On the map, the point at which the Sahara's vastness yields to the nearest Atlantic coincides with Tarfaya and Cape Juby.
These are the coastlines of the Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra region that Moroccans in the area celebrate, even if they are bathed in a sea that the Alisios keep floured with desert dust.
As we leave Corralejo in the direction of the homonymous natural park, we come across a kind of Canarian extension of this world.
Part of the sand with which the irascible and unstable Alísios sprinkle the Atlantic (and even make it to the Americas) falls on Fuerteventura.
The northeast coast of the island, in particular, receives such quantities that the supreme dunes of the Canaries were formed there, swelled on a base of organic matter generated by the disintegration of shells and the external skeletons of other sea creatures.
Farther away from the Sahara, the water of the Atlantic is crystal clear there. Even if the wind rarely lets up, it flows at temperatures that leave visitors to northern Europe ecstatic.
Corralejo National Park. The Coastal Desert of Fuerteventura
The houses of Corralejo urban are, definitively and without exception, behind. Then, the coastal road zigzags through the Fuerteventura desert below. It reveals wild beaches with unusual bathing atmospheres.
At the entrance to Playa del Pozo, a herd of goats was checking how edible the bushes that dotted the endless white would be.
When they get close to the waterfront, they intrigue an elderly nudist couple who immersed themselves in the crystal-clear water below the El Rio channel.
We insist with the Alísios, as the Alísios do with the landscapes they punish.
Blown from north to south, the winds became so prevalent that the majoreros (natives of Fuerteventura) spread, on that and other beaches, rounded castros made of badly piled basalt boulders.
We pass by one of these shelters. We see three bicycles parked against the facade opposite the sea, safe from the salty breeze. From the interior, sunshades of various colors emerge.
Determined rooks fly over us. When one of them lands on the top of the refuge, we understand her motto, a bather who will secure them with chocolate biscuits.
To the south, there are more generous beaches: Larga, Los Matos, El Bajo Negro, Dormidero, Del Moro, Del Rosadero and Alzada.
Gentle waves caress Del Moro.
Scattered across its deep inlet, a battalion of foreigners dressed in neoprene practice the elementary movements of surfing.
Other beaches are deserted. Or populate them a few bathers adept at seclusion.
Around the Barca Quebrada Calheta, the beach gives itself. Gradually, it gives way to time-worn volcanic ocher.
On an island of this ocher, still surrounded by dunes, the oval crater of Los Apartaderos stands out and, after crossing a series of ravines, the raw slope of another old and dramatic volcano, the Montaña Roja (312m), dominates the road.
Volcanic proliferation, especially along the island's crest, extends for a few more tens of kilometers. Force us to proceed south. We crossed the hyperbolic gully of Fimapaire.
In the vicinity of Puerto Lajas, finally, the island flattens out.
It allows us to flex west, towards the interior and La Oliva.
The Former Capital of the Oliva Colonels
The streets of this city crisscross Fuerteventura's historic core, equally shrouded in volcanoes, poorly disguised as hills and hills.
We went down Calle la Orilla. After traveling a few hundred meters, we examine the opposite extreme, a subtropical, western and surreal, Maghreb, Mexican and Andalusian scenery that leaves us lost in space and time.
A painting of this uncharacteristic, in particular, stimulates our senses. To the left of the road, nearby, a leafy palm tree. Opposite, a one-story house, even lower than the yellow lamp that gilds the night.
at the bottom of the street, in the distance, the white and basaltic contours of the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
And to close the picture, against the blue sky, the perfect streaked cone of Montaña del Frontón, another eccentric volcanism on the island and an unavoidable element of La Oliva's monumentality.
La Oliva succeeded Betancuria as the capital of Fuerteventura, from 1834 to 1860, in twenty-six of the one hundred and fifty years in which the almighty Colonels, administrators and Military Governors who only responded to the Captain General of the Islands and the Crown, resided in the city. of Castile, by this time, already Bourbon. Always Catholic.
Half of the six colonels who ruled the town and region of La Oliva had the nickname Bethencourt. They descended from the conqueror Jean de Bethencourt.
