Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Rucksack


Lanzarote. . .land of sun, beaches, pool time, and lazy days.  NOT THIS WEEK!!!  Who knew that clouds could and would settle over the island and stay, bringing wind, chilly weather, and rain on the continuum of mist to downpours.

Tuesday. . .


Wednesday. . .


Thursday. . .


But never mind, as Brits would say.  We are having a blast.  Each evening we declare that we will never get cancer, because “ isn’t there some research that says that if you laugh each day until your belly hurts, you won’t get cancer.”  Well, even if Mr. Google might not support that exact theory, we have laughed until we could hardly breathe each day.


Much of our laughter has to do with Don’s backpack.  It may have started when I asked if he had a Kleenex and he proceeded to tell us all the things he carries with him:

Fabric bandaids

Reading glasses

Acid reducing pills

Anti-diarrheal pills

Bug spray



Cough drops

Toilet paper

Protein bar

Two rain ponchos

One umbrella


Baseball cap


AmeriCorps vest

And the occasional. . .kleenex



And then there are the “almost real” things that magically appear in the backpack:

A pair of twin kangaroos

cute kangaroo animal

A rain cloud


A stray cat who jumped in during a fish dinner. . .and had kittens IN the backpack.

Mothers Day Clip Art 1


A piece of baklava (pronounced “back lava” by the Brits in our midst)

A bottle of caramel vodka

Camel food

Water from the drained swimming pool

A can of olives and anchovies

A battery-operated whisk with Union Jack handle


“What’s in your rucksack today, Don?” Jayne would ask.


Some among us even wet our pants laughing (??)

I guess you just had to be there. . . .




When I hear the word “jujitsu” I think of Mr. Weddell’s 7th grade ancient history class, and I picture two burly guys wrestling.  Little did I know that I would be getting more than I ever needed to know about this sport during this rainy week.  The World Jujitsu Championships from Abu Dhabi were on TV. .. the only channel other than CNN, from which we needed respite from the Macron-45 bromance.


Walking along the beach one evening, we saw a group of kids practicing jujitsu, probably like our kids go to baseball or soccer.


Walking further along, I spied a statue, recently erected, glorifying the sport for young people, and saying that it was an excellent form of physical fitness.




Jujitsu . . Alive, well, vital.  Not ancient history!!


Timanfaya NP


Thursday (another day of clouds and pre-tropical-storm-type winds)Don and I set out to Timanfaya National Park.  The 51 square miles is completely covered with volcanic soil, volcanoes, lava flows.  But driving toward the park we passed the camels!!


Had the day not been cold, rainy, and windy, I would definitely have taken a camel ride.  But it was FREEZing!! And I was not about to get on one of those beasts of burden and be blown about lumbering up a volcano.  

So after driving upward, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting in a long line of cars  for other tourists to leave their parking spaces,  we were admitted to the parking lot.  There were busloads of tourists waiting to see the straw thrown into a volcanic caldron (to prove there really IS a volcano down there) and lighting on fire and water into another caldron causing a geyser.  Cute for kids and other tourists!!


The restaurant also uses the geothermal heat to cook.


Boarding a coach, we toured the volcano fields to the sounds of magnificent choral music and Gustav Holtz’ Planets.



Lichens cover much of the volcanic rock.

At the highest point, looking down at the tiny cars on the road we had just traversed, Don says, “This makes my ____________ tumble!!!”  Always the comedian.  Well, sometimes.


Amazingly, we returned “home” to. . .wait for it. . .SUN!!!



Luscious Lanzarote


So if it’s rainy, cloudy, and chilly, what’s to do except troll the local markets and eat wonderful meals.  We’re good at that!!


Eating our way through the island has been superb.  Local fish and seafood, Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese, tapas. . .really, the food has been terrific.

During our dinner at La Gamba in Il Golfo we were the only customers in a wonderful seaside location.  Wrapped in blankets, we ate outside by the Coast.  Dave and I shared a seafood paella.


But the prize of the night went to Don who ordered a grilled fish platter.  We were hysterical when it arrived.  It could have fed all four of us!!!  


The Sicilian chef must have been showing off, or maybe he had a lot of fish and seafood he needed to use up, because Don got it ALL!!  Two entire fish, two gigantic prawns, six average size prawns, one lobster, grilled octopus, one entire squid, four Canarian potatoes, mussels, coleslaw.  OMG. . .and this was after we had already shared mussels and garlic bread!  Alex, our waiter, gave us his recipe for sangria.  Bring on summer on our terrace in PA!!


The following evening we enjoyed upscale Greek at Sebastyn’s which was the absolute best Greek I’ve tasted outside of Greece.  The wine list alone contained over 200 wines!  Once again, the seaside setting was spectacular.


