Well, the weather has turned predictably winter and predictably shit here in the UK so I thought, what better time to go through some photos and relive memories of hot sunny summer days. I needed to remind myself that the sun does indeed shine and bask us in its glorious warmth.
This year, at the end of the summer holidays, we traveled to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands for a week. Less than 100 miles off the coast of Africa, and averaging only 18 days of rain a year, we’d have to be pretty unlucky to not to have perfect beach and pool weather. And perfect weather it was indeed, sunny, hot, and rarely a cloud in the sky.
My approach to travel has definitely changed over the years. A younger, childless me, would have organized the hell of a holiday, reading up on my destination, planning activities and excursions, desperate not to miss a single “must see” item. But this time, I just wasn’t bothered. I wanted to let go of work and my to do list and just relax for a week with absolutely no agenda or schedule. So we woke up when we wanted, lounged around the pool as long as we wanted, and I even FINISHED A BOOK!
No matter where I travel now though, one of my favorite things is a bit of run tourism. Going for a run is a great way to explore a new place and get your bearings. Running in the heat isn’t my thing though so getting out early in the morning was key, although I don’t think my version of “early” was early enough. By the time I’d get in from a run I was dripping with sweat. But despite the heat, I was rewarded with amazing views of the coast and the volcanic landscape.
Thanks to a few years of high school Spanish about 30 years ago, I had enough Spanish vocabulary buried deep in the recesses of my brain to communicate. And when that failed me, like when we had a situation with a small toy mouse we’d bought that my child decided he wanted to exchange, Google Translate came to the rescue. Mouse exchanged, child happy. The little man even got into learning a bit of the language and became quite proficient at ordering his “zumo de piña” all by himself.
I’m also grateful that I’ve had the little man swimming regularly since he was just three months old. He loves swimming and is confident and happy in the pool like a little fish. Even when he has his goggles on upside down.
The beach was what I would consider a short walk from where we stayed but it was quite a trek for little five-year old legs, especially over a dry desert landscape which I suspect is quite similar to the surface of Mars. But he was a trooper and the journey was well worth the reward. There were beautiful sandy beaches and clear blue waters that were shallow and calm enough for little boys to enjoy. We went swimming in the sea and he said “Mummy this is amazing.” I agreed.
My little multi-media artist even built his own rendition of Mordor and Mount Doom out of sand.
The one excursion we did take was a visit to Timanfaya National Park. The little man has been quite interested in volcanos, but of course we’d only read about them in books. The stories of Pompeii in particular had captured his imagination. So he was pretty excited about the idea of going to an actual real life volcano. Thankfully, the last time the volcanos erupted on Lanzarote was back in the early 1700s, but that still seems pretty recent to me in geological timescales. And there is plenty of evidence of ongoing volcanic activity: geothermal vents that light dry brush on fire simply from their heat and geysers that spit hot water into the air. Most interesting though is the restaurant built around grilled meats cooked entirely from the heat rising from the depths of the earth.
The park covers about 20 square miles of lava fields as far as the eye can see. If I were a filmmaker scouting locations for a movie set on Mars, I’d be sorted. (Proper filmmakers have already figured this out.)
Lanzarote was exactly the kind of low-key holiday I needed. And I’m certainly missing its blazing warm sunshine.