Holiday in Lanzarote: Top 5 active pursuits

Regarded by many as a typical beach holiday destination, there is more than meets the eye to Lanzarote. Yes there are spectacular crescent shaped beaches featuring beautiful turquoise water that sweeps over enticing white sand, but simply soaking up the sun and ignoring the plethora of pastimes on offer is a big mistake. So with this in mind, here are some active pursuits you should definitely consider on a trip to this particular Canary Island. Little wonder then that flights to Lanzarote are in high demand.


1.Explore Timanfaya National Park – The landscape here might look like another world or planet, but this is what the Earth looked like in prehistoric times. The Timanfaya National Park features 25 volcanoes packed into just 50 square kilometres, with each and every one bound to take your breath away. A coach trip around the park is included in the entry fee, but the free guided walk service should not be missed.


2.Try scuba diving or snorkelling – Beneath the water of Lanzarote’s east coast are an abundance of fascinating sights, from coral reef and caves to shipwrecks and marine life. While this is an exhilarating playground for any experienced diver, novices looking to learn the ropes can take advantage of affordable introductory sessions from numerous operators on the island. But if you don’t fancy plunging the depths of the ocean, there is still plenty to see with just a snorkel.


Snorkeling, Lanzarote

Snorkeling, Lanzarote 


3.Go fishing – Standing on the shore alongside a local while casting out your line in the hope of catching a Mediterranean Snapper, Yellowmouth Barracuda or Parrot fish is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. However, if you want a bit more excitement and exhilaration, go on a big game fishing excursion. You’ll be competing with others on the boat to catch the biggest fish of the day, which can include tuna, marlin and sharks.


Gone Fishing in Lanzarote

Gone Fishing in Lanzarote 


4.Trek in the mountains – Don’t be fooled by Lanzarote’s volcanic origins, as there is still a lot of flora and fauna to see on the island. Sign up to a trekking tour of the Apache Mountains, one of the oldest parts of Lanzarote, and discover the natural delights of this protected area. Alternatively, visit Las Peñas del Chache, the island’s highest point.


5.Give surfing a go – Described by some as the Hawaii of Europe, the Canary Islands are blessed with shallow lava reefs and impressive waves, which make surfing a favoured activity. If you’re a beginner, head to Famara on the north coast, as there is plenty of space to surf without getting in the way of more experienced locals. Those struggling to stand up on a board might want to give windsurfing a try instead.


Throw in the tasty Mediterranean fare, year round sunshine and friendly locals, and you can see how Lanzarote caters for your getaway needs.



Images by Sophie Nicol and Son of Groucho, used under the Creative Commons license.

In collaboration with Thomson flights



Why I Deserve To Win The Viventura/Marketing Globetrotters Trip To Peru and Chile With Mike King and Yngrid Arnold

That is the $64 million dollar question. Why on earth should this little old man “Deserve to Win” this leg of the Marketing Globetrotters trips to South America? First of all it is the only leg I can actually take, as I have a prior obligation with a trip to Japan beginning November 28, 2014 to see my oldest son. Why should a travel and food blogger who basically been at it for around 18 months deserve this trip before what I am guessing will be tons of experienced bloggers, who have been doing this for many years longer than me? The good news is I have made “The Shortlist” and will hopefully continue to make the various cuts in the next two weeks. The decision for the November 3, 2014 through November 16, 2014 leg will be decided on October 25, 2014. #Video is coming!!!



Ladies Looking at Goods at The New Cathedral

Ladies Looking at Goods at The New Cathedral



Well for 1) I actually started writing at the age of eight, when I helped my father, Carter Hinshaw put out a weekly small town newspaper in Texas and ran a Linotype for him. I edited and proofread columns and was allowed to write a few stories. We usually worked all night long and I would always fall asleep in class the next day. The school finally called and told my Mother, Juanda Hinshaw that I should either get a little sleep or stay home from now on. Obviously I started going to bed at midnight from then on and our paper was distributed a little later the next day, but it was tremendous experience. So in effect, I have been writing for 56 years! And I actually have met and talked with Walter Cronkite, who was a true authentic journalist with the highest integrity! #Video is coming!!!


