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Fuerteventura visit in 2005

Page last updated on 10th November 2013

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Christmas in the sun sounded like the perfect way to round off a hectic year of work (including moving business premises twice), two trips to London to take part in Routemaster final running days, replacement of both the van and car and disposal of the Morris Oxford, not to mention two weeks of doing very little following a hospital appointment in February.

So, the destination of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands was chosen, and the flights and accommodation booked for the final week of the year. However, with around two weeks to go before take-off, the flight times were changed from early morning to afternoon, or late evening on the return trip. What looked like a more leisurely start to the holiday was to become even more so as the day wore on. The scheduled departure time of 16.10 came, and went. At 16.20 the first passengers (two wheelchair users) were allowed to board, and then followed by the rest of us. Once we had settled into our seats, a crew member then announced that we would be further delayed because one of the crew was "delayed in traffic". It's certainly the first (and hopefully the last) time I've ever heard of a plane having to wait because of heavy road traffic!!!!

The antics of the crew during the flight was also laughable, in that they seemed to spend a lot of time swapping items between the two food and drink trolleys, that is until they ran out of food!!!! Having landed about an hour late, we made our way to the transfer coaches. Our vehicle was a double deck coach, and in my tired state I noticed the Neoplan style wheel covers on the front axle, and assumed it was a Skyliner. Not so, for as we settled down in our seats I noticed Irizar badges on the overhead racks. A ten kilometre journey took us to our destination for the week, the resort of Caleta De Fuste, also known as Castilla.

Unfortunately I had omitted to bring both my camera and driving licence, so there's no photos on this page, and other than a couple of trips on the local bus network, we largely stayed put in Caleta. Route 3 picks up at a stop on the main road on the edge of Caleta and links the resort with the airport and the island's capital. The buses, operated by TIADHE (whatever that acronym signifies) are tri-axle 15 metre long vehicles, so it's just as well they avoided the narrow streets of the town. The vehicle on the return journey was an Irizar bodied Scania, dual door with 71 seats (again with the Neoplan style wheel trims). A smaller coach was found operating a free shuttle service between our accommodation, a sister establishment further up the coast, and a shopping centre, albeit on different sides of Caleta. Both of the latter were also accessible by very pleasant seafront paths, with a 30 minute journey on foot.

Caleta has quite a number of ethnic restaurants, some excellent, some not so good. You name it, it's there somewhere - Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Spanish, British...... But when passers by are almost begged to come into some of them, it makes you wonder if (a) they're worth going into, or (b) if there's too many of them in total? However, when I noticed in one place that there were three hungry looking cats waiting at the entrance to the outside terrace (while people were eating) it was enough to ensure that I wouldn't return to that premises!!!

As for classic or unusual vehicles, well there were surprisingly few in fact. One Irish theme pub had a Guinness liveried Citroen "H" van on its first floor balcony, can't see anyone being able to make a quick getaway in that one!!! What looked like a 1970s Fiat 127 turned out to have four doors and SEAT badges, presumably Seat at one point may have assembled Fiats for the Spanish market. And finally parked in a side street of Caleta one evening was a Spanish registered right hand drive FX4 taxi-cab. Another item missing from the roads of Fuerteventura was traffic lights, most junctions having roundabouts instead. Seeing the way that the 15 metre coaches (and indeed other vehicles) were being driven, perhaps it's just as well that I wasn't in a position to hire a car there.

Taxi-cabs (the local version that is) had a sign on the roof with 1 2 3 on it, some of them had the "1" illuminated at night, but what the idea of that is I'm not sure. And finally, just as in the trip to the Algarve eighteen months earlier, a Deltrain was noted on a tourist route. This one was quite distinctive, as it had a large plastic dolphin on the roof of each of its pair of trailers, advertising an aquarium I think. While on the subject of trains, I didn't see any evidence that the island ever had a railway service; a roadside sign lettered "Tramo Urbano" could have translated into "urban tram", but probably means something totally different in Spanish!

So, after a week in the sun, it was back to the airport for another flight. Again it was the same airline, possibly the same plane (I'm told the airline in question only has two aircraft!!), but with a different, less incompentent, crew and this time, it was only half an hour late taking off. The week's travelling was finished off with a trip on one of Aircoach's Mercedes Citaros shuttle buses, followed by a (very) speedy trip on the M1 from Dublin Airport to Drogheda. I had better not divulge just how nippy a Ford Focus can be in the wee small hours, but it's just as well there were no speed traps or Gatso cameras in action!!!

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