Trip to Fuerteventura – a pretty short travel report

yodahomeAllgemein / Generic, Reisen und so1 Comment

Las Playitas sign

My travel reports are probably the longest entries on this blog, because I usually do a lot on vacation. Not this time though. I was pretty exhausted from work and other things and I really had no interest in planning a long trip or doing anything useful or educational. Plus lot of my 4 weeks of paid vacation I spent working on my PhD thesis. So without thinking much (which I do rarely) I decided to have a week of beach aka a weach. Anywhere I could afford. I’ve been to Rhodes in 2013 with similar expectations, but it was my first ever vacation on my own. This time there should be no sightseeing and nothing stressful really, just relaxing to get the mind (and the body) off of what they are busy with usually. So this should be pretty short report…

Suitcase ready for take offAfter a full day of searching I decided to go to Fuerteventura, part of the Canary Islands, just off the African coast. I pretty randomly chose a place called Las Playitas, which is a holiday resort for mainly visitors with a so-called active lifestyle. I’m a fan of the passive lifestyle and thus decided to very much subvert the premise of the place. Or not really, as the tagline of the resort is „Free your mind“. Which is kinda what I did.

Flying through the air...I went to Hannover by train, then had a 4.5 h flight to the islands. I had reserved window seats on my flights and sat in a row with three-quarters of a family that had not gotten seats together. The father was sitting a few rows ahead, while his wife and the two sweetest little kids (younger boy, maybe 5, and a slightly older girl) sat in my row, the kids on my side and the mother on the other side. The boy was very inquisitive asking me when we were gonna start and where I was going, so we chatted a little while his mother kept telling him he shouldn’t be asking so much. I assured her it didn’t bother me. He was very vivid before and during take-off, and for about half an hour after that. I had noticed the family in the waiting area, and he had been pretty active there too. But in the plane he fell asleep pretty quickly and did so with his head resting on my shoulder. Awww 😃

IMG_1536We landed in Fuerteventura with about 30 degrees outside and a cloud free but slowly setting sun. A minibus took me to the hotel, while a teenage boy argued somewhat aggressively with his mother, because he apparently wanted to go to a specific diving instructor but the travel agency had given them a different hotel on short notice which was at another place. The boy seemed to be very ambitious and angry. Didn’t seem like they would be having a great time, but I intended differently. From the eight people in the minibus I was the only one who went to Lay Playitas. Should that be a sign?…

A beach to free my mind…

Here comes the sun!The place looked pretty much like a tourist trap in the middle of the desert should. It consists of a hotel, an aparthotel and a set of villas, as well as big sport area, a mini golf and a real golf course, an olympic swimming pool, several playing fields and it’s just five minutes to a public beach of vulcan sand. It’s not your typical beach but also pretty beautiful, even if it’s a rough beauty. I was almost too late for dinner, so after check-in I went to the restaurant an enjoyed the food, which would turn out to be great every day! I booked half-board so there was a breakfast and a dinner buffet, no further meals necessary really. La cucarachaDue to a fire the day before I was told the A/C in the rooms would not work tonight, but because of that I got WiFi access for free. When I finished dinner it was already too dark to see or take pictures properly so I basically went to my room unpacking, trying to connect to the Internet and have a well-deserved shower. It was then I found a nice big roach in my bathroom which I tried to catch and get outside but failed several times before I finally dropped a shoe on it…
Because of the heat I slept on top of the sheets, looking forward to a day at the beach tomorrow…

All we are is dust in the windAfter an amazing breakfast buffet (see the pictures!!) I first tried getting to the pool, which seemed to be a more shadowy place during the midday sun. However, obviously many guests thought this way too, so all beach chairs and good spots were taken already. I went straight on to the beach, which promised to have umbrellas and chairs too, but sadly did not. Before that I had bought a beach towel to sit on, and lots of water as well as some snacks in the local supermarket. Now that I think of it I could have walked into the village where all of this might have been cheaper. 😉 The beach is pretty stony, the sand was a mix of the native dark volcanic sand and a lighter sand that probably comes over from the continent. Not your typical white beach, but still very pretty.
Don't let the sun go down on meSo I spent a two hours reading, had a few swims in the sea, which was surprisingly warm, mostly covered up and using sunscreen. I made it through beach time ok, so I decided to sit at the beach bar and have a milk shake. I sat there for at least 90 minutes reading and although there was shadow, I realized when I left that I seemed to have burned my legs pretty badly. It would hurt quite a bit for the next days but since I was really not planning to do much, it did not impact my trip too badly.
I also roamed around the resort, trying to find out where everything is. After the dinner I walked along the beach side to the little village of Las Playitas, where people were swimming, sitting in restaurants eating and partying while the sun was setting over a beautiful scenery. Given that this is basically an environment created for tourism, I felt there is some genuine calm and beauty in some places.

