Our Lady of Anguish church


The Sanctuary of Anguish (Santuario de Las Angustias)

The Church of Our Lady’s Anguish lies near the bottom of Las Angustias Ravine, where the river Taburiente runs out of the Caldera. (Well, they take a lot of the water for irrigation, so in the middle of summer it trickles. That still makes it the only year-round river in the Canaries). To find it, take the road from Los Llanos to Tijarafe. Just north of the bridge over the river, take the side road towards Puerto Tazacorte. The church is on the left, about 200 yards from the junction.


Inside view

The inside of the church is beautiful. The main statue in the altarpiece is Mary holding her dead son, by a Flemish artist from the 16th century. That’s where the name of the church comes from. She’s flanked by St Michael (16th century) and St Ambrose (17h or 18th century). But personally, the bit I find really striking is the painted ceiling.


That amazing ceiling

Beautiful carving is surprisingly common in churches on La Palma. It mostly dates from the days when the island got rich supplying sailing ships for the trip to America. This church has two other claims to fame.
The first is that for some reason, it’s traditional for older couples to marry here. I mean couples over about fifty, who won’t be having children short of a miracle.
The other is the collection of votive wax offerings on either side of the altar. Some were left by Canarian emigrates about to leave for Cuba or Venezuela. Others were left in gratitude for a cure, and to my English eyes, these look almost surreal. So if you prayed for a baby and finally got one, you’d leave a little waxwork baby. If your prayer for arthritis-free hands was granted, you’d leave a waxwork hand. There are at least two wax hearts, and at the top right, there’s a breast. I can only imagine that somebody survived cancer.


The wax offerings

Fotonature Photography Classes 2012

From 23rd – 25th March, Fotonature will run photography classes on La Palma.

All classes take place in Spanish in the Casa de Cultura in Los Llanos de Aridane, although two of the teachers are from the United States and will presumably give their talk with a translator. These classes are free. Jane Menyawi is the photography editor for National Geographic books. She’ll talk about designing and creating your own coffee table book on Saturday at 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Todd James is a Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic, and he’ll talk about creating lead articles on Sunday morning at 10-11:30 am.

The other classes include things like hiking photography, advertising and eco-tourism photography, photo essays, creative night photography, photographing adventures and expeditions, 360º photography and high dynamic range. Prices range from 10 € to 30€

You can read full details, and sign up for lessons at http://www.fotonaturelapalma.com/

The Sardine

The Sardine's funeral passing Los Sauces church, La Palma

The Sardine's funeral passing Los Sauces church

Most places in Spain end Carnival with a funeral for a sardine. It’s like being inside a Monty Python sketch, with the crowd dressed in black (some tarty, some elegant) and screeching with fake grief. “WAUUUGH! She’s dead!” The whole thing’s deliciously bonkers.

This bizarre finale to Carnival was traditionally held on Ash Wednesday, but most places on La Palma hold it at the weekend, so people don’t have to get up in the morning.

Santa Cruz de La Palma will hold their funeral tonight, starting from the Alameda at 9 pm, with the cremation at the sea front shortly before 11pm. Afterwards, they’ll be a public dance at the carnival stage.

Los Llanos will also be burying their sardine tonight, starting at the earlier time of 7pm from El Camino Los Lomos-Los Pedregales, with the cremation at about 9:30 pm.

Tazacorte burn theirs on Saturday 25th at 6 pm on the sea front.

On Friday 2nd March, Puntallana’s funeral will go from the Casa de Cultural to the church Square, starting at 9:30 pm.

Drag queens at the sardine's funeral at Los Sauces, La Palma

Drag queens at the sardine's funeral at Los Sauces, 2011

My favourite is the Sardine’s Funeral in Los Sauces, where they start with drag queens and then hand carry the sardine and bier, which they toss it around as though it’s on a rough sea. That’s on Saturday March 3rd at 9:30 pm.

Puntagorda hold theirs on the same day starting at 9 pm from the Town Hall. I believe they read out the will before the cremation, which is probably a good laugh if you understand Spanish.

Barlovento will hold funeral on March 10th, and I believe she’ll be dressed as Superman this year(!) The funeral proper starts at 10 pm, although the party starts at 10:30 am.

And then we all go back to being sensible for another year.

