Rabbit’s foot fern

Close up of the root of Rabbit's foot fern, Davallia canariensis
November 16, 2018

This is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern Davallia canariensis, which likes to grow in the warmer and damper parts of the island. It particularly likes dry stone walls, barrel-tile roofs and cliffs. As you can see, the name comes from the root, which is very pretty. I believe that the Awara used to make gofio from it, and so did more modern Palmerans when there was nothing better available, although I’m…

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Footpaths on La Palma

November 5, 2018

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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Remembering the Dead on La Palma

Halloween isn’t much of a fiesta here, although it’s becoming more popular. All Saint’s Day is. Traditionally, it’s when people remember their dead. So they decorate the graves in the morning, and most cemeteries have a special mass. It’s fascinating to see, but please be sensitive. Some people may be recently bereaved and feeling fragile.

November 1, 2018
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A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

October 27, 2018

Table of Contents for the Second Edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: a guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos”. Any words in bold are explained in the glossary. The second edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe” is now on sale, price 17€ from shops or 15€ + P&P from this site. To continue reading, click here to buy the book.

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Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in Mazo

October 24, 2018

  Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it’s open to the public. The entrance is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

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Tobacco in La Palma

October 20, 2018

I don’t smoke, so everything I know about Palmeran cigars is from hearsay. But they seem to have a very good reputation. Certainly Winston Churchill was known to be a fan, and certainly they get shipped off to the Spanish royal family. Most of the tobacco farms on the island are in Santa Cruz, Breña Baja, and especially Breña Alta. Typically, the crop is grown in tiny fields and given…

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