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      October 2012 > Fifty shades of grey? No, I want colour!

Fifty shades of grey? No, I want colour!

Walking holidays in LanzaroteWell, winter has well and truly arrived, certainly so here in Yorkshire. There’s not a sky in the cloud and the landscape is shimmering in the late afternoon drizzle, aglow with at least fifty shades of grey.

Oh, for some colour, some warmth, a glimpse of the sun and an azure sea lapping gently on golden sands.

Oh, to be in Lanzarote!

From the moment you arrive, you will be enchanted by this exotic island. This is an island of colour, of great natural beauty; and an island where the concept of ‘winter sun’ can truly be appreciated.

There's no doubt that Lanzarote has a different feel from some of the other islands; it’s older geologically and much nearer to Africa. It’s sandier, more desert-like; there are more palm trees and beaches and, although the landscape is dominated by long-dormant volcanic activity, it is less abrupt and mountainous than say Tenerife, La Palma or La Gomera. But it’s the vivid colours that will strike you, from rich red volcanic rocks to bright green lagoons, and from golden yellow sands to that azure sea that is never far away.

That this landscape served as inspiration for one of Spain’s most celebrated modern artists will come as no surprise, and the works of César Manrique (born in Lanzarote in 1919) adorn the landscape at every turn, from large flamboyant installations gracing roundabouts (right), to many modern eye-catching buildings (he was an architect, too). Don’t miss the chance to visit the Mirador del Río (built in 1973) overlooking the neighbouring island of La Graciosa; the Jameos del Agua, an semi-underground nightclub and music venue (below); the Jardín de Cactus (below right); and his remarkable home built in 1996 into an empty volcanic lava tunnel.

Possibly more importantly, Manrique was a significant figure in a campaign to limit the adverse effects of mass-tourism on Lanzarote & La Graciosa by encouraging sympathetic development and helping develop a sustainable tourism policy. One result of this is a lack of high-rise hotels on the island.

He also helped to set up the César Manrique Foundation in 1982, created to allow tourists access to his home, which really is a fabulous place to visit. The site now includes an art gallery featuring Manrique’s work and original sketches by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, amongst others. (Read more about the work of the Foundation here.)

Sadly, Manrique died in car accident twenty years ago (he is buried in the cemetery in Haría) but his legacy lives on. In fact, to commemorate his life’s work, the Fundación César Manrique is currently holding a fabulous exhibition entitled El Taller de los Sueños (‘The Workshop of Dreams’) that is running until 13 January 2013, making this an extra special time to visit this colourful island.

The money the Foundation takes from ticket sales goes toward raising awareness about the art of Lanzarote, as well as being used to fund the foundation's ‘artistic, cultural and environmental activities’.

Spend a leisurely week in the charming village of Yaiza (below) to discover all that this delightful island has to offer. [By way of coincidence, the family that owns Hotel Las Longueras in Agaete on our Gran Canaria holiday were friends of Manrique, and there is one of his paintings in the living room of their hotel.]

Walking holidays in Lanzarote

Posted: 03/10/2012 08:35:18 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: Canary islands, heritage, nature, Spain

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