We spent a very pleasant ten days over Christmas in Lanzerote in 2017. There weren’t too many tourists though the number grew noticeably as the New Year approached.
At one point, we rented a car and took in a day of excursion north from our hotel in Playa Blanca. We visited lichen coloured but otherwise bare volcanic terrains formed less than three centuries ago. We drove past La Corona that erupted 20,000 years ago. We looked out from Mirador del Rio over to the island of La Graciosa which von Humboldt reputedly called ‘Hell’ when he visited in 1799. Hell wasn’t just about volcanic fires and brimstone, it was a name for a place at the bottom of the earth, somewhere unimaginably far away like Timbuktu in Mali or Tatouine in Tunisia. It has been said that stories of pirates and treasure on La Graciosa from the 1760s were the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. Ah yes, Sir Walter Raleigh was mentioned in the Piracy Museum at Teguise; the English pirate Walter Raleigh.
The geologist in me believes that the archipelago of eight islands originates from a residual mantle plume, not dissimilar in concept to Hawaii. Plumes may be considered as bubbles of superhot magma that rise, shaped a bit like mushrooms, from the upper mantle. They sporadically leak out through cracks at the surface which is of course drifting slowly across the top of the plume. The resultant volcanoes and sheets of lava form an archipelago. This all occurs over geologic time scales that most find hard to comprehend. And I’ve tried to simplify it which means it’s technically wrong. But you can wiki mantle plume and seek your own truths. What I know for sure is that I like volcanos.
The artist César Manrique is a suitably famous Majo from Lanzerote and his home is worth the visit. There are several rooms within volcanic tunnels and additional rooms carved out of the lava. The lavas outside are ropy in places. Pahoehoe, in case you are interested, which results from low effusion-rate eruptions of fluid basalt lavas.
We should all worry for the countries that rely on tourism. Sure, we all hate tourists even while we’re being tourists and even when we rely on tourism. These countries and their businesses are suffering and will surely suffer more to come.
Look closely at my scarf candidate of the graffiti from Mirador Del Rio. A case of photographer’s serendipity and blindness. I saw it first on my computer. I never noticed it from the look-out point. It’s still there on satellite imagery in GoogleEarth, a metre per inch (so to speak) on images taken no later than 2009. Missed by me, much as in the invisible gorilla experiments which demonstrate human selective attention weakness. Or strengths.
Which reminds me of a nice video Roadliners you might enjoy.
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