“Desert safari”: Escape from Luxury

If I were to write about our least planned and most adventurous adventure ever, it would have to be this one! Believe it or not, we weren’t even planning to go for a holiday at all. As it happened, not only did we go on holiday, but while we were there, we changed our minds, left our car, and flew to the furthest part of Europe we could get to (or Africa, strictly speaking). And when we finally got to our new destination, we even changed our minds as to what we were going to do there! If that isn’t enough, I didn’t have my camera, only my GoPro recorder – so the quality of some of the photos require a little bit of your imagination!

Let’s start at the beginning. It was the first week of August 2015 when we decided to make exception and rest at our home in London. This is unusual for us, since normally we’re out and about somewhere seeking new adventures. Our idea didn’t last long, and we decided to drive to Gdansk (Poland) to spend some time at the beautiful Baltic sea.

Road trip London to Gdansk, who said that you can’t see the whole rainbow?
Tip: Summer in Gdansk and the “Tri-City” area will exceed your expectations in every way. If you have never been there, it is an absolute must! It surprises us with something new every time we visit, and we already know it very, very well; however, that’s a story for another time.

We aren’t the “resting type”, so we were looking for something a little different this time. After some time in Poland, we did something we have never done before – we decided to go for a “package holiday”. We went to the travel bureau with an open mind and asked for somewhere quiet, somewhere warm, where everything we wanted would be provided for- including delicious food of course. We were offered “a very last minute” week trip to Fuerteventura (Spain, Canary Islands). The package was half-board and because we wanted a little treat, we chose an upgraded room. It was bizarrely affordable and hardly any different to the original price!

Tip: It is worth asking the agent how much more an upgrade to your holiday might cost! You may just be surprised.

The name of our hotel was “Rio Calma”, situated by the beautiful “Costa Calma”. As the name implies, it was a “calm” hotel by the “calm” coast – brilliant for us. The hotel was really nice, and we probably got one of the best rooms there! It was on the top floor with two large private balconies from both sides of the roof. I’m not one to get too excited about the hotel we stay in- I’m more interested in what’s outside- but this one was exquisite. You can see our room just to the left, at the very top of the roof just under two small round towers.

A view of our luxury apartment on the roof with the ocean view

 

View from the larger balcony

 

You could not possibly get more private than that

 

If that wasn’t enough, there was a second balcony on the other side!
Our apartment

It was perfect- for the first two days, at least… Soon enough, though, we’d grown tired of “resting” and got the travelling bug again. Our “resting holiday” turned into an “adventure spree”. We went from motorboat rides, sailing, dolphins spotting, right through local squirrel feeding and completing our brand new scuba diving qualifications! Most of these activities were chock full of other tourists, so let’s focus on just one, which was a little less mainstream.

Very friendly people from the dolphin spotting catamaran

If Fuerteventura is the calmest of the Canary Islands, “Costa Calma” is probably the quietest place there. There is hardly anything to do within walking distance from of the hotel. Of course, this could be exactly what you’re after if you want a quiet holiday; but for us, we wanted something a little more exciting.

Tip: Check Google Maps – can you see the sand on the satellite view? It may not look like much, but with the scalding hot sun, a few barren hills, and lots and lots of sand it certainly resembles a desert!

Switching between different views on “Google Maps” can reveal quite a lot of interesting places.
So what we possibly could do there? We (or I, to Sylwia’s dismay!) decided to go for a self-guided “desert safari” adventure. We packed our rucksacks with plenty of water and went towards the other side of the island (the North-West) right through the desert. I can assure you we did not see a single soul doing the same. We were completely on our own!

“Desert safari” about 1 hour from the hotel

 

Hills encountered during our trek

A relatively short trek in the summer heat felt like forever there. The sun shone strong, and given the bleak and barren landscape there was occasionally no point of reference for direction. Of course, we could not resist taking a “shortcut” which made our trip even more challenging. The way there was not too bad, but the return trek was tiring. Luckily, I took shorts in case it would be too hot in long trousers. I did not use them as intended but who could possibly see me there?

“Sheikh look” with shorts on my head!

 

I had sun screen applied but these shorts have literally saved my face!

 

View from the hill on our way back to the Hotel. It’s down there- somewhere!
Tip: When you’re on a trek like ours, stop to take a look at your surroundings. Don’t just rush to reach your destination! The sand under our feet at first glance looked ordinary. However; if you look closely at the next picture, the white dots you can see aren’t stones but shells from the ocean… Millions of them!
Millions of sea shells in the sand were present throughout our trek

 

Town or Fata Morgana?

 

View from the bottom of natural steps to the west coast

Our “desert safari” was well worth the heat, and the sunburn! The other side of the island was beautiful. The waves were anything but calm on that side of the ocean. Because of the crashing waves, there were plenty of interesting worn-down rocks and patterns created by the ocean. We walked along the coast for a long while, mesmerized by the view.

Fuerteventura west coast view with “angry” ocean

 

West coast stone formations

 

Fuerteventura west coast mini canyon

 

Fuerteventura west coast rocks with dancing waves

 

Interesting Swiss-cheese stone by the west coast

On the journey back to the hotel, Sylwia spotted a water sprinkler which she immediately used to cool herself down. Unfortunately, the sprinkler’s “water” wasn’t water. It was some kind of “a liquid” for plants growing nearby. I don’t think I need to explain any further, but suffice to say that we laughed all the way back to the hotel! Sylwia could not wait to jump to the shower, and from then on, has tested any water she might find in sprinkler systems…

In order to make our “safari desert” adventure even more realistic, we went for the full “Mad Max” experience the next day.

Mad Max buggy ride

It’s not for everyone, but we loved it- if you’re a fan of getting dusty and enjoying a bone-shaking ride, then you might love it too. Our “vehicle” was a total banger and broke at least 3 times!!! We were the last ones in the convoy so when the engine gave up, we were left alone on the “desert” for a short while surrounded by an eerie silence. It was part of the fun though, and we would do it again without a second thought!

Trying to catch up to the convoy with our banger!

 

Is the engine dead? – I hope someone is coming.

We bought a tiny plant in the gift shop there. Two years ago, it nearly died but since then it really developed and is happy with us now. Whenever we look at it, it reminds us of the “safari” adventure – I am sure though that it misses the Fuerteventura sun a little.

Fuerteventura Aloe Vera plant grown from a tiny starter

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