, which not only prevents evaporation and attracts night dew but also adds nutriment.
It struck us that this would also combat the problems caused by snails and slugs. If I were younger and of an entrepreneurial nature what a great opportunity to import lava gravel. I am sure it would be a winner, especially after a summer such as we have had!
All the houses have water tanks to store the precious rainfall and they have now built two desalination plants to utilise sea water.
With all these measures they manage to grow tomatoes, sweet potatoes,vines etc. Most of the gardens by the houses had the ubiquitous palm trees and giant cacti, but every so often we saw very colourful gardens and I was full of admiration when I thought how much effort thet must involve.
We saw the vineyards which must be very labour intensive as each vine is planted into a scooped out hollow and protected on the north side by a handbuilt semicircular stone wall. We called in at a winery and sampled the product. It is similar to Madeira wine.
The drive through the National park was surreal. Only coaches are allowed to drive through and they played special music. I couldn’t help wondering if the writer of Doctor Who had made this journey because I kept expecting to see an Oud appear.:)
The lava fields were black and forbidding but here and there small sprigs of greenery showed that Nature wins through eventually. The roads were very good, but I suppose the lack of snow and frost helps, not to mention no electric, gas and waterboards digging them up! The driver was very skilful and manoeuvred the coach around the tightest of hairpin bends as we descended into the valley.
There has been no active volcanic for about 200 years but there is still a lot of heat just below the surface. This was demonstrated by one of the Park guides when he thrust straw just below the surface and immediately it caught fire and then he poured water down a pipe which 3 seconds later shot out as steam.

steam spout

steam spout

One of the features of this tour was the offer of a camel ride. There were 300 camels waiting for us. Some looked very gentle, most disdainful and a few were protesting loudly and vociferously. I decided that a camel ride would be testing the recovery of my back too far so watched the others.

caption id=”attachment_2174″ align=”aligncenter” width=”300″] Camels (patiently waiting[/caption]

It had been an amazing tour which we both enjoyed.
We sailed from Lanzarote at 2pm.
As this was Remembrance Sunday there was a very moving service in the afternoon which was attended by many of the passengers.

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