After six months of being cooped up in our home office, we long for a month of cycling. We have to go again or we'll get too sour (and too fat). We decide between Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Canary Islands. When we have already booked the Canary Islands as a relatively safe destination within the EU, we do not yet know that the new corona variant omikron will lock the world up again and that Thailand will close its borders again. On the day that the Netherlands goes into lockdown again, we leave. It feels weird but we are not breaking any rules and we are not the only ones although it is quite quiet at the airport.
There are almost no campsites on the islands. We leave the tent at home and buy a minimal bikepacking kit so we can do MTB, gravel and touring bike trails. With no tent pitching and packing and no cooking, we have time to spare. Time to blog. So in advance our sincere apologies for this far too detailed and endlessly long blog.
Part 1 takes us from Gran Canaria to Gran Canaria with in between the islands that lie to the northeast: Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
Day 1 Eindhoven AirPort - El Burrero, Gran Canaria
At 5 o'clock the alarm sounds in the hotel that is situated above the airport hall. We check in quickly and easily, because Roelie has already done the necessary preliminary work. The result is that we spend an hour at the gates gaping at each other over an empty coffee cup. Eindhoven AirPort has changed quite a bit since we last flew here (5 years ago) but it is still an easy base, also by bicycle. The stores in the hall are closed due to the lockdown but the stores at the gates are all open. Strange isn't it? We leave half an hour later because the stairs, with which we entered the plane, would not let go.
The plane is not even for one third full, which is good for the 1.5m distance, shall we say. The flight takes about four and a half hour. Just after noon we land quite hard on the airport of Gran Canaria and a few old people clapped sparingly.
Far in advance we see in the southwest the mighty El Teide, the imposing volcano on Tenerife and with its 3718 m the highest mountain in Spain. We want to climb it in a week or two (as far it's possible by bike). For now we'll stay on Gran Canaria and maybe tomorrow evening already with the ferry to Fuerteventura, because we're going to discover the (north)eastern islands first.
The clock is one hour back here so we gain extra time today. We immediately lose almost half of it when we are waiting at the wrong special size luggage for our bicycle boxes. Fortunately, a kind lady comes to tell us that she saw the two boxes at another hatch.
Did we mention that those boxes are huge? The bikes don't have to be disassembled and fit entirely in them. Handy! Less convenient is that the boxes are too big to walk or cycle with, or take in the car or public transport. At home we arranged a special taxi van for wheelchair users. From behind the plane window we saw that the boxes only fitted through the opening of the cargo hold with a little effort. How does that work here in Gran Canaria? We have to find a taxi van to take us with the boxes to our last address for the night. Yes, last address because that is where we are leaving our boxes to be picked up and reused in almost four weeks. There are plenty of taxi mini vans but the bike boxes don't fit in. We take the bikes out and then it turns out that the driver doesn't want to take the empty boxes. Only after the boxes have been pulled apart and folded in half four times is he still grumbling and willing to take the pile of cardboard. And a little later he says that we must pay €10 extra for all the trouble we have done while he stood there looking sour. It will take some time to transform them into sturdy boxes for the way back but that is for later.
First, cycling! Or rather first lunch because it's already 1 pm. We find a terrace with a menu that we understand for the most part. Harry doesn't like fish so half of it is already off and it makes the choice a lot easier. So finally we get what we had in mind, only the portions are mucho grande. A lot of croquettes, a lot of fries and two beers later the fatigue of this day of travel hits us hard. We still have to change clothes, distribute our luggage over the new setup and we immediately have to deal with the altitude.
Maybe cycling first is not such a smart move. We decide to stay in this hamlet and find a basic apartment a few blocks away for a much-needed siesta. Too bad that the apartment is two stories up and the bikes had to be dragged through a very narrow staircase, but you can't have everything. We do some more shopping because we assume that we will not leave this apartment today. After the shower we jump into bed for a power nap of over four hours. In the evening we make ourselves a simple pasta dish with a lot left over.
