I AM IN FULL-ON PACKING MODE at the moment. This evening, I’m flying to Madrid, and from there to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, on assignment for a travel magazine. (And sorry, no, I don’t need a research assistant, but you can come along by following my blog posts for the next week:-)

Where is Lanzarote? You might well ask. Most Americans don’t know (I didn’t, until a few weeks ago) and don’t vacation there, though legions of Brits and Germans do. It’s in the Atlantic, a short distance off the coast of Morocco, though the Canaries, which also include Tenerife, belong to Spain.

Lanzarote is a volcanic island of stark, otherworldly beauty, so the guidebooks say, and I believe them (the images in this post are lifted from Google Image). My research focus will be on Cesar Manrique, an architect/sculptor/preservationist who died in 1992. His efforts to limit insensitive development on his native island apparently paid off. Resorts are contained, low-rise, and in keeping with Lanzarote’s vernacular architecture. Manrique’s own home, and several other sites he designed, are sculpted out of the volcanic rock. This I’ve got to see.

destinosblog.es

Lanzarote has a reputation for the best beaches in the Canaries (see above).  I’ll probably spend little time basking on them — too much else to do — but that’s fine.

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The island is practically devoid of natural vegetation, but that doesn’t stop vintners. Those are terraced grape vines, above, from which Lanzarote produces a wine called malvasia (I’ll be sure to sample it and report back).

flickrhivemind.net

Above, another thing I’m looking forward to: a botanical garden with some 10,000 cacti.

Are you coming with me?