Dragon Trees

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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

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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

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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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Twin Dragon Trees in Breña Alta

Twin dragon trees (Dracaena draco), Breña Alta These trees stand in Breña Alta, just off the minor road which winds over the central ridge to El Paso. They grow so close together that it’s hard to tell where on trunk ends and the other begins. Of course there’s a legend associated with the trees. Two brothers lived nearby, and were very close, but they fell in love with the same…

March 26, 2016
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Tobacco in La Palma

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October 20, 2015

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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A religious grotto in Breña Alta

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August 11, 2015

La Palma has a network of marked hiking trails. The LP 19, in Breña Alta runs up from San Pedro, past a series of springs, into the lower end of San Isidro, and back down to the main road. Like most of these paths, the scenery is beautiful and keeps changing. And this path included bonuses. Several of the springs feed laundry bowls. Since it’s easier to carry clothes than…

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