At the end of the XNUMXth century, the kings of Castile entrusted the conquest of the Canary Islands to this determined Norman.
A few years later, as the natives were a mere few hundreds and not very combative, Jean de Bethencourt had already conquered Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
Los Coroneles House. The Headquarters of the Fuerteventura's Leaders
We pass the city's mother church. Then we got into Calle de Los Coroneles. At a certain point, we were left on a desolate plain, with reddish sandpaper, soon intersected with the foothills of the Montaña del Frontón.
Right there, on the verge of its cone, we find the colonels' headquarters, a two-storey fortified house, almost a castle, with a yellow facade opened by eight symmetrical windows, the four upper ones with small balconies.
Crenellated towers delimit opposite ends. They enclose a nuclear courtyard flanked by porched wooden galleries.
From a corner of this somewhat shady courtyard, two palm trees seek sunlight and the heavenly immensity.
Around the courtyard, on the lower floor, were the servants' quarters, the barns, the surveillance and protocol and archive areas of the barracks. In the superior, the colonels' homes, the kitchen, the dining room, where the bedrooms were located were concentrated, all of them with open views of the surrounding mountains.
We climb to the closest tower to Montaña del Frontón. From the walled top, we unveil another series of smaller buildings, today, mere ruins that serve as a screen at the edge of the hill.
In Search of the Holy Mountain of Tindaya
Back on the ground, we inaugurate the discovery of the La Oliva region around the former capital.
To the north of the city, the scorched and gray domain of another volcano, that of La Arena, stands out. It proved to be so inhospitable and intimidating that the settlers named the adjoining area Malpaís de Arena.
Without disdain for their post-apocalyptic looks, we've reversed the path. We point to the south of Fuerteventura, FV-101 road below, we are looking for a new flagship elevation.
A mountain from Tindaya (400m) is special because the majes (Indigenous people of Fuerteventura) regarded it as sacred, attributed magical powers to it, made ritual offerings to it, and illustrated it with hundreds of petroglyphs with different motifs, including large feet.
We go around the mountain, looking for its most volcanic and dramatic perspective but afraid to discover what modernity would have done there. The fears are confirmed.
Despite the successive movements that fight for the defense of tindaya"Tindaya does not touch” and others, by the time of our tour, an old quarry had already disfigured the slope.
All around, too close, modern structures from the homonymous village (such as the soccer field) disrespected the sacred volcano of the majes.
At the same time, projects with immeasurable financial ambitions and a lack of suitable scruples aimed at their mineral wealth.
Tefia's Rural Legacy
We moved to the rural village of Tefia.
Once upon a time, this town The century-old house welcomed hundreds of peasants who subsisted on the dryland cereals they produced there and which were ground in the wind and animal-drawn mills with which the community had equipped itself.
Especially from the 70s onwards, the intense effort required by agriculture pushed away the new generations.
The people of Tefia moved in force to Puerto Rosario (the island's current capital) and elsewhere.
In Tefia we now find the Alcogida Museum, created with the aim of perpetuating the island's rural traditions and knowledge.
We had been discovering Fuerteventura's muggy, sometimes torrid interior for hours.
Conversely, when the afternoon and the heat fade away, we return to the island's coastline, the northwest, between El Cotillo and El Tostón, no longer Corralejo's.
El Cotillo and the Northern Lighthouse of El Tostón
As we cross El Cotillo, we see how it evolved from fishing pueblito to the prolific urban and tourist center that rivals Corralejo.
We pass along the jagged coves protected by reefs with which the Atlantic holds the city. We see how they repeat north up.
We arrive at El Tostón, a peninsula of dunes and a rocky seaside, set in the ocean at the entrance to the channel that separates Fuerteventura of Lanzarote and, as such, crucial for navigation.
Facing to the west, the sunset has made this area notorious to bend. At that twilight hour, the retreat of the great star was already gilding the castle site, a small cylindrical fortress.
To culminate a crazy drive, we still see the lighthouse del Tostón set on fire, the jagged top and west of Fuerteventura and the Dantesque backgrounds of neighboring Lanzarote.