Timanfaya National Park…There is something captivating in lava fields, deserts, glaciers etc. Maybe that is why I just love barren lands. They usually represent the power of nature. But that is another story, for another time.
Lanzarote is known as the “island of 100 volcanoes”, but in fact it has more than three hundred, with some still active. Lanzarote owes its apocalyptic landscape entirely to volcanic activity. It doesn’t have a monumental peaks but instead has the spectacular Timanfaya National Park. The park has made Lanzarote famous. Where else can you experience this many volcanoes so close to each other? The lava field is the largest in the world.
Many tourists visit this place daily and I wonder if they know that these volcanoes are only dormant. They are waiting for a good moment to remind the world once again, of the great power that is locked inside.When this power will be released the results could be devastating. Timanfaya still seethes, non-stop under the earth Only a few centimetres under the earth the temperature exceeds 160°C; at six meters depth, the thermometer shows more than 400°C. That is terrible hot! One can easily have visions of a major, apocalypse, in the event of an sudden eruption, on this small island. In the park there are huge lava fields, ash and lava tubes. This place looks something between the moon and Mordor! Yes….!!! I had to visit the park…..!
Lava is black, but Timanfaya is not only the blackness! The volcanic mountains glisten in the sun in different colors, from deep black to bloody red. The most famous part of the park, Montanas del Fuego, rise like red devils amid a sea of blackness. It is visually awesome.
There is no Lanzarote without Timanfaya, and vice-versa. It seems that all roads on the island lead to the park. To enter the park you have to pay an admission fee. An asphalt road leads across lava fields to a huge car park. From there one can take a bus tour, with commentary in English, German and of course Spanish, around the volcanic landscape. No one can drive any further by himself or get out and walk. The bus is the only way to see the specific beauty of the park.
The volcano route, Ruta de los Volcanos, is an amazing experience, spectacular beyond words. I was lucky to be the first person in the bus, and sat on the right side and thus had the best views most of the time. It takes about 40 minutes to make a full circle tour. It is really a pity that you can’t walk or drive this distance by yourself, but I understood that each footstep on lava destroys a piece of a 200 year old masterpiece.
In addition to the bus tour, it was demonstrated how power still seethes under the earth. Firstly all visitors got some gravel of volcanic origin in their hand. It was hot, not to burn you, but still hot! An employee put into a small crack in the rock, some dry brushwood and it immediately caught fire. A bucket of water poured into a tube, of a depth of 10 meters evaporated in just a second! A small geyser shot into the sky! It was quite a spectacular show.
On the top of the volcano there is a restaurant. El Diablo Restaurant serves meals grilled with volcanic heat. So if you want, you can cook your lunch on a volcanic stove. Sounds extraordinary, no?
You can tour with more adventure than the bus way! You can rent a camel! The dromedaries wear a muzzle and are guided by a leader . During my camel ride, one of the camels escaped with people sitting on it. Was funny to us but maybe not for people, who were carried away. The ride through the volcanic landscape was fun but was not comfortable, as butts were not made for camels.
Visiting Timanfaya was a great experience but made me insatiable. The park’s rules and prohibitions didn’t let me to enjoy this apocalyptic landscape to the fullest. I wanted to see the “destruction” up close and personal. Soon I would embark on a journey to “Mordor” ….
Editor’s Note ….to be continued…..tomorrow ….