Distance: about 1 km with at most 1 altimeter
Accommodation: Apartment & beach in Carrizal / El Burrero for €62 incl breakfast
It says so, the boxes are Giant
Day 2 Gran Canaria: El Burrero - Las Palmas
So breakfast is pasta again, but there's also all sorts of things for breakfast in the apartment: yogurt, toast with jam, tea and coffee. As half-baked vegetarians we stay away from the ham and sausages and chew on some dry bread with cheese and jam, before we each take a few more bites of pasta. And then we finally get on our pedals and start the first stage. Immediately a first climb of 5 km from sea level to 280 m and later a longer but less steep one of 70 to 380 m. We cycle above the airport and except for a few stretches we cycle through a built-up area with quite some traffic. The cars, vans and buses keep a really good distance from us. Sometimes so much so that a driver just doesn't dare to overtake and a sort of traffic jam develops behind us. That's when climbing. When descending, we drive just as fast. When climbing, we do get overtaken smiling and saluting by a couple of racing cyclists. Bon dias and so it is with 22 degrees and a slight cloud cover is ideal cycling weather. Wildlife on this part of the route is comparable to none (except for a run-down lizard) and in terms of plants we see little at first, then a range of cacti and later also some fragrant flowers.
At 13:00 we cycle through the center of the capital Las Palmas and the altitude meters are over for today. We walk with our bikes through the busy shopping street decorated with Christmas trees and take a seat in a side street on a terrace where we see many Spaniards sitting. This time we order less and less fat: a Spanish omelet and a Russian salad and we like it better than yesterday.
Then we cycle along the coast to the ferry. It turns out there is another one tonight, but Las Palmas seems nicer than where the ferry arrives. We buy a ticket for tomorrow morning's boat at 8 o'clock and find a hotel near the pier. After a shower we stroll to the beach which turns out to be a beautiful sandy beach with people swimming and sunbathing. We sit down on a terrace and start making plans for tomorrow.
Distance: 55 km with 810 altimeters
Accommodation: hotel Puerto Canteras, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for €50
Day 3 Gran Canaria, Las Palmas,- Fuerteventura, Costa Calma
The alarm clock is set so that we are in time for the ferry, a huge boat with only a few passengers. It costs a bit (€65 pp) but then you have something, namely delicious coffee, which only costs €1.35. And a ferry with the appearance of a catamaran which, with a lot of trucks and two bicycles in its belly, still travels at over 60 km/h. We dive under some clouds over an almost smooth sea level. It can get pretty wild, seasickness pills are recommended, but not today. Sipping the café con leche from the boat (ordered three times) we find out that with the early departure three of the four cycling gloves are lost and after the boat that Roelie's Argentine sunglasses from Bariloche are broken in two pieces. We wonder if we are going to miss the bike gloves, but the sunglasses are a miss on this bright day.
Immediately upon arrival at Fuerteventura we pass through a pretty cozy village full of pensionadas, but also a sporting goods shop. Unfortunately it had a very limited selection of sunglasses. The optician opposite sells them and there is a lot on offer. The good English-speaking owner first only recommends the sports sunglasses over €200 and only after ten pairs of glasses is he willing to point out some cheaper glasses under €100.
With a pair of sunglasses on Roelie's nose, we cycle to a supermarket to stock up on water and granola bars, just to be sure. We have only prepared ourselves to a limited extent and let ourselves be surprised. The idea is to find a hotel somewhere in the middle of the island after about 65 to 70 km of gravel but accommodation in the middle of the island is rather limited. We'll see how far we get.
Along the coast there are lots of resorts. Harry gets totally in the vacation mood and grumbles about the lost gloves, the route so far and that it will undoubtedly be hard work since, according to the height profile, we are still cycling flat while the sweat from our heads is already in our cycling shoes. After 15 km our route indicates a path that is already difficult to cycle on foot and we change our plan. We follow the path along the coast for another 15 km and then look for a place to stay for the night and do the other 30 to 35 km later. Harry happy, Roelie happy, until the route leads us to the highway where a sign makes clear that cycling is prohibited (and cars and trucks overtaking at 110 km where you sometimes don't even make it to 10 km, is not nice cycling).
We turn around and head back to a lookout point where a few dirt roads were visible and there we descend. What we don't know is that we are going to do hours only to end up at that same highway but only a few miles away with a great bike path next to it.... wtf! During those hours we push the bikes up and down sandy paths until we decide to continue pushing the bikes along the sandy beach. There we see a lot of people, generally German speaking, in Adam and Eve costume. Some skinny and leathery with sun-baked color, some from head to toe lobster red.
