The silk museum in El Paso will be holding an open day today, Saturday 31st March from 10 am – 5 pm. You’ll be able to taste local wine and cheese, and a folk group will perform at noon.
Friday night is the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids. Of course it should be visible all over the planet, but La Palma’s astronomical viewpoints will probably be a particularly good place to see shooting stars. Unfotunately the full moon will spoil the show quite a bit. Astrotour will be in La Polvacera bsketball court from 9 pm – 11:30 pm with telescopes.
This year, the island’s annual craft fair will be in San Pedro, Breña Alta, from yesterday until Tuesday. There are 179 different exhibitors, showing 40 different crafts, so there should be something for everybody. The fair is in a big marquee in the Parque los Alamos just north of San Pedro, beside the tobacco museum. It will be open from 5 pm to 9 pm Friday, Saturday and Wednesday, and 11 am – 9 pm on Sunday and Monday.
Puntagorda is celebrating its annual fiesta, of St Maurus the Abbot. On Saturday there’s a romería (something between a religious procession and a party) from the village centre to the old church, followed by a special mass, shared picnic and dance.
There are other fiestas in Concepción, Fuencaliente, Barlovento, and Argual.
Monday is a national holiday, and most shops will be shut, although most food shops will open at least briefly.
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 tender, loving care. For example, you have to prevent the plant from flowering in order to produce big leaves. Large-scale farms usually do this with chemicals, but Palmeran growers nip the buds out by hand. The leaves are harvested and dried by hand, too.
And then the leaves go off to be rolled into cigars. This is mostly done in tiny little workshops, scattered around the island. The finished cigars are much cheaper than Cuban ones, and I’m told some people think they’re better.
Don’t ask me. I don’t smoke.
Every year La Palma holds a craft fair, and the variety is truly astounding. This year the fair was held at the port in Santa Cruz to coincide with the Bajada, and it was as good as ever.
There were plenty of the traditional crafts, like silk weaving, embroidery and basket-making, but also plenty of new ones, like this clay sculptor.