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Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
15 Jan 2018

Lanzarote has long been a magnet for creative people: artists, musicians and writers. The island has a mystical element that inspires everyone who set foot on its volcanic soil.

A one-day visit in 1992 was enough to convince Portuguese Nobel prize-winning writer, José Saramago, that it would be his new home. Together with his second wife, Spanish journalist and TV presenter, Pilar del Río, and her brother and his wife, they built the intriguing “house made of books”, in Tías. He spent the last eighteen years of his life here, until his death in 2010.

Entrance to Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

“Lanzarote es mi tierra, pero no es tierra mía” (“Lanzarote is my land, but it’s no land of mine”).  

… was a phrase made famous by Saramago, now engraved on a metal sculpture placed on the roundabout outside his house. The writer was so well-loved that he went on to receive the prestigious Hijo adoptivo de Lanzarote (Lanzarote’s adopted son) award, in 1997.

Anyone who loves art and literature will fall in love with this house. Not only is it filled with invaluable works of art and literature, but is exudes character and you can still feel his presence today. There is a sense of calm, of creativity, and even his thoughts surround you.

Books, paintings, ornaments and collectors’ items line its walls and cover its furniture. Saramago collected everything that was dear to him, everything that inspired his writings and the artefacts he was given by others inspired by him.

Entrance hall at Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Humble beginnings

Jose Saramago came from the Ribatejo region of Portugal, born into a family of peasants. Poverty forced them to move to Lisbon in 1922, when he was only two years old. His literary path was made difficult as his parents couldn’t afford to keep him in grammar school, so he initially trained as a mechanic.

He wrote a series of books during his twenties, but without the success that came later after he met Pilar. The Spanish journalist, twenty-seven years his junior, became fascinated by some of the writer’s novels, namely, Raised from the Ground, Baltazar and Bilmunda and the Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. She tracked him down for an interview for her television programme, and their romance began shortly after.

Family photos in José Saramago’s study, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Saramago held communist morals and beliefs, wrote about failed governments, class struggles and was also an atheist. He moved to Lanzarote in protest against the Portuguese government. Under pressure from the Vatican, the government vetoed his controversial book, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991), from being nominated for an EU literary prize.

The natural colours of Lanzarote

Jose and Pilar fell in love with Lanzarote, and built their house on a hill in Tías, overlooking the spectacular view of the ocean, towards Fuerteventura and the island of Lobos.

As you go through the exterior door to the house, you are greeted by an interior patio which offers several doors to the different living quarters of Jose and Pilar on one hand, and then Pilar’s brother and wife on the other.

Stone floor at Casa José Saramago with Manrique painting, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Among the distinguishing features of Jose and Pilar’s quarters are the natural colours of Lanzarote. The entrance hall is a reflection of ‘stone and light.’ Saramago meticulously cared for the lava rock floor. He strongly admired César Manrique’s passion for the environment and sense of beauty, and placed his first acquisition on the island, a Manrique engraving, in this very space.

A clock stands among many other artefacts, which José had set at four o’clock, the exact time he met his wife.

The kitchen

Kitchen table at Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The kitchen table was the heart of family and social life in the humble village where José was born, and where he frequently returned to visit his grandparents. His kitchen was to be no different, and was where he started his day.

This homely kitchen that opens out onto the terrace has hosted some of the most important names in contemporary culture. They would spend hours talking, debating, laughing and in solidarity over a cup of Portuguese coffee.

Copies of his Cadernos de Lanzarote (Lanzarote Notebooks) lie open on the kitchen table. He began writing these diaries from his study shortly after moving to the island, and they reflect his day-today life, thoughts, opinions, questions and answers.

Cup of Portuguese coffee at Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Saramago brought his favourite coffee from Portugal, and he was renowned for offering a cup to everyone who visited. And the tradition is still alive: you too, can enjoy a cup of Saramago’s favourite coffee.

The artist at work

José Saramago’s study at his house, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

This new home marked the beginning of a fresh era of creativity for the writer, and the study was where he wrote the first lines of Blindness. The room is imbued with his character and visitors sense an intimate connection with him. An entire wall of books stands behind his deck, where his last computer still sits, the mouse poised ready for action.

José Saramago Nobel Prize, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The Mexican sideboard opposite if full of photos of his loved ones, and a copy of his Nobel Prize takes pride of place on the walls alongside portraits of other writers he admired: Kafta, Proust, Tolstoy, Joyce, Lorca and Pessoa.

The living room at Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The living room was the place Saramago would unwind at the end of the day. It looks out over the garden and the ocean, a view he described as ‘the finest work of art’. This is a grand statement, as the beautiful and comfortable room is adorned with some amazing pieces, all of which are connected with is books; work by other artists who were inspire by his writings, and the majority of which were gifts. Juanjo, my guide, enthusiastically explained every portrait in the finest detail.

The bedroom: where Saramago ended his days

The bedroom where José Saramago died, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

We are allowed only a peek into the bedroom where José slipped away quietly on June 18, 2010. It’s a very private space, with an armchair he would retire to when the house became too noisy. There are a few books and photographs, but it has a certain restful air and was where he went to disconnect. And it was here that he chose to leave us for good.

Casa José Saramago library patio with elephant, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The library

The library was built separately from the house, and once finished, it became his new place of work. An olive tree occupies the centre of the patio, once a small plant that he brought between his legs on the plane from Portugal. His love for these trees stemmed from his childhood. He always said that we should let ourselves be led by the child we once were. He saw them as a symbol of peace and knowledge, green branches that write words on the black volcanic soil.

An elephant sculpture stands to one side, the symbol of one of his later novels, The Elephant’s Journey.

An incredible collection of books fills the library, wall-to-wall, and from the floor to the ceiling. They were all arranged by Saramago himself, but not in alphabetical order as you might expect: they are arranged by the authors’ country of origin. He had always maintained that the library was not created in order to store books, but to give shelter to people.

Library at Casa José Saramago, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Female authors had their own section, one that was arranged in alphabetical order. This was not Jose´s decision, but the work of his wife Pilar. She did not want female writers to have to share the shelves with men, who had scorned them merely for being women, neither respecting or valuing them. José, of course, respected her decision.

Guided tour, gift and book shop

Casa José Saramago Shop, Tías, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Visitors of all nationalities are welcome to join a guided tour of Casa José Saramago, which can be enjoyed via an audio recording in a range of different languages. The house is open from 10:00-14:00, from Monday to Saturday.

The gift shop awaits at the end of this heart-warming visit, giving you the chance to take away a souvenir, or one of Saramago’s books. If you haven’t read his works before, you certainly will want to after this insightful experience into the private life of one of the world’s most well-known writers.

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Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
www.hellocanaryislands.com