The Wine Museum on Lanzarote is based in the vineyards of the El Grifo family which has a remarkable history of making wine since 1775.
One item in particular caught my eye – and I know that I have to find a way of including it in the setting for a future book – a set of very unusual panniers which were used to carry the grapes from the field to the press.
These huge carrying boxes were not for donkeys or mules or even humans – these panniers were made to be used by camels and dromedaries which are now used to carry tourists in the national park! Horses and mules were not suited to the hot desert volcanic terrain so the wine growers took their inspiration from their nearest neighbour – Saharan Africa.
And of course I felt it my duty to take a ride on one to make sure I understood what it was like. Actually surprisingly comfortable. That white sand bag on the other side of my saddle is the counterweight to my being the only passenger – normally these poor beasts carry one human on each side up the side of an extinct volcano in this strange lunar landscape. The drovers load us up in pairs of approx similar weight.
The camel behind me kept sticking his nose into my arm and snorting. I think he liked my showergel.
All for research of course!
Oh – and the Lanzarote wine is very delicious. Especially the oak aged white. Recommended.
Sigh. Now back to cold wet UK – where it has been snowing overnight in the north.
Roll on the summer. LOL