The cultures of Lanzerote

This island really is quite fascinating. I mentioned the geology yesterday, but it’s intriguing in terms of culture too. I have never encountered such a mixture of languages, cultures and traditions. Almost everywhere you look, signs are in at least two languages; every restaurant menu I’ve seen here is written in at least three. More than that, though,European, American and North African culture seems to collide here: of course the modern, western commercial influence is obvious; yet below that one senses a much older, deeper cultural tradition stretching back centuries. It’s hard to detect, obscured by decades of being a package holiday destination, but if one looks you can still see the remnants of a much longer history of North African, Islamic and Spanish people making this island their home. It is trying to discern that older culture from the modern, commercial stuff which I find both challenging and fascinating. Across the road from our hotel, with its trendy bar, swimming pool and wifi network are houses of a distinctly Spanish or even Moroccan style: the legacy of this island as a mid Atlantic crossroads, long predating it’s existence as a holiday destination, lives on it seems.

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