Fuerteventura 2009

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Madame Oui and I went on a two-week holiday to Corralejo, Fueteventura (Canary Islands, Spain), with her parents. We stayed in excellently situated apartments that overlooked Galera Beach and Los Lobos island.

I spent the first few days in a bit of a twilight zone, as my maternal grandfather died the day before we embarked, and I couldn’t arrange a last minute trip for the funeral. Instead, I organised a wreath and eulogy to be read, and Madame Oui and I climbed up a mountain on Los Lobos where I symbolically threw flower petals to the wind (see separate posting).

The first week in Fuerteventura was spent chilling out and relaxing. We quickly adjusted to the sunny and warm weather, although it got a bit windy — and stayed that way — after a few days.

In the second week, Madame Oui and I attempted wind surfing and board surfing. The former is easier than the latter. I quickly learned how to keep my balance and steer my wind surfing board. However, I could only steer with the wind behind me. As I failed to figure out how to zig-zag back, I kept going further and further away from the shore. Of course the instructor saved me from sailing out to Los Lobos!

I thought I was making good progress board surfing, from using the Malibu board as a body board, then pushing your head up with your arms (while lying flat on the board), to standing up on the board. Alas standing up is tricky. Think skateboarding while the ground gives way underneath you. I managed to stand on the board once, but only once. Thus the need for further lessons.

Madame Oui enjoyed both wind and board surfing, although her bruises would say otherwise. She was a good sport indeed. I was surprised that there weren’t more women trying out these activities. I’m still keen to follow up some surfing lessons, in Portrush or wherever!

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The economic recession is clearly evident in Fuerteventura. For the first week, there was hardly any tourists in town. Several nights, we were joined by only a half dozen other restaurant patrons. Business picked up in the second week, but remarkably low for mid-summer. Activity will certainly increase from now, as Spanish school kids don’t get their summer break until mid-July. But there was a marked contrast from our previous visit, ten years ago, when the place was hiving.

As ever, we tried out the local Canarian cuisine and wines whenever we could. My favourite meal was in a restaurant in the mould of an upside down fishing boat (i.e. you look up to view the bottom of the inside of a boat). La Marcelina served delicious kid goat.

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The restaurant was recommended to us by a new friend, Susana, who we met at her workplace, Agua Bar (which itself is a great place for cuppuccino and large croissants). Her boyfriend Paulo was a cook at La Marcelina, and he treated us well.

Madame Oui and I made a second trip to Los Lobos island, looking for the lagunes. We easily found the main lagunes, but our topographic map indicated there was another one, nearby. So off we trekked. Twenty minutes later we found it, but it was La Lagunitas, or the “salt marsh”! As we were closer to the lighthouse than reversing our steps, we soldiered on.

The payoff was coming across an ambundance of small sea shells, which was on our agenda, as well as some shaded shelter at the lighthouse (there is no other shelter anywhere on the island).

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During our lunch, we were greeted by a small lizard (salamander), who was interested in the dripping condensation from our water bottles. A bold little critter, his reward was as much water as he could drink, as well as a nice fat fly I had just killed. I felt like a 10-year-old watching him chomp that down.

By the end of the holiday, I felt completely relaxed, with a respectable tan to boot (i.e. I succeeded in not getting sun burned). Madame Oui really, really didn’t want to leave, and we both look forward to our return.

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