Evening Panorama

I want a balcony at home :)On Sunday I decided to not go to the beach, also was too late for the pool area again and so I decided to climb one of the hills near the place. Apart from the park, gardens and the golf course which are watered and cared for there’s really only the desert, the ocean and volcanic hills. It’s pretty barren, but still kinda beautiful (a lot like me actually lol). I took photos, and there was another German family climbing around too, so it wasn’t too lonely. But climbing around in the hot sun with a backpack is kinda exhausting so I went back to my room and had an afternoon nap, then decided to enjoy my balcony for the first time and watch the sun go down while reading.

 

The X marks the spotThe next two days I was determined to get a spot near the pool, so I basically went there right after breakfast and maybe because it was not the weekend it was easy to find a spot in the shadow there. So I sat by the pool, reading, dozing off, swimming a bit, all pretty safe from the direct sun. This could have gone on for a few days, but sadly Wednesday was my final day… I always had walks at the beach in the evenings, trying to take photos of the beautiful sunsets and also burning some of the calories that came with the amazing foods served at dinner buffet. The food really was great, I always looked forward to that. I thought I would gain weight during all this but happily realized later that in fact I didn’t. Still, greatest food I’ve ever had on a trip, and you could even enjoy a view over the ocean with it.Hillside panorama

Ready to leave…

So many great sunsetsI had to check out by 11 so started packing the evening before. It’s not like I had a lot with me really. After breakfast I left my suitcase at the reception. I wanted to buy some souvenirs for home and to get something for lunch, because I knew I would probably not get anything on flight. There were two restaurants on the lot, the Spanish one was closed (what a shame!) so I went for Italian food.

Beauty is in the small thingsHaving only had five days there I kinda enjoyed the secludedness of the resort (no cities around for kilometers) but I found it rather anonymous too. Some of the faces seemed to pop up multiple times but unlike Rhodes three years earlier I didn’t really get into a chat or got to know anybody. Not that I really needed too though. It was a really pleasant experience to calm down the soul for a bit, not having to worry about anything and being about 3.500 km away from where work and stress and expectations are.

Las Playitas village entranceAs a final goodbye I took a walk to the beach, through and around the village which really is not much larger than the resort itself. A huge bus carrying dozens of tourists collected me for the trip back to the airport, the only hint at mass tourism I got while I was there. 😃 If I would have stayed longer, maybe I would have started doing some sports or traveling around the island, but I really did not feel I missed anything by just relaxing. Getting back home after a beautiful nightly flight (Marseille looks beautiful at night! Sadly no pics of that 🙁) was a little bit of a hassle, and I found myself on a night train to Praque and Warsaw at 3 am in the morning with everybody else asleep pretty much. I arrived home at about 5 am, with many beautiful memories and hundreds of pictures from a very chilled trip. 😎

Oh, I did manage to finish three books during beach time. The first one is a funny email dialogue of two students, one of which I had the pleasure to meet in the UK a few years ago. The second is a classic of Cyberpunk literature called „Neuromancer“ by William Gibson. The third is the fourth (and afaik final) installment in the Ender-Saga called „Children of the Mind“. If you like Cyberpunk and Science-Fiction the last two make for a very enjoyable read, maybe I’ll make a longer recommendation post later. 🙂

Final flightIf you like the beauty of a rough volcanic island and enjoy exploring on your own (because you can get around well with bike or a 4×4, if you have a driver’s license) I think Fuerteventura is a great place. There’s also lots of mass tourism though, and many more beautiful beaches, that are throughly invaded by european (probably mostly German) tourists. I kinda avoided that, so it is possible, but I guess it’s not for anybody.

Please enjoy these few vids of ocean waves (in slow motion) and the photo gallery at the end, all the pictures (and even more) can be found in a Flickr album. 😃

 

  • Dan

    Neuromancer is a good one, hope you enjoyed it. I did not finish any books, just bought a few new more.