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12 March 2018


in true erica style, i did no planning before heading off to the canary island of fuerteventura. i had it in my mind that it would be dry, and rocky, and there would be not a lot of colour; not normally my preference for a holiday, but i'd been promised sun, sand, and the sea (and cheese), so i was really sold on the idea of a holiday for what it was - a rest, a break, some time to recharge, rather than an adventurous one. but, that's also not my style. so, when we arrived in the seaside town of gran tarajal, we checked the map for things we could do that weren't too far to drive, and over the next four days we did them. like:

isla de lobos

two kilometres off the north coast of the island, is a small islet known by the spanish as isla de lobos. it's small, and rocky, and can be walked around in about two hours, but it also has some of the most turquoise water i've ever seen. the only way to it is by ferry from corralejo (15 euro return), but annoyingly, the day that we wanted to visit, the ferry wasn't in operation. this is super uncommon, apparently, but it's what happened. so we jumped on a small boat with a group of others, and in ten minutes, we were at the island. the ferry - and subsequently, the boats, only run on a timetable (about once an hour), and once you're on the island, you're there until the next boat leaves for the mainland. which sort of sucks in a way, as there's not a lot on the island. 

we couldn't even find a toilet, which can be frustrating (i wee a lot, and even more when i'm told i can't), and the only "shop" was a hole in the wall opposite the island's only restaurant that had a limited selection of cold drinks (needed, in a big way); we took a packed picnic of breads and cheeses, and a selection of fresh fruits - enough to keep us going for the few hours we planned to spend on the island, and we noticed the majority of the other visitors doing this too. we essentially sat on the warm sand, sunning ourselves on the edge of the beautiful water for two or so hours, until it was time to head back to the mainland. we certainly didn't take advantage of what the island does have to offer - walking trails, mainly, but we had a gorgeous time in the sun, relaxing, and making friends with the locals (baby lizards!), and that's worth a lot more, i think.


we headed back to corralejo around 2pm and headed straight for a seaside cafe for lunch. and also beer. we had been sat in the sun for so long, without shade, that we were desperate for a cool breeze and a little bit over cover. there, we discovered our favourite meal of the whole trip: fried cheese with strawberry jam. sound weird? shouldn't. people have cranberry with brie all the time, and really, it's the same thing. strawberry jam is sweeter, sure, but it's sooooo delicious topped on that creamy, crunchy cheese. it's a local delicacy, and in the absence of halloumi (they'd never heard of the stuff), it was my go-to for most meals while on the island.

we had lunch, grabbed a cone of ice cream (duh), and then had a wee walk around the harbour town before setting off back home. the pastel houses and palm-lined streets were a wonderful sight after hours spent looking at nothing but rocks and sand, and the wonderful reminder that there is beauty in everything - you just have to patiently look for it.

le antigua

we ventured to antigua on the morning when it was pelting down with rain. it was supposedly a very pretty town to explore, and also home to the museo del queso mejorero - if you don't speak spanish, that's a damn cheese museum, yo! so we cracked on, despite the rain, knowing we'd at least get our fix of cheese and pretty houses, despite the rain. inside the complex of the museum is also the working antigua windmill and its craft shop, and the spikiest cactus garden you've ever needed. fyi - cacti hurts when you back up on to it...

sadly, there were no complimentary cheese samples on offer, which.. sucked, frankly. while some of the girls learned the history of the mejorero cheese, i headed out into the garden to have a photoshoot in a cactus garden, because if you can't be extra on holiday, when can you? the whole thing - museum, gardens, and windmill only cost two euros to enter, but had there been actual cheese, i wouldn't have been so let down by the museum, i don't think.

playa de jandia

we actually were heading for the most south-western point of the island when we landed on playa de jandia. we mainly thought we had made it to our destination, as we were heading to a lighthouse, so when we saw the morro jable lighthouse on the beach at jandia, we assumed we had made it. we hadn't, but we were ready to get out into the sun and stop driving, so we did just that. shoes off on the beach, ice cream in the bar, and photoshoots in the water ensued, and it was honestly the most laughable situation. as it turns out though, the morro jable lighthouse is way cuter than the one we were heading to, so i'd say that's a win. plus, there was a sperm whale skeleton (not pictured), and turtle nursery (not seen), which shelters loggerhead turtles before their release back into the wild. this seems to be the only sort of animal conservation happening on the island (the canaries are known for their connections with sea world in the very worst way). bonus points there.

tarajelejo village

we only popped to tarajelejo for lunch, really, but ended up spending a fair amount of time there because it was just a very pretty seaside village. it is a quaint little spot in the middle of the island, and was a nice little stop on the way to the drive into the mountains to see the valley of the palms. knowing that road could be very tricky to navigate, we needed to stop and refuel our minds and bellies before tackling it, and we're pleased we did here. the little cafe we stopped in at (seriously, i remember none of the names, but all the food was ace and it was all trip advisor recommended) was right on top of the water's edge, to a point of concern when it came to high tide. we ate baked cheese and paella and drank lemon beers and sat in the sun, enjoying the sea breeze. if that's not the holiday ideal, then i don't know what is.

valley of palms

the "valley of a thousand palms" is along the same road as the "valley of kings" in betancuria, but way prettier. betancuria is along the north-west coast of the island, and it is the smallest town on it. the whole region is mountainous, like, totally mountainous, and driving through it can be faaaairly terrifying. on the first day we drove it hoping to see the valleys, but the rain was so strong and the cloud was so thick that we couldn't see a thing. when we came back on our second-to-last day, the sun was beaming, and we could see the sheer drops we had managed to avoid making a few days earlier, which was both exciting and horrifying at the same time. the name of the valley fills one with hope, right, but when we got there.. well, it's a slight (big) exageration. there are a handful of palms that you can see from the view points, but it's more what else you can see that's pretty cool.

for as far as the eye can see, it's all mountains. dry, dusty, mountains. which, again - i'd not normally be in to, but the moonscape-esque, edge of the world vibes really do something to the soul, and honestly, it was one of the purest places i think i've visited. and that's even before we talk about the rock squirrels that want to stay and play with you as you sit and ponder life. it was hard to be disappointed about the lack of palms when there were adorable otter-like critters keeping you company, and honestly, i think that spot was my favourite of the trip. well worth doubling back to on our way home, because it's definitely one to be seen.

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