After this violence of nature we decide to look for another hundred meters higher up: there would be a possibility to cycle along the highway. And indeed, and as already hinted, we end up on a great bike path that eventually connects to a wide asphalt road that brings us to Costa Calma, a village with a few real inhabitants and a gigantic amount of vacationers and winter visitors plus trees and plants, in contrast to the aridity of this island. Wildlife is still wank. The total absence of mosquitoes and flies, on the other hand, is heavenly.
We pick a little resort from the grand range and hoist ourselves into swimwear for the first time this vacation in front of a pool and while Abu Dhabi hosts the World Cup short course we swim in a 10 meter pool there and back superslow. We suspect that Adam and Eve's outfit is also allowed in the Adult zone of the resort, but we didn't check. Oh and 2 cycling gloves fall out of a bag. Not lost after all. What a day, what a day. What fun cycling is (as long as you don't have to push).
Distance: only 30 km with only 390 altimeters
Accommodation: hotel Taimar in Costa Calma for € 82 incl. German breakfast
Day 4 Fuerteventura: Costa Calma - Casillas de Angel
The day starts with German brötchen and weak coffee and then we say auf wiedersehen to the German 3-language family that runs this fine and brand new resort. For a while we are no longer planning to follow the Granguange route. The Granguange route is a multi day race for MTB, gravel and tour bikes, and the MTB routes are uploaded in the route app Komoot. Yesterday we found it too difficult and we change our plans and go for an asphalt route through the interior. If the roads turn out to be busy, we can often try a gravel alternative.
We are less than 10 km, but more than 250 altimeters underway when Harry wonders if there are also boats from Lanzarote straight back to Gran Canaria. We squeeze the brakes to come to a standstill from 6 km per hour (wind force mucho against and a slope on a little bit of a leeway). That takes something like half a meter at most. We park the MTBs against the guardrail and consult the internet. A nice idea, and it turns out to be possible, but then we have to put the best and the most beautiful into the route over Fuerteventura already, because then we won't return. The most beautiful cycling area on this island is the Parque Rural de Betancuria and that is not on today's route. We recalculate the alternative route through this volcanic area and see that the stage is only 13 km longer. Okay, there are also 600 extra altitude meters. We turn around and whiz down with the wind in our backs and a gradient at which pedalling is completely useless.
A black and white buck is the first sign of life in the otherwise barren landscape and that's not all today. Further down the road we see a dead cockroach, several birds of prey, a family of half-tame squirrels and in the evening we have the company of a cat and a mosquito. But that's not until much later in the day.
To take the route through the Parque, we then climb to special viewpoints and in the village of Pajera we imagine ourselves to be in a film set of Game of Thrones and in the villages of Vega Rio de Palmas and Betancuria we have the same experience. We are doing well today and in the end we arrive with our lazy and untrained bodies at about 70 kilometers and over 1400 altitude meters.
The super cheap hotel at the end of the ride in the less picturesque Castillas del Angel is beautiful but because there are so few guests now, the restaurant is closed until the weekend. We are very hungry and Harry's sports watch indicates that we have burned 4000 kcal today. There is another restaurant in this uninspiring widespread village but it only opens at 9 pm - quite normal for Spanish standards - but we're really not going to make it. We see that this hole has a mini mercado and hope to find enough there to organize our own tapas night. This tiny grocery store also seems to have fewer customers lately because the opening hour has been moved up by an hour from 5 to 6 pm. It's 5:30 p.m. and we sit down on the curb and post messages on Instagram and Facebook. A little later we can go inside and find, to our great satisfaction, that the basic ingredients for a nice tapas, bread, cheese, chips and wine are present in this mini store.
While enjoying these delicacies, the plan for the coming Christmas is forged and this blog is written. A useful end to a tough but beautiful day of cycling. Night-night!
