A 30.000 pies por viajeros para viajeros

Lanzarote in Body and Soul

“Everyone tells me I ought to get some exercise, that it’s good for my health. But, I have never heard anyone telling a sportsperson they ought to do some reading.”  This statement by Saramago prompted me to emphasise here the importance of striking a balance between tourist or sporting hyperactivity while travelling, and living out the experiences of others. Yes, friends, this is the advice of a hyperactive person – it does no harm to occasionally plan rest periods into one’s journeys, or to deploy a few good phrases as a mantra for competing. Indeed, Mr Saramago, you were dead right – you can also travel through reading, when your mind can find some rest, while in sport, not everything is physical. But, why Saramago in a post about Lanzarote? I found out – and high time it was too, for someone who has travelled to the island so often – that the Nobel prize-winning writer had spent his final years on Lanzarote. There, in the village of Tías, you will come across “A Casa” as he liked to call his home. Lanzarote was Saramago’s other homeland. “A whole lifetime to get here”, he announced, when he settled on this southerly island. The landscape of Lanzarote, the volcanoes, its warm nights, the peacefulness and the island’s inhabitants led him to write many of his articles, novels and diaries at his home in the Tías municipality. As the illustrious writer asserted, “This is not my land, this land of mine”, a phrase shown on the sculpture as a homage to him in front of “A casa” and “La Biblioteca”, as his house museum is known. Each and every object in “A Casa” has a special meaning – an olive tree to recall the country of his birth, or the clocks all set to 4 o’clock, as it was at that time he met his widow, Pilar. They all go to make this museum a happy, special place.

We cannot summarise all his work here, but we can choose three phrases that come in handy as motivating mantras at training sessions and competitions:

- There is something inside us with no name, and that is what we really are.

- There is something positive in defeat – it is never lasting. Triumph, however, has something negative – it is never lasting.

- We always end up arriving where someone is waiting for us.

After this short introduction about Saramago and his ties to the island, I must report that I flew to Lanzarote in March to compete in the tri122 de Costa Teguise. This is a triathlon I had advised you to consider, together with the Challenge Fuerteventura (April), as possible warm-up races for the Ironman Lanzarote, which is held in May each year, starting and finishing in Puerto del Carmen. The tri122 event went off well, without incident, although it was windy. The swim took place off the Playa de las Cucharas (where we went windsurfing the next day); the bike course had been altered from previous years, while the foot race was along the esplanade. My advice for this race would be very similar to the pointers I gave you in the Ironman Lanzarote post, so I won’t go into any detail there. For accommodation, I decided to stay at the Barceló, which is right on the Costa Teguise. I was pleasantly surprised to learn first-hand that they would soon have a better, specific programme for sportspeople in their facilities, given that, unlike the opposite side of the island, which we visited on the previous trip, here you can do open-water swimming, something we triathletes appreciate. In short, if you’re looking for wind and waves, the area of Famara is great and, to swim, windsurf and enjoy the beach, Costa Teguise would be the best option.

On a gastronomic note, this time I would choose two proposals:

- Before the race, a good choice for stocking up on carbohydrates is Portobello. Listen up – this is a markedly family setup based on homemade Italian food. Noteworthy is the fact that the owner was kind and helpful.

- The second proposal, for after the race, is La Bohemia. I believe it’s the best place in the Costa Teguise area. Their meat and roast are delicious and the service is excellent and friendly. Don’t worry, if you don’t eat meat, there are many other dishes to choose from on the menu.

As for the visits listed in the previous posting, we overlooked some of the island’s “great hits”, which I can reveal here – Playa de Jablillos, Playa Mujeres, Playa de Papagallo and Lago Verde. They are all splendid options for strolling and switching off, and even for reading! Also, if you like diving, there are facilities to discover scuba diving on the same beach where we went windsurfing.

You might ask: if I’m interested in sport in Lanzarote, are there any other interesting competitions on the island? Well, yes – there is the 70.3 Lanzarote on 19 September, and the 4 stage Mountain Bike and La Santa Duathlon in January. After these recommendations in two different Lanzarote posts, we’ll soon be hopping to another island, as I’m starting to get curious about hiking trails. Both Trans Gran Canaria, which takes place from 4 to 6 March 2016, and Transvulcania en la Palma, in May, are important enough on the international running calendar to be considering them when planning for next season.

Did you sign up for Ironman Lanzarote in the end? Book your ticket here if you’ve enrolled, or go for another date if you want to find out why everyone is training or competing in the Canary Islands.

Text by Raúl Casañas

Images by Ginés Díaz, Jules/Lanzarote InformacionTabayesco, Idoia Núñez


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