Day 10 - Arrecife
|Thursday, October 19, 2023: We were still some distance from port when we awoke this morning to clear blue skies and sun.
|We'd ordered room service the night before, and they brought it to the cabin around 8:45 AM. Debbie ordered steak and eggs which came with crispy onions, potatoes, and a tomato slice. Tom ordered the frittata which came with hash browns and cream cheese mixed with red pepper flakes. There was also orange juice, milk, and V8 which we put in our fridge for later.
|We passed some of the other islands that make up the Canary Islands chain on our left, ...
|... and there's our destination, Lanzarote Island, on the right.
|There is an IKEA on Lanzarote, and the blue and yellow of the building is just visible in background near the center of this photo.
|As we watched sail in, we saw our fellow passengers on decks 7 and 6 for the first time.
|The entire cruise ship pier looks brand new. None of this was here the last time we were here.
|The messenger line thrown from the ship to the dock was just short and fell into the water. The dockside crew was able to throw a rope with a hook on it and reeled it in.
|Many passengers were out on deck or their balcony watching us arrive in port.
|Lanzarote is known for its beaches, so our minifigs dressed accordingly. We weren't actually going to visit beaches on this visit but we did when we were here in 2011.
|We had a shore excursion through the ship today, so we headed to the World Stage on deck two. Despite arriving early, the line already reached into the casino, ...
|... and we got into the massive line of people also trying to get in for their tours.
|It took about 10 minutes to get into the theater, ...
|... and then another several before we had our tour stickers, found seats, and waited for our tour color and number to be called.
|A little past 11:30 AM, they called Pink 11, which was our tour, and five minutes later we were off the ship and at our bus. We were going to see several works by architect and artist César Manrique and then stop at a museum before returning to the ship.
|The pier had landscaped areas with black volcanic rock and several types of cactus. It was a beautiful look.
|There was a Burger King right in the marina, no doubt capitalizing on the fact that every American passenger who was walking into town had to walk right by it.
|The entire cruise ship pier was very well done, with clearly marked areas for pedestrian and beautiful landscaping throughout.
|Just outside the harbor, we passed the remains of what used to be a salt flat, one of many that used to be on the island.
|Check out this cool sculpture that was along the side of the road.
|There were lots of pretty whitewashed houses to see as we made our way north out of the harbor.
|As we neared our first destination, we passed a huge field filled with prickly pear cactus.
|Our first stop on our tour was the Cactus Garden, created by Cesar Manrique in 1991. It was his last work before his death in 1992. A large metal cactus sculpture created by Manrique stands out front.
|Our tour guide, Christina, spent some time explaining how the gardens were created and what we were going to see before escorting us inside.
|The entrance gates were designed to look like cactus.
|Cool sign! We'd be seeing this style of sign at the other Manrique attractions we were visiting.
|In the circular area where the entrance station was located, there were circular alcoves with a small cactus set inside each one.
|Set in the wall separating the entrance from the garden, there was an oval cutout in the wall with stylized metal cacti inside.
|Leaving the entrance area, we rounded the wall for the big reveal. The garden is set in the bowl-shaped depression of a former quarry and it contains thousands of cacti. Our tour guide spent a little more time telling us where the restrooms, the gift shop, and the cafe were located, and then gave us free time to explore.
|Who knew there were so many types of cactus?
|We headed straight for the windmill on the opposite wall, ...
|... stopping at the restrooms on the way. Christina chuckled when she told us where the restrooms were located and said that it would be obvious which side was for men ...
|... and which side was for women.
|The ground and the stairs were paved with blocks of volcanic stone. The result was mostly smooth and was exceedingly beautiful.
|Let's check out this windmill, shall we?
|We headed up the narrow staircase inside, ...
|... and realized that there was only a very small room at the top of the stairs. There were already several people up there when we got there, and there wasn't enough room for everyone. We waited while the people on the stairs behind us realized that there wasn't any more room, and once they backed down off the stairs, everyone at the top could slowly make their way out.
|Here's the view from the area in front of the windmill looking back across the crater toward the entrance and the parking lot. Our tour bus was the bright blue one on the left edge of the photo.
|There were prickly pear cacti in bloom, and we looked for the cochineal bugs that are harvested from the buds but couldn't find any.
|The stairs down from the windmill had planters on the sides with tiny cacti growing in them.
|There was a tower with a circular staircase that led down to the cafe. Check out the cool sculpture hanging from the ceiling.
|At the bottom of the staircase was a small pond with ferns growing around it. A young girl was sitting near the water's edge trying to coax a caterpillar that was stuck to her shirt to move to the ferns instead.
|It was a gorgeous cafe, with beautiful woodwork and green-colored lights suspended above the bar, all designed by Manrique.
|We spent some time walking around the garden looking at all of the varieties of cactus. This one featured woody stems with dark maroon succulent leaves just at the very ends.
|Look at the orange color on these!
|Here's another tree-like cactus.
|Check out this area. There is one that is climbing the wall with little tendrils growing out of it!
