Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain: Let it all hang out….

27 Jan

Imagine staying with your favourite grandma in her old farmhouse along with Lapa the cat and Mora the dog. Snug bedroom, sunny patio, fresh fruit, crisp bread rolls with homemade jam and hot coffee in a stonewalled breakfast room. Conversations about what Grandma’s going to cook for dinner, including your favourite things. Lots of lighthearted banter. This is Casa Isaitas in the country town of Pajara on Fuerteventura Island, our home for the week.

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Pajara is centrally located making it easy to drive to all points of the compas exploring beaches, towns and harbours. This windy, geologically ancient volcanic island is dry and stony, good for cactus, goats and windmills, but it also has long stretches of beautiful beaches. Desalination plants sustain the seasonal tourist population that drives the economy. For the moment it seems that sadly they are losing the fight against oil drilling on the seabed.

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I found Casa Isaitas through http://www.responsibletravel.com which lists providers conforming to their sustainability principles. This wood, stone and whitewashed guesthouse and restaurant began life as a family home two hundred years ago. Now with four double en suite rooms, main house, patios and restaurant, it’s run by Pilar (a kindly grandmother type) with Jose, Elo and the adorable Begoña’s assistance. They welcome travellers like us escaping the Northern European winter for the Canary Islands’ sun and sea.

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Our car is a cute, blue Opel booked online with CICAR (Canary Islands Car). In contrast to most rental car experiences, CICAR was a breeze, simple online reservation of an economy-size car for a reasonable all-inclusive price (including multiple drivers and comprehensive insurance) with speedy pickup and dropoff at the airport. Why can’t Europecar/Avis/Budget et al do the same?!

Highlights of the week include a Morro Jable beachside lunch and stroll on yellow sand. Be warned though, the majority of Fuerteventura’s beaches are nudist. Morro Jable is a favourite of Germans. Overweight, naked people sun themselves on sand dunes like so many basking seals.

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Jandia Resort where poolside topless tanning is de rigeur.

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By contrast, Corralejo in the far north is preferred by Brits. Similarly corpulant but they keep most of their kit on. Kite surfing and kite buggies are the go here.

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These musos were mixture of British and Spanish. A pleasure listening to their gypsy jazz drinking a beer in the sun at Los Pescaditos.

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The east coast road is literally on the beach for some kilometres.

On the central east coast beaches, Costa Calma is a quiet family beach popular for paddle boarding, while Castillo Caleta de Fuste has a mix of Brits, French and Belgians on all-inclusive package holidays. You can tell the package punters by the dayglo wrist bands. Castillo has a casino, perhaps there is a connection.

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It also has the only five star resort on the island, the Sheraton Golf and Spa. We know it well having lunched at their poolside Verandah restaurant and lounged by the pool on a comfortable day bed.

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That is until interrupted by a couple of the ‘Los Animaciones’ team asking us to join in a darts tournament. Well, why not? Stuart won. Sadly no prize.

Other days were entirely devoted to our lunch destination. One day it was was Restaurant Casa Santa Maria in Betancuria (established 1404 AD). Betancuria was the first seat of government and has the oldest church on the island. Driving the steep, narrow mountain road there and back was good anti-vertigo training for me. I could have done without the cyclists riding two abreast though.

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Restaurant Casa Santa Maria

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Stuart liked that the gazpacho matched his sweater.

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We’ve had time for yoga, meditation, beach massage, beard maintenance and haircuts. Yes, you read that right, Stuart has begun to meditate (he calls it ‘mesmerising’). Just a few minutes a day but it’s a good start.

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For those following his stroke saga, he’s had a couple of small setbacks. Mostly to do with vision and balance but given his anxious nature he feels quite ill when these episodes occur. He’s doing all he physically can to minimise the risk of a repeat stroke but until he has the corrective procedure, hopefully this year, to close his Patent Foramen Ovale http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrial_septal_defect he runs the risk of throwing a leg clot and it ending up in his brain.

Maintaining a positive outlook and managing stress is ongoing work. He’s still running his business remotely after all. The Canary Islands is an ideal spot to do that!

We’re looking forward to the upcoming week sailing around the next easterly Canary island, Lanzarote, on the good ship Velvet Lady before heading back to chilly Scotland.

I leave you with a few more memories and my favourite Fuerteventura poem written by a longtime resident of Betancuria, Josefa Navarro Montesdeoca. Hasta la proxima!

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2 Responses to “Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain: Let it all hang out….”

  1. Cathy January 27, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    This is too beautiful! Stop it!
    Great tip about the responsible travel website. I will have to check that out.
    I meant to reply last year on your blog post of advice for travellers to the Festival de Jerez… Most of what I did there went completely against your advice! (Six hours a day… What was I thinking!) I can’t believe almost a year has past since we were there.
    Wishing you both all the best on your travels and hope we meet again soon.
    Until then, keep blogging!
    x Cathy in little old Adelaide

    • Sharon Tickle January 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      Hi Cathy, Looking forward to another crazy Jerez week. Will miss you and Emma but will make sure the Aussies make a good showing. Eight flamencas from Brisbane! Besitos guapa, sxx

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