Mar 6, 2019

Central Fuerteventura, February 10, 2019

The last day of our holiday we rented a car to see some of the places at the west coast that is difficult to reach with local buses. We drove on the westward road towards the very touristic town at the west coast: Ajuy. In central Fuerteventura we visited a more traditional Spanish village, Vega de Rio Palmas, quite a relief compared to the rather boring and gloomy holiday resorts.
Photo: View to the south from the Astronomical viewpoint Sicascumbre On our way to Ajuy we stopped at the Astronomical viewpoint Sicascumbre Lying deep in the desert of Fuerteventura it is claimed to have such scarce light pollution that it attracts astronomers from all over the world.
Photo: View to the south with La Pared Istmo and the ragged mountaintops of the Jandia Peninsula We walked from the road to the panoramic point at the top. It had exceptional views over the volcanic landscape, from the Jandia Peninsula to the protected area of Montana Cardon.
Photo: The coast at Ajuy Ajuy is a small remote but very touristic fishing village on the west coast of Fuerteventura. Not far from Ajuy is where the Norman Jean de Béthencourt landed in 1402 in order to conquer the island for the Spanish crown.
Photo: At the coast north of Ajuy
Photo: At the coast north of Ajuy
The coast of Ajuy the rock differs between layers of volcanic origin and layers deposited by the sea
Photo at the Mirador del Risco de las Penas a couple of ravens asked for a piece of the banana Lisbeth was eating
Photo: The landscape at the Mirador del Risco de las Penas
Photo: From Mirador del Risco de las Penas. Remains of old terraces shows that much more of the hillside has been cultivated previously
Photo: The church at Vega de Rio Palmas.
Photo: At a bar also opposite the church a very loud discussion was going on
Photo: Near Vega de Rio Palmas.
Photo: Near Vega de Rio Palmas.
Photo: On our way back to the hotel we made a stop at La Pared to watch the breaking of the waves from the Atlantic Sea.

North of Costa Calma, Fuerteventura, February 9, 2019

Fuerteventura is the oldest island in the Canary Islands dating back 20 million years. It has evolved from the Atlantic Sea due to a volcanic eruption. The high mountains have eroded away and the island has very little rainfall, and most of it is desert. If it were not for the desalination plants, tourism would not be possible. North of Costa Calma begins the region of Fuerteventura called the Malpais, meaning the unusable and barren region. Before tourist discovered its beaches no one lived here. When we drove through it from the airport it was empty apart from the holiday resorts long the coast. Life on Fuerteventura has always been tuff. But the booming tourism industry on the island has changed thing, improved living standards and attracted a lot of immigrant to the island from which people a few decades earlier emigrated. It must be strange for the old people living on the island to experience that the sun and the lack of rain that previously was the curse of the island now is its blessing.
The beach north of our hotel
A view south with our hotel in the background
The Barbary ground squirrel is an invasive species. It is from the seaward side of the Atlas Mountains and was introduced into the Fuerteventura in 1965. It is very cute and popular among tourists and is living from the many morsels that the tourists leave.
Many tourists also feed the Barbary ground squirrel.

Istmo de la Pared, Fuerteventura, February 8, 2019

The narrowest pat of Fuerteventura is called "Istmo de La Pared", is just about 4 km broad and covered by flat sand dunes. It is situated in the north of the Jandía peninsula. From our starting point in Costa Calma, we hiked over the Istmo de la Pared. The tour offered us wide views over sandy fields and interesting sand formations on the steep west coast. In the later history of Fuerteventura, the island was divided into two kingdoms. Jandia was in the south of the island, and Maxorata was in the north. Two of the kings were Ayoze, who ruled the south, and Guize, who ruled the north. A wall separated the two kingdoms, close to La Pared, and which actually means wall. Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary islands, first created between 30 and 70 million years ago when huge volcanic eruptions spewed lava through a hot spot between the tectonic plates of South America and Africa. The last active volcano fell silent 4 million years ago on Fuerteventura and the high mountains have long eroded away, the ancient volcanic plugs and craters still standing as jagged hills of black rock amongst wide sweeping landscapes of dry steppe. The highest point at Mt Jandia is barely 800 metres (2,600 feet) above sea level and so the moisture-laden north easterly trades pass unimpeded, creating an arid climate as on the rest of the island.
Whereever you go on Fuerteventura you have a reasonable chance to encounter free-walking goats, in herds or alone, searching for the scarce vegetation that represents their daily meal. During archaeological excavations on Fuerteventura, goat bones with an age of about 3.000 years have been discovered. Gadifer de la Salle, one of the conquerors of Fuerteventura, wrote in 1403 that Fuerteventura was infested by goats. According to him, you could easily slaughter 30.000 goats without substantially affecting the livestock. On the other hand, he stated that the island was covered with trees and bushes, which is a surprising contradiction. However, climatic conditions were - then and far before - significantly different than from today: more rain and permanent rivers, as one can see from the signs of erosion and learn from historic documents. Every year, in Autumn, most of the free-running goats will be collected by the shepherds and their dogs in what is called "Apañada". Once collected, the goats will be marked, selected for farming, eventually castrated or slaughtered.
Just west of Costa Calma there is a park of wind turbines, build with EU support. Only half of them seems to be functioning at the moment.
A lot of flowers was blooming in the arid landscape, here the endemic species Lotus lancerottensis
View towards Costa Calma.
View towards the north, towards the region of Fuerteventura called the Malpais, meaning the unusable and barren region.
A path crosses the Istmo de la Pared. This path transverses the whole island of Fuerteventura, from the north to the south (
Reichardia tingitana
A typical plant of the Malpais (badlands) on Fuerteventura
A piper collecting nice larvae to feed its offspring.
For centuries the island of Fuerteventura was attacked by the pirates, and along the coast defensive towers were built but they were not able to stop the attacks.