Distance: 68 km with 1410 altimeters
Accommodation: Rural Rugama in Casillas de Angel for €49 incl breakfast
Day 5 Fuerteventura, Casillas de Angel, - Lanzarote, Playa Blanca
At breakfast we meet a Dutch couple with toddler Rik. They also do island hopping but with a rental car. From Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria they take the plane because it is cheaper than the ferry. How is that possible? We think we have to cycle a bit back on the same road as yesterday but end up on a nice gravel road. We feel like children with this cyclable route and look for the gravel more often today. Around noon we arrive in the busy, compact town of Corralejo. We had been told that omikron was rampant here and that everyone on the street had to wear a mouth mask, further only dine outside at restaurants and no more than four people at a table. We are curious to know whether the mouth mask on the street is also mandatory for us cyclists. It is fairly flat so in principle it would not be a problem if we had to. But it turns out that about 99% of the people in the street are tourists and that whole group is not wearing a mouth mask. We normally follow the rules and use this time the rule of the majority system and cycle further through this otherwise nice and cozy looking city.
In the harbor we inquire about the possibilities of a ferry to Lanzarote. There is plenty of choice: three companies with several departures per day. We choose the boat of the company with the not so Spanish name of Fred Olsen, with whom we also sailed to Fuerteventura. The sailing time is a quarter (half an hour) and the price half (€32 pp) of before. There is enough time to first have lunch in the harbor and see beautiful yachts and a few surfers with their boards under their arms and wetsuits around their hips. After a Spanish tortilla, we look around the corner at the high waves where the daredevils are venturing.
With Christmas in sight, we emailed a few accommodations to ask if we can store our bikes safely and if it's possible to have something to eat in the evening. All three indicate that they can accommodate us with bike and food. One accommodation is actually too closeby and one too far up north. So we choose the golden mean and that is in Puerto del Carmen, a tourist epicenter, just like Playa Blanca, where we arrive today (on Christmas Eve). Our preparations were brief but slowly pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. Planning is just about the last thing a cyclist likes to do, at least we do. Nothing seems to be open at Christmas and New Year. New Year's Eve still needs to be prepared, but we have plenty of time for that; and to plan to be back at the airport in time.
For a town dominated by the tourist industry, Playa Blanca is not beautiful but certainly not ugly either. The big advantage of such a tourist town is that on Christmas Eve almost everything appears to be open and that comes in handy. We checked in to a dated vacation park, owned - we think - by a German family again. It is close to the coast and the boulevard with stores, bars and restaurants. We actually wanted to cook ourselves diner and we also have a kitchenette in our bungalow, but there is no sponge, detergent, soap or shampoo and that explains why everything feels dingy and greasy. And that explains why we sit down on a terrace at the promenade at sunset and order food. That's another advantage of such a place as this, restaurants open early where normally in Spain restaurants open at 9 pm.
In the evening Harry enjoys the dated couch and watches a movie dubbed into German while Roelie runs back to the terrace to pick up the backpack that we didn't need for the groceries for cooking tonight but might come in handy later on this trip. Everywhere around us laundry is hanging to dry. Hopefully everything will be dry enough to wear or put in the bags tomorrow.
Distance: 40 km with 300 altimeters Accommodation: Bungalow Playa Limones for €69
Day 6 Lanzarote: Playa Blanca to Puerto del Carmen
Today promises to be a beautiful stage. We cycle through two national parks where relatively young volcanoes and their lava flows are dominant. There is a road through them, but that's about it: almost nothing grows.
When it gets light we pretty much wake up as well and that is just after seven. We put a baguette on the toaster and open a bottle of orange juice. A bit of a meager Christmas breakfast but on this morning everything is closed, we are told. We do have to score a bottle of water somewhere. The reception of the hotel is also closed and we throw the key of our spacious but also somewhat dirty, sticky and greasy bungalow in the mailbox. Next to the reception is a coffee shop that is open, also on this Christmas day. We don't have to look at each other and order a cup of coffee.
It is exactly nine o'clock when we click our shoes on the pedals. After more than 10 kilometers we ride between the lava fields. Wow, this is impressive! For a moment our joy seems to be diminished when we encounter a roadblock, but we decide to take our chances and cycle around it, leaving the tourists behind in their rental cars. After a few hundred meters another roadblock follows, which stretches far in the direction of the sea. Here too we manage to slip past and see that it is not an obstruction but a barrier of a large hole in the lava rock in which the asphalt road threatens to disappear. Fortunately, this time we are doing minimal bikepacking and the asphalt stays in place under our weight. After this we have the road all to ourselves and can enjoy the beauty and violence of nature to the max: we cycle along the still young coastline where enormous lava flows expanded the land a few hundred years ago. Since then the ferocious sea tries to regain the lost territory. The result is an erratic coastline where blue-white giant waves pound on the black lava rock. It is a beautiful sight and it makes us realize how insignificant we humans are.