Cremating the sardine in Santa Cruz de La Palma

Cremating the sardine in Santa Cruz de La Palma

La Cancelita Viewpoint

La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
The view of Los Llanos from La Cancelita

La Palma has even more glorious viewpoints then the other Canary Islands. One of my favourites is La Cancelita, where you get two amazing views for the price of one. The good view covers Los Llanos and a good chunk of the surrounding plain. (Los Llanos means ‘the plains’ but it’s not that flat by UK standards.
La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
The view of the Caldera de Taburiente from La Cancelita

And the fantastic view sweeps down across the Caldera de Taburiente. All right, so you get fantastic views of the Caldera from almost anywhere around its rim, and from an awful lot of the Caldera floor, too. But this ones very accessible — just a short drive from Los Llanos.
Follow the brown signs for the Caldera, and then take Calle Cancelita. You’ll need to park when you run out of tarmac, and then walk along the dirt track for about five minutes. Believe me, it’s worth it.

La Cancelita Viewpoint, Los Llanos, La Palma, Canary Islands
La Cancelita viewpoint

Markets tomorrow in La Palma

 Flea Market, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Santa Cruz Flea Market

Santa Cruz Flea Market
Tomorrow the monthly flea market will be held in the port car park at Santa Cruz de la Palma. There’s an amazing variety of stuff on sale. For some reason there are lots of flowers, plants and vegetables, but also various crafts and antiques.

 

Argual Flea Market, Los Llanos

The flea market in Argual, just outside Los Llanos, takes place every Sunday from about 10 am to about 2 pm. It’s smaller than the monthly market in Santa Cruz, but it’s a much nicer situation. I think it’s been a market square for a very long time. At any rate, it’s surrounded by beautiful old buildings and has trees growing in the middle (which must be really nice on the hottest days).

This market has a slightly different flavour to Santa Cruz. It has a much higher percentage of German Hippies selling New Age things like Tibetan singing bowls.

I only saw two stalls setting plants. One also sold vegetables, and I bought some really good broccoli, plus sage and dill for the garden.

And one man was selling Palmeran cigars. Now I don’t smoke, but I believe Palmeran tobacco has a very good reputation.

Last time I went,  my favourite bit was the dreamy live music. The instrument on the left is a digeridoo and the instrument on the right is a hang

Carnival Programme for the weekend

Saturday 12th March
Santa Cruz de la Palma
All day long, music will be performed in various parts of the town to entertain passersby. Workshops, bouncy castles and festivals for the little ones. Performance by DJ Hanfry Martinez and various DJs from the Academia Red Bull.
10:00-12:00h. children’s games in the plaza de la Alameda.
12:00 h. VI Festival Orillas del Son «Fiesta Cubana», with music from Cristina and Carmelina Barveris with samples of traditional Cuban food and drink, in the plaza de la Alameda.
17:00-22:00 h. Fancy dress dance with the Orquesta Ritmo, with a prize for the best costume and an adult piñata in the plaza de la Alameda.
22:00 h. public dance at the carnival stage, with the Orquestas “Salsaludando” and “Arena Caliente”.

Los Llanos

11.00 hrs. Serious percussion and carnival krewes at the Plaza de España and Aledaños

From 13.00 hrs. Public dance and kiosks at the carnival stage
Sunday 13th March
Santa Cruz de la Palma

18:00 h. Children’s Festival organised and presented by the group Saltarines Animación Infantil y Espectáculos, with a prize for the best child’s costume of Carnival 2011, at the carnival stage, with performances by children’s groups.

20:00 h. Big public dance with a performance by the well-known Arturo del Castillo, eat the carnival stage.

Carnival programme for Wednesday to Friday: Santa Cruz and Los Llanos

Funeral procession for the Sardine, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Funeral procession for the Sardine, Santa Cruz de la Palma


Wednesday 9th March


The Sardine’s funeral This is probably the second biggest event in Carnival. As the name suggests, it’s a funeral for a gigantic sardine, and downright Pythonesque too. Wear black and/or drag, and be prepared to wail with fake grief. Wednesday in Santa Cruz, Friday in Los Llanos, Saturday 19th in Los Sauces (a particularly good one)

Santa Cruz de la Palma

18:00h. Reception and Wake for the Sardine, in the Plaza de la Alameda, with music by Orquesta Ritmo and distribution of grilled sardines (There are very tasty, but a little salty. Decide who’s driving first.)

