Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Fuerteventura part three.

Today, we wanted to explore further and wider, so we did what we often do on our island holidays - we hired bikes. You can get MUCH further, with little effort (unless the place is very hilly, which the coastline of Caleta isn't) than you can on foot. We like the sedate biking thing, it's relaxing. I took up the rear position (better views), and let Sue lead on. 
We headed North, towards Puerto del Rosario, the main town of Fuerte'. Not that we intended to go that far (we aren't really into big towns), but we wanted to get a good view of it and the airport. 
You can see a video of her riding by clicking; HERE

 Another fisherman trying his luck.

This was also our first encounter with what I thought were chipmunks, at first. I found out they were actually called ground squirrels, and were quite a pest on the island. they were cheeky, and approached you quite brazenly if you stopped. Obviously, people would feed these cute things, but there were notices asking you not to.

You can see how cheeky these little animals are by clicking HERE

These white posts were all along the coast, even in the remotest places. The more I saw them, the more I thought what a MAMMOTH job it must have been to set them all and paint them. What did they mean? What were they for?? As far as I can make out, they mark the boundary between marine and land, but I'm not absolutely sure of why.
 You can see them dotted along the coastline everywhere.

We reached the village of Nuevo Horizonte. Here, in prime position on the seafront, were LOADS of apartments, some finished, some (like the one on the right here) unfinished. NONE were lived in, and even the stainless steel handrails etc were showing rust stains. It was all very sad, they were lovely (or, could be), but looked very unloved and 'dead'. We never did find out just why this was, and why they were unsold, but again, the best I could find out was it was something akin to not having planning permission, or a 'licence'?

 Anyway, at Nuevo, we turned around, as the surfaced track turned into a dirt road, and we didn't want punctures! Now we decided to ride as far as we could to the south, towards a place called Las Salinas (the saltworks).
The first thing you see as you approach is unexpected, to say the least! This massive whale skeleton. Why they chose this at a salt works is anyone's guess?
Quite dramatic, though.

There is a salt museum here. We didn't realise that salt was as important as it is, in fact, it is not only a basic commodity, but essential to life. We decided to have a trip around the museum (five euros), and to be honest, found it very interesting and informative. This place (Las Salinas) had something special, a 'foam pool'. Where the waves bashed into a hole in the rocks, foam was created, and this was super rich with salt. The foam and water were caught, and then channeled down this, built by man, to settling ponds. 

Whoever first realised that salt could be produced in this way? It's just like the mushroom thing - who found out which were OK to eat, and which killed you?
Anyway, through a simple (but also somehow complicated) process, water 
is moved from pond to pond, this process all to do with the temperature of the water, which increases the salinity somehow.

Anyway, after three or so moves, it gets to these really small ponds, and it evaporates and the salt can be raked onto the sides and collected. It's left in little conical piles to dry out.

This is the end result, a special and expensive (in the early days) commodity. People were paid in salt, have died for salt, and traded in salt. In fact, the word 'salary' comes from the Roman name for salt, salarium, as Roman soldiers were partly paid in salt. Read more fascinating facts about salt here;

It was getting past lunchtime, and we'd seen this sign, so we saddled up and made for the bar.

Sitting on the patio of Los Corocolitos, looking out over the bay

First, a  little aperitif........

Then a nice, fresh salad and some Canarian potatoes.

 I know, it looks a little 'tacky', but looks deceive - it was a lovely place. Romantic, relaxing and great food and drink. It came to be one of our favourite places, even though it was a couple of miles from our hotel. They did a free bus in the evenings, which would fetch people from Caleta, then return them later on. 

 Time to burn a few more calories to make way for dinner.

Later on after returning the bikes, we strolled to the little harbour, another of our favourite places, a little beach bar overlooking the harbour. While we sat, the chef  got some freshly landed sea bass, prepared them by slashing the skin and squeezing lemon over them, then skewered them over some hot coals. 
We wondered if any of them were the fish that Sue hand-fed earlier on in the day - see her doing that CLICK HERE

The smell of them cooking was incredible, and we just couldn't resist ordering one between us, complete with salad, bread and Canarian potatoes, 17 euros!


The end result - two very satisfied customers, and empty plates
(To add a bit of romance, note the 'candle app' on my phone) :-)

A steady relaxed stroll home, hand in hand in the warmth of the evening completed another perfect day