Yesterday, Sunday, we spent in the SW of Lanzarote, mostly in the Timanfaya National Park – a land of calderas and camels. It’s an active volcanic area, and dangerous in places (if not from the volcanic activity, then from the extraordinarily baked-hot barren landscape) Visitors have to park their cars, and then transfer to buses. Becky and I got seats second from front so we had good views. The bus driver showed his experience and skill, negotiating hairpin bends through narrow passes of lava and steep drops. The cafe – another of‘s projects! – cooks with volcanic heat. A ‘geothermal restaurant’.
Both Becky and I are environmentally responsible, we’re committed to sustainable living, and unwilling to contribute to global warming, so we chose croissants, not kebabs, which seem to me an irresponsible use of volcanic heat, released un-necessarily into the atmosphere. (Ha ha – just joking! No, really, just joking !)
Now the next bit might offend extreme vegans. A camel ride across the wasteland of volcanic ash. Safarists (those who undertake a safari?) were allocated camels according to stature: Becky and I were obviously considered light in weight as our transport seemed to be a little smaller than others, probably a female. The camel ahead of us might have been a male: I felt sure I heard the guide call it Humphrey. [J: Denise does like her puns. Best to humour her!] All camels well behaved for the short 2km trek. The guide led them and gave commands to each camel in turn, telling them to get up and to lie down.
Even after reading the information displays (in Spanish) in the interpretation centre, we’re still not sure when camels were introduced to the island, but in the Yaiza and Uga area the animals were the tractors of their day. They performed multiple tasks from ploughing, harrowing and sowing seeds to carrying water in barrels, baskets of grapes and used as a mode of transport. The tools on display showed a very long plough with a 4m long beam, a metal plate that was dragged over the rofe – ash – to break it down and make it level for sowing. These were all harnessed around the neck of the camel. There were also wooden barrels, crates and seats like the ones we were on that were placed around the hump. I suppose they were the equivalent of our Eriskay ponies!