Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wines of Lanzarote

I am back from Lanzarote, another Canary Island not so far from Gran Canaria, and I have had the best time! I have so much I want to share, but I thought I would start with the wine. Such a lovely surprise!
The wine of Lanzarote I mean. I had no idea Lanzarote produced such delicious wine!
But Lanzarote is just another denominacion de origen in Spain with great wine.
There were lots of bodegas and lots of good wine.


 Lanzarote is the easternmost Canary Island, the one closest to Africa, and has a unique and quite spectacular volcanic landscape. Eruptions in 1730-36 covered big parts of the island in lava  
and well, in this solidified black lava, nothing can grow. 




However, around the edges of all this lava, the conditions are ideal for vines because of the volcanic ash, picón. This layer of ash absorbs rain and the humidity at night, and prevents it from evaporating in the strong sun, which keeps the soil underneath at a constant temperature. 

I have seen vines in Rioja, and Catalunya and it was interesting to 
see such a different way to grow them in Lanzarote.


Lanzarote is very windy so the vines are mostly planted in holes in the ground, often with stone walls around the edges to protect them from the wind. The vines are cut in a special way to get them 
to grow outwards, close to the ground, instead of rising upwards like "normal" 
vines. You don't even see the vines before getting close to these holes. 





There is a "ruta del vino", basically a wine-route where you can drop by many wineries, 
see their vines, go on a guided tour (on some), and taste their wines. 

I tried several, and the kind I liked the most (of all the brands I tried) was
the dry white wine from the Malvasía grape. 

The best one of all, I think was the dry white 'selección' from El Grifo
El Grifo is the oldest winery in the Canary islands, open since 1775. 

There is a museum, which is the old bodega..




...and you can also have a walk outside along their vines,
 and then enjoy a lovely glass of the wine of your choice in the sunny patio.
(Included in the entrance fee.)


There is also a shop where you can buy wine. The museum wasn't superduperinteresting in my opinion,
but the wine was really nice, and so was the patio, so I would recommend a visit for that. My biggest disappointment though, was the shop as I later saw that the price of the wine there was higher than in any supermarket in Lanzarote. The one I liked the most was about €10 a bottle, while it cost around €7 in the supermarkets. That is not nice, it should be the other way around, shouldn't it?

I also visited La Geria, nice place to try & buy some wine.
(Although I personally didn't like the wine I tried there too much!)  



And Stratvs, said to be the most modern winery in Europe. 
I would have liked to do the guided tour here, but it was full for the days I was there. 




At Stratvs you could see this; the different coladas of lava, and the root of a vine in the lava soil.


All in all, the Ruta de Vino is definitely worth checking out while in Lanzarote!

Ever been to Lanzarote, and did you check out the wine district?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lanzarote-tips anyone?

Hi there! I am going to the Canary Island of Lanzarote early Friday morning and I haven't
had much time to research. If anyone has any suggestions of cool things to do,
preferably a little off the beaten track I would love to hear it!

I'd be happy for tips about places to eat as well, best beaches, basically whatever worth seeing! 

I am curious about the cave Cueva de los Verdes...



...vineyards in volcanic soil, La Geria...

...geysir!


But I don't know much about anything. If you know of something cool, 
it would be wonderful if you'd like to share it with me! 

*All pictures from Wikipedia

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pueblos con Encanto / Charming Canary Towns ~ Agaete

In my quest to present Gran Canaria as a tourist destination beyond just beaches and sunny weather,
today, it's time to present another beautiful little town of Gran Canaria.


This coastal town is located on the north-west side of the island (about 30 minutes by car from Las Palmas) and gives the feel of a sleepy fisherman's town, perfect for a day trip to enjoy the best (?) fresh fish in Gran Canaria. There are quite a few nice restaurants there, and the specialty is always fresh fish.


Until 2005, people came to Agaete/Puerto de las Nieves for the best view to "Dedo de Dios", "God's finger", a natural rock/monument close to the shore of Agaete/Puerto de las Nieves, but during a storm the "finger" fell off. The town is still all about the finger, though. Postcards, monuments, pictures, even a restaurant with the same name. Well, the restaurant was there long before the finger fell off, and I believe it has its name because of the location with views to the rock.


