Meeting Majorero photographer JF Olivares
I had only been on the island a day when JF Olivares – a friend I met on Facebook in 2017 and who inspired both my novels set on Fuerteventura – offered to show me some of his favourite places on the island. He’s a charismatic and passionate man and I managed to follow his Spanish for a good many hours, which is no small feat when you’ve just arrived after travelling for 44 hours.
The Secret Valley of Guisguey
We headed west from Puerto del Rosario to the village of Guisguey in a long valley, wide at first, but narrowing the further up we went into the mountain range the cuts the island in two for a stretch in the mid-north. Google Maps takes you so far into this enchanting location, but JF Olivares was taking me well beyond that. I was in for a serious back road adventure. I cannot describe how it feels to be amongst all this dry rock, except that whenever we stopped, which was whenever the road ran out and we had to turn around, we could hear only the wind and a few birds.
Heading from Caldereta to La Oliva
On the way back down the bumpy rocky road Juan pointed at some houses on the crest of the steep hill. El Time. I remembered my boyfriend and artist Pedro and our short-lived and passionate romance, and how he wanted me to move to Fuerteventura and live with him in El Time. It wasn’t to be as I was swept up by the infamous Miguel and installed in his house in Haría, Lanzarote, and my fate was sealed.
When we reached the main road we headed north a short stretch, turning off to La Oliva. When we reached Caldereta, a village I knew only because I found a charming old cottage for sale a few years back and toyed with buying it until I saw the dogs chained up beside the neighbouring farmhouse.
After a quick drive through La Oliva, Juan called in at a small grocery store for ham and cheese rolls. We ate our lunch standing beside Montaña Arena surveying the entire northern tip of the island.
Fuerteventura – A Sensual Landscape Experience
I was agog the whole trip, drawn by sweeping curves, the sensuality of the landscape. Fuerteventura brings out the artist in me. I am sure if I lived here I would draw and paint. My photos cannot do justice to the scale, the atmosphere and the incredible silence of the island away from the tourists. Juan pointed out the ruins of aboriginal dwellings – little more than small circles of stones that were once huts. We talked and talked and my head bursts with fresh knowledge of the special culture of the indigenous people, the dark history of the Spanish overlords, and the lack of will of modern day governments at all levels to preserve the integrity of Fuerteventura and value it as so much more than a lot of dry dirt to be built on so that more and more can dip their toes in the ocean.
So pleased I managed to take this photo of JF Olivares, a man with a grand passion for his island.
You can read my other blog posts of my February 2020 Fuerteventura holiday here https://isobelblackthorn.com/fuerteventura-travel-diary/
Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of three novels set in Fuerteventura: Clarissa’s Warning, A Prison in the Sun and The Ghost of Villa Winter which form part of her Canary Islands fiction. To find out more, click here.