Eight Days A Week….

……on lanzarote can seem a lot longer

Because of its lunar landscape, created by volcanoes that erupted in the eighteenth century to celebrate what might have been their millionth birthday, film-makers, photographers and artists in general have been drawn to the island ever since it became properly accessible only abiout 75 years ago. We have had sci-fi makers taking us back one million years as we have swooned over Racquel Welch. We have even seen Lanzarote renamed as the planet Krull, However, for a documentary taking us o amore relñaistic one million yerar sojourn come follow your art along sidetracks and detours by the sea where the wind and the waves create havoc even today,

My son and I did the Timanfaya half day tour which we booked through First Minute tours. The tour was very informative and our guide was very knowledgeable telling us the history of the volcanoes. The “lunar like” landscape is fascinating and it is like you are on another planet. The demonstration showing us how hot it still is underground was interesting. The camel ride was good fun but I think 15 minutes was about long enough as I found it was getting a little uncomfortable. Nevertheless, Highly recommended.

Comments, such as that above about our incredible landscape here on Lanzarote, are frequently seen on Trip Advisor and other social media outlets. In fact, The unique and dramatic landscapes of Lanzarote have provided the backdrop for a number of famous films. The island has also proven an  ideal location for numerous fashion shoots, ad campaigns and even idents for TV stations such as Euro Sport – who filmed a tennis match on top of an old house in Teguise – a few years ago. 

Most recently, Pedro Almodovar shot large segments of his release Broken Embraces in various locations around the island.  When you watch the film see if you can spot Lanzarote´s wine region, the beach at Famara and the wind toy Fobos close to the César Manrique Foundation. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the movies that have been made on Lanzarote. A list – incidentally – that doesnt include Planet Of The Apes. Which is credited by many sources as having being filmed on location on Lanzarote but which was in fact shot in the Arizona desert. Nor Journey To the Centre Of The Earth – which was actually filmed in Tenerife.

One Million Years BC

Year: 1966

Director: Don Chaffey

Starring: Raquel Welch and John Richardson


Enjoy watching model dinosaurs – as well as a few suspiciously large looking iguanas – chase cavemen all over the Timanfaya Volcano Park. And if that isn’t enough there’s also the sight of Raquel Welch in a fur bikini.

This classic sci- fi movie was extensively shot on location in and around the Volcano Park, as well as other instantly recognizable spots such as the Green Lagoon at El Golfo.

The plot revolves around a caveman called Tumak, played by John Richardson, who is exiled after a run in with his father, who is also the leader of the savage Rock tribe.

Tumak wanders into the arms of the coast living, peace loving Shell Tribe. But is again given his marching orders as a result of forging a fiery relationship with Loanna, played by Raquel Welch. They choose to face volcanic eruptions, iguanas and what were state of the art special effects for the 1960´s together.

Enemy Mine

Year: 1985

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Starring: Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr

Enemy Mine is a good quality sci-fi drama directed by the highly respected German Wolfgang Petersen, who was also at the helm for later box office hits such as Troy, Poseidon and The Perfect Storm.

The film is set in a bleak future, where earthmen are fighting an evil alien race called the Drac. During a brutal space battle Dennis Quaid and his Draconian rival, Louis Gossett Jr., force each other out of the sky and land on a hostile planet. Played by Lanzarote!

In a rather saccharine twist after the excitement of the opening scenes the two rivals are forced to cooperate with each other as they are isolated in their new environment and, somewhat predictably, soon become firm friends.

Still well worth a look though for the opening scenes and shots of Lanzarote.

Even Dwarfs Started Small

 Year: 1970

Director: Werner Herzog

Starring: Helmut Doring and Gerd Gickel

Scarey and surreal German made comedy drama from the man behind the cult movie classic Freaks. The dwarf inhabitants of a remote institution rebel against their keepers and take over their asylum. They proceed to destroy all symbols of an ordered society – typewriters are totaled, plates smashed and even the asylum’s chickens are driven to cannibalism! With Lanzarote providing the backdrop for all of the exterior shots.

