Imposing Gateways

June 15, 2018

 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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El Llanito Sardine

There’s one sardine’s funeral left, at El Llanito in Breña Baja, this Saturday at 9pm. It’s a much smaller sardine, as you can see here, but it’s usually great fun. Sadly I will probably miss it, because I won’t be on the island. (I say “probably” because the weather forecast isn’t good and they might postpone it.)   You won’t be able to park in the village unless you go…

March 17, 2017
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The Convent of the Holy Trinity in Breña Alta

March 9, 2017

The Cistercian convent of the Holy Trinity at Buenavista in Breña Alta is surprisingly new. It was founded in 1946, and it’s the only closed order on the island. I was surprised to find out that there are only ten nuns who live there. The convent has a small shop. I first went there about ten years ago, in search of a rosary made of dragon-tree seeds, for a Catholic…

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Dragon Trees

October 25, 2016

The north of La Palma is one of the best places to see dragon trees. These exotic-looking plants grow throughout the Canary Islands, and also in Cape Verde, the Azores, Maderia, and western Morocco, but  on La Palma, they’re still reproducing naturally. The Canary Islands used to have a large, flightless bird, something like a Dodo. This bird ate dragon tree fruits, so the seeds evolved to have a hard protective…

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The Scenic route over the ridge

Montaña Quemada, El Paso, La Palma, Canary Islands
September 18, 2016

Los Llanos del Jable, with El Paso behind The main roads on La Palma form a rough figure 8, with the main east-west road being the LP2 from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos, through the tunnel. But whenever I’ve got time, I like to take the scenic route, the LP203. This winds up through the heather and bayberry forest, then pine forest, past the barbecue and picnic areas at Pared…

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Concepción

April 26, 2016

Concepción is a headland on the boundary between Santa Cruz de la Palma and Breña Alta. The top is at 400m, and the sheer cliff down to the beach is about 300 ft (100 m ) high, which is about the size of a mature California redwood tree, or a Saturn V moon rocket. These days it’s got a tunnel drilled through it, but until 1917, the only way to…

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