Beach and Desert, with the Occasional Goat

As you might have gathered from my various mentions of it, I went on holidays. On actual, honest to goodness beach holidays. For the first time in ten years. And it was absolutely glorious.

We went to Costa Calma, Fuerteventura and stayed at one of those All Inclusive Clubs that would be horrible if they weren’t so comfortable. 8 days of doing almost nothing but lying on the beach and reading. Though we also went on two day trips around the island to at least get an impression of our surroundings that doesn’t consist of tourists and the ocean. So let me tell you about my holidays.

IMAG0261

We arrived on Monday morning, and since we travelled through the night, we were all a bit tilled. While my family decided to take a nap in their rooms first, I thought that I’d head to the beach straight away to sleep there. I put on my bathing suit and sun screen, grabbed my book and off I went. The beach was beautiful, mostly white sand, mixed with a little black sand. The ocean was rather cold, but not too cold. There was a breeze that kept the temperatures in the sun bearable and in the shade a little cold.

So I spent the day lying around, reading, only to discover in the evening that my sun screen wasn’t up to its task and that I had gotten pretty red. Thanks for that, cheap sun screen from last year. The rest of the week I used my parents’ which worked just fine. Fortunately it was not a horrible sun burn that kept me from moving and that hurt with every piece of fabric I put on it. But for once I used sun screen and then it didn’t work.

costacalma[Beach in Costa Calma]

Anyway, by Tuesday we basically already had our routine: breakfast, going down to the beach, reading, reading, reading, dip in the ocean, reading, reading, lunch and coffee break, back to the beach, reading, reading, dip in the ocean, reading, nap, reading, dip in the ocean, reading, reading, shower, dinner and the hotel’s evening program (which I could have done without as it consisted mostly of okay to cringe-worthy acts of music and acrobatics/dancing, but fine, some things you do for family).

I won’t bore you any more with that, so let me jump to Thursday, when we rented a car to explore the North half of the island.

We started in Costa Calma and our first stop was La Atalayita, which the guide book touted as an archaeological village/dig site where you can see how the people used to live on the island with their goats in times gone by. Unfortunately what the guide didn’t say was that this village, or rather the visitor center where you would get the information, is currently closed. So we walked around there on our own a bit, but since all we saw without the help of some information was piles of rock and rock walls, we didn’t stay long.

laatalayita[La Atalayita]

Instead we drove on to Corralejo, which is at the very northern tip of the island. Before we reached it, we had to cross El Jable, an area of white, beautiful sand dunes and even more beautiful (and more windy) beaches – Grandes Playas – than we had in our area.

Other than that change in scenery, though, the island is made up of brown desert with a few small round plants and a small mountain every once in a while. And stone walls everywhere. It’s not a very diverse thing and my mom couldn’t get over how sparse everything is, but I quite liked the looks of it.

eljable[El Jable]

We went for a little walk and a coffee in Corralejo. There were some nice corners in the city, but I have to admit that it was a little too touristy for my taste. The main street is basically shop after shop that sell you the same souvenirs and sun glasses. It’s not very exciting. Though the café we had our coffee in was really nice.

We then continued on to Lajares where the guide promised us some windmills. Beause apparently before Fuerteventura became mostly desert (and after it was one huge vulcano), it used to be really green and there was a lot of grain there. But now their water is pretty much gone. And the windmills were there, but we took a wrong turn and only saw them from a distance and since they didn’t actually look very interesting, we decided not to turn around.

Instead we drove to Tefia which has the eco museum La Alcogida.

laalcogida[La Alcogida]

La Alcogida is a collection of about 150, 200 years old houses that have been restored and where you can see how the farmers used to live and where you can also see how they used to make certain things like baskets and pottery etc. They also have some sad animals – a few chicken, goats, a donkey, a camel and two dogs that were incredibly cute and got an extra petting session from us. They don’t seem to lead the happiest of existences, though the brochure there assured us that they were at least regularly checked on by a vet.

From there we drove to Betancuria, a tiny 600 years old village with a really nice church and not much else, with a quick stop before the village in the mountains were there are the statues of Guise and Ayose, former kings until Béthencourt conquered the island. Then Guise and Ayose were christianed (to become Louis and Alphonse, I think) and had to give up most of their power.

Anyway, we continued on the very curvy mountain road (I’m glad I have a good stomach) that seemed pretty much neverending to finally arrive in Ajuy, a small village with black beaches and pretty fascinating limestone formations and caves where we climbed around for a bit.

Ajuy[Ajuy]

From there we headed to our last stop for the day – La Pared, which is on the West Coast as well and where we were recommended a fish restaurant, and to watch the sunset. The fish restaurant was great. But unfortunately it was so cloudy all of a sudden that we had no chance to see the sun set and instead headed back to Costa Calma (where we searched for almost half an hour to find the gas station).

Friday we were back to our beach routine, but on Saturday, my mom and me set out on a guided tour to the South part of the island. Which consists basically of more desert and beach and mountains and in the middle of fuck all, there’s the Villa Winter in Cofete. It was built by a Nazi who thought it would be the ideal location to have a holiday colony for all the nice Nazis, but he never even finished the first building.

villawinter[Villa Winter]

I have to admit that if it hadn’t been for our guide, the whole trip would have probably been pretty boring. But our guide unraveled basically the entire history of Spain in World War II (and a bit before that) for us and while he sometimes was a little arrogant with his knowledge, he did know a lot and he could tell it well, so that was really cool. Though my brain was pretty much fried by the end of the day.

Sunday we spent our last day on the beach and on Monday, we spent half a day at the pool before we had to leave, unfortunately. I don’t think I would have had a problem with staying another week or two. Especially since it’s way hotter in Vienna and we don’t have a beach to make the hotness more sufferable.

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