Down Flamingo Way, Isabela, Galápagos

April 16, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The Sendero de los Flamencos, or the Path of the Flamingos, is a beautiful walkway on the outskirts of Puerto Villamil that takes the scenic route up the to the Tortoise Sanctuary. We missed it first time round and took the dirt track main road, arriving to find the sanctuary had just closed. A double whammy! Luckily the next day José, our taxi driver, who took us to the caves at Sucre in the previous post, dropped us off outside on the way home, right beside the entrance. It was quite an incredible experience to be walking through the reserve, often only a couple of metres away from the flamingos, pecking at the cartenoid-infused algae that gives the water its russet colour and the flamingoes their distinctive neon flamingorange hue. 

Flamingos, flamencos. Their name  in Spanish*, recalls the dance, graceful necks often wrapping round like the arms of a bailerina in a sevillana, their beak the castanet. When I had a "flamenco" party for my 40th, complete with Spanish classical guitarists Los  who I'd met busking on the King's Road (them, not me!), one of my dearest friends Carolyn, who has a thing for flamingos, did turn up to my party as a giant pink bird.  There is something of a clown to the bird itself, it's goofy, Pythonesque walk with its backward-jointed knees. They also brought to mind the flamingos in Alice in Wonderland, the book at bedtime I reread with the children on our passage out of Panama, though we baulked at the thought of wielding them as croquet mallets... and those poor hedgehogs! Here in Galápagos, where the animals seem to be talking to us at every turn, our family adventure has certainly  got  curiouser and curiouser... 

*Flamenco also means Flemish, as I like to remind Mr Van Hove with his Belgian passport (along with his Swiss and UK) and Southern mediterranean complexion.


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