Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lanzarote, Canary Islands - Montañas del Fuego

Lanzarote is home to more than 100 volcanoes, many of which are still active.  The volcanoes are located throughout the island. The last big explosion was in the early 1800s.  On Day 2, we went to the most famous of the volcanoes which is a part of the Montanas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire).  The National Park of Timanfaya is amazing and it's untouched lava fields leave a lot to the imagination as far as the devastation this monster caused many years ago.  According to what I have read, the volcanic eruptions from 1730-1736 and those in the early 1800s created new craters, destroyed whole villages and buried the most fertile terrain on the island.

As you drive the road towards the park, you suddenly arrive upon lava "fields".  You go from driving past a small village to a sudden black rock terrain around you.  Then you realize that this black rock is in fact hardened lava.  We waited for a good hour to get into the park and the drive up to the top was amazing.  The unfortunate part is that Aidan decided he had had enough of waiting and had quite the volatile explosion himself which led he and I to sit in the car while Josh and Liam did the tour along the craters.  The good thing is that before this happened, we were able to witness one of the workers demonstrate the geyers which were really cool.  I would imagine this is similar to going to Yellowstone (but I've never been there).  The magma is not very far down below (about 3km) and the heat radiating up from this geyser can be felt as you walk by.

Some of the barren landscape on the way to Timanfaya - not much grows here

Lava "fields"

The start to the long line to go up to the top

Music will chill him ... for a little bit...

And him too...

More views of the volcanoes

Closer up shot with lava!

An outcropping of lava

Go this way to the volcanoes!

Yes, there was this much traffic getting to the top

Close up of some lava

Powdered lava

View of the Atlantic

Small crater

View from parking lot - yeah that's awesome!

One of the geysers at the top

Guide showing us how the geyser works - it was pretty much instantaneous when he put the water in to it exploding back out as steam

Watching the geyser before our own "explosion"

Josh and Liam on the tour - lava field

Small crater

Lava fields leading to the Atlantic

Crater in the distance

Small lava cave

Looks like the desert!

HUGE crater!

Another crater!

Also at the top of El Isolte is a restaurant called El Diablo.  We really wanted to go there but unfortunately due to cranky children we couldn't.  Apparently they cook the food in a natural oven powered by the geyser steam!

The next day, after a much needed night of sleep we ventured back to this area to do some camel rides.  The kids thought it was pretty cool and Aidan was pretty non chalant about it since he has been riding horses for years.  But Josh and I haven't been on a horse, much less a camel in a long long long time.  Not to mention, we each had to balance a kid on our knee (note to self, when riding a camel, make sure said child is not wearing wind pants which tend to make him slip and slide requiring a much firmer and exhausting grasp on him).  The camels don't go up very far but it's still high enough to get a fabulous view!  Wish I could have gotten some better pics but since I was sitting right next to Josh and Liam on the other side of the camel it was a bit tough!

One of the villages in front of a volcano

Some lava farmland

Camels... lots and lots of camels!

Josh and Liam, ready to ride - these guys are unbelievably strong as Aidan and I were on the other side of his hump

Our camel

We're heading up to that small hill on the right

View as we get higher

And higher

Josh and Liam with a crater behind them

Josh giving some love to the camel behind us...


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