Friday, 31 January 2020

The Road to Papagayo....

Lanzarote is small, a bit like a Cornwall in as much as it doesn’t take long to get to anywhere from there or here, and everywhere is a view. The getting there is good too, miles of tarmac road - professional and serious hobby cyclists ride here in the gruelling heat, up and down the volcanoes for pleasure, so the roads must be good. Tyres? I’ve got thicker soles on my sandals. 
We hired a small car and hoped it would have the grunt to manage some miles. It did. It actually was a superstar of a car that passed the ultimate hire car test - it survived the road to Papagayo.
There is a town and a stretch of coast called Playa Blanca (white beach) and everyone said how lovely Papagayo was, especially as a contrast to the shiny black lava beaches that we had so far been fascinated by. So we checked maps, slapped on the sun cream and set off. It wasn’t difficult to find Playa Blanca, it’s on the coast and apart from a couple of dormant volcanoes to go up and come down, a coast road is a coast road, huh. (The question of WHY the roads weren’t built around the bases of the volcanoes is a whole other thing...and there will be more on that, I almost guarantee it). We had been chatting that all the major roads in Lanzarote seemed relatively new and lovely, smooth and quiet. Absolutely perfect for the pelotons that we encountered and in some cases caused us some fear. So imagine our surprise when having turned appropriately right off a roundabout signposted ‘Papagaya’, the tarmac came to a stop. There was a clunk as we bumped onto the erm, temporary road and wondered if we were allowed to continue. We were actually overtaken by a couple of locals, so decided to press on. I can’t tell you how we laughed as we bumped, pinged and created dust clouds on this clearly marked out but totally un-made road across a lava field. Luckily, we said, it’ll be short and relatively flat.

It was neither. After about two kilometres we were a little fed up and Mr Dunnit a little fretful about stones damaging paintwork or potholes causing the loss of car parts...there were hub caps and exhaust boxes visible to illustrate his fret. But, we’re nothing if not English, and other people were driving the road, so we carried on. And blow me, a building appeared on the horizon. We thought it might be the civilisation of a beach cafe. Not likely. It was a toll! We parted, lamb like and without argument, with €3 and set off for another 3 kilometres of driving across the grittiest, pot holiest and boob jigglingist surface ever. 
I was a little hysterical when we finally spotted the edge of the was so obvious that it had blown out and formed a beach. And it was it’s own windbreak. A hike on jelly legs down and it was lovely. The socks and shoes came off and we did paddle. But that was all, it was very extremely cold. Hell, the Atlantico in January, of course it was cold....but it looked wonderful and inviting and calm and there were swimmers. Probably Northern Europeans made of sterner stuff. Or people who drive 4x4s and had barely noticed the bone rattling tooth shaking route and didn’t have jelly legs. We walked a bit, up hill of course, and found a beach cafe right on the rim of the old volcano that I could have stayed in forever. 
We nearly had to. I was made breathless by the climb from the beach so was feeling a little vulnerable when Mr Dunnit told me that a bottle of Fanta Limon was €5. Yikes. And a return journey to face. Several reasons then, for remembering the road to Papagayo!


Annie said...

I've never been there in person but I now feel like I've experienced every bump in the road with you. Probably not somewhere you will go again [unless they build a tarmac road maybe] but you can say you've been looks beautiful. Thanks for taking me with you :-)
Annie x

Sue said...

Julia, I'm surprised when you venture out, you don't have a very tight sports bra on, to keep those boobies in check:) LOL

Sounds like that cafe is on to a winner, although I should think locals take there own refreshments and should you want to go back, you'd maybe do the same.

Hope you are having fun in the sun. Sue

Helen said...

Glad you got to enjoy a bit of an adventure as well as your embroidery! I feel as though my teeth are rattling in my mouth in sympathy I am sure the resulting scrapbook pages will be fabulous!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I've been on that very same road, ONLY in KANSAS. Our country (or county/farm) roads are not paved. They are nothing but dirt The road grader comes along about once every three months when the roads are SO washboarded, even the farmers complain when their John Deere heavy machinery won't navigate the roads. You learn to drive in the ruts and make sure you have a vehicle that is NOT low to the ground. Unfortunately, there are no beautiful volcanoes, beaches, or even costly bars. Just mile after mile of wheat or cows. I really enjoyed this story because, even a world away, I could relate in a small way to the road trip you took looking for Papagayo. You tell the best stories with such amazing visual imagery. I feel like I was there with you. But I would NEVER spend that much on a bottle of Fanta.

craftyani said...

Yes but think of the journey of all those fanta orange and lemons and the possibility of them exploding on that road.

Jane Austin said...

Hi Julia,I stumbled across your blog by following the WOYDW badge, glad I did, because I have enjoyed reading your lovely post about your trip to Papagayo....x
Jane 🌴