Yes, it’s still hot here! On Sunday and Monday it topped 30 degrees, before dropping only slightly to the high 20’s. We really are having the most glorious start to the winter. The first 18 days of November have been extraordinary – almost no wind, very calm seas, gorgeous blue skies, and very hot. The forecast is suggesting temperatures will drop to more normal for this time of year over the next few days.
I enjoyed researching the article on Camels in Lanzarote, which you’ll see at the links page. I had no idea how important they were to the island and that they’ve been an integral part of Lanzarote since the conquest. I know some people get very worked up about the fact that they are used to give tourists rides here, but the camels of today are direct descendants of the ones that literally built Lanzarote after the arrival of the Spanish, and rebuilt much of the island after the eruptions, along with their human partners. We’ve spent a little time with the camel herders here, and they look after their charges extremely well.
The hot topic at the moment politically is what’s being called “Load capacity.” Basically, the question is being asked if the islands in general have reached the highest level of tourism we can deal with, without damage to the environment and infrastructure. Assuming the answer to that question is yes, the issue becomes one of how we transition from at least twenty years of focussing on growth, to not looking for more visitors, and instead giving the ones we have a better experience. It’s very early days in the debate, but I feel the next few months and years are going to be very interesting. Mallorca is often cited as an example in these discussions – they’re gradually managing the change from mass tourism to a more premium model, but they haven’t killed off all the cheap and cheerful options. What they have done is to successfully create a whole premium market in areas outside the resorts, so they’re attracting both the traditional package holiday tourist to their resorts, and also bringing in new incremental, and high spending clients to, for example Palma, where there are some astonishing hotels, Michelin starred restaurants, designer shops, amazing nightlife, thriving arts and culture and more.
What we’ve been doing
We had a fabulous day last Saturday. We joined a special walk as part of Malvasia Week here. We started at Finca Testeina, which is owned by the family from Bodegas Vega de Yuco. We walked all around Montaña Negra, with some excellent commentary by the team from Senderismo Lanzarote and then returned to the bodega. We were met with a glass of wine, a band playing Canarian music and we were then given a guided tour of the property, which was derelict for years, and has been beautifully restored. Finally, we enjoyed some fabulous tapas and more wine. We love these kinds of events, which delve into the history, culture and gastronomy of the island.
Talking of wine, I was really pleased to hear from the team at Wine Shop Lanzarote that they have reasonable stocks of wines at their UK warehouse, ready for Christmas. It prompted me to think about which wines we’re going to have for our Christmas Meal and I’ve listed them on an article you’ll see at the links page. Let me know what you think of my choices.
The rest of this week has been a real blur of hard work. We’ve been really busy on holiday bookings, and car hire has gone mad again.
I had a fascinating conversation with another business owner, who described this year perfectly, as being “all over the place.” And it’s true. For many years before the pandemic, everything followed a very regular pattern here – you knew when the busy booking times were, you knew when the island’s infrastructure would be stretched with big numbers of tourists here, and it all made planning relatively easy. But 2022 has resolutely failed to produce the usual patterns – witness the fact that this month, which is normally a quiet pre-Christmas lull, we have higher hotel occupancy than in August! It certainly makes planning more complex for all of us. I wonder if it’s just going to be this year, or if “the rules” have been torn up for ever.
We had a technical issue on the website this week, and, without boring you with the details, I learned a whole new set of very useful skills resolving it. The online space evolves so fast, you have to be learning new stuff all the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because each iteration improves the user experience. When we first started Lanzarote Information in 2008, we sometimes had 8 to 12 visits to the website in a day – if the site had a glitch or was down for an hour, it really wasn’t a big deal. These days, we can get 20,000 visitors in one day, so if the site is down for an hour, a lot of people become irritated, and I break out in a cold sweat!
In the news
It was good to see so many entrants, over 600, to The Haria Titan race last weekend. We did it a few years ago, and it remains the toughest race I’ve ever competed in. The final climb up to Haria from Arrieta was so painful I was almost in tears. Huge respect to all the athletes who finished the race this year.
There was another helicopter rescue on the coast at Los Charcones over the weekend. I think people sometimes forget this is The Atlantic, and big waves can appear on the north coast without warning. Thankfully, both the people who were swept off the rocks were rescued with relatively minor injuries.
A British diver in Playa Flamingo in Playa Blanca wasn’t so lucky, when he suffered a cardiac arrest and lost his life. The ocean sends us constant reminders as to who is really in charge.
Good news that the original parking area for coaches and buses at the airport is to be spruced up and re-opened. It will be a shorter walk for arrivals to get to their transfers.
Two other pieces of excellent news this week – inflation in the islands is down to 7%, and from January, buses will be free for residents to use.
I was interested in the campaign to attract more teleworkers to the islands. The tourism department has realised they are valuable to the economy here, spending well (average €3000) and staying longer (average 50 nights.) With more and more people being able to work away from the office, The Canaries offers a very attractive proposition, particularly in winter, for those from northern Europe.
We had a press release from the Chamber of Commerce here this morning, who are studying ways to make the taxi service more efficient on the island. To me, it’s really simple – stop the madness that means a taxi from another municipality can’t make a pick up outside their own, and then develop a really good app, that works as well as Uber’s, that enables you to request a taxi to your location and then sends the message to the closest cab.
This evening we’re out with friends for a curry and over the weekend we’re going to visit Open Mall in Arrecife, the produce market, and we’re on the lookout for Christmas Decorations – it’s our first Christmas on the island for a couple of years, so we’re treating ourselves to some new ones. I’m also hoping to steal away to the electric vehicle fair in Arrecife at some point tomorrow.
Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!
Here’s the link to this week’s video, photos, new and updated content and What’s On: Newsletter Links. The password this week is Camels, with a capital C