Indigenous Man

Indigenous Man


2) One of the qualifications has to do with Marketing and for many years in my former life as a retail executive in convenience stores, I oversaw and directed the entire processes associated with the department. This included contact negotiations with all vendors and suppliers, sales by SKU reviews, annual marketing plans broken down by category, with projected GP%’s, GP$’s and share of overall sales. Not to mention attaining total budgeted sales year after year which at the end, ran into over a billion dollars worth . #Video is coming!!!


Bicycle Mode of Transporation

Bicycle Mode of Transportation


3) I was identified byHolidaze in the first ever, “The Best New Travel Blogs You Haven’t Heard of Yet” awards, one of eight blogs awarded this award in the first ever nominations. I was literally dumbfounded that after only about nine months I was identified as a blogger on the rise and to watch. This was done on January 31, 2014. #Video is coming!!!


Don Colon and the Nomadic Texan

Don Colon and the Nomadic Texan


This was the verbiage written on my behalf: “Mike Hinshaw is one of the most kindhearted travel bloggers I’ve ever met in the course of my travels and it shows in his writing – although if you do something stupid then he’ll be the first one to let you know ;) Whether inspiring others to visit Texas (we’re both from Austin) or sharing the excitement from his most recent trek through southeast Asia, Mike’s posts are always a joy to read. This guy has more energy and life inside of him than other travelers half his age!” #Video is coming!!!


Perfect Pitch from the Harp

Perfect Pitch from the Harp



Additionally Bully Travel named me as their first ever Travel Blogger of the week. I was blown away again and this happened right at a year of actual blogging, on April 14, 2014.



Finally in August 16, 2014 I was identified as #76 on the list of Top Travel Tweeters of 2014, as identified by TrueNomads Here was the tweet that caught me again completely off guard “Top 90 Travel Tweeters of 2014: Wanderlust in 140 Characters or Less via . I was very honored and have significantly grown my followers on Twitter since this award and am nearing that magic 10,000 number. Fairly decent, given I have only been doing this for around 18 months and have never “Bought” any followers. I detest this avenue of growing your numbers. #Video is coming!!!


Nomadic Texan Grinding the Beans

Nomadic Texan Grinding the Cacao Beans


4) I have good numbers on other social media platforms and am amazed at how quickly some of these numbers have climbed and the fact that a few are responsible for additional followers and helping grow my audience. As an example I just looked at my Pinterest platform recently and found that I have 2,464 followers and represents about 1.5% of my referrals. On Google+ I have 3,141 followers and it accounts for 8% of my referrals. On Linkedin I have 6,146 followers and it represents about 2% of my referrals. I think we sometimes concentrate strictly on Twitter and Facebook and do not comprehend the value the additional social media platforms. These three additional platforms represent approximately 11.5 % of my referrals for my blog! Please feel free to connect on any platforms identified! Thanks. #Video is coming!!!


Interior Cacao Beans with Fruit

Interior Cacao Beans with Fruit


5) Despite my best efforts to read and make sense of things like this post on the Victorious blog, I have absolutely no knowledge of SEO and how to use it to my advantage. I really could use a couple of weeks with Mike King and maybe even some one on one time to really get my numbers growing! How much more fortunate could a blogger get? #Video is coming!!!


A Meal Made for an Incan King, Cuy! With Chef Patricio from Restaurante Corvel in Paute Ecuador

A Meal Made for an Incan King, Cuy! With Chef Patricio from Restaurante Corvel, in Paute Ecuador







Mike King is a Digital Marketing genius and a very good rapper!

Yngrid Arnold is the CMO of Viventura of Berlin and co-founder of

Looking For A Great Wedding Venue in South Africa

The Importance of a Good Wedding Venue
There is so much to think about when it comes to your wedding day. It takes an enormous amount of planning. It is worth the effort because it should be the happiest day of your life. You can plan of course but then you still have to rely on others to play their part in ensuring the day goes exactly as you would like. That means the transport turns up on time, the guests get their invitations in plenty of time and the flowers meet your expectations. The dress, the church, the photographer and the reception venue, all have to be right. It can seem an overwhelming challenge when you first sit down to think about all the things involved.


