sunrise, sunset, sea and being careful what you wish for – first published 23 October 2013

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Our last evening in Lanzarote ended on a high wth us watching the sunset by the pool. Then we had a morning to fill before our transfer to the airport. What do you do on the last day of your holiday? You have to check out in the morning so you can’t go back to your room for a snooze or a shower. Ok you can use the hotel facilities but swimming wouldn’t be the best idea when you have no room to get changed in and you don’t really want a wet costume in your hand luggage. What we did was go for a walk…

23 October 2013

Last night we lingered over our coffees, watching the sun go down one last time. The lights came on beneath the waterfall running through the pool, an echo of the one in the atrium. We sat, chatting, watching them change colour from green to turquoise, blue, pink, purple. We both could have stayed sitting there forever.

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This morning there was one last sunrise on the balcony. Breakfast was over, one last chance to eat pineapple that actually melts in the mouth and wholemeal croissants all covered in seeds. We’d showered, packed, checked the room for things left behind and taken our cases down to be stored.

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Sitting, fully clothed by the pool until three, when our transfer was due to arrive, didn’t seem like much of a plan so we went for a walk. With water bottles in hand and sun cream on our exposed bits we strolled along the shore towards the marina. There was a half formed plan to head towards Arrecife and maybe see the shipwreck I never got round to visiting. We set off along the shore, mindful that this would be our last walk in Lanzarote and we had hours of sitting around on a plane ahead of us.

When we reached Nud d’Naplun it was tempting to go inside and have another cup of the best coffee in Lanzarote but, if we did that, we’d probably not have got any further so we waved and walked past. The sea seemed to be much rougher than normal, I’d said as much as we walked along the shore and saw the surf breaking in huge rolling waves. As we came to the end of the little bay waves were crashing against the rocks the spray felt like rain in the air. We stopped for a while to watch the battle of water against rock, Commando bravely walked right to the edge of the rocks but I hung back, snapping away with my phone instead.

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Around the corner we stopped again to watch the waves rolling in towards the huge black larva boulders. With no sand to pick up as they went, each wave gathered and rose as a blue green curl, tipped with white. Finally, reaching the rocks on the shore, the waves tumbled over themselves and the white foam flew into the air, no two waves the same. We were mesmerised and had to drag ourselves away.

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Just around the bend there is another bay. The water here is shallower, an almost impossible pale turquoise blue. At either edge of the bay a thin line of rocks pushes out into the sea, creating this small semi circular pool. Today a drama was unfolding on the rocks and we stood watching, feeling powerless to help. Right at the end of the first finger of rock stood a couple with fishing rods. I can only guess that they had walked out there earlier when the tide was further out and the crashing waves gentler. Now they were marooned and huge waves were smashing into the rock barrier just a few feet away from them. These waves, more than twenty feet high, pounded against their path back to safety and tumbled down over the wall into the pool.

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As the waves ebbed and flowed, it looked as if, at any moment, they would be knocked off the wall and into the shallow water where jagged rocks hide just under the surface. The couple stood for a while, watching the waves as we watched them. There is a pattern to waves if you stand and watch them long enough. I’m not going to go all technical here and explain it but the pattern is there, a few small waves then, every so often, one much bigger gathering force from its neighbours. We’d seen it happening already this morning and the couple standing on the rock must have noticed it too because, in the lull between one particularly big wave and the next, they made their move, dashing across the gap to safety. Thankfully they made it and we walked on feeling relieved.

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On we went, past the bay and along the coast. The man playing the piano accordion we saw the other day was still there. We passed him and carried on as far as we could before the promenade ran out and we had to turn away from the sea to take to the road. The walk wasn’t as pretty after that and, if it hadn’t been for the shipwreck, I think we’d have turned back. As the hot sun beat down and we walked alongside half built hotels, abandoned for lack of money, with traffic passing beside us I began to wonder why I wanted a picture of the shipwreck at all. I also began to wonder what had possessed me to wear my Birkenstocks instead of my Skechers. My feet didn’t hurt but I had the feeling it was only a matter of time.

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Eventually, after what seemed like hours of walking along red lapilli verges, occasionally stopping to shake accumulated stones out of my Birkenstocks, the tiny little desalination plant in the distance and the cruise ship just behind it got larger and larger. When we finally passed the towers and huge silver balls where seawater is turned into drinking water for an island that has virtually no rain, there was the wreck.

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It wasn’t the prettiest wreck if I’m honest and possibly not worth the walk but I took some photos anyway. There was a certain irony in seeing this rusting old ship when behind it the luxurious Celebrity Eclipse was in stark contrast. As we were both feeling quite hot and tired by this stage and time was getting on, Commando suggested we carry on to Arrecife which was, “not all that much further,” rather than walk back the way we’d come. The idea was we could get a taxi there.

