Fuerteventura and Lanzarote

 The flight takes almost 7 hours and it’s already dark when they get to the hotel. Kaarna has a headache:

- Seriously… why do people bring their newborn babies on board?! Such idiots!!! When one finally gets quiet, another one starts the screaming. Pure nightmare, a flight from hell!!!!

- Maybe the parents need the sun as much as we do so they have to take the babies with them. But I agree, it was horrible and the babies didn’t seem to enjoy it either. But here we are finally!

The next morning Ken is already having breakfast at the terrace when Kaarna wakes up.
- Go grab a plate and a glass and have some bread and juice.
- Where did you find rye bread?
- I brought some from home. They don’t know how to make bread here…
- Ken!!!! You are so old! Who brings their own food when they travel abroad?! Grannies!!!!
- I know. But I need my fibre. It’s just to ease up the culture shock in my bowel.

Ken likes to do the grocery shopping first thing in the morning when the supermarket opens. After that it will be too crowded and too noisy.

Kaarna goes to the pool but all the empty sun loungers have been reserved. People bring their towels in the morning to claim a spot and no-one else fits in.
- Idiots! she curses and returns to the apartment.

Luckily the terrace of their flat is on the sunny side of the building.

- O-oh, somebody has spent too much time in the sun!
- It hurts so much! I can barely move. Do you have some magic lotion?
- No, I never burn, so I don’t need lotions.

Ken remembers that yoghurt helps to reduce the pain so he lets Kaarna put some of his evening snack on her face. Even if her skin really hurts, Kaarna can’t help but laughing.

The next day Ken goes hiking in the desert, but Kaarna must stay in the shadows.

Every Thursday there’s an artesan market where talented local people sell jewellery and other crafts, art and handmade cosmetics.

They buy a basket full of aloe vera products. 

- These should make your skin as good as new, Ken laughs.

It’s a super windy morning, which means that it’s not too hot for walking in the desert. Ken and Kaarna go geocaching.

- Drink some water now. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you most likely are. I once got badly dehydrated here in the desert and the next night was horrible.

It would be wonderful to get an all-inclusive holiday, but Ken and Kaarna can’t avoid cooking on this holiday. There is a small kitchen in their hotel room, which is nice, because for the one day price of the all-inclusive they eat self cooked meals a whole week.

On their walk Ken and Kaarna stop to watch the surfers.
- Are we going to meet your special surfer boy, Ken?
- Blaine… no. He lives in Thailand as far as I know.
- Why?
- Don’t ask me… better vibes, cheaper drugs maybe?

As much as Ken enjoys his morning walks in the desert, it’s clear that he’s not in the shape he used to be. The walks are signifantly shorter than a couple of years ago.

Kaarna goes to a grocery store. It’s always so strange to see all that liquor in a basic supermarket. Although all the food is just as expensive as it is in Finland, the booze is ridiculously cheap. And incredibly available!

The town really comes alive only after sunset. Ken still lives in the Finnish time zone so when the sun goes down after six, he wants to do the same.

- Ken! Look what I bought!
- An alcohol beverage?! 
- Yes! It was so cheap! We can watch a movie on your iPad and get drunk.
- I will fall asleep after one sip.

… and so he did. 

In the middle of the night Kaarna wakes up with a horrible feeling in her stomach! She runs to the bathroom and leans over the toilet seat just in time. But then she feels like something is coming out of the other end of the body too!!!

Of course Ken wakes up because of the vomiting noises and finds an embarrassed Kaarna crying in the toilet.
- I vomited on my feet and on the floor. I thought it’s better than shitting on the floor. I want to die!
Ken finds a bucket and says it’s not a reason to die, but he really understands how Kaarna feels right now.

Kaarna spends the night in the bathroom. When the sun comes up she goes to the balcony to breathe some fresh air. Ken joins her.
- How much Baileys did you drink anyway?!
- Half a glass, the same as you. I didn’t want to drink alone.
- Did you eat something suspicious? Or have you been drinking tap water?
- No and no.

- Have you touched door knobs with your bare hands?
- Of course I have touched door knobs!
- That’s it then. The norovirus can be anywhere. Haven’t you noticed that the Spanish people hardly ever wash their hands after going to the toilet?
- Gross.

Ken continues:
- I used to have the tourist diarrhea on every vacation but then Hector told me to avoid certain types of food and to use hand sanitizer all the time. It really helps to be a little paranoid about germs here. Ok… Since you have to stay here today, I have to go alone to the kite festival. But look, I found some magazines from the bookshelf in the reception to entertain you.
- Royalty? There’s actually a magazine about the royal people?
- Yes, must be an interesting and important information, Ken laughs.

Every year there is a kite festival on the dunes and always these colorful kites make Ken happy. It’s such simple fun.

Ken spends the rest of the afternoon at the nudist beach. Being possibly infected by diarrhea is a good excuse to say “no thanks” to the kind suggestions of a well equipped young man.

Kaarna is still weak, but now she’s able to keep some food inside. She takes it easy and enjoys the shades of the lovely hotel garden.

- I adore this hotel, but seriously our new neighbors are getting on my nerves. The baby cries nonstop from morning to evening and the adults make noise on the terrace until late night. It’s been three days now. I swear that if the kid doesn’t shut up I will go and feed it some tranqualizers!
- Luckily we are not forced to stay here all the time now that you are healthy again. Let’s take a bus and visit the capital!