Before leaving the coast and heading inland, we descend a path to Lago Verde. On the internet there are beautiful pictures of the green lake. In real life there is not much to see but the path and the weathered rocks are beautiful. It reminds us of two years ago when we were at Hot Water Beach in New Zealand at Christmas: beautiful, romantic pictures as an advertisement and in reality a mud pool.
Back to Lanzarote. Harry has trouble getting out of the click and sees that he has lost a screw, so the plate is loose and doesn't even come off at all. This has happened before, unfortunately, but we haven't been smart enough to take spare screws with us. Harry stays on his bike for the rest of the stage and can only loosen the right one to put his foot on the ground and with that in mind we continue. The landscape consists of black lava rock that lies around us not as a smooth paste but as crumbly and jagged grains. Very rarely we see a blade of grass, a cactus or a palm and this immediately catches the eye and makes us almost start applauding. High around us, the peaks of volcanoes shoot into the air. Some are gray, others soft yellow and many are deep red. Most of them have that famous pointed tip and others lack the roof and thus have a wide crater.
We cycle through the Parque National Timanfaya and with us more cyclists. It is a popular route and that is understandable. The landscape is bizarre and cannot be captured on photo or film. We have never been there and will never cycle there but the moon or Mars will look like it. Behind it is a village. The buildings on Lanzarote are by usually white and no higher than four stories.
In the village we cross back to ride through the special landscape again. We see fields full of pits and stacked walls and discover that this is how plants are protected from the wind. Against a hill they are arranged in such a way that we take a closer look at the plant and suspect that it is a vineyard.
After a steep descent we cycle into Puerto del Carmen and find ourselves back in tourist land. Our hotel is situated in the beating heart of the vacation bustle: virtually on the boulevard with connected bars and restaurants. The lady at the reception gives us a special price if we pay cash. However, the ATM gives us a raise again. Roelie helps Harry out of his shoe without the screw and thus out of his pedal and off the bike. Almost all stores are open even though it is Christmas. We decide to go look for a screw right away. We are directed from an excursion agency, which sells bicycle excursions, to a bicycle rental company and from there to a bicycle store with a workshop. That one is still just around the corner, but unfortunately one of the only ones closed for Christmas. We'll take care of that tomorrow and then we'll add a day off to it. We fancy a day at the beach and the apartment can be booked for an extra night.
Distance: 57 km with 930 altimeters
Accomodation: Moraña apartments Lanzarote for €80
Lago Verde is not so green
Typical Lanzarote vineyard
Day 7 Lanzarote: rest day in Puerto del Carmen
As we step out the door on our way to the bike store something strange happens: some kind of drizzly rain falls from the sky and it develops into a real rain. The screw is quickly fixed but a day of beach and sea is out of the question. What we do is to delve a little further into the days ahead. What do we still want to see of Lanzarote, where can we spend the night, between where and when do ferries sail and where do we end up at New Year's Eve. It's probably very wise to do such preliminary work, including reservations, but it's actually at odds with the free cycling life we love so much. The choice of accommodation and route is a bit disappointing so we book 3 nights in an apartment just above the capital Arrecife to cycle from there around the middle and north of Lanzarote. From Arrecife a boat leaves to return to Gran Canaria.
Distance: up and down the boulevard on foot without any significant altitude gain Accommodations: one extra night in Moraña apartments in Lanzarote for €80
Day 8: Lanzarote: Playa del Carmen - Costa Teguise
Roelie really can't make headway on the boulevard of Playa del Carmen. That's not her fault but an almost flat rear tire. She does everything in her power to get within earshot of Harry and honks his name across the wet polished promenade. Harry has the pump and the tire doesn't seem to be deflating any further. The tactic is to pump it up and see what happens.
