First impression? Sunshine! If journeys are voyages of self-discovery as well as discovery of other cultures, then the thing I have learned about myself so far in the last six months is that I am a sunshine addict. Truly, I wasn’t aware of it. I guess that living with the stuff for 20+ years made me take it for granted – until it disappeared! Somewhere mid December it started to rain in La Gomera; Christmas in northern England was bleak and full of dire weather warnings; returning to La Gomera for two months I think I remember four days of sunshine (But I’ll be charitable and say 5 or 6); back to England at the beginning of March to one sunny day and more bleakness – so it was delightful to wake up on my first morning on Fuerteventura to sun streaming through my window. Though some clouds have passed over, the sun continues to smile. The clouds rarely take up residence because this island lies so low in the ocean. Ask a local when it last rained and they squint into the distance and begin their answer with “Hmmm. Let me think…” Clearly whenever it was, it wasn’t too memorable!
Second impression? Beaches! The brilliant, white beaches of Jandia and of Correlejo, golden sands elsewhere and some black sand beaches. Something else I didn’t appreciate myself is how much of a beach bum I am. When my kids were small we went to the beach almost every weekend; when they grew older and became surfers, they still needed transport, and so I would drop them off and retire to an approved (by them) distance to enjoy the beach in peace (though sometimes there were other moms similarly banished to giggle with). I distinctly remember years ago thinking, “I love beaches. I love ’em all. I love the quiet ones, the surfy ones, the sporty ones, even the posh ones at times.” Still do…..and it’s been a while since I really took advantage of living near them. I couldn’t fail to notice that in La Gomera, surrounded by the intense greenery and lush mountainsides, so many of my pictures were, still, of beaches.
Third Impression? Goats! Fuerteventura is famous for its cheeses, and I’ve eaten them for years. Now, here I am, able to buy them whenever I fancy. But I hadn’t thought overmuch about the goats. Walking in Tenerife goats often wander across your path, and in La Gomera you are rarely out of earshot of bells and bleats, but here there are just so many. They are everywhere, and they seem to eat,well, even dirt!
Forth Impression? Hmmm the development of the last 20 years has clearly not been controlled. Correlejo was delightful back then, and Morro Jable, although there were the beginnings of the concrete, had some atmosphere. These are the two main resorts, at either end of the island, and neither now has any atmosphere whatsoever, both have been utterly consumed by concrete. Sadly, both have the most amazing beaches.
Fifth Impression? Sports. It seems that everyone indulges here! Beside many main roads there are running/cycle tracks … and folk using them. You can’t drive more than a couple of miles without encountering a group of cyclists. Tomorrow there is a triathlon here in the village, as we sat having a late lunch this afternoon the buoys were being put in place. There is surfing, body boarding, windsurfing and kite boarding. I’ve seen skate boarders, walkers (of course), and I won’t mention golfers because you know how I loathe that sport!
Other observations? Sleepy inland villages. Taking bumpy old roads to find dramatic cliffs or long, long almost unused beaches. Fresh fish. Friendly people (except in Correlejo where they seem to be at the “bored-with-tourists stage that resorts often go through, for their sakes I hope they get over it.) Great main roads, which are level and curve gently – actually got into 5th gear! One must, of course, mention the wind, which sculpted these intriguing landscapes, and brings the sporty here, but after living in El Médano for so long it probably notice it less than others do. Windmills.Lighthouses. Oh, and did I mention the beaches?
Oh, yes, I think you can say I like Fuertventura! …… and Trixy seems happy too!