By: Blonde One

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Well as it happens, that’s not right! I have had the pleasure this week of being out of the country. “Again?” I hear you cry. Yes, again. You should know by now that the Two Blondes are not known for sitting still and this week has been no exception. I have been topping up the (pitiful) tan in Lanzarote. Unlike more recent trips (to Morocco) this one has been all about indulging in … well… nothing! I’m not very good at doing nothing and am forced, by Mr Blonde One, to practice every now and then. I must say though, that this week I have been more successful than usual!

Although this trip is all about … nothing, we have still managed to get ourselves to a National Park. We have been to a totally different kind of National Park than I am used to and if ever I thought that they were all the same then today would have proved me wrong. There were many similarities with Dartmoor: Rangers, visitor centres, grockles, breathtaking views, etc, but the differences were by far more stark than the similarities.

Our visit today to the Timanfaya National Park has been a first for me. My first time up a volcano. It was stunning. Although the altitude was very similar to Dartmoor (550 m approx.) the vista was incredibly different. Most of the time I could imagine myself on the set of a sci-fi movie or actually on the surface of some far away planet. The rocks were light as a feather, being made of lava, and the colours were all shades of black, unlike the greens of the moors. Who knew that black could have so many shades?! The shapes on the horizon were more akin to the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco rather than the gentle undulations of Dartmoor. Instead of the peaty, wet smell of my more familiar National Park, my nostrils were assaulted by dry, sulphurous smells. Rather than trying to keep warm snuggling into a thick fleece, today I was in the unusual situation of being absolutely baking hot as the ground beneath me acted as a very efficient underfloor heating system.

Like Dartmoor, I was pleased to see that Timanfaya had a good grounding in education and saw the importance of preservation through educating the next generation.

So in answering my own question: no, they are not all the same. Vive la difference! What an amazing, varied planet we live in.