Barcelona and Transatlantic Cruise 2008 – Day 10 – Lanzarote, Canary Islands

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Today we had a port of call in the Canary Islands, the first of three stops in the island chain. First stop was the island of Lanzarote. The Canary Islands are part of Spain.

Lanzarote is a harsh island comprised of volcanic remnants. It’s very odd looking and stark. The colors are very brown, tan and grey. Almost the entire surface is devoid of growth being volcanic material. To me, it’s very odd how over 300,000 people now inhabit this island with its still active volcanoes.

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Around three hundred years ago, volcanic eruptions completely covered the island and locals say it won’t happen again for at least 30 years. That sounds like a very odd statement to me. A fellow passenger summed it best when he said, “It was a great place to visit for a day, but how in the hell would you spend a week there or our life?”.

We booked an excursion through the cruise line, our only one, for this stop. We would take a bus and drive through some of the country side with a few stops. The bus ride would end up at the Volcanoes National Park.

The drive through the countryside was very interesting. There were definitely some very unique and different volcanic rock formations. We managed to snap some pictures of these interesting areas.

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One stop we made was at a local vineyard/winery. The Lanzarote wines are supposed to be very unique because of the volcanic ash soil. Also, since there is no irrigation and very little rainfall, it’s very interesting how the grapes are grown. They dig a pit down about 18 inches to get below the top volcanic ash and plant the vines. Then, around the pit, they put up a wall of rocks. The purpose of the rocks is to catch the evening moisture off the ocean. This moisture in the rocks is enough to water/irrigate the vines. We sampled some of the local wine, but didn’t really care for it and did not purchase any.

At one of the stops, we visited a local restaurant that cooks its food over a hot volcanic pit. They have grates and plates over the pit for cooking the food. It was very unique, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to sample the food. They also demonstrated some other open volcanic pit tricks. In some, they poured water. A few moments later, the pit belched a big geyser. In another pit, they tossed some straw which soon became a fireball. This pit was maybe a few feet deep. These kinds of demonstrations really had you wondering how safe the island was for the long term. Hawaii has some similar areas but they seem to be very limited while they were everywhere here. Also, the size of the Volcanoes National Park on Lanzarote totally dwarfs the size of the park by the same name on Hawaii. It was literally huge and very interesting.

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The last stop (actually the first) of the tour was a place where we (excluding Mr Papa) got to ride some camels. They put two persons on a camel, one per side, in a chair looking device. The camel ride was pretty slow but lasted about a half hour in caravan format. We returned to the ship about 3:00.

Before dinner was the first production number of the Celebrity Singers and Dancers. This was the show originally scheduled for the first sea day but had to be postponed due to high seas. The show was entitled Encore and was a collection of former hit shows.

Overall, the show was good and entertaining, but I would have to say it wasn’t as good as I was expecting or that I have come to expect on Celebrity. The costumes, as always, were very stunning, elaborate and beautiful. The sets were very well done and the use of the stage was excellent. However, I felt the dancers were nothing special, or at least didn’t show it in this show. They did very simplistic technical moves and didn’t do anything that was particularly difficult. I remember from previous shows always at least having one couple that would perform some difficult duet moves. The group singing was also quite good and entertaining, but for me, the solos were not inspiring. While not bad, except for one or two numbers, they were not memorable. I don’t want to overstate, as the show was still very enjoyable, I was just hoping for more. Suzanne thought more of the show than I did. Being a singer herself, perhaps I am being too harsh. Anyways, I am hoping for a couple more excellent shows in the remaining two production numbers.

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I think there were a lot of tired folks today because dinner seemed to be sparsely attended compared to previous nights. Still, we enjoyed another excellent dinner with a great bottle of wine. We have been averaging about $50 a night for the bottle of wine, so we have been splurging a bit here. Savannah and Suzanne opted for the tuna steak for dinner with Savannah having a special request baked potato as her appetizer course. Sean enjoyed a ribbon pasta dish and went for the beef a second straight night with a nicely prepared steak.

After dinner, it was country and western night with the party band and we had planned to go for a half or maybe an hour, but the kids and Suzanne were pretty bushed, so we all called it a night a bit early. Savannah was asleep within 10 minutes of getting back to the cabin. The rest of us chatted about the cruise thus far for about thirty minutes before going lights out a bit after 11 pm.

Tomorrow our port of call is at the Canary island of Tenereife where we have a walking tour of the town planned.