Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Fuerteventura, part nine - Pozo Negro & Montana Blanca.

After the super day at Cofete, we decided to have a lazy beach morning on the Thursday. We had lunch in the beach cafe, and it was delicious! Anywhere here that's not 'fast food' seems to compete for freshness and taste. The salads are amazing.

In the afternoon, we took the car up Montana Blanca, the 'hill' we could see the sun setting over from our balcony. It's not that pretty, we were just being nosy!

It's a very strange place - and has the feel of a 'ghost town'. The views from here are pretty good over to Puerto Rosario, but it was noticeably cooler (and a lot windier than at sea level).

The views inland were stunning!

However, the place was, again like so much other stuff, unfinished. Lots of materials and rusted tools were around. Oh, there were people living there in some of the properties that had been built previously, but it looked very weird, having the mature stuff side by side with the new and unfinished It was very sad, and a bit eerie. There;s no WAY I would buy a place up here. Apart from the wind etc, you are SO FAR from the town, so 'popping down' wasn't really an option.

As we arrived on a Sunday, we didn't see these cranes moving. However, we noticed that they didn't move AT ALL, and that's why we came up here to find out why?

A wqaste of time - there were lots of these signs around, but most of the new property was either empty, or unfinished. A glut of housing that no-one wants. The burst bubble, the lost dream.

We left, feeling a bit sad for the place.

The next morning, Friday, we headed across country on the main F2 road, but decided to turn off and visit a small place called 'Pozo Negro'. Sue had read about an ancient settlement here, and we wanted to see it, but first - the beach and a beer! It never ceases to amaze me that, even at such small and remote places - there's always a little bar/cafe, and always SOMEONE in them.

Even a place as small as this has a bar. From the look of the food, it looked good too. One lady was cooking, serving and anything else.

The 'beach' was black sand, with a couple of boats dragged up onto it.
The waves were tame, east-side ripples. None of the massive rollers here. The day was VERY warm,and we lazed about, walking along the beach and just relaxing.

A VERY rare sight on this island - a TREE!
(I parked the car under it for the shade).
As we left, we saw this lovely sign to Pozo Negro. Again, such attention to detail for such a small place - we love it!
We found the dirt track to the 14th century settlement of La Atalayita. You can read more about it HERE
It was deserted when we visited, the new visitors centre closed, for some reason? We went to investigate the site anyway.

There were lots of small structures, almost igloo-like, but constructed of the volcanic roack. There was certainly no shortage of building material, but the stuff is just SO sharp, if you caught any exposed skin, it would shred a layer off. Not the best sort of stuff to build a pokey dwelling out of!

We marvelled at mans ingenuity to survive. There didn't seem to be any water here, it was a good half an hour (at LEAST) walk from the sea, and we were sure nothing would grow in these arid conditions. So, the question is - how did the land support so many people??

It wasn't like there were one or two of these dwellings, there must have been thirty or forty!

We obviously crawled inside one or two and, believe me, I don't think anyone was claustrophobic in those days!!

That hill looks inviting and, even though we had no water with us, and were wearing our sandals (albeit 'proper' walking sandals') we headed towards it.

We got a much better perspective of the size of the settlement from up here. You can see how big it is by the perimeter wall that surrounds it.

One guy that didn't mind the hot sun was this lizard that popped up.

We made our way over to the sunken visitors centre to have a look around it, even though it was closed. This has been constructed in this sunken fashion deliberately, so it can not be seen. It blends in very well with the place.

We set off back towards Caleta, but had a quick stop to look around Tarajalejo. Again, just a relaxing break, but half of the town looked almost derelict, while half was brand new. This lone parasol on the beach made for an atmospheric shot.

We walked over to and along the little pier that reaches out into the bay. We sat on a bench, and Sue dozed on my shoulder in the warm, late afternoon. There was a sort of mist on the sea, so again, it made for a nice shot.

Tomorrow, we become 'Caleta-locked' again, as it was time to return the car. We felt we had done the island justice though while we'd had it, and seen a lot in the time we had. Of course, there is MUCH more to see, but for now - we intended to hit the beach for a couple of days before going home.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Fuerteventura, part eight - incredible Cofete.

A big day today, and we were excited!! We were heading South to the Jandia province of Fuerte'. We drove right down to the bottom of the isalnd, our first stop being Moro Jable. Quite a sizable town, with some nice features but again, we are not too keen on the larger places, but we parked the car and set off to explore.

The ferry at Moro Jable, which regularly goes to Tenerife.

We didn't stop long, preferring to get to our next goal. Looking back to the harbour and town, from the road above Moro Jable.

View to the right of the road of the volcanic ridge, from road to Jandia, Cofete is on the other side of this ridge.

Strange caravan village on Jandia. As we drove towards the lighthouse, we noticed this strange collection of caravans. It was obvious they were static, as there seemed to be what looked like wooden extensions on the other side. We'll investigate this more on the way back.

Road to lighthouse, just a ribbon amongst the lava flow.

Punta Jandia lighthouse, which houses a museum you can walk around.

We explored the museum and lighthouse, then walked out onto the headland, noticing thousands of stone hearts, which had been fashioned by people using the little bits of volcanic rock scattered around. They seemd to go on FOREVER!

Of course, we had to make one too.
Our little effort. Not as grand as some, but it's the thought that counts :-)

Us and Lighthouse

There was lots of wave action here too, with the sea crashing onto the rocks at Jandia peninsular.

