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Life on the Moon in Lanzarote

sunny 25 °C

We chose an eco-farmhouse for our stay on the island of Lanzarote and envisaged ourselves surrounded by grazing animals while basking in the warm ocean breezes off the southwest coast of Morocco, We arrived at night and our host cautioned us not to step off the dimly lit path onto the 'flowers' as we approached the villa. We couldn't see the plants in the darkness, but with memories of Zanzibar still fresh in our minds we anticipated being surrounded by a lush tropical landscape. Then we awoke to this view of our garden!...
Where are the flowers? What happened to the tropical plants: the coconut and banana palms; the frangipane and bougainvillea? We had gone from an equatorial paradise in Zanzibar to a sterile moonscape dotted with bare mountains and vast fields of volcanic ash...
We soon realised that when our Spanish host had said, “Mind the flowers,” he was actually saying, “Mind the flows, - the lava flows...
The Canary Islands rose out of the Atlantic Ocean 15 million years ago when the earth's tectonic plates shifted and volcanoes sprouted from the sea bed to rise high into the air. The new land cooled and eventually became forested tropical islands inhabited by settlers of various ethnicities. The Spanish came in search of slaves in the 15th century and the islands were often a battleground. Then, from 1730 to 1736, the volcanoes of Lanzarote erupted repeatedly and completely blanketed the island in molten lava.
But if life throws you rocks – make a rock garden. And that's what the local grape producers have done. These are their 'fields'...
In addition to being hundreds of feet deep in volcanic ash, Lanzarote is also extremely dry. It only rains a couple of times a month and never from April to October. It might rain 3 times in November, (thankfully not this week), when daytime temperatures rarely drop below 25c. But, ingenious wine makers have found that by planting just one vine at the bottom of a wide deep hole it can get just enough moisture to survive. Judging by the number of barrels in the Bodega de Rubicon they are very successful...
The hot, dry conditions are also great for sea salt production at the salinas...
In truth, Lanzarote is just one big pumice stone. But one other asset of an island made entirely of rock is that it is surrounded by miles of fabulous sandy beaches – and that is where we are headed now. Hasta la vista...

Posted by Hawkson 10:41 Archived in Spain

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How very curious. Was told when visiting the Washington State vineyards that the Mount St. Helen's eruptions actually created a great soil for growing vineyards. I believe asparagus was a prime crop in the area before the eruption and would no longer prosper. I may be off the wall with this, was what I was told.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Some nice waves coming in on that beach. Sophie and Rowan on their belly boards would love them. Much more fun and a lot warmer I'm sure than the chilly two footers they had at Sandwell this summer.

by R and B

Head to Tenerife - much more beautiful!

by Maxine Stewart

Pretty eerie landscape. Red rock hills a little reminiscent of Ayers in OZ. Beach looks lovely though. Enjoy.

by Tom

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