Krull

Year: 1983

Director: Peter Yates

Starring: Liam Neeson, Lysette Anthony

Lanzarote also plays a starring role in this science fiction fantasy movie. As the Planet Krull is invaded by an evil monster, known aptly as The Beast and his warlike followers, The Slayers. The inhabitants of Krull join forces to repel The Beast, free Princess Lyssa and to restore peace to their planet.

A number of classic science fiction TV series have also shot episodes on Lanzarote. Including Doctor Who – with the BBC springing for an outside broadcast way back in 1963 to produce an episode aptly entitled Planet of Fire. The TV mini series version of Ray Bradburys classic novel The Martian Chronicles also utilized Lanzarote as a location.

´A Million Years Ago… In Lanzarote´,  a documentary film created by Lancelot Digital, one of the ísland´s leading news presenters, this week filled the auditorium when shown at  the Cine Atlántida in Arrecife.

The documentary by Lancelot Medios puts the magnifying glass on the first film production made on the island that turned it into a desired natural set

Many people from Lanzarote attended the premiere of “A Million Years Ago… In Lanzarote”, the Lancelot Medios documentary that was screened last Friday night at the Atlántida Multicines.

The evening was a great success, bringing together more than 300 people in the Sala Teatro del cine.

The director of the documentary, Andrés Martinón, later told the press that “we are very grateful to all the people who attended. If we take into account the magnitude of Cine Atlántida, it can be said that it was “almost full”. For my part, I appreciate the work of the entire team that has worked to bring this documentary forward.”

A project that came to light after months of work and which also had the collaboration of many testimonials from Lanzarote people who actively participated more than 50 years ago in the recording of this film. “All the protagonists of the film have special relevance. And I especially highlight the “Golden Girls”, Tere Coll and Malola de La Hoz, and also Bernardo Niz for thier great collaboration”, says Martinón, also thanking the participation of the historian Mario Ferrer, the director of the Film Festival of Lanzarote, Ismael Curbelo, CEO of SPEL Turismo Lanzarote, Héctor Fernández, and the collector of classic film and dubbing, Saúl Rojas.

All this editing has been possible “with the efforts of Lancelot Medios, who have produced it, with the sponsorship of the Government of the Canary Islands and the Tourist Centers”, explains the director of the documentary, also highlighting “the collaboration and contribution of two town halls, Tías and Yaiza, which appeared in some scenes, to the Lanzarote Tourist Federation, since the documentary ends by talking about how Lanzarote today continues to be a natural set and a destination for tourist promotions thanks to what It’s been recorded here.”

Martinón also mentions Canary Trip Booking, a product specialized in bringing tourists who visit places where movies or series have been filmed.

All those who have not been able to attend the premiere at the cinema itself will be able to see it again on Thursday 8th December at 9:30 p.m. on Lancelot Television.

Whilst we were all looking back to the time fifty years ago when we all looked back a further million years ago, bad weather in the south in December 2022 was causing chaos. 

The waves, the wind and the bad weather from the south caused a second sailboat to have an accident this Monday, this time it was a capsize in the Berrugo area.

The ship, about 8 meters in length, capsized due to the waves and waste, was scattered, so it has been necessary to activate the National Maritime Plan in a preventive manner.

At the moment, all the belongings that it has been possible to remove have been removed from the ship and an attempt is being made to unravel the sailboat.

It wasn´t only rough out at sea but overnight rain poured down on the tents of the beautiful Christmas Fashion markets that had sprung up on Plaza de los Leonnes in Teguise. Nevertheless it was, of course, a warm, sunny day when we took a stroll around the stalls on Wednesday 7th December.

There was a grouping of about a dozen tented stalls lending a lovely ambience to the public square. A number of artists and handicraft workers had worked collaboratively to bring their good to market and remained opend for five consecutive days from 11.00 to 21.ooh

We include this photograph of the stall presented the artist Claudie, who recently held an exhibition of her major works in le ermita on Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca. We now have three or four pieces of her work adding splendour and quietude to our house in Playa Blanca and we have visited her home studio in Orzola. Knowing we had not been able to make an evening visit to the market she kindly sent this  photograph of the area,, beautifully lit.

We also met with Claudie on the Wednesday, a day like the others, peppered with events and demonstrations by some of the artists.

