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Walking ferns

In the shadier corners of the laurel forest on La Palma, the ferns walk about. Sort of. Woodwardia ferns live in the damper parts of the forest. You can find them along the river bed at Los Tilos, and in the irrigated garden around the visitor centre. They have enormous fronds, anything up to a metre long. When the tip of a frond touches the ground, it often sprouts roots,…

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The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

  There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re…

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The underwater memorial to the Tazacorte martyrs off the coast of Tazacorte, La Palma. Photo: Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez

A Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs

The Tazacote martytrs have an unusual memorial – 18m underwater at Malpique, the site where they drowned. There are 40 crosses, one for each of the victims. The memorial was created in 2000, and I’m told that it’s easy to visit even for novice divers. The photo was taken by Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez who is a local diving instructor and ecologist.

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The Old Church of San Juan, Puntallana

The exterior of the church of San Juan, Puntallana As Palmeran churches go, the church of St. John the Baptist in Puntallana isn’t all that old. The presbytery and the side chapels date from the 16th century, and the nave from the 1719. It was officially declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (rather like a listed building) in 1994. The main altar in the church of San Juan, Puntallana The…

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Sacred Heart 2019

Sacred Heart (sagrado croazon) is a catholic fiesta which takes place 11 weeks after Easter, and it’s a big thing in El Paso. The green stuff on the ground is a carpet the needle leaves of tree heather and the boarder is moss. I’ve been told that the pictures themselves are made out of crushed and dyed eggsells, but they looked a different texture this year. Whatever, they were beautiful,…

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Imposing Gateways

In the 17th century, landowners in La Palma got rich on sugar cane. These rich families used to leave the heat of Santa Cruz de la Palma and spend the summer on their country estates, particularly in Breña Baja and Breña Alta. The houses are still private, but in some cases the gateway is clearly visible from the road. It’s a social symbol of wealth and power. These old families…

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