My boyfriend and I have been on a few trips in the short time we’ve been together, but never out of the country, so going to Lanzarote was so exciting. I don’t like flying but was looking forward to Dom being able to reassure me of what the plane was doing, as he’s an aerospace engineer. This was all well and good, until he got a little carried away with lessons on thrust and drag, which went straight over my head. Sorry Dom!
On the airport transfer, we sat nervously as the bus pulled up outside each hotel, sometimes hoping it was ours, other times praying it wasn’t. We’d gone cheap, and knew it was over a miles walk from the coast, but it was a four star and had good reviews. Finally, we pulled up outside a gargantuan, sandy walled hotel, one whole side of which was glass. Our mouths dropped as we pulled round the corner to see ‘HOTEL BEATRIZ’ in large letters above the glass entrance – our hotel.
‘Play it cool’, we told ourselves, trying to act as if we belonged in the marble-floored reception with high ceilings and plush sofas.
Getting to our room, we discovered the reception area was almost a ruse to make you initially fall in love with the hotel. Faded pink, textured wallpaper clashed with the deep green carpet, and we were devastated to find no kettle! (As it turned out, I didn’t have a single cup of tea for our entire weeks stay – don’t worry, I’m getting checked out by a doctor!!) Nevertheless, we had a lovely large balcony on the top floor of the hotel, with a view to both the pool and sea.
It was one o’clock by this time, and we realised we hadn’t eaten since 5am. So we headed down to the town of Costa Teguise for food and to kick off a weeks worth of drunkenness. Our first meal was something I have always wanted to try, squid ink seafood paella. The ink made the dish entirely black and although this meant it didn’t look appetising, it tasted delicious!
Before heading out, I had donned my brand new, Birkenstock inspired, sandals. This was a huge mistake. By the end of the day, I had at least eight blisters on my feet, each more painful than the last. This meant I spent the ENTIRE holiday limping, reapplying blister pads and generally wishing I could be pushed in a wheelchair!
Costa Teguise is on the windy side of the island which, although we still tanned, made it incredibly irritating to lie by the pool for the first few days. Instead, we discovered balcony-bathing! As we were on the top floor, the sun came straight into the balcony, and the thick walls blocked out any wind.
Balcony-bathing came with another pro – topless sunbathing! After caking my boobs in factor 50, it was the most liberating thing! Couldn’t have done that in the fancy hotel on the coast with glass balconies I’d been eying up, ha!
Another way to escape the wind was to explore more of the country, which took us to La Graciosa, an island off the coast of Lanzarote containing only 800 inhabitants and no real roads!
The island was a paradise. The travel company only did trips there on Mondays, which I like to think is so that the island doesn’t become too touristy, but I don’t know for sure. There were a few cafes at the dock, a tiny police station and medical centre, and that was pretty much it, save for petite white houses and bungalows with flat roofs either side of sand roads. It was the most beautiful, untouched island.
We walked (I limped!) forty minutes along the coast until we found our perfect spot, all of this done with only passing a couple of people. The island is volcanic like Lanzarote, so most of the coastline was rock pools, but we finally found some sand. It was bliss. Crystal clear water looking out onto the rolling cliffs of Lanzarote. Perhaps it was this beauty that made us slip up on sun-cream, which led to Dom burning his arm pits – yes, I know, his arm pits.
Driving on the other side of the road is something I’ve never done before, but as Dom hadn’t been driving long enough, now was my chance. We hired a Skoda Citigo which I named Stacey. She was beautiful, but by far the least powerful car I have ever driven. Driving up a mountain, cliff edge to the right, I got down into second gear to climb the hill and, where my little Citroen would diligently power up the hill, Stacey the Skoda ground to a stalling holt. Very embarrassing and scary, with frustrated Spanish drivers behind and a sheer drop to the right.
Our last day took is to the Timanfaya National Park to go up the volcano. We were taken around on coaches and bloody hell it was terrifying. The coaches wound tightly round the corkscrew roads up the volcanos – roads that I would have been scared to drive a car up! I was horrified when I looked backwards to see a double-decker bus behind us, weaving along the exact same dicey road. I don’t know anything about driving a bus, but I know that driver took a double-decker where no double-decker should ever go!
Lanzarote was beautiful. Full of sangria, carbs and sun. A week of relaxation and exploration, which was forgotten incredibly quickly when we got back to where we parked the car at the airport at 12:30am to find my trusty Citroen would not budge. We didn’t get home until 3:30am, and I was in work the next morning. What goes up must come down, I guess.