21:00 h. The funeral cortege for D.ª Sardina leaves the plaza de la Alameda and heads towards the carnival stage. Once it arrives, the sardine will be cremated amid fireworks at the avenida Marítima. Afterwards, public dance with music by the musical band “Arena Caliente” at the carnival stage.

Los Llanos

11.00 hrs. Children’s activities in the Plaza de España

20.00 hrs. Murgas in the Cultural Centre at El Retamar


Thursday 10th March

Santa Cruz de la Palma

18:00 hrs. Parade of carnival krewes and percussion groups from the Avenida El Puente to the Carnival stage. Afterwards, Drag Queen festival, with performances by various dance groups and artists from outside the island.

Los Llanos

11.00 hrs. Children’s activities in the Plaza de España

17:00 hrs Children’s fancy dress party. Bouncy castles, music, costume competition, have your photo taken with models (I think this means people like Micky Mouse)


Friday 11th March

Santa Cruz de la Palma

From 17:00 hrs. Masked ball in the Plaza de la Alameda with Orquesta Ritmo.

18:00 hrs. Groups of mariachis performing in the streets from Avenida El Puente to the carnival stage on the Avenida Marítima. Afterwards, Festival of Mariachis with performances by Mariachis Michoacán and Mariachis Mencey Azteca, at the carnival stage.

22:00 hrs. Public dance with music by “Los Geniales” and “Arena Caliente” at the carnival stage.

Los Llanos

11.00 hrs. Children’s activities in the Plaza de España

13:00 hrs Start of the Sardine’s funeral. Wake at El Camino Los Lomos.

19:00 hrs Funeral procession, accompanied by

El Galvao leaves for Los Pedregales.

21:30 hrs On arrival, cremation of the sardine.

22:00 hrs public dance, with music by Bolero and Irosan

Cremation of the Sardine, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Cremation of the Sardine, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Carnival programme for Monday and Tuesday: Santa Cruz and Los Llanos

Statues covered in talc at Los Indianos, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Santa Cruz de la Palma: even the statues join in Los Indianos


Monday 7th March

Santa Cruz de la Palma

Los Indianos

For most people, this is the big event. Many poor Palmerans emigrated to Cuba and Venezuela. This fiesta celebrates the ones who came home rich. Everybody dresses in white, some have suitcases full of monopoly money, and it’s a giant talc-throwing fight. You can see the timetable at http://www.transporteslapalma.com/transportes/Mapas/Indianos2011.pdf

10:00 h. Waiting for the return of the emigrants in the plaza de España

10.00-14:00 h. Performance by the Orquesta Ritmo in the Plaza de la Alameda.

From 11:00 h. Groups playing traditional music in various parts of town

12:00 h. Performance of traditional Cuban music by “Cuarto Son”, in the plaza de España and reception for Tomasa the Black Lady, accompanied by the Academy of Musical Instruments from CajaCanarias, and dancing the Conga from the port to the Plaza de España.

13:00 h. Lunch for children from the Sahara in the sports centre at the Avenida Marítima.

15:00-18:00 h. Performance by Tinguaro A.K.A Mensey Live, Canarian artist now living in Barcelona.

16:30 h. Distribution of talc by the Fiestas Department of the Town Hall in the Avenida de Los Indianos (the main road out of town heading south.) Come to think of it, having a town hall department for fiestas sounds like a good idea to me.

17:00 h. Main Carnival Parade for los Indianos from the avenida de Los Indianos to the plaza de la Alameda.

18:00 -01:00 h. Public dance with music by orquesta libertad, in the plaza de la Alameda.

22:00-06:00 h. Public dance de Los Indianos, at the Carnival stage with music from the bands Arena Caliente, Salsaludando and Irosan, “for the delight of locals and visitors who come to this festival which transcends frontiers.”

Los Llanos

11.00 hrs. Children’s activities in the Plaza de España)

(22.00 hrs. Public dance with the bands Bolero and Los Geniales at the Carnival stage

Tuesday 8th March

Santa Cruz de la Palma

17:00 h. Fancy Dress Ball at the Old People’s Day Centre, with music from orquesta Ritmo.

Los Llanos

17.00 hrs. Carnival parade with street musicians, krewes, percussion, floats, etc. from the Avda. Enrique Mederos to the Plaza de España.