Last evening’s Indian was delicious,and we gazed out at the setting clouds and ferry arriving from a nearby island.



And then there’s the English breakfast, which we were FORCED to have after we finished all our shakes and bars!



Tonight is our final night.  What’s left to eat!!??

Home Sweet Bungalow


First of all, I am totally remiss in not introducing Jayne, Dave’s longtime mate, girlfriend, partner, so I hope readers have figured out from photos who she is.   I am reminded of some old intelligence test, long out of date, which asked some question about an item being a “necessary and integral part” of the whole.  Jayne is that part!


So having travelled here innumerable times, the two of them know the island inside out.  Last year we collaborated, messaged, texted, and figured out dates that would suit all of us to spend a week together.  Dave made all the reservations, including a car which both boys can drive.  Three days into our vacation, we are so happy to be here and to all be laughing together, remembering old times and creating new memories.

Our bungalow is perfect.  A LR, kitchen, bath, bedroom, washing machine, and deck, all within walking distance of Playa Blanca, shops, eateries, and the beach.  Heaven!!!


I’m enthralled with the CACTI!!  HUGE!!




Dave warned Donny Boy not to touch any cactus.  So guess what happened?!

Sometimes I have no words!!


Sunday Market in Teguise


Lanzarote is a surprisingly large island, 326 square miles, 78 miles off the coast of Africa.  It’s totally volcanic, as evidenced by every viewpoint including at least one or two dormant volcanoes.


Sunday morning we were off to the weekly market.


We’ve enjoyed markets around the world, and I can honestly say, this was among the best.  Some rubbish, some artisan, some good quality. . .all spread out through the town.


My cold or flu symptoms were MUCH reduced.  Honestly, I attribute my speedy recovery to my well-nourished cells, and the continued use of all the Isa-shakes, bars, vitamins, etc that I packed and which we’re using daily.  Who gets over a SEVERE (and I do mean miserable) case of snot and aches. . .NO, I will NOT be too graphic here. . .but anyhow, I was basically finished with it all in three days.  It was like I got walloped and my body said, “No thanks, we can handle this. . .You’re not welcome here.”

OK, enough of the commercial.  We return you now to your regularly scheduled programming:

The day was truly spectacular, despite a midday shower, which offered us the opportunity for great lunch.






Enroute home I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by grapevines.   Who knew you could grow vines, each one in its own little enclosure, with roots growing deep into volcanic rock!  Telma. . .you’d be enchanted with the symmetry!!


Malvasia  reigns supreme on Lanzarote, accounting for 75% of vineyard plantings. It produces a variety of wines, the most famous of which is a lusciously sweet style historically known as ‘Malmsey’, which is rich in texture and almost like a well-aged Madeira. Moscateland Pedro Ximénez also produce quality sweet wines here. Light, young (joven) white, rosé and red wines are made, from grape varieties such as Burrablanca (Airen), Breval (Verdelho) and Listan Blanco (Palomino) for whites and Listan Negro and Tinta Negra Molefor reds and rosés. The local Consejo Regulador wine authority also allows some sparkling whites and barrel-fermented reds to be made.

All of Lanzarote’s wines typically exhibit mineral characteristics and good acidity thanks to the island’s unique growing conditions. This gives them a distinctive personality. ( fromWikipedia)

I frankly had no idea, and tasted a few glasses at two vineyards.  Bought one bottle of a drinkable red to bring home just because its something I sure won’t be able to buy in the PA wine shop in Quakertown.



Salt is a product of the island, thus, the salt flats.


So after 15 visits to Lanzarote, Dave and Jayne had never 1) stopped at a winery, 2) stopped by to view the salt flats!  But the Winos are in town!


I was reminded that just a week ago we were in Portugal, looking at a very similar view!  But this rocky, moonscape was created from lava flows.  Wow. . .the power of nature.



Loving Lanzarote!


The taxi arrived to whisk us to the airport at 9 am. I had spent the night on the couch, propped up with pillows, and had discovered a rogue NyQuil PM in my Dopp kit, well out of date, but decided to chance it.  I had slept solidly.  Tango  on. . .



How could you NOT feel better with a welcome like this!!!

We met our friend Dave Ramsay 40 years ago in Bristol, England.  His mother told him, “A guy named Don Weinberger called you and wants a perm!”  He thought somebody was “taking the mickey out of me. . .” (A joke). David was a mobile barber, gave Don the perm, and has been a friend ever since.

A 3.5 hour nap for me helped set me right, and we  were ready to enjoy dinner.

The view from our dinner spot. . .