We cycle along the coast and the airport to the city of Arricife. It feels a bit stuffy and so do the crowds of tourists streaming out of a cruise ship. It is striking that now in this city everyone does wear a mouth mask. We cycle inland to a museum. César Manrique was an artist who left an architectural mark on his native island. The museum has been his home and then rebuilt under his supervision as a museum. In all honesty, we must confess that most of the art escaped us but the house/building is truly beautiful. The house stands on and in a lava field and five volcanic underground bubbles are arranged as patios including one with a pool and dance floor and the patios are in turn interconnected by corridors carved out of the lava. The exhibition consists of numerous photos and videos of César and shows a wealthy playboy lifestyle, but also someone who cares about his island, the environment and the relationship between nature and human.
Back in Arrecife we buy in advance the tickets for the boat back to Gran Canaria. Then we cycle the last bit to the tourist resort of Costa Teguise, more spacious and a bit more exclusive than the previous resorts. However, the same cannot be said of the restaurant near our apartment. It is called Ferrari, is run by a family of East Asians and sells large beers for €2 and fried rice for €5. Dad is gaming in front of a huge screen, grandpa is joking, son is repairing and demolishing cheap toys (made in China?) and mom is working hard. The clientele are mainly Englishmen with big bellies, a lot of stick-on pictures and an enormous sense of humour, whether or not helped by alcohol: a friendly bunch. From this tourist resort at the coast we will cycle two more rounds and then we will have seen every corner of this beautiful island!
Distance: 33 km and 210 altimeters
Museum: César Manrique Foundation for €10 pp
Accommodation: Holyhome Premium 109 in Costa Teguise for €68
Day 9 Lanzarote: lap over gravel in the middle
We are looking forward to today. The rear tire is still in good shape. The luggage has been removed from the bike and stays in the apartment so we only have to carry our own (excess) weight. We have planned a route of 65 km on mainly unpaved roads to see the middle of the island.
We climb to Teguise of which we have read that it is the old capital and discover that it is a beautifully cared for, authentic and very quiet town. On a bench, a French man sits next to a bike with luggage. He's been cycling around Lanzarote and Fuerteventura for two weeks and says he's sleeping in a hammock, but maybe he's making fun of us or we misunderstand him: there are almost no trees on these islands. It's funny that for the first time we meet a cyclist with luggage on the first day we cycle without.
The descent behind the city gives a beautiful view of the steep mountainside of the northwestern part of the island. At the bottom is a beach where it is then suddenly incredibly crowded; there are a lot of cars and RVs parked there. We stop to see what is going on and see hundreds of surfers and here and there on the beach many surfing classes. The village of Caleta de Famara also exudes all the surfing vibes with a nice mix of cyclists. We continue to follow the coast and take a hiking trail. On Komoot, our navigation app the path was tipped off by mountain bikers and it is a beautiful and easy route and runs all the way to La Santa. With that, we have reached the other side of the island and will begin the return journey.
A short singletrack over black loose lava leads is out of La Santa which is quite exciting. Will the tires hold? We really shouldn't fall here. The stones look razor sharp. We don't fall and the tires hold as well. Later we get disoriented by the route of Komoot. It looks like the app has switched to hiking: it would take another 6 hours to finish the last 25 km according to the navigation. The sandy path is a bit loose and therefore heavy but even on foot we would be faster. We break off the route and make a new one back to "home" which indeed deviates and is only 19 km long, also over gravel paths, and less than 2 hours. At the end of the afternoon we sit down at Ferrari and order dos cervezas grande.
The Spar supermercado on the corner has all the ingredients for a pasta meal and the kitchenette of our apartment is complete in terms of cooking utensils. We feel like a shower and know that after that we want to hang out on the couch and watch Dutch TV programs. So no more going to some restaurant but just enjoy cooking our own meal. Visiting a restaurant would also be a problem because all our clothes are in the washing machine. While enjoying a pasta with red sauce and a glass of wine, we stream the Dutch Olympic qualification skating tournament to the smart TV.
Distance: 70 kilometers and 980 altimeters
Accommodation: Holyhome Premium 109 in Costa Teguise for €68
Day 10 Lanzarote: lap on asphalt in the north
Here we go again! Last day on Lanzarote and the north awaits us. We endlessly doubt whether we will cycle the route clockwise or anti-clockwise. We choose clockwise: first we climb and then we return along the coast.