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We walked and we walked. In places things got a little hairy. Where the new road is being built there are no pavements and we had to walk along the edge of the road with concrete bollards on one side of us and cars whizzing by on the other. Thankfully it was only for a short distance. We saw a massive Ikea store and some other out of town shopping places but Arrecife never quite seemed to start. It felt as if we’d been walking forever when we eventually got to something approaching a town. By this time we were tired and we’d run out of water. I was beginning to think I’d rather have walked back the way we came where there were little supermarkets we could pop into to get water.

Here we seemed to be in the heart of a port, not a pretty little tourist place, although I’m sure Arrecife has them. The trouble was we didn’t have enough time to look and had no real idea where to start. The masses of taxis we thought we’d see weren’t there either. This was beginning to feel a little worrying. With panic beginning to rise we went into a down at heel cafe that looked like it was only used by locals. It was the only place that was open. The elderly woman behind the counter didn’t speak English. Not good. Luckily, her only customer, a middle aged man sitting on a stool in the corner, understood the word taxi. Even luckier, we sort of understood his directions. You would not believe the relief of finding a taxi rank round the corner with three taxis standing waiting. Suddenly things didn’t look so bad. The taxi driver seemed to understand where we wanted to go, the taxi was clean, amazingly clean, the smell of leather polish almost overpowering. Before we knew it we were back in Melia Salinas, sitting by the pool with a coffee. Whew, that was a close one though!

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We had a bit of a relax after our adventure. Commando laying on a sun Lounger, me sitting on one of the comfy chairs under the canopy, white muslin gently swaying in the breeze. After my coffee I paddled my hot feet in the pool for a bit and then sat and read my kindle until it was time to go. While the lovely little man got out our suitcases out for us, I had a last look at the garden in the atrium. I finally got round to taking a photo or two of the beautiful larva statue of a lounging woman in the foyer and Manrique’s carvings on the walls. I felt sad that I was saying goodbye to such a beautiful place. Maybe I will come back. I hope so.

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The journey to the airport was uneventful and, as we were early, we stood for a little while looking out over the mountains getting one last little drop of vitamin D before we went inside. Once we got check in over with and went airside we had time to kill so had a little wander around the shops, more for something to do than anything else. Then there was the obligatory coffee and a snack in lieu of lunch. It was then that I spotted the beer garden.

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The sign outside advertised five beers for eight euros, but we weren’t interested in beer, what caught our attention was that, inside the door, the garden was open to the sky. If Carlsberg made airport bars…and funnily enough it was Carlsberg being served. Even though we didn’t want a drink we went inside just to grab a little extra precious sun. What a very civilised idea and one I’ve only seen in one other place, Paphos airport. I guess it wouldn’t be much use in rainy old Gatwick or Heathrow though.

The flight itself was a rather frustrating affair. When the last people boarded the plane the seat next to me was still empty, as was the row opposite. Obviously the people just getting on were going to be my travelling companions and I have to admit to having my fingers crossed it wouldn’t be the woman with the small baby or either of her two young children. I got my wish and the husband and father sat beside me.

It wasn’t long before I realised I got the worst part of the deal. The baby and small children were good as gold, not a sound from them. Their father however seemed to have something of a problem with sitting still. He sat down then immediatley got up again to get something out of the overhead locker, some sweets probably for the children. The children didn’t get a look in though. Mr fidgety opened the packet and began to eat them. After a bit he got bored with this and got up again. This time he got a laptop out of the overhead locker. A few minutes later he was up again for something else. We hadn’t even moved at this point and I was already getting fed up.

As soon as we were in the air and the seat belt lights went off he started again. Every few minutes he got up and got something else out of his bag in the overhead locker. It got to the point that I thought the hinges might give out from over use and I began to wonder if it was a magic bag, so much had come out of it. How I didn’t turn to him and tell him to get the whole bag out and be done with it I don’t know! This carried on for the whole four hour flight and by the end I was ready to strangle him. Even the woman in the row in front on the opposite aisle was looking at me and shaking her head because it was getting on her nerves too. So that’s a lesson in being careful what you wish for because it might not turn out to be quite what you expected.

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As it was an evening flight I did get to see the sun go down from above the clouds, although we were on the wrong side of the plane for the five star sunset view. It felt as though I could have reached out and touched the moon. Commando got a little fed up with me taking photos once again but not nearly as annoyed as I was the the man sitting next to me.

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Marie

Writer, walker, coffee drinker, chocolate eater, lover of nature, history and the little things that make me smile

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