After a walk around for about an hour, we headed back to try and find out more about the weird 'caravan town' at Puerto de la Cruz. You can see now what I mean about them all having extensions - some of them quite substantial. I really am not sure, but the best I could glean from someone with broken English is that this is a sort of national park, and although there ARE some proper buildings, no more are allowed to be built, so people move into these caravans and wait...... until one of the houses becomes available  then THEY move in (and I suppose someone takes their place in the caravan town).
If anyone knows better, please leave a comment at the bottom of this posting.
Extensions on back of caravans.

 Cafe at Puerto de la Cruz. We just thought this was the only 'game in town', so went in for coffee. It was here I asked the waiter about the caravans.
The ubiquitous Coca Cola tables and chairs.

There was a HUGE selection of flotsam and jetsam collected and displayed outside the cafe. It was one of those OCD things, where someone had started, and then just kept on going. Looks like they save everything they find here!

Inside the cafe - more fixtures pertaining to the sea. 

 Sculpture in Puerto de la cruz. These are the proper buildings, behind the caravans. I decided to explore the streets while Sue finished her coffee. I just wanted to get a few pictures of this unusual place.

Lone fisherman at Puerto de la Cruz

I wandered around the corner, just inquisitive, and found this other cafe, which looked much less lugubrious than the first one - I should have taken this wander first! Also, in this one, there was a fabulous sea view from the patio. There were also a lot more customers, who seemed to be enjoying VERY much, the food and drink on offer.

The salads looked delicious - and BIG!

The ferry from Moro Jable passes the Faro de Jandia.

I fetched Sue to look at this hidden cafe, and we decided that this was where we'd eat if we came back another time. I also read that this cafe serves the BEST fish soup in the Canaries - no mean boast!

 We re-traced our steps along the peninsular road, and turned up the dirt track that leads to one of the must-do's - Cofete beach .The drive along the dirt track is 'interesting - you wouldn't want to get a puncture or break down, that's for sure! You can see a video by clicking HERE

The stunning volcanic backdrop to Cofete beach, from the Roque de Moro viewpoint. This view hits you - BANG - as you come over the crest of the pass. It is breathtaking, especially on such a clear day.
You can see the dirt track of a road snaking around the contours of the land.

You can see a video from the viewpoint by clicking HERE As we were very high here, the sound is a bit windy, but no less than you'd expect.

While were were there, we read in the news that Cofete had been voted sixth best beach IN THE WORLD! It's so wild, turtles sometimes drag themselves up the beach to lay their eggs (but we didn't see any).

As we dropped down into the outskirts of Cofete, we saw lots of shack dwellings. Some quite new looking, others like hovels.

The gates to the beach cemetery. Last date of an interment was 1953 - the year I was born! You can read a little of Cofete HERE and a little about a real enigma that sits above the beach, villa Winter , by clicking HERE We tried to research the villa and the cemetery, but both are shrouded in mystery, particularly the villa.

Simple crosses in the graveyard.
The villa Winter sits on the volcanic slopes. For such a remote location, it's a VERY grand residence! See the tower? There are close-up pictures on the link (above)
  Looking South along the amazing Cofete beach.

And looking north along it - it stretches for MILES, and it's idyllic! We could see something in the distance on the sand - was it a turtle????

No - bizarrely, it was an old TV that had been washed ashore in the storms.

It looked really incongruous sitting on this lovely beach.
I wondered if 'Baywatch' was on ;-)

 Sue likes the look of those waves, I'm sure she won't be able to resist (even though there were warnings not to swim because the huge waves created a strong rip current underneath).

I knew it!
 Free massage - courtesy of the Atlantic rollers.

Of course, I couldn't resist, and it wasn't long before I joined her. You had to be vigilant, and keep an eye on the waves. I always say - NEVER turn your back on the Atlantic!!
We stayed in the shallows, and enjoyed the battering effect of the rollers. We came out feeling refreshed and invigorated.

You can see a short video of the waves on Cofete by clicking HERE

This is my favourite shot of the beach - I managed to get quite an ethereal feeling into it. THIS is the shot that makes me sigh when I look back at the holiday shots.

 We wandered back to the car, and drove over to this statue of a man and dog We also called at the cafe for the worst coffee, by a MILE, I have ever had. It was SO rank, I couldn't drink it!!

Inside the 'cafe'. Quite a 60's feel to it. I don't think I'd trust the food here!

A large kiln below the statue.

I wish they had put some kind explanatory plaque to tell people what this statue was all about?

Looking across Cofete to the Villa Winter.

I don't think I've ever seen a more imposing and incredible shot - those clouds made it PERFECT.

We left Cofete with small clouds gathering over the tops. It was a hard place to leave.
We re-traced our steps, and made for the little restaurant at La Pared we'd visited previously. We'd only had drinks, but were eager to try the food at La Bahia.

We got there after a couple of false turnings due again to no signage, and enjoyed a FABULOUS meal of mussels to start with.

Do you like fish??? Well, you're REALLY spoilt for choice here - look at this;
THIRTY TWO choices of fresh fish - now that HAS to be a first!!!

We chose a favourite as a starter - Huge, green-lipped mussels.
The sauce the mussels were in was indescribably tasty.

The a dish labelled 'fish selection' (all lovely, most of which we'd never heard of!!).

All served in a rustic manner, befitting the dish, along with a few, simple Canarian potatoes.

 A nice glass of white to wash it down. (Note my 'holiday shirt').

Afterwards, a surprise digestif, on the house.

With the setting sun picking out the mountains of Lanzarote, we reflected on what had probably been our best day so far. We drove home with to the strains of the Flamenco guitarists CD we bought at 'El Capitan' - PERFECT choice for our mellow mood.

To be continued...............