March 1, 2011
Well I have officially returned from the 80 degree weather of the canary islands. I could not have asked for a better weekend. The weather was perfect and the island was beautiful. Here we go:
Friday morning at 1:30 am Katie and I took the bus from Granada to Madrid. We have managed to find some very cheap flights but the disadvantage to flying inexpensively is that they are at really inconvenient times. Luckily I was able to completely pass out and when I awoke we were pulling into the Madrid bus station. Katie and I are Spanish metro professionals after Barcelona and were easily able to get ourselves via metro from the bus station to the airport where we met up with Jaclyn, Corinne, and Tamara. We boarded our 9am flight from Madrid to Lanzarote. When we landed I instantly fell in love. The island is so beautiful. It is made up of 136 volcanoes so all the beaches have mostly black sand. We took the bus from the airport to Puerto del Carmen which is the part of the island where we were staying. Every single home is white and there are flowers and cactuses everywhere. We walked from the bus stop to our apartment. There were 7 of us on the trip (Me, Katie, Tamara, Allison, Alyssa, Jaclyn, and Corrine). 5 of us were in one apartment (because we booked the trip first) and then Corrine and Jaclyn were in the apartment next door. Our apartment had 4 beds, a futon, a full bathroom, and a full kitchen and our apartment complex had a pool! Right down the street was this great little market so we bought some groceries and headed to the beach. We were tired from the flight so we just walked straight from our house to the ocean without looking at a map. We found this adorable little cove that had a few families enjoying the waves. Every beach in the canary islands is a topless beach and that came as quite a shock but we soon got used to it. We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean. There is volcanic rock everywhere and we later learned (from our excursion to the volcanic national park) that in 1732 there was a volcanic eruption that lasted 6 years, covered 20 towns with lava, and killed many. So all of the volcanic rock is from that eruption. After a few hours on the beach we wandered home to shower and ran into Allison and Alyssa who had come in on a later flight. WE showered and went out for a delicious Chinese dinner. After dinner we wandered around the town and scoped out the situation for the next day.
Saturday morning we woke up early in hopes of going to the caves that were formed from the volcanic eruption. Unfortunately public transportation doesn’t really exist on the island and the only way for us to get there was through a group excursion which were all full for that weekend. So we started off our day a little disappointed but we managed to get ourselves on an excursion for early Monday morning to the national volcanic park. We went home and put on our suits and headed to playa grande which is the main beach in Puerto del Carmen. We brought our own lunches and spent the day on the beach. It was so beautiful and the water was refreshing. After all the traveling and school it was so nice to have time to just lay…being in spain isn’t nearly as stressful as being at bucknell but it is much more exhausting. I did not realize how tired I was. After the beach we went home and showered and changed for dinner. Lanzarote is known as being the cleanest and safest of the Canary Islands…it is also known as the old people island…we were probably the only college aged people there. It was fine because we were exhausted every day and weren’t looking for big night life but it did come as a bit of a shock. We got a lot of attention from the locals. On Saturday night we were wandering looking for a cheap place to eat when we happened upon this restaurant that overlooked the ocean. We ended up talking to the owner who gave us a free bottle of wine, free bread (bread is not free in spain), and a round of free chupitos. All we paid for was our food! We each got a pizza and the bill (the WHOLE bill for SEVEN people) came to be 41 euros. It was actually incredible. They were just so ecxited to see young people that they showered us with attention (no complaints on my part). After dinner we went right to sleep because we were sooo tired.
Sunday: We had done a little bit of research before we came where we learned that the best place to snorkel on the island was on this tiny little beach called playa chica. So we got out our map and walked the hour walk to playa chica. We rented snorkel equipment and spent the morning snorkeling through the reefs and rocks. It was so cool! I saw nemo ☺ Then we walked home to take a break from the sun and had cocktails and lunch on our porch! From there we went back to our little cove and enjoyed the late afternoon reading and napping on the beach (tough life huh?). We were all so tired that for dinner we ate the rest of our sandwich makings and were asleep by 11.
Monday: We woke up early to pack and clean up our apartment. We then hauled our suitcases down the island to the excursion center where we caught the bus to the volcanic national park. Before we entered the park we stopped at the first part of our tour. WE GOT TO RIDE CAMELS! I rode a camel through valleys between volcanoes. It was AWESOME and a little bit scary and very smelly. Katie and I were on the same camel (I named him Omar) It was definitely something I will never ever ever forget. It was so beautiful and weird looking at the same time. I had never been that close to so many volcanoes before. After departing from Omar we got back on the bus and drove up to the tallest volcanic peak where we stopped and learned about the history and enjoyed the view (it was very very windy though) We could only stand in certain spots though or else our shoes would melt! There is a restaurant at the top of the peak that uses the heat from the volcano as its stove! They were grilling chicken, sausage, and fish using only the natural heat from the volcano! Then we got back on the bus and drove through the valleys of the volcanos. This part is only for people on excursions and you are not allowed to get out of the bus because of the heat and they do not want tourists and people to destroy the natural beauty of the remnants of the volcanic eruption. Our tour guide said that this park is the closest thing on earth to Mars and that parts of the park had been used to film Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes. After the tour through the volcanic park we stopped at the vineyard and got a free wine tasting! Although right now there were no grapes we got to see the miles and miles of vines. It was so cool! From there the tour guide was nice enough to drop us off at the airport where we boarded the plane back to Madrid!
Do not worry, I wore SPF 45 the entire time and reapplied at least twice a day. I was the only person to not get badly burnt! I did however get burnt a little on my lips and my feet (this was my first foot sunburn experience and I can say that I will never forget to put sunscreen on my feet from now on)
Have this week in Granada preparing for Mom, Alex, Dad, and Pete’s visit! Heading to Carnival in Cadiz on Saturday (google image this to see what I will be participating in!). Katie and I are going to the costume shop this week to buy masks and wigs!!
Send me email updates! I miss everyone and get home sick!
I will put Katie’s pictures up soon (its rough not having a camera but pretty soon mom will bring my charger!!)
Besos y abrazos!