Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

Saramago's Glorieta
Monument to the life of José Saramago in a roundabout next to his house in Lanzarote.
Sebastião Salgado's photo
Photo of Saramago and Pilar taken by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.
Backyard visitors
Visitors cross the backyard of Casa de Saramago and Pilar.
Figurine in Reading
Mini-sculpture by José Saramago in reading mode.
El Cuervo Crater
Trail in the crater of José Saramago's favorite volcano.
Saramago over Lava
Photo by José Saramago with open arms to the island of Lanzarote.
Painting on Books
Saramago in painting, on books from his large library at the House.
On the way to El Cuervo
Casal follows a trail towards the El Cuervo volcano.
Cheerful Bush
Hardy plant at the heart of El Cuervo volcano.
In Review
Saramago featured in a magazine article.
the Montaña Blanca
The neon of a kart track contrasts with the blackness of the White Mountain.
In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.

The approach to Tías, the place that welcomed José Saramago, Pilar del Río and their House, begins by revealing to us the monument of roundabout erected in honor of the writer.

On the lava gravel of the roundabout, overlooking the Atlantic and flanked by palm trees, stands a steel olive tree in the same ocher tone as the ground.

At five meters high, the tree of peace was created by Ester Fernández Viña based on the writer's initial J and S. It is based on one of the several quotes with which Saramago praised his Canary welcome: “Lanzarote is not mi tierra, but is tierra mia."

Those who disembark for the first time on the large island of the archipelago closest to Portugal are tempted to think that the Martian Lanzarote, with its ocher surface covered with craters, calderas and fumaroles, could hardly give comfort to any earthling.

The reality and the target houses revealed by the approach of the airport, quickly annihilate this impression. Lanzarote has long been home to over XNUMX inhabitants.

Whoever arrives with time to feel its insular soul, proves to be dazzling. As proof, the annual number of visitors and foreigners who move there has been increasing for a long time.

A canary born and bred in Lanzarote has achieved worldwide recognition comparable to that of Saramago. We refer to César Manrique, a multifaceted artist whose works are spread all over the island and in other Canaries.

In fact, Manrique was named after Lanzarote's international airport. The one in which Saramago, like us, felt, for the first time, the African breath of the island, in our case, the suffocating caress of the haze from the Sahara that so often surrounds it.

The House full of Books by José Saramago and Pilar del Río

We close the photo session of the Glorieta de Saramago. Moments later, we arrive at A Casa that José Saramago and Pilar del Río built in Tías.

The clerk at the ticket office asks us for nationality. When we answer, she asks us which book by Saramago we liked the most.

We answer "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” because it was the pure and hard reality, for the thematic audacity and creativity in its genesis, not for having condemned him to the banishment and controversy that motivated him to leave Portugal or for having contributed in a decisive way to the conquest of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.

The employee also asks us if some of Saramago's books were mandatory in school education. We confessed that we were not aware. We proceed inland.

The Insightful Library of Casa de Saramago

Unsurprisingly, more than a home and a museum, A Casa proves to be a huge library, full of titles that the couple read and that inspired Saramago's unusual and talented writing. Saramago, we estimate that with Pilar's intervention, he organized the books.

By themes. And according to the authors' countries. In the case of titles written by women, in a separate section, arranged in alphabetical order. Saramago and/or Pilar had their reasons there.

We also wandered through the residential divisions of A Casa, the office also set up against a shelf where a photo of Pilar, smiling, defies the dictatorship of books, equipped with a desk on which an already outdated PC rested.

We proceeded to the living room, equipped with large leather sofas, where the couple received family and friends, several of them renowned authors. And from a TV that, we believe, Saramago used to keep up to date with the news, the reality of the Portuguese village.

The Backyard with a View to the Atlantic, by Saramago and Pilar

We went to the backyard, a space with a view of the ocean and ground even more fierce than the one on the Selfstanding of the monument. Shortly after choosing the place where they would build A Casa, Saramago and Pilar dedicated themselves to planting trees and plants, some with important symbolism for both.

