Spain travel

The Last of the Canary Islands

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Sunrise from our room.

On the dock at 08:30 in Arrecife, Lanzarote yesterday morning. We had heard a lot of unappealing descriptions of the island of Lanzarote before we arrived and certainly I would not want to live here permanently. However it is by far the most fascinating place we have visited so far. We took part in a driving tour with 14 other passengers from the ship. The guide, Julia, was excellent. The neat thing about this island is the fact that it has had a couple of major volcanic eruptions in the last several hundred years. The majority of the tour was through the Timanfaya National Park. About 40% of the island was covered in molten flowing lava and deep ash from the eruptions and this makes a very surreal topography to drive through. It is so rugged and harsh looking you simply cannot imagine anyone trying to live in this environment.

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Lava and ash for as far as you can see.

After the eruptions stopped the people came back and found absolutely everything gone. However it is a great example of indomitable spirit when you see how people figured out they could grow gapes in the ash from the volcanic eruptions. The challenge is that the winds never stop blowing here and there is no natural source of water on the island. Not even rain, as due to certain environmental peculiarities, it never rains on Lanzarote. But by pure manual labour they built thousands of shallow pits with semicircular wind breaks made from lava around each one and planted a single vine in each pit. They never water the vines and yet the vines still grow.

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And yes that is a volcanic crater in the background.

We were going to ride camels here but when we arrived we could not get past the total tourist trap atmosphere and decided not to. What an amazing business to be in though. Just a license to print money.

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As we were returning to the Port at the end of the tour it looked like the City had a layer of yellowish smog over it. I assumed this was from the desalination plants that produce their water. However it is actually just dust that is carried over the 120 km of ocean from the Sahara desert.

One other interesting observation I noticed while we were driving around both the islands of Tenerife and Lanzarote. There were a lot of road bikes out cycling on both islands and I have to tell you the roads are not very wide, at all. And never once did I see a car or bus driver ever crowd a cyclist when passing them on the roads. If there wasn’t room the vehicle would just follow the bike until it was safe, then pass. No yelling, horn honking or swearing. We could learn a lot from these people.

In the evening yesterday we retired to our favorite bar on board the Ship. The Molecular Bar. This is kind of a high end cocktail bar that only serves freshly made cocktails. You cannot even order beer or pop at this bar. Not our normal style, but when you do the cruise with a premium drink package you have to try all the options. It is great. The two bartenders Andrew (England) and Sergei (Uzbekistan) are fantastic. Their knowledge and skill in preparing these drinks from all fresh ingredients is very entertaining.

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Andrew in action

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Presentation is beautiful

A day at sea today enroute to Lisbon, Portugal.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

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