Wedding Bouquet

Wedding Bouquet



You do not want to leave anything to chance. That is why you need to go for professionalism. If your photographer does not produce the album that you want there is no second chance. Likewise your reception needs to be in a place that is used to hosting and catering for numbers. The best solution for that is surely a hotel that regularly hosts conferences, providing both accommodation and a suitable room that can hold the number of guests you intend to invite.



If you are looking for hotels with wedding venues in mind in Johannesburg you may decide that a quiet suburb is the best option, somewhere like 54 On Bath that has excellent transport links without being too busy and central. The only noise you will want is your friends enjoying themselves at your reception after the ceremony.



Research and Response
You may want to do some research because the reception venue is important. Good hotels will have plenty of information on their websites about what they have to offer. They should also be responsive to any questions and inquiries almost immediately. Every good accommodation website has an interactive facility so hotels will see your approach immediately if you decide to make it online rather than telephone.



You may have ideas about the menu you want to have and the catering manager will be the person to talk to for that. You might possibly still be open to suggestions and experienced professionals are likely to know from their experience the popular dishes that are always received well.
A good facility should be able to adapt to a seating plan if you want a particular layout. Equally it may have a suggestion to fit the bill. You will certainly want the venue dressed for the occasion and florists will need to work closely with the conference manager to make sure you get what you want. As the day approaches you will certainly become more nervous. One thing that you should not be nervous about is your reception venue if you make the right choice.




Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev/

5 Reasons to Walk the Camino Frances

A few years back I was fortunate enough to see a movie entitled “The Way”. It was a tremendous movie about walking the Camino de Santiago and “finding yourself”. Emilio Estevez wrote and produced the film. The lead actor was played by Martin Sheen and dealt with the death of his son, while walking the Camino Frances. I became overcome with emotion and was enthralled with the idea of walking the Camino. The movie honours the Camino de Santiago and promotes the traditional pilgrimage. I made the decision that one day I would walk the Camino. Having just initiated a divorce, after 36 years of marriage, I cannot think of a better time than next spring, to fulfill this walk and clear the spider webs out of my brain! “You don’t Choose A Life, You Live One”!


Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France #1

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France #1


I met Leslie Gilmour who oversees blogs and Facebook pages on the Camino and he gladly submitted this blog post for publication. Please support his links and take the time to investigate his thoughts and writing! Just imagine managing to take a precious month off work.  Now imagine spending that time walking 500 miles across Spain carrying all you need in your rucksack, sleeping in hostels every night and hand washing your own clothes. This is the pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago, more specifically the Camino Frances which starts in St Jean Pied de Port in the south of France and ends in Santiago de Compostela, the northwest corner of Spain.  More than 150,000 people walk this route every year and the amount of Americans hiking it is exponentially growing year on year. So why do so many people decide to stay away from the beach and walk a pilgrimage instead?



The Challenge


Cirauqui-Villamajor-de-Monjardin, Puente la Reina y Estella Spain #5 & #6

Cirauqui-Villamajor-de-Monjardin, Puente la Reina y Estella Spain #5 & #6


From Ben Nevis, to Kilimanjaro, to Mount Everest we humans just seem to love a challenge. However most challenges appear to be only available for the well off or super fit. The Camino fills that gap.  Almost anyone can walk 500 miles over a month and privation attracts many who want some basic living in their life for a while. I have met many like me who were unfit and over-weight that set out on a journey of a lifetime. The biggest lesson, for me, after walking 500 miles was I can do so much more than I ever imagine – however it is done one small step at a time.



Time Out From Life


Viana-Sote, Los Arcos y Logrono, Spain, #7

Viana-Sote, Los Arcos y Logrono, Spain, #7


I met and talked to many along the way who just wanted a rest from very a busy life. Many, it appears, wanted time out to evaluate their life, where they are and where they are going.  I was amazed to meet and talk to so many outwardly successful people that were discontent. Walking 25 to 30km every day, not staring at a computer screen all day, not having to juggle competing priorities, is incredibly restful.  There are numerous accounts of walkers going home after the Camino and making huge changes to their life. The rhythm of walking everyday, the simplicity of needing very few belongings has had an impact on how I life my life – today I ask myself often, how much is enough?