In fact she bumped into us at a Restaurant where we having lunch before heading to the square. Dee and I so love this space, with small diing areas are surrounded by art collections by local artists. One of these dining areas is especially grand, being effective a long hall running through the centre of the building. Beautiful visual arts are spaced along the walls and in the small chambers of the hallway. The owner is a happy, smiley person rightfully proud of his premises, and his tapas plate for two at only 22 euros is an explosion of tastes beautifully prepared and elegantly presented.

We were interested to in a stall belonging to the work of Lisa, at Natural Treasures, of all sorts of bespokery, including lockets specially designed to hold a few ashes of a beloved pet, or I suppose, even of a lost loved one. I might have been a bit dismissive of such an idea had I not seen for myself how tastefully it was all done.

We also liked the work of  Angie Vasquez creating bags etc out of high quality material and adding images of the purchaser´s choice to order.  

Paulo and Milo Two really friendly guys called Paulo and Milo had a stall of items such as t-shirts, and table clothes and place mats all carrying unique work by the artists. Our photograph shows the wide array of the work and the cheerfulness of the artists.

And so to Friday, when we brought the working week to a close by being passengers on free charabang caravan of five coaches, touring the island, and letting passengers off for lengthy stops at the sites of half  a dozen of the best belen sites on the island.

Each local government authority on the island commissions an emerging or established arts, who in turn view it s a great honour to be slected. These artists are invited to create an appropriate nativity scene to draw vistors to the towen or villages of their borough.

By mid-December, Lanzarote’s belenes (nativity scenes) are on display in towns all over the island.. The belenes are large, often very large, and are usually displayed in the centre of each town. They are not like any nativity scenes we ever saw in the UK: There are certain rules and traditions that determine that a nativity scene has to be included on a creative representation of Lanzarote the island, or some of its town and villages. 

Belén is the Spanish word for Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

But it doesn’t just refer to the geographical place. 

It is also used to describe a nativity scene, of the sort that you find in people’s houses but also on a large scale set up by town councils across Spain and The Canary Islands. Sometimes they take a traditional format with the Holy Family grouped in a stable surrounded by farm animals and receiving visits from angels, shepherds and the wise men.

Each family will have their own Belén in their homes sometimes containing figures that have been passed down from generation to generation, while other families make buying a new figure to add to the Belén part of their annual Christmas tradition, visiting one of the stalls at a Christmas market dedicated to selling them

Those belenes we see on public display in the towns are very obviously communal sites where people gather to look around them. The goverment had organised these free coach rides and lunches so that those interested could see and compare their own townships effórts and compare and contrast them with different interpretations in other sites.

It was an incredible day and seeing so many venues in one day was a real eye opener. So if you are an indigenous islander or like, us a ´new´residentt here on Lanazarote, or a tourist driving a hire car, you can still visit each of the locations with a belen. You may wiell think it one of the most magical journeys of your life.  

We had boarded our coach in Tias at 9.30 and did not return until 19.30 as the organisers wanted to show us the tree at Candellaria above Tias in darkness. In actual fact it was all a cunning trick to get around around two hundred day trippers to pose for a group photo. But what an incredible sight it provided . From the base of the tree we looked down hundreds of feet to the coastline below, decorated with a string of Christmas street lights, and could see planes landing and taking off from the Cesar Manrique airport runway, stretched out below us.

We had seen belenes at Arrecife, (in giant form, as we joined school parties and tourists wandering around its perimeter). We also visited San Bartolme ans a surprise drop, we stopped at the Stratvs bodega on  Stravs and on to Yaiza, all before a wonderful free buffet lunch  Near the splendid church of Dolores in Mancha Blanca. This was a lazy three hour affair that allowed time to step inside the church to take photographs and to wander around the  town square that is also the site of the annual artisan market. From there we travelled to Puerta Del Carmen with a beautiful belen situated almost on the church steps before heading to Tias for what we expected to be our final viewing of a belen, and indeed it was but then we were all shepherded on to the guaguas again and take up to Candellaria for that final breathtaking tree, looking down on the whole island.

So, eight days on a week on Lanzarote might be an editor´s exaggeration but after so many sidetracks and detours it had certainly been a hard, but wonderful, hard day´s night. 

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