Monday, 5 September 2016

Lanzarote diaries : Teguise Market

Sunday is market day in Teguise, the original capital of Lanzarote, and as we'd heard about how it was one of the most charming markets and indeed villages on the island, we decided to jump on a coach trip and have a look. We were all instantly charmed when we arrived at the market place because the first thing we saw from the coach was a farmer, in traditional clothing (you can see him behind the donkey), running after a group of naughty goats that were scattering in all directions ! By the time we'd parked up, he'd got them all back under control and we marvelled at the two doves standing nonchalantly on the back of the donkey. (As they all belonged to him, I think he'd trained them to do so.)

Judging by how uncomfortably full of milk this one looked, I would guess he sells their milk at the market or makes cheese with it.

It took us a while to work it out but the building is a windmill with the sails taken off. The goats kept clambering up the the steps on the side to jump around on the roof, much to Pierre's delight !

One big section of the market is given over to the island's traditional foodie products, so we sampled cactus jam, goat's cheese, honey and Lanzarote's ubiquitous sauces, mojo verde (green sauce made with garlic and herbs) and mojo rojo (red sauce made with paprika). We saw a man in a big orange selling freshly squeezed juice and I went to investigate this food hut offering traditional Canarian food - it didn't have much except tapas and baguettes though. Even at the hotel restaurant, the only truly Canarian food that we saw was the traditional "wrinkly potatoes", new potatoes boiled in their skins in very salty water (traditionally sea water) then drained and coated in salt. (You can find out how to made wrinkly potatoes - papas arrugadas - here.)

There was a man crushing sugar cane to make cane juice or mojitos.

And a van selling dulce de Transylvania, apparently the vampires' favourite candy ! 

Now, one of the main things I had against going to Lanzarote when it first came up as an option was the fact that I'd always seen it on TV as very Brit-focused. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing at all against British people or British food - I love both of them. In Britain ! But when I go abroad, I want to experience local culture and cuisine and try new things. 

I was therefore a tad disappointed to see how much British food was on offer at the market.

Give me tapas or wrinkly potatoes any day ! I was much happier browsing through this stall, which had a fabulous selection of ruffled dresses, spotty shoes and fans for flamenco dancing.

There is a main market square ...

... but the whole village is given over to the market so you wander around the little cobbled streets to see what's on offer - mainly lots of T-shirts, magnets and bags.

There are a few indie shops scattered around, which are nice to visit, and you get a feel for the architecture of the area. Lanzarote is full of whitewashed houses, some with patches of lava rock on the walls left black, with green doors and shutters.

We'd noticed in the travel guide that Teguise is also famous for these crosses which stand outside certain doors or on some of the walls - the idea is that they are supposed to put people off weeing up them !

I'm always quite interested to look out for unusual architectural features when we'e travelling abroad and these beams sticking out of the top of the house intrigued me - they look a bit strange as a design feature ! I bet this tree was tiny when it was first planted but it pretty much takes up half of the street now !

I like the big wooden window surrounds with small openings for ventilation too.

The statue on the left depicts a man in a bull mask - Los Diabletes de Teguise, the devil masks of Teguise, come out for Carnival on Lanzarote. People of all ages can have fun frightening people
with these scary masks, which represent a black bull's head with horns and a long red tongue. The modern costume is also composed of a white jacket and trousers, both decorated with red and black diamond shapes, a stick with a leather bag filled with sand for hitting people and leather straps with bells on them to announce their approach. It all makes Dunkirk carnival seem quite tame by comparison (and they have the same enthusiasm for men dressing up as women during carnival too !). After our encounter with a living statue in Playa Blanca, we were convinced that this statue on the right was the same, so Madhouse Daddy crept up to put some money in the hat, trying not to jump out of his skin, and we all fell on the floor laughing when nothing happened - it was, apparently, a genuine statue !

After buying loads of magnets, some watches for the girls, a cuddly camel and a T-shirt for Pierre because he was a bit cold (and they didn't sell jumpers), we had a quick rest on one of the handy concrete benches.

Back at the beginning of the market, we'd spotted a big kids' play area so Juliette and Pierre had fun trying out all the equipment and making a few local friends !

Hearing some strange music blasting out from somewhere nearby, we came across this surprising duo - a woman dressed up as a palm tree and a living statue (this one really was !) who came to life and blew his conch shell every time you put money in his tray ... which Pierre did about ten times on the trot, which ended up making them laugh !

We were feeling peckish so we tucked into the local snack, churros, which are like doughnuts in finger form.

There was plenty of time for more playing and petting the friendly goats then we headed back to the hotel and cooled off in the pool !


  1. Couldn't agree more about all the English food places abroad, we avoid them like the plague! I don't understand why people go abroad if they want English food. Why not holiday in England?
    My wife used to have a friend who went all over Europe on holiday, and never went outside the hotel she stayed in!!! Ate, drank and sunbathed in the hotel!

    1. I did chuckle at the hotel restaurant one day when a family bought in their own ketchup and HP sauce that they'd obviously brought with them !!

  2. Lots of lovely memories! Local foods sound interesting. It's shocking really to see all the English food taking over the local cuisine, catering to the Brits. Why would they even want to eat "English" food abroad? But then many Italians also would only go to the Italian restaurants when coming here as tourists to the UK.

    1. It's probably the same for all nationalities but you notice it more when it's your own !

  3. LOL at vampires favourite candy, blood flavoured? I love trying local food, its part of the adventure of being on holiday.

    1. I saw someone eating one and it was empty like a candy shell - bit strange !

  4. Wow, it's changed since I was last there! We love Lanzarote as a family, we used to spend every Christmas there while I was growing up and, from what I remember, there was very little in the way of British stuff about back then.

    1. Maybe it depends on the areas - we did manage to find some more local-looking towns too :)