Incredible 22° Halo around the Sun

I was so fortunate to witness this amazing phenomenon this morning – photo taken from my balcony.

For those interested, this is called a 22° Halo and it is produced by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere…

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Stormy weather in Lanzarote

We had some serious winds hitting Lanzarote yesterday – not much rain though, thanks goodness. My weather station only reported 0.5mm in the afternoon.

I went down to Playa Chica in the Old Town of Puerto del Carmen because it´s the place where there are always the most impressive waves when we get those rare south winds during the winter. And here are my photos and a video – enjoy! :)

Click Here for the Full Set of Lanzarote Storm Photos on Flickr (25 photos)

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Gotta survive in this heat!

At 37 degrees Celsius today, I saw this street tom in Arrecife getting his water intake from whatever source he can (a leaking pipe in the building´s wall)…. beggars can´t be choosers.


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Stormy Lanzarote

After the wind noisily whipping around my house like nobody´s business last night, it is today still near gale force here in Lanzarote, even in our usually quite calm Puerto del Carmen in the South of the island, with gusts of more than 40km/h. I feel sorry for those tourists nervous of flying (and those who are not too!) landing and taking off at Guacimeta Airport today!

Coming home just now I found that one of said gusts had blown a huge pipe from my roof onto the balcony (the pipe had been loose for a few months, mind you). Luckily, I nor cats were there at the time…. but just be careful and don´t get hit by flying stuff today!

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Dry Hot Weather and Fibromyalgia / Rheumatoid Arthritis

We have been having a heatwave in the Canary Islands since last weekend until Wednesday of this week, and in particular Lanzarote and Fuerteventura were hit with temperatures of over 40C degrees (105F).

My body transformed into a state of joy during that time. I almost felt like I could fly and even went swimming one day, something I usually do not do without my small bodyboard that I have to use because of shoulder pain and weakness after just a few seconds of moving my arms in the water. Of course, it has been proven over and over again, that dry heat (the humidity was down to 20%) is extremely beneficial to illnesses like fibromyalgia and all types of arthritis, but I do not remember having *six* days in a row of being in almost no pain and with seemingly boundless energy. I felt like a “normal”, healthy person, for a change.  

But then, heatwaves never last, and long remissions of these “invisible disabilities” (especially fibro) don´t either, sadly.

Today, the delayed shock to my system of the temperature suddenly being 15 degrees lower again yesterday, has brought me back into the painful reality that I am *not* a “normal”, healthy person after all.

Waking up with a tension headache this morning spreading into my neck and upper back wasn´t the worst of it, but the realisation that a couple of hours after getting up the wrist, shoulder and hip pain wasn´t going to shift, and didn´t shift after a couple of painkillers (Nolotil) either. And wondering for how long it was going to stay this bad this time. 

Don´t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful that the Universe has granted me a whopping 6 days of feeling amazing, and 95% of the time I am a positive person and try to see the positive in any situation.  

However, when each time you open or close a door, walk some stairs, put on or take off your clothes, carry very light shopping and clean out the cat litterbox – any tiny chore really – you are reminded of pain and weakness in your limbs, it´s so damn difficult to stay positive….

The Canary Islands are an autonomous community of Spain, but are situated quite far from the Spanish mainland off the West Coast of Africa.

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Life´s a Beach

Most of my friends and family think that living on the tropical island of Lanzarote I must be going to the beach a lot, simply because “it´s there”. Well, the truth is…. I don´t! 

I guess when you have something on your doorstep every day you soon start taking it for granted.  Take all the tourist attractions in London, for example – I think in my 20 years of living there I have only seen a handful of them (when family was over from Germany) – they were always there, but when you live in the same place they simply become part of your life and you don´t even consider visiting them. 

The same with the beach here, and it´s not just me.  Many other locals don´t go to the beach that often either.  Maybe once or twice a month, or during the summer. Like I say above, you just take it for granted when you live here. 

To be honest though, I have never been a beach person anyway although I love immersing myself in the salty sea water. To lie on a beach to get myself a tan, however, has never been something I have been interested in, because a.) I get bored very quickly and b.) I overheat within 10-15 mins in direct sun and have to seek out shade.  I prefer to just wade along the beach with my trousers rolled up, sandals in my hands, watching tourists splash about or “lobsterise” themselves in the blazing sun all day. 

But I love having the seaside close by. I have always had this affinity with water and the ocean, much more than with forests or mountains or countryside.  I spent most of my early childhood growing up in a small town by the North Sea in Germany, so that could play a part in it.

Having said all this, it´s an amazingly beautiful, hot day today (35C degrees) and I am going to the beach, for the first time this year…

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Cold! You call that cold?!

Moving from cold, wet London to sunny, dry Lanzarote was one of my best moves ever. All my adult life I never dealt too well with the typically damp British weather, and when in 2004 I decided to live somewhere other than London, returning to my equally wet home town Hanover in Northern Germany did not even enter the equation.

So after selling my flat in East London and buying a beautiful first floor apartment in Puerto del Carmen, I packed my suitcases, my computer and my two cats Spider & Lugosi (+ thousands of other things in about 30 boxes!) and moved to paradise.

Lanzarote has the most wonderful, warm and sunny climate all year round, but let me warn you: once you are acclimatised you will feel the cold during the winter months of January and February in particular.

Our winters can be an interesting mix of changeable weather, with temperatures anything between 15C and 25C degrees, a lot of wind, bits of rain here and there and the odd day of Calima (a warm breeze bringing fine dust from the African Sahara desert) with temperatures as high as 30C degrees and very low humidity, even in January. On cold, windy days it amuses me mightily when I run around in a quilted jacket, boots and a scarf (sometimes gloves too, but not often) and get looked at strangely by the tourists who are in their touristy summer best (that is meant as sarcasm). 20C degrees with a hefty amount of windchill factor on top might as well be like 8C degrees to me.

Lanzarote winter night temps can dip as low as 10C degrees – and even colder out in the country – with the humidity rising to around 90% most nights.  And don´t tell me you wouldn´t switch your heating on then! Problem is, central heating doesn´t exist here, so you either buy a portable radiator, get an aircon/heating combo installed… or freeze.

Of course, suffering from fibromyalgia, I do feel the cold much worse. One of its many symptoms is the body´s failure to regulate temperature, and I can get cold (i.e. sitting in a draft even on a warm day) or hot (i.e. direct sunshine for 10 mins) very quickly, and feel it to the extreme. However, I can deal with heat much better than cold because, obviously, with both fibro and rheumatoid arthritis, heat is wonderfully soothing and beneficial to the constant aches, whereas cold/damp adds to my pains in a major way.

For the last few days it has been a balmy 30C and nights around 18C, which for me is just perfect and I am loving it. It will get much hotter still come July and August, but my body handles 40C degrees so much better than it does 14C degrees, so unlike a lot of other locals, I am not dreading summer at all!

In conclusion, after living on a tropical island I could never live in a cold climate again. I would probably wilt like a flower and die, cold and miserably…

Deutsch: Der alte Hafen in Puerto del Carmen, ...

Old Harbour in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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