He is a guest post from Katie, a newbie travel blogger from Bradford. She is currently planning her family’s next adventure. You can follow her travels on twitter here.
While Lanzarote is famed for its wall-to-wall sunshine, I wake up to clouds mid-way through our holiday and decide it’s the perfect day for sightseeing. Rather than try to organise a last-minute bus tour, I thought we’d splash out and hire a car for the day.
While the others were getting up and sorting themselves out, I went out thinking that I’d get two or three comparison prices. However, at my first stop at the Felycar office, just opposite the Santa Rosa Apartments, they quoted me 40€ for 24 hours which I thought wasn’t bad, and a lot cheaper than four tickets on a bus tour, but for 55€ we could have the car for two days. That would take the pressure off us trying to see everything in one day and made more sense. After ten minutes doing the paperwork and checking there was no damage on the car, I was on the road.
By 10:30, we were on our way. I had heard about the seven main tourist attractions on the island which had been created by local artist César Manrique, and people had told me that the ones most worth seeing were the caves at Jameos del Agua and the Fire Mountains at Timanfaya. Today we opted for the former. The caves were signposted out of Costa Teguise which made it simple and, to make things better, the weather was brightening up.
Driving up the east coast road, we passed through the small fishing village of Arrieta where there is an amazing moving wind sculpture on a roundabout.
After 20 minutes, we saw the sculpture of the emblem for Jameos del Agua, a strange looking crab. There’s a large parking area, but it’s already busy with cars and coaches, so it’s obviously a popular attraction.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delightsome/9871656976/
There was a queue at the ticket office but it was moving steadily and it didn’t take long to get in. The cost was 9€ for adults and half-price for kids but you can get discount if you book for three or more of the attractions. We decided to stick with the two through, thinking the kids’ boredom threshold might not cope with more!
The caves are part of an extensive network of tunnels created by volcanic action. As soon as you step inside, there are large leaved tropical plants and bright orange ‘sails’. We went down the zig-zag stairs into the cool darkness. At the bottom is a restaurant overlooking the lake which is in a huge cavern with holes in the ceiling that let in a little natural light.
As you look into the lake, it is almost like there is the reflection of stars until your eyes adjust and you realise that there are thousands of the little albino crabs which are unique to this place. We spent ages just watching these fascinating creatures.
Eventually we climbed the stairs at the opposite end of the cavern back into the sunlight and to a lovely pool area. There are seats built into the rocks where we could take in the beauty while the kids explored. It was like the house of a James Bond villain, although we hoped it wouldn’t get blown up!
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delightsome/9566880743/
Through a door at the end of this area, we found ourselves back in the darkness in another cavern, in which there is a huge theatre which apparently has fantastic acoustics. They put on occasional classical concerts and ballet performances here. The seating slopes down into the rock towards the stage at the bottom.
When we left, we went up a meandering staircase to beautiful tropical gardens which overlooked the pool and had weird sculptures which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Doctor Who episode. Some areas were built into the rock walls and had ferns growing around pools. It was amazing how cool it was despite the heat outside. It’s great that the kids can roam around investigating all the nooks and crannies without us worrying about them getting lost as the gardens are all enclosed.
From the gardens we went into the building which houses the volcano displays and where they monitor volcanic activity all around the world. There are interactive models which the eldest loved as he’d studied volcanoes at school. The rest of us played around with the mirror sculptures which reflected infinite images of ourselves.
In all, we spent nearly two hours exploring this beautiful place and, even though it’s not built with children in mind, there is plenty here to amuse them – and it is educational as well. At the end of our tour there was another restaurant area and finally a souvenir shop with quality goods where we spent another 15 minutes browsing.
After leaving, we went five minutes up the road to some lovely sand dunes where we sat and ate our packed lunch by the sea. At the water’s edge there are rock pools for the kids to investigate with little striped fish swimming about which kept them amused until we were off once more on our explorations.
Thank you Katie for this post, I really enjoyed reading it, as I’m sure will my readers.