Holy Innocents on La Palma

The 28th of December is Holy Innocents’ Day, which commemorates the massacre of the innocents by Herod in Matthew’s gospel (although according to Wikipedia, it’s probably not a historical event). In Spain and Spanish-speaking countries, it’s the Spanish equivalent of April Fool’s Day. For example, one year I told my husband that the police had been around asking whether he’d been jogging in the nude. Now my husband does go…

December 28, 2017
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Christmas trees

The Christmas tree in the silk museum in El Paso, La Palma
December 16, 2017

When I arrived on La Palma in 1990, Christmas trees were a new, foreign idea, so they were expensive. Most people had nativity scenes instead, and they still do. Since then, Christmas trees have become much commoner, and cheaper. Since trees were expensive quite recently, I still see creative alternatives. The one above belongs to a friend, and it’s about 8 inches high. The one below is made from an…

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Canary Bell Flower

December 10, 2017

This is the Canary bellflower, Canarina canariensis, which has no close living relatives. It scrambles over things, like bindweed, with a stem up to 3 m long, and produces these lovely flowers in December. All the examples I’ve found so far this year are in Los Tilos, on the road up to the visitor centre.

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Spot the Lava Flow

November 26, 2017

Just north of Fatima, El Paso Ladies and gentlemen, can you spot the lava flow in this picture? This lava flow at Fatima in El Paso is from the eruption of Volcan San Juan (St. John’s volcano) in 1949, but the whole island is volcanic. And, geologically speaking, it’s still in nappies. The very oldest rocks on the island formed as a submarine volcano, some 3 three million years ago….

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A quick visit to Santa Cruz

The famous balconies in Santa Cruz de La Palma
November 22, 2017

Cruise ships regularly call into Santa Cruz de La Palma, and I thought people might like suggestions on what to see while they’re here. Of course it might be useful to people staying elsewhere on the island, too. The Tourist Information Office is a distinctive glass building, right outside the entrance to the port, and the staff are very good. But it does tend to attract longish queues when a…

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A line on the sea

Roque Teneguía and a line on the sea
November 18, 2017

La Palma sits in the trade winds. Most days of the year we have a stiff breeze from the northwest. That creates most of the island’s climate: the wind hits the island at Barlovento (which means “windward”) and gets flows uphill. As it rises, it cools down and forms clouds. Sometimes it rains, and Barlovento is the wettest part of the island with a metre of rain per year. By…

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