05 Nov Lanzarote
Lanzarote, Lanza-grotty. That’s the image I had in my mind, your worst Brits abroad beached in tones of brown and red, yelling slow English at locals who probably have a better grasp of the language than they do. Fortunately I was spared that ghastly image as this gig landed mid October, far from peak season. I love it when work takes you to places you might not choose to go to. On landing, what struck me was the dryness of the landscape. You get a real sense of how close to Africa you are. Roads are dotted with palm trees and cacti, statuesque coral like plants cover the landscape like a sturdy doormat. It felt so good to get a last bit of winter sun. Temperatures sat around the 26 degree mark so it really seemed like a holiday! However we were there to work, our concert was in a cave to the east of the island, but more of that later!
Since we had a free morning, I decided to go for a walk along the beach and into town. We were staying in Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote. The buildings here are low lying and bright white as you might expect in hot climates. On the way I passed fishing piers, parks (don’t expect much greenery) and the sixteenth century Castillo de San Gabriel. I was aiming for the Zara on Calle León y Castillo and found that there was a small crafts market going on. This street and the parallel ones either side were bustling with people shopping, relaxing and eating. I wandered a bit further afield and came to a large Eurospar. Now you know how much I love an international supermarket sweep! This was no exception. For lunch I decided to get something simple to have in the hotel room. An olive salad with jamon seemed a good idea – minimal effort with buckets of flavour. To take home, I got the same Milka choco wafers which I found in Paris as well as a selection of jamon and goats cheeses. This Serrano jamon is aged for twelve months for greater depth and mellowness of flavour. Many of the others available were six to eight months. Being a massive fan of goats cheese, I was thrilled to find a whole fridge section dedicated to local varieties, all vacuum packed! I chose two hard cheeses. The first is from Queseria El Faro, the Lighthouse Dairy. It has a fresh, slightly nutty profile and is similar in texture to a parmesan. It’s a versatile cheese which can be enjoyed on its own as well as grated on top of pizzas and pasta dishes. The other is a smoked goats cheese called Rosa de la Madera. With its light smokey flavour, this has a hint of cured sausage about it! The texture is slightly more crumbly than the cheese from El Faro. It was fantastic to see so many local cheeses for sale in Eurospar, I was stood there for a while with my google translate app going through all the different ones!
I’ve included some photos in the slider of the cave we performed in – Jameos del Agua. It’s in the middle of nowhere, right next to the water, flanked by volcanic rocks and strange crispy plants. There are two caves separated by a swimming pool which looks like a glammed up version of penguin pools at the zoo! One cave has a large pond which has special native crabs and some of the tallest cacti I’ve ever seen. The other has been turned into a performance venue, with the auditorium leading down towards the stage in the deepest part of the cave. It certainly has novelty appeal! As we were leaving, the fact that there was zero light pollution outside meant we could see so many stars, it was absolutely beautiful. A few of us had our astrology apps out, waving our phones in the air and getting cricked necks, but it was so worth it! The one I use is called Night Sky which is brilliant as it has so much fascinating information and is very simple to use.
Now we come to the post concert meal ? We walked to an area of town called Charco de San Ginés (Lagoon of San Ginés). Here there were many people out so it had a good party atmosphere unlike the rest of town which was a bit ghostly, especially for a Saturday night! The aim was to find somewhere which stayed open late. Cerveceria Estrella del Charco ticked this box as well as having a good looking menu so we settled here. Since we were a large group we decided it would be easiest to get a load of tapas to share. Large plates soon descended on the table, full of padron peppers, garlic prawns, grilled octopus and tuna tartare just to name a few. Being an island, naturally seafood is the way to go here. We also got a selection of grilled sardines and sea bass. All were sensational – quality ingredients cooked simply, no fuss. Our total bill was €350 for fourteen people (€25 each) which is great value considering the amount of food we ordered! This also included our drinks, though some had already been paid for at the bar beforehand. Even so, this is spectacular value for money!
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Lanzarote on this trip. Off season it’s a great place to retreat to when you’re in need of warmer climes. My advice? Bring many tupperwares for cheese! ?
Thanks for reading this post! Please give it a thumbs up if you enjoyed it and join me next week for more Munchtime! ??