Azofra-Belorado-04-Sto-Domingo-de-la-Calzada, La Rioja Spain, #10

Azofra-Belorado-04-Sto-Domingo-de-la-Calzada, La Rioja Spain, #10


Yes, in this secular world some pilgrims do still walk for religious reason.  During holy years the amount of pilgrims walking any of the Camino route increases by at least 50%.  A holy year is when the feast day of St James, 25th July, falls on a Sunday – the next holy year is 2021.  By walking during a holy year a believer is entitled to a plenary indulgence – the forgiveness of all sins to date and remission of all punishments for these. Interestingly there have been some appeals to have an additional holy year before 2021 as the last one was 2010 – this was to help the economy of northern Spain, which has suffered due to the on-going recession since 2008. After completing your hike on the Camino you can receive a certificate from the pilgrims office in Santiago.  There are two main types of certificate, (compostela), one is secular and is a certificate of accomplishment, and the other is issued for walking for either religious or spiritual reasons. However a pilgrim must walk at least 100km, or cycle 200km, to be entitled to their certificate.  This is one of the reasons why so many start walking at Sarria, which is 112km from Santiago.


Make Friends


Belorado-San-Juan-de-Orega-road-in-mountains, Belorado Spain, #11

Belorado-San-Juan-de-Orega-road-in-mountains, Belorado Spain, #11


When I set off on my first Camino in 2004 I thought I would be spending a lot of time on my own.  I saw myself walking in the wilderness of northern Spain barely meeting or talking to people. However the Camino is busy and popular.  Most days I split my time walking on my own and sometimes walking with one or two others.  The nature of the stages means that you travel along meeting a lot of the same people each night in the hostels.  Due to the time spent with people or the walk itself, I like many others opened up much faster than I would in my daily life. I finished walking in Santiago with my wife to be, who I met during the walk – that was 9 years ago and we are still living happy ever after – with the usual bumps…


Get Fit and Lose Weight



Botafumeiro, #29



I suggest this one slightly tongue in cheek. Leaving St Jean I was 15stone, 210lbs. After walking for a month and eating whatever I wanted I had lost 14lbs and I was fitter than I had been in years. This is just a side benefit, I would never suggest losing weight to be the main motivation for the Camino. There are not many opportunities for a holiday that you will never forget.  The Camino is one of these.  I have heard the Camino described as a once in a lifetime opportunity, however many like me return again and again to walk the same route or one of the many other Camino routes. Leslie has walked the Camino three times and writes on his Camino blog, has free maps you can download, and runs a helpful forum on all the Camino routes.




Photo of The Day #79, Boar’s Head Chipolte Gouda Cheese

I absolutely love cheese of all kinds. One of my favorite cheeses is Gouda, a mild solid cheese full of flavor. Being from Texas I always use whole peppers of all kinds including dried Chipolte peppers when I cook. I add them and dried adobe peppers to enchiladas and other Mexican foods I cook at home.


Recently I have started purchasing several items from the fresh deli at our local HEB grocery store, a chain based in San Antonio with excellent prices and products. HEB carries store brand and Boar’s Head products both. The Boar’s Head items stand out far and above the HEB items in flavor and taste. The HEB items have the best prices.


Boar's Head Chipolte Gouda Cheese

Boar’s Head Chipolte Gouda Cheese


About four months ago I noticed that the deli was carrying a new cheese and they always allow you to sample the products, before you buy them. It was Chipolte Gouda Cheese and you could see the chopped up Chipolte peppers throughout the cheese. I knew I had to try it. OMG it was good and now I am addicted to it.



I always buy a pound or two when I go shopping. It is good with the Buffalo Spicy Chicken, Ham, Roast Beef or just about any kind of meat available. If this is an option at your local deli, I highly recommend you buy a little and try it! I promise you will like it, if you favor spicy foods!



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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas