I'm currently in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands. The Canaries are Spanish, but closer to Africa. Translation: the weather is warm enough for me to wear one of the two sundresses I've been traveling with since July. (See, e.g., pretty much every "warm weather" picture of me on this blog) Living out of a suitcase makes you realize how unnecessary expansive wardrobes are, but also makes for some extremely repetitive photographs.
But I digress. I've been in Lanzarote since Sunday. Katie and I left our friends at Vamos Cycling on Saturday and slowly made our way here via Malaga (rainy, somewhat unremarkable but for a delicious paella and getting so lost walking back to our hotel that we ended up walking along the side of a real, as in Eisenhower-Expressway-real, highway for a while) and the Barcelona airport (I solicited recommendations for sites to visit in Barcelona before realizing I'd miscalculated the length of our layover, so we just used our 3.5 hours to get a little tipsy in the airport lounge, never mind it was still before noon).
Malaga. Southern Spain seems to be having some trouble dealing with rain. And pollution.
I think my best adjective for this island is volcanic. Lanzarote is small, and had major volcanic activity in the 1700s and 1800s, wiping out a lot of the plant and animal life. So the interior is largely lava fields and somewhat desolate terrain. Few trees, and lots and lots of wind. Tourist sites, so the extent they exist, largely incorporate the volcanic aftermaths--- like little grottos built in to lava tunnels.
Architecture built into a lava tunnel
We hiked on lava rocks
Katie and I were both wiped out from our cycling adventures, so while we did some outdoorsy stuff this week, we kept it nice and easy. A little hiking along the lava fields that overlook the sea was the highlight of Monday. And, despite substantial traffic, Lanzarote is about the most cycling-friendly location I can imagine. You can literally ride your bike on any road on this island, including the busy freeways. There are reasonably-sized shoulders and drivers who are ridiculously patient with cyclists, of which there are many. So on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we got out for some moderately-long rides, taking it pretty easy, stopping to take pictures along the way, enjoying the fact that the terrain, while challenging at times, is much flatter than we found in Southern Spain.
I am getting good at taking pictures while riding and I am not proud
We've done some swimming, too. Here's the obligatory picture of this week's pool:
And, it's heated. THANK GOD
Believe it or not, the resort I'm staying in (and really, the island in general) is somewhat of a hotspot for triathletes. A lot of the pros come down here for training stints, and while there's another resort on the island that's truly the triathlete mecca, our place (Sands Beach Resort) attracts its fair share of cycling teams and big name triathletes, too. This is definitely the off-season, so there's only a few pros wandering around. I can tell they're pros, but I don't know who they are. I kind of wish I had Henry here. He'd know who they were. He'd definitely know. I suppose I could possibly ask them, but that sounds a little stalker-y, no?
Not professional triathletes, but camels.
Between our little bouts of activity, we rested. We had leisurely breakfasts on our patio, lounged by the pool, ate lunch at the Pool Bar. We played bingo with the old people (and won). I actually went "dark" for a while-- I shut off my phone and didn't log into email or the internet ONCE in four days. This was partly due to the ridiculous cost of WiFi here (I can pay an arm and a leg for a week's access, so I picked my week to be the week starting last night); partly because I wanted to indulge in the luxury of being able to truly unplug for 4 days, something I don't think I've done since, hmmm, maybe 2005, likely earlier; partly because it's becoming obvious that I'm addicted to social media and constant electronic interaction and addiction, in general, is bad.
And having completed my little experiment, I can report that taking 4 days to just focus on myself and what I was doing here, now, in this moment... wasn't the worst. I survived. I slept a little more and got through an entire book in two days. (Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, check it out, and if you've read it, please send me recommendations for similar sorts of reads. It was one of those books I was sad to finish and I want more, just like it). I wondered what was going on back home, but it didn't consume me. My typing fingers stopped twitching after a day or so (just kidding).
Last night, I dropped Katie off at the airport. I was really sad to see her go; we had a great week-and-a-half together. I didn't actually know Katie very well at all when she emailed me saying she needed a vacation (she really did, girl works hard!) and wanted to join up in Spain. We'd chatted a few times at Well-Fit this summer, and that was about it. So there may have been a sliver of nervousness on my part--- what if we ended up hating each other? But we didn't. We got along great, laughed a lot, compromised well, both enjoyed seeking the perfect combination of go-go-go activeness and laziness, and ended up great friends by the end of the trip. It was fantastic to have her along.
Because the misfire is sometimes much more fun than the real picture
And now, I'm here by myself for the next week. Four days of which will be filled with running races of varying lengths, up and down volcanoes. So I think I'll go take a nap now, preemptively rest my legs, and think good running thoughts.
Found my bus