If there’s one person who’s enjoying the coronavirus crisis, it’s Jeff Bezos. The Amazon owner has seen the value of his company shoot up this year, as people do their shopping online.
Good for Jeff, but until theres an Amazon warehouse on Lanzarote paying people peanuts and timing their toilet breaks, this isn’t very good news for an island that’s really suffering the worst effects of the crisis.
Now, more than any other time, it’s vital that you close your laptop, get up from the screen and head outside to see what’s available locally. Once you do, we can guarantee that, while you may not always find exactly what you want, you’ll discover plenty of things you never knew you wanted.
Right now, every Euro you spend on the island will help someone keep their job, help someones business remain viable, put money in pockets, food on tables and hope in hearts. So this New Year, make sure you get behind your island. Here’s where to spend it…
Food and Drink
In ten years, Lanzarote has managed to transform its food sector into a genuine tourist attraction. Food has always been a central aspect of life here, but the variety of ingredients, cooking styles and influences has snowballed to create an exciting sector.
Meanwhile, the ancient reputation of the island’s wines is once again being polished to a high lustre, as innovative and expert bodegas make the absolute most of a unique crop, cultivated in a unique manner or a unique island.
You wont find better onions, sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, bluefin tuna, goats cheese, melons or figs anywhere else in the world, and local specialities such as papas crías (desert truffelses), lapas (limpets) salted cherne (wreckfish) and tunas (prickly pears) guarantee an ever-changing, unique gastronomy.
But Lanzarote looks outwards, too. Visionary businesses and talented chefs have brought some of the best dishes and ingredients in the world to this little rock in the Atlantic. Seek them out, you won’t be disappointed.
And unlike in the UK, where “Eat Out to Help Out” means hiding away in a Nando’s before testing positive for Covid in a week’s time, here on Lanzarote you can book a table on a sun-kissed terrace and eat out safely in fine style.
Lanzarote’s craft scene is based on a foundation of typical island activities such as palm-weaving, embroidery and pottery, and you can still see some of these crafts being practiced at the Taller de Artesanos in Haría or the Monumento del Campesino.
However, tourism and the resulting influx of new islanders , combined with César Manrique’s vision of a paradise of nature and art, have given new impetus to the island’s craft scene, and you can find exciting, enchanting arts and crafts all over the island.
The island’s craftsmen and women have been busy throughout the lockdown and afterwards, so there’s even more choice to be had at the weekly markets in Teguise and Haría – but youre even more likely to find fascinating little studios and shops if you just get lost in one of the islands local towns
From jewellers to metalworkers, carpenters to macrame-workers, cochineal dyers to painters, the island offers a dizzying array of beautiful hand-made items.
A friendly face
Spain is a social nation, which means that things are still done face-to-face in a way that is long gone in other countries. Thats why you still find petrol station attendants, check-out workers, bank tellers or council officials instead of, or as well as, self-service machines, apps and webpages. That personal attention can be hugely valuable.
Some professionals, such as lawyers or accountants, know local customs backwards, and local is the only way to go; others will simply provide you with better service than youll find elsewhere, because they know the island and the needs of its people.
Whether you’re shopping for property, wheels, holidays, insurance, financial advice or anything else, youll find a smiling face ready to help you here on Lanzarote.
Knowledge is power
Anyone whos tried diagnosing an illness or finding out what’s wrong with their plumbing knows that you can’t learn everything online.
The word “expert” derives from the word experience, and there is no substitute for know-how, whether it’s fixing a patio door, performing a neck massage or clipping a dog’s nails.
Sometimes, you simply need the job done well by someone who knows how to do it, but sometimes you need to learn how yourself – and education, whether it’s in the Spanish language, training routines or any other skill or discipline, can change your life. Find out what’s available and make that call.