Ken likes the capital most. It’s not built for tourism like some other coastal towns here. You can actually hear the Spanish language instead of English, German, Italian, French, Swedish or Finnish.

Kaarna easily gets panic attacks in small shops so she waits outside when Ken goes in. Ken propably should stay out too, because he has a hard time not buying something.
- It’s impossible to just watch and leave with empty hands when I’m the only customer there and I feel that the shop owner desperately needs to sell something.

- So you bought an owl…
- So it seems.

- You know, Ken, that grannies always go to the same place on their holidays?
- Like me? 
- Yes, you dinosaur.
- It’s like coming home when I come here. I know this island. I know the bus routes, I know the grocery stores, I know my favorite places. I just want to relax and not stress about learning everything from the beginning. Plus I don’t know any other place with a climate as pleasant as it is here.
- I appreciate the fact that not a single frog lives here!
- Ha! True! A frog free zone!

Every morning Ken makes the bed and demands that they tidy up the room.
- I don’t want the cleaning lady to think that we are pigs! I feel very uncomfortable about a stranger coming to our so-called home every day.
- Me too. But why can’t we just leave everything messy so that she’d actually have a reason to come here?

Ken and Kaarna take part in a guided day tour on another island, Lanzarote, where all the buildings must be white. The small ferry swings on the waves of the Atlantic ocean and at first Kaarna feels a bit scared before she gets used to it.

The bus takes them to the wine area where they see the unusual way of farming. 

The farmers dig holes in the lava sand in order to reach more fertile ground and then they build round fences of the lava stones and plant the vines in the holes. What a sight!

The most amazing part of the trip is to see the Timanfaya national park, which is a huge area of 100 peaks that were formed during a volcano eruption in the 1730s. The eruption went on for six years and literally everything got covered in lava. Unfortunately the area is only allowed to be visited in a guided bus and seen through the windows.

There is a restaurant and a souvenir shop in the tourist center in the middle of nowhere. Ken and Kaarna learn a lot about the volcanic activity and feel and see the effects of the heat that is unbelievably close to their feet. The volcano is still active and therefore it could erupt any time - just like one on the island of La Palma that has caused terrible damage and destroyed thousands of homes during these past two months. 

The guide gives them ten minutes of free time at the volcano center before the bus moves on. They have a chance to either go to toilet, souvenir shop or take photos. Kaarna needs to go lining up to the toilet and Ken runs to the shop. 

The next sight is a green lagoon where they have whole 15 minutes to look around before rushing to the ferry. Kaarna is annoyed:
- Stupid tour schedule! First we have to spend ages in a stupid aloe vera shop and in a stupid wine cellar, and then we must hurry through the amazing volcano experience like headless chickens! Seriously, 10 minutes of free time! Fuck this shit!

When they arrive at the hotel in the evening, they are both tired. It was a wonderful day, but all that sitting in a bus was exhausting. Ken takes out the devils that he bought from the Timanfaya shop.
- Do you want the big one or the small one?
- The big one of course!
- Good. I hope I can fit this little guy on my souvenir shelf back home.
- Home… oh no… we only have a week left.

Every day at 11 a.m. there is a water aerobic class at the pool. Ken loves this gentle exercise with other boomers.

Kaarna is right: Ken has become old. He even prefers swimming in the hotel pool to the ocean. He remembers how only 20 years ago nothing was funnier than feeling like almost drowning in the huge waves on a red flag day.

The strange thing on the island are the skeletons of buildings that years or decades ago have been left unfinished. Kaarna loves photographing them though.

It seems that a Spanish thing to do is to build streets in the middle of nothing and then forget to build the buildings. And if they remember to start the construction, they forget to finish it. ¡Mañana, mañana!

Ken has secretly wished for a cloudy day so that they could climb all the way up to the volcanic hill that they can see from the hotel. On a sunny day they would probably faint on the way. But now, after three and a half weeks, the sky happens to be grayish.

Climbing is hard but well worth all the effort! The views are magnificent and the silence is perfect. Even though there are other hikers, somehow the warm wind takes away their voices.

- This is the highest geocache above sea level that I have ever logged, Ken rejoices when pulling out a box from a tiny cave.
They eat a packed lunch feeling happy about themselves.

After two more hours of hiking they arrive at the hotel. Kaarna lifts her feet up.
- Oh my feet are soooooo tired!
- And mine are stinky! You want to smell my shoes?
- Ken!!!! No!!!!!

On the next day it rains. Well, drizzles. By Finnish standards this kind of rain doesn’t even count for rain. 
- I think now it’s a good time to finish that Baileys of yours and watch movies on iPad, Ken says.
Kaarna runs to the hotel minimarket and buys cupcakes and churros. They spend the whole day in bed and hope that the sun will come back in the morning for their last moments on Fuerteventura.

On the last day of the holiday Ken walks to the old town to meet his friends from the days that he lived here with Blaine. He has been postponing this lunch all four weeks because seeing the surfers brings back memories that he’d rather forget. 
(But no, he’s not taking us to the restaurant. We won’t meet these people. It’s all a part of Ken’s life that he’s not sharing with us.)

Kaarna heads to the desert one last time. She has been almost happy here. Returning home is terrifying. She takes a lava stone as a memento to remember that living can be tolerable too.

At the airport...

- No! No! No! I don’t want to go!!!!
- Me neither, but we have to. 
- You go! Leave me behind!
- You don’t even have a roof over your head here!
- I can live in a cave on the mountains!!!!!!!