This morning I was convinced we would wake up to blue sky and sunshine but instead for the third day in a row we had the cloudy sandy skies of the calima.
So after our usual breakfast and waving Julie & Stuart off home from the balcony, as they left for the airport we got ready to venture out in the car for a trip to the very North of the island, which was somewhere we had never ventured before.
The car was unsurprisingly covered in sand deposited by the wind. We took the long route down the promenade of Puerto Del Carmen before heading back round to Arrecife. We only had a relatively undetailed paper map to guide us as we reasoned the road network would not be complicated. In fact the roads were all well sign posted and of a good quality. The only issue seemed to be that Arrecife seemed to have bought a job lot of roundabouts and seemed to have put them every few hundred yards for no reason at all which slowed our progress.
We headed further North around Arrecife and decided to head to Jameos Del Agua as it seemed to appear on almost every signpost and it was in the right direction. The countryside was initially just volcanic black lava rock which was bleak and rather unappealing. Attempts had been made to clear patches for crops but then abandoned when they presumably found that nothing worthwhile could be cultivated. Then the landscape flattened somewhat and we came back down to sea level and took the turning to Jameos Del Agua We still had no idea what it was, and were astonished to find an enormous car park jammed full of cars and coaches everywhere. We found a parking spot and walked to a low level building painted white in parts and built from the black lava rocks. There was a queue to get in, but into what? There was no information, no signs, no nothing. There was also no one coming out. I told Karen it was a cult of some description and we got the giggles about it. I decided to try to Google the place to learn more, but there was no signal and no wifi. We were mystified. I managed to walk round the queue and saw whatever it was they were charging 10 Euros each to get in. Then I saw something about not throwing coins in the water with the crabs and I recalled Glenn saying something about a Lava tube to walk through and assumed that this was it. We were still undecided whether to go in and regretted not having done some proper research beforehand. In the end we decided to press on with our drive and that if it was good we would come back on another trip. Afterwards we found we should have gone in, but still think the admission fee was too high for what it is.
Then we headed to the very top of the island Mirador Del Rio. Just before we got there, Karen got a phone about work. As she was taking it, she lost signal so I had turn around to drive back to a point where her phone worked again. Whilst she was sorting this out, she got message from another agency so I had to wait whilst she sorted that out as well. Then I drove back to Mirador Del Rio which looked busy as well. We found a parking spot and paid the 5 Euros each to go in. I was rather taken aback initially as it appeared that I had paid money to go into a cafe albeit one with magnificent views. By now Karen was running on an empty tank of caffeine and so we found a table and had some refreshments. Karen had hers with some apple pie whilst I had a tasty Ham/Cheese roll.
The views from the viewing points outside and above the cafe were fantastic, looking out and beyond La Graciosa Island. We were high up over rugged cliffs and would have been able to see for miles on most other days all year round, but today with the calima the visibility was poor. It was also extremely windy outside and Karen said that she didn’t feel very safe on the cliffs afraid the might be blown off. We again decided that it would be nice to come back on a sunny clearer day.
We then decided to head back to Arrecife via a road the other side of the island. This was an interesting drive with hairpins and switchbacks reminiscent of some of the national parks in the USA. Soon though we were heading back to civilisation after heading through some villages which were tiny, isolated and not very appealing. On the way back we went via a Lidl to do a final shop for the trip.
Arriving back in the apartment after amazingly finding a car parking spot with no problem this time, we were disappointed to find the cleaners in our room meaning we felt obliged to go for a walk to get out of their way especially as they had a real challenge getting rid of the sand that seemed to have settled everywhere in the apartment itself. We walked down to Dos Mil but could not get a seat and go carried onto Valery’s which had been recommended. Whilst the drinks were fine, the other clientele were not as many of them were smoking and oblivious or uncaring that the smoke was blowing over us. I made a point of moving tables part way through but even then I could still smell it around me.
Back in the apartment we readied ourselves for an Escape Room game I had set up and invited everyone to. We had purchased some crisps and I had a bottle of bubbles ready to open. The game itself I had purchased from Groupon but had no idea how good it was. It turned out to be better than I had expected. We completed the training mission with seconds to spare with the app on my phone giving the countdown and instructions. We had to input codes as we worked them out into my phone. Confidently we then started on mission 1. This was much much trickier and we failed miserably. It allowed us a second chance and after an extra 17 minutes we managed to input all the codes (although it did end end up actually telling us exactly what the last one was). I quite enjoyed it all although I am not too sure about everyone else. I think they just wanted to go out for food and drink, but it was something different to do for a hour.
We were all then hungry for dinner and we walked along to Universo restaurant tonight. I had the half roast chicken whilst Karen had fish. They were both perfectly fine. The others decided they would then walk down to the music bars in Old Town again. This time Karen wasn’t keen as she was suffering from a sore foot, although I can say that I wasn’t concerned about not going. We meandered slowly back and trying to decide what to do instead and ended up back at Cafe La Ola. It was really good again. We noticed tonight that there seemed to be only one other British couple in there and the rest were Spanish. We sat initially right next to the waves crashing on the rocks next to us but then inexplicably the wind got stronger and so we along with everyone else retreated inside. We both had a Raspberry Margarita which I can thoroughly recommend. Again we sat there much longer than we thought as we lost track of time talking.
Finally back in the room, Karen made herself another hot drink before we both retired for tonight. Another good day that would have been better but for the calima. We made the best of it but really hoped to see the sun when we got up tomorrow.