Lanzarote and La Graciosa

From Las Palmas we sailed via Fuerteventura to Arrecife on Lanzarote. 
Because the nature reservate cannot be reached by bus, we hired a car as an early birthdaypresent for Petra and drove around the whole island. First we went to the national parc Timanfaya on the southwest side of the island. In this area of 51 km² between 1730 en 1736 a spectacular landscape was created by a series of massive eruptions of the earth. More than 20 villages were buried by the rage of the craters. The shapes are rough but also often soft and smooth as a black desert. 
PHOTO 1 The colours are red (the mountains are called “montañas del fuego”, fire mountains PHOTO 2), brown, green and black. It is fascinating, but it's a pity that you have to sit in a couch which drives you around and along the numerous lined-up vulcano's. You can't get off to get the true feeling with both feet on the earth that once moved so brutal.
An other highlight and also caused by vulcanic eruptions, is the Cueva de los Verdes in the north of Lanzarote. The appearance of this green cave is due to the cooling and solidification of a lava stream. 
The cave consists of several layers and the rocks have many beautiful shapes and colours (enhanced by artificial light). The green is very special, hence the name. 
The lake well inside the cave, with it's mirroring effect
gives you the impression of another layer deep down PHOTO 3, but all in all we were a bit disappointed. Maybe because we visited many caves in Thailand, not accompanied by a bunch of tourists but only with two Thai guides and by sea canoe. In those circumstances we felt as if we were part of the scene, nature. But on Lanzarote all places of interest which are indeed true wonders of nature, are re-created into places that are easy to visit. Everything is over-organized, because there are too many tourists. There is not much room for your own experience and interpretation. It is not as bad as in Disneyworld or as described by Ira Levin in This Perfect Day, but being one of a group of 50 other tourists is not what we like most.
PHOTO 4 The view on the island La Graciosa (the best view is covered by a huge wall with a ticket office by the door…) was a good clue for navigation.
So we sailed to La Graciosa.
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The island of La Graciosa is located to the North of Lanzarote, separated from it by a narrow sea channel which is in some spots hardly one kilometer wide. Graciosa is a rather unknown Canary island, and we hope it stays this way. It is paradise. 
PHOTO 7 By the end of the afternoon the fishermen come into port in their little fishing vessels, and they bring lots of fish. You can buy their fish on the quay, very fresh, very good.
The island measures only 27 km² so it is ideal for hikes. It is probably one of the few places in Europe where they still don't have tarmac roads.
PHOTO 8 There are many beautiful bays with untouched and unspoilt white sandy beaches and turquoise and emerald green sea. PHOTO 9 It was a long time ago that we saw and heard birds, but on Graciosa live many colonies of sea gulls and a very cute white flamingo type of bird. The sea is crystal clear and just great for snorkeling. La Graciosa is a marine reserve. It is a special area of protection for birds and fish, of which there are many. 
Graciosa's flora mainly consists of shrubberies and small succulent plants with tiny flowersPHOTO 11 . The soil is extremely dry due to lack of rain PHOTO 12 . But the island is not barren, in fact it is lovely.

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