Agaete is located right next to Tamadaba, a big natural park area.
Green lush valleys, mountains and a pine forest. 


This is the only pebble stone beach I have seen thus far in Gran Canaria.
Maybe that is one of the reasons I have never seen busloads of tourists here either,
like many other places on the island? 
I love that by the way, it gives the town such a tranquil feel.
(The lack of tourists, not the pebble beach ha!)




The buildings down by the sea are predominantly white and blue. Very pretty!



"The beauty of this place resides in it's own beauty, and you who admire it."

Recommended for a day trip to enjoy a lovely long lunch. 
If you're interested, 
I have previously written 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sand-art

I never get tired of my walks at the beach of Las Canteras
There are many reasons for that but one is the different, unique patterns in the sand. 


At "La Cicer", one part of the beach, the sand is a mix of black and golden 
and with every little stone, footstep or simply a wave with a bit of current, the water 
leaves a new pattern for each new wave. I can't get enough of it!







Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Carnaval!

Carnaval is on! 

The Carnaval de Las Palmas goes on for almost a month every year. 
There are galas every weekend, as well as big street parties where people dress up and 
drink ... way too much. At night there are chiringuitos and live music and daytime, different parades and kids dressing up. Carnaval is mostly celebrated during the weekends, but yesterday was "Martes de Carnaval", a local holiday here in Las Palmas, and I got to see a parade. Actually, it passed by right outside my window!


I live right off the beach of Las Canteras, and yesterday was the "Carnaval al sol", a walking
 parade passing all the way along the boardwalk of Las Canteras. (There are different kinds of parades during these weeks.) It didn't turn out to be a sunny Carnaval-day though, heavy clouds with a raindrop now and then dominated the sky, but the parade certainly lit up most faces along the boardwalk. 
The colours, the costumes, the rhythms and the dancing. Energy!


Something I thought about, again and again, was how brave these women are!
They were dancing along that boardwalk with next to nothing covering up their body,
proudly shaking their behinds and I couldn't help thinking it would not be easy for me to do that!
I am ok in a bikini at the beach but this is ... something... completely... different.
And it wasn't just skinny girls, far from it but it didn't stop them. 
Now that is inspiring and just wonderful! 


And just a few more pictures of some lovely costumes now that I am at it!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Parque Natural de Tamadaba, Gran Canaria

As the title of this post reveals, today I am going to talk about a National Park in Gran Canaria, called Tamadaba. I went there with my friend, when she visited in December. It is located on the north-west side of the island, and the distance from Agaete isn't that far in kilometers, but it took us a lot longer to get there than anticipated, due to one million curves and narrow roads. We were several times considering to just turn around and go back to Las Palmas as the time passed and we started getting worried about not making it there, and back before it got dark, but it felt like such a waste to have come that far and not get to the final destination that we kept on driving. 

And we were so glad we did! The landscape we got to see was breathtaking. On the way up, we drove through green lush valleys, waterfalls and great views over the island. And then we got to the pine forest of Tamadaba, , and we were both in awe. It was so beautiful, and so unexpected for what we thought to find in Gran Canaria. We were the only ones up there, and the silence and beauty of the forest was simply magical. 

I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.




Up at the top, there is a camp site of sorts. There are (very simple) toilet facilities (toilet/sink) and nothing else. You can put your tent wherever you please. It's free, but you need to ask permission first from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria. When we were there, there were no one at all. Imagine having this place all to yourself!



Up where you can camp, the views aren't bad either. 



That's Agaete, the white town you see down there.
On a cloudy day, you are often above the clouds at the "camp-place", so instead of views all you see are clouds. Just as beautiful!


If you want to camp up here, you need to get a permission. It's free, but you need a little paper fastened to your tent. It's not hard to get the permission, you just need to fill in a form (that can be found here, in English) Choose Llanos de la Mimbre - Tamadaba. Further instructions can be found at the same website.

And then, just a little map to show where on the island this is!

via