Flying talc, fiesta de los Indianos, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Flying talc, fiesta de los Indianos, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Carnival on La Palma

Poster for Carnival 2001 in Santa Cruz de la Palma

Poster for Carnival 2001 in Santa Cruz de la Palma

Carnival is a big deal in La Palma. By now we’re all fed up with the (relatively) cold, wet weather and ready for some fun. Carnival is just what we need: an explosion of colour and music with a dash of lunacy before Lent. I always say people are making sure they have something really juicy to repent, but these days most people just regard it as a darn good excuse for a party.

Friday 4th March
Santa Cruz de la Palma

17:00-22:00h. Wig festival(?), in the Cuadrilátero, with a prize for the best wig.

18:00 h. Inaugural Carnival Parade, with children from schools and nursery schools in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Breña Alta, Breña Baja and Puntallana, from the plaza de la Alameda to the carnival stage. On arrival at the stage, Children’s party.

18:30-22:00 h. Music from the band Orquesta Ritmo, in the Plaza de la Alameda.

22:00h. Public dance at the carnival stage, with music from the bands “Salsaludando” and “Arena Caliente”

Los Llanos
20.00 hrs Festival of carnival Krewes and Murgas at the Carnival stage
22.00 hrs Fiesta DJ’s at the Carnival stage
22.00 hrs. The kiosks around the Carnival stage will open.

Saturday 5th March

12:00 h. Opening production and speech for los Indianos accompanied by folk groups and Cuban groups, from the plaza de La Constitución to the plaza de España (where a parody will be performed) and on to the Alameda, where Cardero.com will play as a preliminary to the Ambassadors’ parade.

17:00 h. Reception for the Ambassadors (come dressed as any nationality you feel like) from Calle Apurón, past la Molina Artesanía to Bar Sputnik.

18:00 h. The ambassadors gather and parade along the Calle Real, accompanied by music.

22:30 h. Ventetian Fiesta from La Molina Artesanía to Bar Sputnik, Venetian masked ball performed by the municipal dance school, where spectacle, surprise and mystery are guarenteed…

23:00 h. Concert of music from the 60s and 70s with Retranka Big Band, in the Cuadrilátero (Bodeguita del Medio, La Cuatro, La Herradura y La Esquina).

23:00 h. Public dance at the carnival stage, with music from the bands “Salsaludando” and “Arena Caliente”

Los Llanos
Salsa music and mobile bars all day,
13:00 Music performed by Wamampy, La Caracas, La Libertad, Irosan y DJ at the carnival stage

Sunday &th of March

Santa Cruz de la Palma
12:00 h. Pasacalle (street band) Renacer, performing in various places (Calle Apurón, Town Hall atrium and placeta Borrero).

18:00-22:00 h. Musical performance by Orquesta Rico Son, in the Plaza de la Alameda.

19:00 Gran Batucada, (serious percussion) performed by groups from all over the island, in the main streets of Santa Cruz

22:00 h. Public dance at the carnival stage, with music from “Los Geniales”.

Los Llanos
10.30-13.30 hrs. children’s play activities (bouncy castles, workshops, games etc.) Plaza de España and surrounding area .

Monday 7th will be the big day – Los Indianos. I’ll post the programme shortly.

Meanwhile all over the island you can see people in fancy dress. I always enjoy the little kids best.

Small boy in Tigger costume for Carnival, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Chips is what Tiggers like best!

Los Llanos’s Ethnographic museum(MAB) – permenent exhibition

Prehispanic huts at the ethnographic museum, Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma

Prehispanic huts at the ethnographic museum

The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita, and they’re the subject of the permanent exhibition upstairs at the ethnographic museum in Los Llanos.

The Benahorita lived in caves and wore animal skins, but they weren’t stupid. They farmed, and they had quite a bit of technology considering there’s no metal ores on the island. Their ceramics are lovely.

Prehispanic ceramics, at the ethnographic museum, Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma

Prehispanic ceramics, at the ethnographic museum

The exhibition includes recreations of the sort of huts and caves they lived in, the the way they buried their dead. (Caution – there are some real human skeletons. I don’t mind but some people might.) Display cases and panels tell you all about their ceramics, and the ingenious things they made out of stone, bones, shells, leather and wood. More display panels cover the ancient Benohora kingdoms, archaeological sites, and the geology of La Palma.

All in all, it’s pretty good, and it’s free.

The museum opens from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm and 5 pm – 8 pm

Cave home, at the ethnographic museum, Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma

Cave home, at the ethnographic museum