|We referred to this one as the "hand cactus" for a little while. Don't the leaves look like they are growing out of the fingers?
|Check out this octopus-looking cactus, ...
|... and this one that looked a little like dandelion fuzz.
|These big ones were probably three feet in diameter and the tops had a fuzzy yellow crown.
|This stone face was dripping water from its mouth to form ...
|... a tiny stream that ran to a pond in the center of the garden. Look closely. Fish!
|We browsed the gift shop and bought a small bottle of cactus liquor.
|Outside the gift shop, ...
|... we climbed the stairs to the highest terrace running along the outside of the crater.
|The top of the stone wall of each terrace served as the walkway around the crater.
|There were more interesting varieties of cactus growing here, including this one with bottlebrush flowers growing from the center, ...
|... and this one that grew along the ground on woody stems, ...
|... and these white fuzzy ones with tiny pink flowers.
|Tube-shaped ones apparently come in greenish orange, ...
|... and ghostly white.
|We didn't know if the white fuzzies on these cacti were flowers, or if they had just collected every piece of lint that was blowing around the island. Probably flowers.
|We're pretty sure that this is where cashmere comes from.
|Look at this one. Do you think it stands up and walks around the crater when no one is watching?
|Back on the bus, we passed neatly ordered rows of black volcanic soil with nothing in them. Former prickly pear cactus nursery beds that are now empty, maybe?
|Christina passed around a plastic box containing some beneficial cochineal bugs that she'd brought along for show-and-tell, ...
|... and some of the bad variety that was starting to spread around the island that she found on a prickly pear cactus in the garden. That bright red color is the carmine dye that the bugs produce.
|We continued our drive northward, passing a pretty waterfront house, ...
|... and then a bunch more as we passed the seaside town of Arrieta.
|Around 1:15 PM, we arrived at our next stop, ...
|... Jameos del Agua, another of Cesar Manrique's creations. It is a cavern formed from a six-kilometer-long lava tube that starts at the nearby La Corona volcano and ends at the Atlantic Ocean.
|We made our way to the entrance, ...
|... and down a series of stairs ...
|... to the bar and restaurant area that is the start of the attraction.
|Here's a view from the bottom looking back up toward the entry stairs.
|There is an underground lake off to the right side of the restaurant. That's where we'd be heading later, ...
|... after we took a closer look at the restaurant, ...
|... the dance floor, ...
|... which included performance platforms for a band, ...
|... and the gorgeous bar and kitchen area. The floor is made from blocks of lava rock, the wood is recycled from abandoned fishing boats, and the white material is painted concrete. It all combines for a very beautiful look.
|Christina led us to the back of the restaurant to see a different part of the lava tube which is the basis of this natural formation.
|Here's the view looking back from this spot across the restaurant toward the entrance.
|Check out this large moth that was hanging out on the rocks. It was probably two inches long.
|Here is the first attraction: a subterranean lake fed by the Atlantic Ocean.
|The water is very clear. Can you see all of the little white spots?
|Let's zoom in a little. Those are blind albino lobsters that are only about a centimeter or two long. The lagoon was filled with them, and they were the inspiration for the lobster sculpture that we saw outside when we arrived.
|We walked along the pathway on the side of the lagoon. The floor is paved with lava blocks and there is a broken rail running along the path made from the same material.
|We stopped at the other end of the lagoon and saw a few more lobsters in the water. These were a little bigger but it was also darker, so we couldn't get a good picture.
|Kitty! This guy was definitely at home here, and after rubbing up against Debbie's leg, he sat down in the center of the floor and just watched everyone walk around him.
|There were stairs at this end of the lagoon leading upward. Here's a view from the top of the stairs looking back down the lava tube toward the entrance.
|There were restrooms at this end of the lagoon. Manrique seemed to use a different style of sign for men and women at each restroom. Clever.
|As we reached the next open area, we saw the most beautiful pool we've ever seen. It was a deep blue oasis surrounded by smooth white concrete, ...
|... with lava stones set at various points both inside the pool and around the perimeter. At one point, Tom heard a tour guide say to someone that swimming hasn't been permitted here since the 1980s. We will both spend the rest of our lives wanting to swim in this pool.
|Just off the pool area was an auditorium.
|There was a stage at the bottom where someone was briefly playing a piece on one of the pianos. There were several people sitting in the benches to listen to the amazing acoustics in the cave.
|At the back, there wall was covered in mirrors and reflected the hanging scultpure that resembled a spider's web.
|The door handles to the concert hall were metal replicas of the albino lobsters from the lagoon.
|Back in the pool area, we took the spiral staircase up ...
|... and up ...
|... and up to ground level. Here's the view looking back down toward that gorgeous swimming pool.
|There was another small cafe at this level, and the roof was open with a hanging fern that dripped water into a small pool.
|The inner wall of the building was open allowing views of the sky and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.
|On the walk toward the exit, there was another exhibit area named "Follow the Path of the Lava." We went inside, ...
|... and saw this huge relief map showing all of the volcanoes on Lanzarote Island.
