Footpaths on La Palma

November 5, 2018

La Palma has a network of well-marked footpaths, most of which are centuries old.  As late as the 1960s, walking was still a major form of transport for the islanders, The whole network of hiking trails on the island comes to over 1,000 km, and between them they pass through just about every kind of scenery on the island: lava fields, pine forests, lush laurel forests, farmland and village centres….

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Remembering the Dead on La Palma

Halloween isn’t much of a fiesta here, although it’s becoming more popular. All Saint’s Day is. Traditionally, it’s when people remember their dead. So they decorate the graves in the morning, and most cemeteries have a special mass. It’s fascinating to see, but please be sensitive. Some people may be recently bereaved and feeling fragile.

November 1, 2018
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Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in Mazo

October 24, 2018

  Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it’s open to the public. The entrance is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

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Manolo Blahnik

Whitney Port wearing Manolo Blahnik's 2009 design 'Tribeca'. Photo: David Shankbone
October 12, 2018

Manolo Blahnik’s Czech father met his mother on a stopover in Santa Cruz de la Palma. He continued his journey, but promised to come back. The unusual bit is that he did indeed come back and marry her, and they set up home just south of Santa Cruz on a banana plantation. “Our property had no neighbours apart from my grandfather’s house. It was just bananas, the sea and us……

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Wild canaries

Wild Canary in a juniper tree, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
October 8, 2018

 For some time I’ve been trying to identify the birds twittering in a Canary Islands juniper tree (Juniperus cedrus) at the Roque. It’s been frustrating because although you can frequently hear a whole flock of them twittering, they tend to stay deep inside the tree and it’s very hard to catch a glimpse of one. It’s even harder to get a photograph in order to identify them. As you can…

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Golden Apples

Strawberry tree, or Arbutus canariensis
October 5, 2018

The Canary Islands Strawberry Tree, Arbutus canariensis, known in Spanish as madroño canario is a tree native to the Canary Islands. Surprisingly, it’s in the same family as heather. Well I was surprised. Heather leaves are tiny little needles, while strawberry trees have broad leaves. Tehre aer several growing outside the Caldera visitor centre. As you can see, the fruits are bright orange, and they look a lot like kumquats,…

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