So to the 4th and final Canary island that I’m visiting on this trip – Lanzarote.
This was the home of a very influential artist called César Manrique and my tour took me to places connected to him. Born o n the island, he developed his artistic nature by moving to New York City during the 60s where he befriended Andy Warhol and mingled with the Pop Artists of the time. At the end of the decade he de ides to come home to the island he loved and merge his love of nature and art. He stayed for the rest of his life.
But besides his artistic abilities he was a forward thinker and wanted to protect his island from the marauding and poorly managed new tourism that was affecting the costa del sol while also understanding that tourism was a valuable source of income for the island especially with the demise of the traditional agricultural crops.
He tried to mix art and nature as attractions for visitors – so keeping the original place of beauty and interest but making it accessible to lots of people without them messing it up.
So with that in mind the first stop was to the cave of Los Jameos del Agua via what is known as a lava field – as Lanzarote is much older than the other islands the vegetation is much greener than elsewhere in the Canaries). The cave is a natural one caused by volcanism that has an underground lagoon and is one of his visions of how to turn volcanic beauty into something visitors can easily visit. It is quite spectacular but hard to photograph. Check out the teeny white crabs on the rocks and there is also another cave converted into an auditorium – apparently amazing acoustics.
My favourite stop was Manrique’s Cactus Garden In Teguise – I’ve always had a thing for cactus – they seem slightly salacious and also you can forget to water them for eons and they still survive and look great!
And he also had a bit of fun with fake cactus motifs and entertaining toilet signs
On to Tahiche – his former home and now a museum. He built it in 9 natural “bubbles” again caused by volcanoes. He then managed to connect the nine bubbles underground and this is what you can see.
Lastly, very close to the ship we went to the castle of San José (which actually used to be a real castle that had fallen into disrepair) where we had the local wine and also saw a small collection of quite good contemporary art. I especially liked the drawings of women ( I’m sure the one on the left is wearing a Kusama scarf?) and the full-size sculptures of horses and men/children in the sea.