Olive trees like the ones that proliferated in his native Ribatejo, Azinhaga, Golegã, in the company of palm trees and Canary pines, a plant fusion analogous to the experience that the writer was about to inaugurate.

They also planted quince trees, fruitful celebrations by director Victor Erice and painter António López.

On a lower plane, greenery bending over the ferrous earth, different types of cactus, including a spherical golden barrel cactus, bola d'ouro, also known as mother-in-law's seat.

The Censorship and Contempt of the Government of Cavaco Silva that led to the Move to Lanzarote

Let's go back to 1991.

In the wake of a contestation and attempt to systematically devalue the critical works of Saramago's Christianity, the conservative government of Cavaco Silva, in the person of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Culture, Sousa Lara, vetoed "O Evangelho second Jesus Christ” of the candidacy for the European Literary Prize (PLE).

A convinced communist, a staunch denouncer of the inconsistencies of the Christian faith and censorship in all its expressions, Saramago felt discriminated against.

Ashamed of the rulers that Portugal had elected, he decided, with Pilar del Río, to safeguard himself from anger and frustration in Lanzarote.

Na island of many volcanoes, Saramago quickly felt Lanzaroteño. The writer became an unconditional admirer of César Manrique, to whom he recognized the love with which he left the world artistic circle and, instead, dedicated himself to beautifying and humanizing the Lanzarote where he was born.

The Passion for Lanzarote and the Admiration for the Son of Isla César Manrique

As a rule, the journeys on which Saramago and Pilar guided their visitors – Baptista Bastos, Eduardo Galeano, Susan Sontag, José Luis Sanpedro, among others – began in Tahíche, where the Manrique foundation was located.

Corner of the César Manrique Foundation, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

Creative corner of the César Manrique Foundation, adorned with visual elements from the island.

It is even said that Saramago and Manrique had arranged a meeting on the phone, for a while later.

This was prevented, on 25 September 1992, by the tragic death of César Manrique, victim of a road accident in the same village. Manrique might (or might not) have been Saramago's perfect companion.

As was, for the couple, the raw and harsh nature of Lanzarote, the eccentric volcanic landscapes in which they loved to walk, which Saramago felt were “a beginning and end of the world”.

The Intimate Relationship with the Volcanic Nature of Lanzarote

Between the west of the island and the capital Arrecife, we passed several times, at the end of the day, by a neon nestled between palm trees that preached an unexpected “go Kart".

Behind this neon, with its sharp peak, rose, at 600 meters of altitude, one of the mountains that Saramago and Pilar most praised. Saramago saw her, day after day, from their house.

He was already 70 years old when he conquered the top of his cone.

In one of his blog entries from 2009, he confessed that “if I had the legs of then, I would leave what I was writing at that point where it is to go up again and contemplate the island, all of it…”

He also wrote that he never intended to climb the neighboring mountain Tesa (504m) but that, when he reached its foot, he could not resist.

The Volcán del Cuervo was another Lanzarote geological masterpiece that Saramago and Pilar del Río loved exploring.

During the walk we took to meet them, in addition to the couple's reverence for the volcano, we came across the place where Sebastião Salgado photographed them.

Inside the collapsed crater, with both walking hand in hand, making a concerted effort against a raging gale.

The Successive Works Created in Lanzarote until the Death of 2010

Saramago lived for seventeen years at Casa de Tías and in Lanzarote.

At that time, he wrote “The Tale of the Unknown Island","The Cave”, “Essay on Lucidity","The Duplicate Man” among many other works.

The Lanzarote retreat gave Saramago an intimate connection with the most sensorial nature he had ever experienced.

And the clarity of mind that led him to create "Ensaio about Cegueira”, one of his most popular works, if only because of the film adaptation it deserved.

"Ensaio about Cegueira” evolves as a denunciation of an epidemic blindness – blindness of the simple not seeing, but also of the inability of the human species to detect, to assume the inconsistencies and injustices that Saramago tried to highlight, the same contradictions that embroiled him in controversy.

