Constitution Day in Spain.

It’s Constitution Day in Spain. (Many shops will be shut) On this day in 1978: The Spanish Nation, wishing to establish justice, liberty and security, and to promote the welfare of all who make part of it, in use of her sovereignty, proclaims its will to: Guarantee democratic life within the Constitution and the laws according to a just economic and social order. Consolidate a State ensuring the rule of…

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The Tsunami Risk

You may remember the fuss in 2001 when two geologists, Steven Ward and Simon Day, announced their theory that the west side of the island of La Palma would collapse one day, creating a mega-tsunami that would cross the entire Atlantic and still be anything up to 25 metres high when it hit New York, and indeed everything from Newfoundland in Canada to Recife in Brazil. These days, almost all…

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Footpaths on La Palma

La Palma has a network of well-marked footpaths, most of which are centuries old.  As late as the 1960s, walking was still a major form of transport for the islanders, The whole network of hiking trails on the island comes to over 1,000 km, and between them they pass through just about every kind of scenery on the island: lava fields, pine forests, lush laurel forests, farmland and village centres….

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Rocks on the road to the Roque de Los Muchachos

Rocks on the Road

La Palma is the steepest inhabited island in the wold, so it’s in a losing battle with gravity. Sometimes rocks fall on the road, particularly after heavy rain, a freeze or a thaw. (Of course the last two only happen at high altitude.) Normally the roads get cleared pretty quickly, but the road to the observatory takes a little longer, maybe a day and a half. Then you get to…

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Spot the Lava Flow

Just north of Fatima, El Paso Ladies and gentlemen, can you spot the lava flow in this picture? This lava flow at Fatima in El Paso is from the eruption of Volcan San Juan (St. John’s volcano) in 1949, but the whole island is volcanic. And, geologically speaking, it’s still in nappies. The very oldest rocks on the island formed as a submarine volcano, some 3 three million years ago….

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A spiral of stones on the pine forest floor, Pico de la Nieve, La Palma island

A spiral in La Palma’s woods

La Palma’s pine forests are lovely, and at this time of the year, the upper reaches are often above the clouds, even when it’s raining below. If you follow the LP3 footpath up from the turn off for Pico de la Nieve, you quickly reach this stone spiral in the woods. The whole thing is about 10 m across, and I loved it. I think it’s pretty recent, similar to…

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