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(>Pictures at the bottom!)
…the return journey to Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria.
Lanzarote was a wonderful island, but we never really fell in love with it. Was it because of its size, or the population? Or was it the constant wind that made life difficult for us during some nights? We don’t know for sure! On the other hand, we felt right at home as soon as we arrived on our return trip to Fuerteventura and, although we had already experienced many things on it, we set off for further adventures straight away. The relatively sparse population, the vast landscapes without any houses and the desert-like appearance inspired us again.
Although the wind was still a daily issue and we always chose our places to stay according to the possible wind direction, we again found the most impossible road connections during our second stay, which probably not even all locals know. (See also the report “Offroad – Fuerteventura”.) We also experienced not only sunshine and dusty roads; no, thundery downpours and entire roads under water. Within minutes the dusty track turned into a muddy stream and flooded the ready fields as we wished. After a quarter of an hour, the whole mess was over and the sun could be glimpsed again from behind the receding clouds.
Nevertheless, we continued our zigzag course, this time from north to south. In addition to driving to already known places, we always headed for new corners, explored paths in river courses or scrambled up steep paths of ATVs and quads to some nameless volcanic hill. The crazy thing about what we were doing – we were never travelling anywhere illegally.
So one late afternoon we reached the former main town of Betancuria, from where the Canary Islands were brought under Spanish rule a very long time ago. Today, this place is rather a sleepy nest with buildings worth seeing and masses of visitors. At first, we also stood at the back of a guided group and listened to the explanations. But soon we looked at each other and laughed; no, not yet, maybe later when we are seniors on a coffee and cake trip, now we are not mature enough for that.
South of Pájara is the UNESCO-protected Light Sanctuary and at a few hundred metres the night sky was supposed to be on show. Unfortunately, the clouds were too thick and the weather outlook for the next few days was not encouraging, especially as the wind and unpredictable gusts would probably have blown us off the breezy road at night.
So we continued our journey in a southerly direction, amused ourselves a little in the sandpit for “big boys” (Parque Natural del Jable) and – quite legally – burrowed our way along the sandy tracks towards Morro Jable. In the meantime, the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds again and the wind lost its intensity. So we made our first longer stop for a swim at the “Laguna de Sotavento”. In addition to the finest sand, the water temperatures were just right for an extended cooling and refreshment.
Not only for us was this lagoon with its sandy beach a super discovery, but the entire tourism industry had built their hotel complexes on the edge of this long beach and finally allowed us to surf the internet again. So we soon discovered that the shorter crossing to Gran Canaria from Morro Jable is twice as expensive as the much longer route from Puerto del Rosario. We immediately rebooked and spent the next few days bumping northwards towards the main town of Fuerteventura. According to our reservation for the crossing, we again had enough time and enjoyed back roads and tracks of the local ATV and motorbike riders almost until the embarkation point. Well, in Fuerteventura you are still allowed to bump unhindered over such paths and it was really a lot of fun.
The ripe cactus fruit I had enjoyed the day before gave me (Tom) some stomach problems and on the crossing to Gran Canaria I was glad to have a clean toilet and enough cola drinks available. Whether I will bite into such a sweet fruit again so soon, I would not want to deny, but it probably takes a little more overcoming.
Returning to Gran Canaria after more than a month was a feast for the eyes; after desert-like landscapes, it was already spring when we arrived. Everywhere was green and many trees were already in wonderful bloom.
In Las Palmas, we got what we needed for the next few days and headed west out of the main town. Only after looking for a possible and familiar place to spend the night did we realise that the local population also leaves the city on Friday afternoon and sets up somewhere with their campers. At a finca, which is now a pitch for campers, we were finally allowed to stay for 6 euros, after convincing the owner that we also had a toilet and enough water with us.
Soon our plans for the second stay were made: This time we limited ourselves to the northern half of the island. In addition, I (Tom) wanted to climb up to Roque Nublo and experience this monolith, which you can somehow see from almost the entire island, up close. As I wanted to avoid the crowds at the weekend, we postponed the hike to Monday and so we enjoyed the many side roads in northern Gran Canaria on Saturday and Sunday.
But what do you mean by side roads? Most of the roads on Gran Canaria are like side roads anyway, no matter how much traffic is driving around on them and especially on weekends there is a lot of movement on these traffic routes. Whether it’s car drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists or quad bikers, the local population also love their leisure time and push out into the wonderful countryside at every opportunity.
Since everything was on the move in the mountains or sunbathing somewhere on the beach, we visited a few places along the north coast for a change, roamed through wide banana plantations again and again and let ourselves be inspired by the varied landscape. We did not visit one of the many natural pools along the coast, because – despite the local covid measures – the crowds were too much for us. So it remained a visual pleasure.
On Monday, I finally set off on my desired hike and Chantal drove the jeep practically around the mountain so that I didn’t have to walk the same way back. But the surprise at the starting point was big: Despite Monday, the car park was already overcrowded and cars were already lined up along the narrow road. On the hiking trail – the shortest to Roque Nublo – a lot of people were moving uphill. It was crazy what was on the way; from well-equipped hiking groups to people who didn’t really belong here.
Despite the crowds, the two monoliths – Roque Nublo and La Rana – were a special experience and give you an idea of what went on here a few million years ago and how nature played with its elemental forces.
I was glad to have chosen a different and further route for the way back. Only a few metres after leaving the short main path, I was on my own and roaming through the pine forest, which was lower down, was a stunning experience for the heart and soul.
As soon as we returned to Gran Canaria, it was clear to us that we would only be staying here for a short time and that the island actually served as a springboard for the islands further west. So we slowly moved towards the port of embarkation in Agaete. The last few days presented us with the same fact over and over again; in the evenings there was always a strong wind, which made it even more difficult for us to find a more or less sheltered place for the night.
After a short time, the time had come. Despite the wind, the last few days were marked by many highlights and we were neither blown off the road nor out of the pop-up roof anywhere. From Agaete we took a fast boat across to Tenerife. Like little children under the Christmas tree, we stood ready for embarkation.
What will the new island be like?
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