|In the next room, there was a glass recreation of the lava tube that forms the Jameos del Agua tunnels.
|In another room, there was an exhibit showing how lava tubes may be exploited as habitats on the Moon and Mars. At this point, Debbie turned to Tom and said, "This totally counts as an air and space museum."
|We headed toward the exit, ...
|... stopping at the gift shop on the way out.
|Candy! We bought peanut M&Ms, two Lion bars, a bag of Maltesers, a Snickers bar, and a Bounty bar. Score!
|On the hallway outside the gift shop was part of the fishing boat that was used for the wood throughout the attraction. Parts of the display were simply painted on the wall where the original wood pieces were no longer available.
|Back on the bus, Debbie showed off the fan that she'd been using during the tour to cool off. We'd gotten it at Stewart and Lyndsay's wedding in August.
|This volcano, La Corona, is the origin of the lava tube that forms Jameos del Agua.
|Ah, dang! We didn't turn here and go see César Manrique's house ...
|... which we think was used as a filming location for the Apple+ TV series Foundation. We had really been hoping to see the room shown here, but we weren't sure where it was until we ruled out the three places we did visit.
|We passed some nice houses on the way back toward the harbor, including this one with a nice balcony and spacious yard, ...
|... this one with a round room, ...
|... and this one with an interesting tower. Was it a chimney? Probably not. A wind tower? Maybe.
|There is a lot of lava on Lanzarote, especially in this jet-black field.
|At 3:00 PM, we were back in the harbor area. You can tell from the distinctive IKEA building.
|Just after 3:00 PM, we arrived at our last stop, the Castillo de San José, a fortress built in the 18th century to protect Arrecife from pirate attacks, ...
|... and which is now an art museum and a restaurant. It was renovated in the 1970s by Manrique who born in a house nearby.
|They have exhibits from many artists, featuring paintings ...
|... and sculptures in several rooms.
|Teeth? Vertebrae? Your guess is as good as ours.
|We walked through all of the rooms playing our usual game of giving each of us a chance to look at the art work, and then on the count of three revealing our first and second favorites. In this room, the first choice for both of us was the rock sculpture on the pedestal in the center of the room.
|There was a staircase leading down to the restaurant, ...
|... and it was beautiful, with smooth white concrete walls accented by rock stairs and polished river rock along the sides.
|There was a gorgeous polished wood sculpture halfway down the stairs.
|Aren't these stairs cool?
|The restaurant was beautiful also, ...
|... with a waiting area at one end, ...
|... and beautiful light fixtures made from wood and glass in the ceiling, ...
|... and gorgeous crown-shaped handles on the doors.
|This is the entrance to the restrooms, ...
|... with stairs leading down and to the right for men, and down to the left for women.
|Here's the ladies' room, ...
|... and here's one of the toilet rooms. There were two toilet rooms, identical except that only one had a window ...
|... with a view of our beautiful ship.
|The bar area was a series of cubicles made from lava rock with mirrors at the back of each cube.
|One of the cubes contained a bottle of Fernet-Branca, an Italian brand of bitters. Our friend Heather has brought a bottle of this alcohol to our house several times and is the reason we have some in our bar.
|Around 3:30 PM, our tour was seated at two different tables in the restaurant, ...
|... served a small amount of a local white wine, ...
|... along with a snack of two Canarian potatoes and two pieces of goat cheese. One potato had a green sauce made from cilantro, and the other had a red sauce made from chili peppers. We talked with some of our fellow passengers while we ate and drank.
|After the snack, we headed outside to look around, enjoying the views of the harbor, ...
|... and more of the amazing landscaping.
|The signs were in Manrique's distinctive style.
|We waited outside for our fellow passengers to finish their snack, ...
|... and then we boarded the bus and headed back to the harbor.
|Check out this mural on one of the walls surrounding the marina, ...
|... and this minature lighthouse just inside the harbor.
|We both loved this sculpture. It was made of strips of metal and somehow conveyed the feeling of motion when you looked at it.
|These marina buildings had a very cool texture on the side. The darker squares were windows.
|We made our way into one of the buildings outside of the ship to be screened by harbor security before being allowed to reboard the ship.
|Here's a view of Castillo de San José from our balcony, ...
|... and here it is zoomed in. The lower part with windows framed in white is the restaurant, and the windows framed in brown below and to the left of the palm tree are the restrooms with the great view of the harbor.
|The only souvenir that we bought was the bottle of cactus liquor purchased at our first stop. This was the third alcohol souvenir that we've bought and we've been allowed to bring all of them to our room, which was surprising.
|Dinner in the Lido Market was a combination of noodles, fried chicken, lamb, shrimp cocktail, soup, and couscous.
|We each selected a dessert and took them back to our cabin, where we headed out on the balcony ...
|... to watch the sail out.
|We went up to the pool for a few minutes until the chilly wind sent us scurrying back downstairs. In our absence, our cabin stewards cleaned our room and left tomorrow's daily program.
|Next stop, Africa!
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy