Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Powers of hell ...
All very entertaining - well, no, actually: more terrifying. There was nothing man could do to affect this energy - it just was. The smell of the volcanic dust was so prevalent that I can smell it still when I write of it, and the texture of the vocanic debris like nothing else I have walked on.
The Lanzarotenos (this should have a ~ above the second 'n', but I can't work out how to do it - Lanzaroteños - hurrah!) have an ambivalent attitude to this whole aspect of their island, protecting what was in effect a dreadful curse; everywhere we see evidence of the work of César Manrique who supervised the building of the Ruta de los Volcanes over which we were driven and designed the symbol of the park - and who decreed that no buildings should rise more than two storeys about ground level. This extraordinary level of control means that everywhere on the island you see little white boxes, with green window-frames (unless at the seaside, when they are blue). It makes our own National Park restrictions seem liberal indeed.
When I look back at the experience - we were on a walking holiday, and covered considerable ground on foot, along with an agreeable bunch of HF types - I feel that apart from the experience of summer weather in February there isn't much I'd go back to Lanzarote for. I feel it's a faintly melancholy island, with little going for it and a great deal to struggle with to make a living. I may be wrong - but that eruption in the 18th century dealt a blow that the island still has to work hard to recover from.
By the way - their roundabouts (on the roads) are magnificent. I kid you not.