Today I think I visited the strangest place on earth, the Island of Lanzarote, part of Spainâ€™s Canary Islands.
This was our second of 4 port days in a row on our Celebrity Summit Trans-Atlantic Cruise. In Lanzarote the ship docks quite a bit away from the town, so for todayâ€™s excursion I booked a coach tour that took us to the famous Timanfaya National Park. The tour started with the famous camel ride just at the entrance to the park. Camelâ€™s have long been used on the island because if its desert climate and granular soil. Today they take tourists on a little 20 minute ride that serves as a nice diversion. The camels, wich are actually the single hump dromedaries, are fitted with a saddle that holds a seat on either side of the camel, allowing the camels to carry two passengers at once. The kids really enjoy their very first camel riding experience, and the landscape seemed something like Laurence of Arabia.
After the camel ride, the coach bus took us into the heart of the Timanfaya National Park, where from 1730 to 1736 the earth literally cracked open and about 1/3 of the island was a molten sea of lava. The park still has â€œhot spotsâ€ demonstrated by a man who placed some dry brush into at pit. The grass quickly caught on fire. The other demonstration was a man made geyser created by poring water into a whole. In three seconds the water erupts out of the whole. We also walked through a open pit grill where they actually cook food on an open volcanic grill.
The highlight of the tour was yet to come, a 20 minute drive through the many natural wonders of the park created during that eruption. Because of the extreme desert climate of the island it doeesnâ€™t have much vegetation to quickly rise up and conceal the violent forces of the volcanoes. It was increadible to see so much ash and cinder and the many volcanic cones. The tour also included a trip to edge of the sea where the eruption has created a new part of the island and a sharp rocky cost. Here geologist come to find the semi precious stone Olivete, also know as Periodot. This turned out to be a bit of all things coming together at the right time. Periodot is my sonâ€™s birth stone, he was asked to bring back a rock of some kind from the volcanic island, and vendors were selling such rocks, mostlikely from private land not the National Park, for one Euro each. He was thrilled to get such a unique rock to bring back to school.
The next stop on the tour was a visit to the winery in La Geria. In Lanzarote they only receive about 1 centimeter of rain a year. However they have learned to build simi circles of rocks around what ever it is that they plan. This captures the nigh fog from the sea and provides enough water for crops like grapes and figs to grow. At the winery we got a free taste of wine and could taste more for 1 euro each. After my first taste I felt like maybe Canary island wine was an acquired taste, and a little too syrupy sweet for my pallet. The winery did have a reasonably priced gift show where the kids found just what they were looking for, plush camel toys embroidered with Lanzarote.
After returning to the ship we enjoyed the rescheduled performance of the show â€œEncoreâ€. I thought that the show was pretty well done, but this show seemed to be called encore because it was made up of bits and pieces of previous productions shows that weâ€™ve seen on Celebrity or others had seen on other ships. Iâ€™m not sure that was the intention, but that was the way it came across. I really enjoyed the singing, and though that three of the singers, the two girls especially stood out with strong voices and big ranges.
After the show we enjoyed a nice dinner in the restaurant. I canâ€™t say enough about my love for traditional dining. The few things that were hiccups like the delay in win and sodas the first couple of nights are all gone. We are pre-ordering our wine so it is now on the table when we arrive. The sommelier is also bring the kids their sprite and ginger ale right when we arrive. He also has Savannahâ€™s baked potato and all the fixings on special order for her every night so it is ready to go for her.
After the long day in town we headed off for a good night of much needed sleep.