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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The Best Baroque Altarpieces in the Canary Islands

June 13, 2018

This is the main altarpiece in The church of Our Lady of Candelaria (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria) in Tijarafe. According to the books, it’s the best baroque altarpiece in the Canary Islands. It’s certainly gorgeous, and huge. It was made by Antonio de Orbarán, and he worked on it from 1626 to 1628. It cleverly combines niches with statues and painted panels. The church itself was built around…

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Canary Day

May 30, 2018

Today, Wedesday, is Canary Day. It’s a big thing here, and the celebrations have started already. Yesterday most schools had a party for the second half of the morning. Most shops will be shut, except in tourist areas. Expect to see lots of traditional food like gofio and wrinkly pototes, traditional folk music and Canarian sports, like the Shepherd’s Leap.

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Los Cancajos

May 23, 2018

  If a beach is all you want for your holiday, then frankly you’re better off in Tenerife. But if a beach is part of the mix, then we have two main beach resorts, Los Cancajos and Puerto Naos. Our sand is like the Model T Ford – “Any colour you like, as long as it’s blak”. When the sea mashes up black, volcanic rock, that’s what you get. However,…

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A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

April 30, 2018

I think this is a really good guide book to the observatory on La Palma, but you probably shouldn’t take too much notice of my opinion because I wrote it. On the other hand, the director of the biggest telescope in the world, Pedro Alvarez, likes it too. So do the directors of the William Herschel Telescope and telescopio Nazionale Galileo (the Italian). “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A…

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Pillow lava

Pillow lava in the Caldera de Taburiente
March 31, 2018

Pillow lava is formed underwater, on the sea-bed. When the lava comes out and hits the sea water, the outside cools and freezes pretty much immediately, while the inside keeps on flowing. That means that it forms tube, which lengthens and widens until the pressure at the inlet end breaks open the tube and starts a new one. So you get the tubes interlocking. This is how La Palma grew…

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