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.


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.


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).


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

Are you coming with me?