The first climb from sea level leads us to the town of Haria but first we cycle through an old lava area eroded by the wind and it looks like an abandoned town. There is probably a nice MTB track running through the terrain but we leave that for what it is. The highest point of today we reach after 20 km, two hairpin bends and is 588 m high. We recognize the highest point by the parking strip with a TUI bus that fortunately just drove off and is again fully loaded, and an English cyclist who is arguing with his wife on the phone at the top. We are now on top of the ridge we saw yesterday behind the surf beach. The view of the valleys and the coast almost 600 meters below us is magnificent.
The short but steep descent to Haria is a road masterpiece and a joy for cyclists. Some of the hairpin bends are carved out of the rock and on another is an expensive looking designer house with a priceless view. Halfway down, we make the descent even more fun by moving from the asphalt to the gravel. In Haria stands the house of Cesar Manrique where he lived until his death and which is also said to be a masterpiece. We cycle past it but let it pass us by and later today we will visit Jameos de Aqua, also by Manrique.
Haria can be reached from several roads and they are all popular with cyclists, which is also evident from the guest at the terraces: full of cyclists. We too take a rest before we start a series of smaller climbs to Mirador del Rio in the far north of Lanzarote. The last climb, over a narrow walled road with a view on the neighboring island La Graciosa, is pure enjoyment. The mirador at the top at just under 500 meters is also by Manrique and that means paying an entrance fee to look from behind glass at the view we already enjoyed during the climb. We let this highlight of the master pass us by, to Harry's great satisfaction.
What follows is another beautiful descent to Órzola, the northernmost town of Lanzarote, again at sea level. It is striking that there is quite a bit of agriculture here, albeit on a small scale. On small black fields grow various crops and their green forms a sharp contrast with the black of the lava. Along the north coast are a few sandy beaches and later low white sand dunes that again form a contrast with the black lava rock.
On this part of the route we have, for the first time, a bit of fun respectively hindered by the wind and that means that Roelie goes in front and enjoys the wind through her hair and that behind her Harry starts grumbling how heavy it is. That grumbling continues at Jameos del Aqua where Harry, while protesting, pays 2 times €10 for a "Manrique place" and runs through it in record time and waits outside until Roelie has also finished the route through restaurant, underground lakes and swimming pool of Cesar Manrique. That was the last one, because we cycle past his cactus garden 10 km further on.
It is then still 25 km to the cold beer on the terrace of Ferrari but first Roelie hits the bonk and now it is her turn to complain and grumble. Apparently she enjoyed the wind in her hair a little too much. But she is forgiven, because riding up front is something she rarely does. An ice cream works wonders and then the last altimeters and last descent can be started and the beer ordered. And to prolong other successes we buy and cook pasta again (carbonara this time) and in the evening we stream the third day of the skating tournament.
Distance: 78 kilometers and 1300 altimeters
Museum: Jameos del Agua, €10 pp Accommodation: Holyhome Premium 109 in Costa Teguise for €68
Day 11: Arrecife, Lanzarote to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
We wake up early and have plenty of time to get to the boat. Komoot treat us to a nice path over a lava field to the harbor. From 10 AM we are looking for where they want us as cyclists. The previous times we had to line up with the cars, this time we appear to be classified with the pedestrians. We are under the command of a strict lady who has us march in a straight line and right-angle bends over the harbor area and once in the ship she has us march back between the trucks and over the chains to a shed to put our bicycles down and after two seconds she starts yelling that we have to come after her again. Well a little patience missy, the bikes have to be parked in such a way that they will stay there for the next 6 hours. We have no idea how turbulent the crossing is going to be. Which, by the way, turns out not to be boisterous at all. The ferry is a dated ferry for longer distances (it has cabins, which are not in use now). Along the coast of Lanzarote, dolphins cheerfully jump up out of the water. And then it's waiting, eating and drinking, writing blog, changing decks and spots and more waiting until we dock in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at 5 pm. We are round! And now on to round 2: Gran Canaria, Tenerife and maybe La Gomera. It did feel a bit like that this morning, but we're not going home yet!
Distance: 8 km on the bike with few (60) altimeters and many sea miles on the boat (and extra altimeters between the 8 decks of the ferry). The crossing cost €85 pp.