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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The Caldera

The Caldera de Taburiente, near the campsite
March 7, 2016

Most people say La Palma is the most beautiful of the Canary Islands. And practically everybody agrees that the most beautiful part of La Palma is the Caldera de Taburiente. In 1825, the German geologist Leopold von Buch studied the Caldera de Taburiente and concluded that the crater was formed by the emptying of a magma chamber below. He was sufficiently impressed with it that he gave the name “caldera”…

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Where’s the village gone?

Tourists sometimes go nuts trying to find the village of Breña Baja, or Fuencaliente. There’s a really simple reason why they can’t find them. They don’t exist. Breña Baja and Fuencaliente are municipalities, and their town halls are in the villages of San Jose and Los Canarios, respectively. It’s like driving all over the south east of England, looking for the town of Sussex. The map shows the 14 municipalities…

November 22, 2015
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Piscinas La Fajana, Barlovento

August 29, 2015

Fancy swimming in sea-water without the waves? These are some rather nice salt-water swimming pools at Fajana, five km outside the village of Barlovento, on the main road to Santa Cruz. At one time they were only the natural pools, but they’ve been improved rather nicely. There’s a pool near the top for senior citizens and the disabled, but the best places are reached down two flights of steps. They…

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Burr Marigolds

June 7, 2015

  My father was a botanist, so he really looked forward to his first trip to La Palma. One of the plants he most hoped to find were burr marigolds – Bidens alba. But he later said he was trying not to hope too much in case he was disappointed. That made me laugh, because they’re an extremely common roadside weed. In fact they’re a right nuisance for exactly the…

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Artesanía Christina

  I love Christina’s shop. She started off in the local flea market, selling fancy knitting yarn in the most wonderful colours. I always wanted to buy the lot and spend the next year knitting. Now she has a shop on the Calle Real, still selling the yarn, but also finished knitware and costume jewelry which she makes herself out of local lava and coral, with silver or gold-plated silver…

April 24, 2015
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