I have spent the last 4 days admiring the same volcanoes on the road towards Teguise. So it’s time for a change of volcanic scenery. Today I head out west, to the 2nd highest mountain in Lanzarote.
- Start of Day- Estacion De Guaguas, Arrecife
- Cost of Day Out – Cheap (£)
It’s really only after Tias that the bus journey piques my interest. It starts its gentle climb, leaving behind the positively non descript section of the motorway that skims past various beach townships. Predictably I am surrounded by more volcanoes, which are still as mesmerising as the ones on the other side of the island.
There is a victorious moment, when I finally spot one difference on this journey. At the roundabout to Femes, instead of the usual neatly arranged cacti on picon (volcanic ash), they’ve installed camels on it. It’s a reminder that I’m not far away from the Timanfaya National Park. Camel rides through the park are a tourist attraction. But today I walk.
Once past the roundabout, the plain below drops away rapidly as the bus climbs steeply up. During the brief stop at Casitas de Femes, I spy from my window the beachcomber hut. I can confirm that he does have a helicopter, albeit with missing rotors, within his eccentric collection strewn about his garden.
It doesn’t take me long to explore the little town of Femes. Its key attraction is the Balcon de Femes. The view follows the snaking LZ-2 to the town of Maciot, and then, towards Playa Blanca, and onwards.
The old village of Femes has a charm of its own. Amongst them are the pretty Iglesia San Marciel de Rubicon and the Old Jesuit outpost next to the Balcon. Whilst the Quesería Rubicon is not open when I get there, the Bar-Restaurant Femes is, and therefore gets my custom. Besides, a hot brew is always welcome on a chilly early morning.
The main reason I’m here is to have a closer look at Atalaya de Femes. It’s not hard to locate. It’s the one with the masts. There is a circular walk from here, which includes a clamber up Atalaya. But my plan is to use part of the walk to get to Yaiza for the hourly bus back to Arrecife.
The instructions for Walk #1 (Atalaya de Femes) from my Kindle book are clear. After a short amble downhill on the LZ-2, and some tut tutting at some crazy motorists’ overtaking, I find the dirt track that will whisk me away from civilisation.
When I say whisk, I actually stroll along an easy track, within sight of the road. And amongst the scrub and cacti, I pass a recently planted farm. The lime green shoots on the black picon are a glossy contrast to everything else around it.
Soon I reach the pink rocky face of the climb that will get me to the ridge. As I hike up, I have a 360 degree view of mountains. It’s taken me about an hour to reach the top of the world.
This is where I diverge from the walk and head towards a granite boulder lined road (marked on Google map) that will lead me to Yaiza. The deliberate gap in the granite wall suggests that the ridge will take me there.
So down the ridge I go, past a raked field of stones. A close inspection of the ground doesn’t yield any clues as to what could possibly be farmed on rock and sand. Once through the gap, I climb the gradual path up to the Caldera Riscado to finally stare down a caldera !!
Back on the downwards road to Yaiza, straight ahead of me is the Timanfaya National Park. Throughout my descent, my gaze is firmly locked on the constantly changing palette of muted browns, greens, blues, purples and shadows on those mountains.
What’s more, given my relative height, I can even see into the edge of the rim of a caldera within the National Park. Utterly amazing. And what a good idea it was to let the bus do most of the climbing to Femes.
The U-shaped fork in the road signals that I need to veer left for Yaiza. However, 2 walkers below me had stood staring towards Uga for ages on the other path. Not wanting to miss out, I do the same. And voila, I can see, and most definitely hear, a camel farm below. Superb !!
Closer to Yaiza, the road levels out to a scene of agriculture and housing. I go past a vineyard, through a large square, past a playground framed by palm trees and parks. Apparently Yaiza has won the coveted title of prettiest village in Spain, twice over, recently.
I’ve read about the 17th century Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. It, along with the village, survived the main active volcanic period (1730 – 1736) when the lava flowing towards it split into two, destroying all the other villages, save this one. Legend has it that the statue of the Madonna inside is sometimes bathed in a mysterious blue light.
Regardless of religious beliefs, the church brings me good fortune when through the tree outside it, I spy my lunch destination. There are locals hanging out of its doors, always a good sign of hospitality and reasonably priced food.
There isn’t a lot to do in Yaiza. The streets here are broad, the town more spread out. It hasn’t quite got a quaint village feel to it. After wandering around a few more squares and an artisan centre, I catch the bus back from outside the only supermarket.
With the image of Timanfaya National Park forever etched in my memory, my conclusion, as I’m bussed back, is that the splendour of the volcanoes all over Lanzarote will never cease to amaze me.
Bus Timetables and Other Useful Information
- Timetable for Bus #5 to Femes
- Timetable for Bus#60 to Yaiza
- Book of Lanzarote Walks – My Lanzarote by John Kelly (a.k.a the Happyhiker.co.uk). £3.50 for a Kindle version.