In love with Lanzarote
As published in Feeling GOLD on 20/04/2016
When Pascale and Paul first arrived in Lanzarote some ten years ago, the island took some getting used to. But since then, it has completely captured their hearts.
Small, square white houses dotted across a black, volcanic landscape. That was the view that first greeted us as we looked out of the window of the Boeing 737 and onto the island below. Our first encounter with the Canary Island of Lanzarote must have been some ten years ago. Pascale and I were looking for somewhere unspoilt, not too far from home, devoid of mass tourism, with nice weather and friendly people. And we wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to find inspiration and rekindle our creativity, to fill our lungs with fresh, healthy air and experience the beauty of nature without feeling jetlagged. We found all of that on Lanzarote. From the first moment we looked out of the airplane window and onto the island, it became a regular destination. But like an impassive lover, we had to understand it thoroughly in order to appreciate it.
Manrique kept it beautiful
Lanzarote is one of the seven Canary Islands and like they say here: ‘Seven islands, seven worlds’. Of the seven, Tenerife is by far the largest and most touristic, with its smaller brother Gran Canaria lying in its wake. La Gomera is the most verdant, El Hierro is the smallest and most remote, Fuerteventura is renowned for its endless sandy beaches and host of hotels and Lanzarote is incomparable.
César Manrique, the famous artist from Lanzarote (see text box) fought his entire life to protect the island from mass tourism. His efforts paid off, even though he was unable to stop the phenomenon entirely. Despite violent protest, a high-rise hotel was still constructed in the capital Arrecife. It was set alight by activists, then restored and completed, and now dominates the eastern part of the island. Even on the promenade along the sea in Puerto del Carmen, the most touristic town on Lanzarote, the local politicians have shown little respect for the lingering spirit of Manrique. The boulevard along the coastline is one long chain of souvenir shops selling bits and bobs made in China, bland restaurants, amusement arcades and discos. Avoid this area and look for the real Lanzarote.
* These are a few excerpts from the article. The full article can be found on the PDF file (in Dutch) below.