Getting out of Southampton wasn’t as easy as we’d thought. Traffic was a nightmare going towards the City Centre and, after sitting with snails and tortoises overtaking then speeding off into the far distance for what seemed like hours, we found a gap, did a quick sidle off down a side road and went in the opposite direction to get on the motorway at Hedge End. The time we had gained by leaving early was gone and so was the chance to stop at Fleet for a coffee. At least we would be saying goodbye to the rain.
Still we made it to Gatwick just as check in opened, dropped off our bags and went off in search of a latte. Disappointingly, the Pret at North Terminal seems to have closed so we ended up in an upmarket version of Shakeaway with a coffee that was passable but not brilliant and I can’t say I was enthralled by the bright pink cup. Beggars can’t be choosers though and it was coffee with caffeine so I shouldn’t complain or be such a coffee snob.
The flight was late boarding and therefore taking off which was a pain because I’d rather have hours sitting in the sun in Lanzarote than sitting in North Terminal but, again, such is life and the perils of flying. At least the plane was clean, the leg room reasonable and, flying with Thompson, it made a change to have allocated seats. Methinks I have got too used to the Sleasyjet Speedy Boarding gamble, I’d forgotten how civilised it is to have a seat with your name on it.
The flight was uneventful which is how I like them. The children were all relatively well behaved and the woman who sat beside me pleasant but not too chatty. Commando got slightly annoyed when I wanted to lean over him from time to time to take photos out of the window but if he will always insist on the window seat what does he expect? It isn’t every day you get to take pictures of the clouds from above after all.
My first impression of Lanzarote was that people seemed very friendly. A taxi driver, seeing us looking lost as we emerged from the terminal directed us to the kiosk where we needed to pick up our transfer. The Scottish woman working there was super helpful, telling us about the island and what to see, obviously a little in love with it herself. An unfamiliar vista of volcanic mountains, black soil and strange contorted larva mounds beside the roads sped by outside the window of our transfer taxi. The hotel, designed by César Manrique, was beautiful. Best of all there is free wifi, ok so it doesn’t seem to be the speediest or most reliable but the price is good.
We took a little walk to get acclimatised to the twenty seven degree heat and our surroundings. The scenery is stark in comparison to England’s verdant hills and verges but it has a beauty to it, black or red soil dotted with fat trunked, stubby palms and globular spiny cacti, square white buildings and everywhere black volcanic rock. Walls, paths, sculptures all carved from blocks of grey black porous stone. I guess you build with what you have available and on a volcanic island that means igneous rock.
The sun was getting low in the sky as we walked up the hill past little supermarkets, shops and bars, low cloud hid it from view but the clouds were haloed with bright light and beams spread out across the blue sky like something in a painting. Snap, snap, snap went my phone. Strange papery petals in brilliant cerise on the bourganvillia outside the hotel were blowing about so much I had trouble taking a photo. In actual fact the papery petals are not petals at all, but bracts of leaves, the flowers are the tiny white frilled circles in the centre that look like stamens.
A pre dinner walk along the shore outside the hotel gave me even more beautiful snaps of the sunbeams radiating from a golden cloud turning the waves breaking on the greyish sand to liquid gold. Breathtaking stuff. Then there are the huge black boulders, worn smooth by the waves framing a gold flecked sea and the white buildings of Costa Teguise spread out before us. There will probably be walks along this shore and lounging on this beach tomorrow.
Hunger took us into the hotel restaurant for dinner. Our half board meals are buffet style with a banquet of fresh salads, meat and fish cooked to order, pastas and fresh sauces not to mention the array of fruits and ice creams. With good food like this every day I’m hoping for a nice healthy holiday and not too much extra poundage at the end of it. Mind you the tiramisu ice cream probably doesn’t count as healthy but still, it’s been a long day, with not much in the way of food at all and I am on holiday!