Above all its inveterate atheism and anti-Christian Communism.

But also his latent apology in “The Stone Raft” that Portugal would only have to gain if it joined Spain.

In October 2009, during a conversation with Tolentino de Mendonça, a Catholic theologian, unlike others, open to dialogue and religious dissent, Saramago took the opportunity to refer listeners to the darkest and most annihilating era of the Catholic Church: “To me , what matters to me, my dear Tolentino, is that there are no more bonfires in São Domingos.”

Seventeen years after moving to Lanzarote, Saramago remained faithful to his self-declared exile.

On June 18, 2010, less than a year after the conversation with Tolentino de Mendonça, at the age of 87, José Saramago died, with his wife, at their home in Tías, on the Canary and Spanish island of volcanoes, magma and its solidified stand.

Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the track of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
La Graciosa, Canary Islands

The Most Graceful of the Canary Islands

Until 2018, the smallest of the inhabited Canaries did not count for the archipelago. Arriving in La Graciosa, we discover the insular charm of the now eighth island.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Fuerteventura - Canary Island and Jangada do Tempo

A short ferry crossing and we disembark in Corralejo, at the top northeast of Fuerteventura. With Morocco and Africa a mere 100km away, we get lost in the wonders of unique desert, volcanic and post-colonial sceneries.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.

Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

Across Iberia

Leaving aside the modernity of Valencia, we explore the natural and historical settings that the "community" shares with the Mediterranean. The more we travel, the more its bright life seduces us.

Matarraña to Alcanar, Spain (España)

A Medieval Spain

Traveling through the lands of Aragon and Valencia, we come across towers and detached battlements of houses that fill the slopes. Mile after kilometer, these visions prove to be as anachronistic as they are fascinating.

La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Volcano that Haunts the Atlantic

At 3718m, El Teide is the roof of the Canaries and Spain. Not only. If measured from the ocean floor (7500 m), only two mountains are more pronounced. The Guanche natives considered it the home of Guayota, their devil. Anyone traveling to Tenerife knows that old Teide is everywhere.
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

The old and majestic Vegueta de Las Palmas district stands out in the long and complex Hispanization of the Canaries. After a long period of noble expeditions, the final conquest of Gran Canaria and the remaining islands of the archipelago began there, under the command of the monarchs of Castile and Aragon.
Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Grand Canary Islands

It is only the third largest island in the archipelago. It so impressed European navigators and settlers that they got used to treating it as the supreme.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
The Little-Big Senglea II
Architecture & Design
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Conflicted Way
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Creel, Chihuahua, Carlos Venzor, collector, museum
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
Vesikko submarine
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Winter White
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Hammock in Palmeiras, Praia de Uricao-Mar des caraibas, Venezuela
Natural Parks
Henri Pittier NP, Venezuela

PN Henri Pittier: between the Caribbean Sea and the Cordillera da Costa

In 1917, botanist Henri Pittier became fond of the jungle of Venezuela's sea mountains. Visitors to the national park that this Swiss created there are, today, more than they ever wanted
Semeru (far) and Bromo volcanoes in Java, Indonesia
UNESCO World Heritage
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Indonesia

The Volcanic Sea of ​​Java

The gigantic Tengger caldera rises 2000m in the heart of a sandy expanse of east Java. From it project the highest mountain of this Indonesian island, the Semeru, and several other volcanoes. From the fertility and clemency of this sublime as well as Dantesque setting, one of the few Hindu communities that resisted the Muslim predominance around, thrives.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Mme Moline popinée
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
Cambodia, Angkor, Ta Phrom
Ho Chi Minh a of Angkor, Cambodia

The Crooked Path to Angkor

From Vietnam onwards, Cambodia's crumbling roads and minefields take us back to the years of Khmer Rouge terror. We survive and are rewarded with the vision of the greatest religious temple
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.

Defenders of Their Homelands

Even in times of peace, we detect military personnel everywhere. On duty, in cities, they fulfill routine missions that require rigor and patience.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica, public boat
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.