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Today, we arrived in Lanzarote, and we weren’t on tour!

The reason this is significant is because on all the other occasions that we’ve been here (three times, I believe), we’ve escorted the excursion to Timanfaya National Park, to see the volcanoes. It’s a great tour, and one of my favourites, but it also means that in all that time, we’ve never had a chance to wander around the port town of Arrecife… so that was today’s plan.

As with our previous port, we didn’t arrive until 12 noon, so we went to listen to Louise’s talk on underwater volcanoes and how the Canary Islands were formed, before heading up on deck to see our arrival in port.

After a quick lunch, we headed ashore, where we caught the free shuttle bus into town. To be quite honest, we could easily have walked it, but it would have been a hot walk, and the shuttle bus was there waiting and ready to go as we left the ship, so it was a bit of a no-brainer, even if it was a tad lazy.

Arrecife (pronounced A-ress-eefee) is quite a small place, and very Spanish. An inner harbour full of little boats and a number of interesting wading birds provided us with plenty of photo opportunities, after which we headed out to a small fort which is connected to the main promenade via two stone walkways. The fort is supposed to be €3 each entrance fee, but the man at the entrance explained that we could come in for free because their payment machine wasn’t working, and that all they would ask of us was to drop a few euros into a contribution box.

The fort itself is now a museum, the best part of which was the flat upstairs roof, which provided us with some views along the coast and into town.

We continued along the old stone quayside for a while, watching the birdlife, before returning back to the promenade and into town, where we bought ourselves an ice cream and took a look inside the church.

Finally, our walk took us back to the inner harbour, which we walked around at a leisurely pace. There were a lot of bars and cafes along one side of the harbour, but not a great deal else to see, although there was a skeleton of a whale set on two pillars in one section of the harbour, which was quite interesting.

Arrecife is a nice enough place, then, and it was pleasant to walk around. Its backdrop of distant volcanic hills (of which there are a lot on the island of Lanzarote), give it a distinctive look, but there wasn’t much else about the town that really grabbed our attention. The whole town itself is quite low-level with one tall, modern hotel being the exception. It was relatively quiet, but then it was siesta time between 1pm and 5pm. We caught the shuttle bus back to the ship and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on online stuff before dinner.

After dinner, we went to watch impressionist Christopher Gee’s show, which we enjoyed very much.

Tomorrow, we are in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, where we’ve asked not to be given any escorting duties, as we have a walk planned with Ian the photographer.

Peter Woolley

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