Guidebooks don’t say much about Puerto del Rosario, the capital of Fuerteventura. Lonely Planet calls it ‘a strange city with no discernible centre’. With around 40,000 inhabitants, it’s more the size of a town than a city and the ‘strange’ tag is a bit harsh. I like Puerto del Rosario. It’s got an honest, relaxed workaday charm. And it boasts a couple of beaches, with Playa del Pozos filling the role of an attractive urban beach.
It’s also got some groovy sculptures dotted around, over 100 in fact; an initiative to turn Puerto del Rosario into an open air art gallery.
We didn’t manage to clock up a hundred but we did get round quite a few, which incidentally is a good way to get to know the centre of Puerto del Rosario (yes, Lonely Planet, there is one).
Equipaje de Ultramar
This sculpture pays homage to the Majoreros (folk from Fuerteventura) who emigrated to distant shores (usually South American ones) during times of hardship. You find these in towns all over the Canary Islands but this is one of my favourites.
Fuente de la Explanada
The message of this sculpture by the port is that this was the centre of trading and fishing. I know it’s hot in the Canary Islands but I didn’t realise that they didn’t wear any clothes when they brought goods from the merchant ships ashore.
A bronze tribute to a hunting dog with a lovely temperament, the podenco. It’s also a very old breed of dog, the resemblance to Egyptian hounds is quite plain to see. They’re still used a lot on the islands, mainly to hunt rabbits. Conejo en salmorejo anyone?
Pescador de Viejas
The old fisherman heading off barefoot at Playa de los Pozos to catch some viejas (parrot fish) with his palm basket on his back to carry them home. It’s still more or less the same garb worn by some pescadores today.
At first I thought this was an old guy looking for a handout but it is Suso Machín, a famous local artist who captured the best of Puerto del Rosario on canvas many times when it was known as Puerto de Cabras (the port of goats). I think I prefer the former name.
Las Cabras part 2
A natural sculpture constructed from the bones of a 9 metre young Bryde’s Whale, discovered dead in nearby waters. There are a few of these sculptures on the Canary Islands and all tend to represent the same thing; a monument to the sea and the creatures who dwell in it.
That’s the beauty of going on a sculpture trail in Puerto del Rosario. Some sculptures are marked on an official trail, others you just stumble across.
Maybe it was because of some of the more surreal examples that Lonely Planet dubbed it a strange city.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+