The snow well

August 14, 2019

On the road up to the observatory (the LP4) between Fuente de Olen and Pico de la Nieve, you can see a 17th century snow well. It worked like an northern European ice house: pack the snow in hard during the winter, cover it up, and then collect it in the summer and sell it to rich people. The main difference is that in northern Europe you don’t need a…

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Pirate’s Day Reenactment

In 1553 French pirates led by François LeClerc (known as Pata de Palo or wooden leg) attacked Santa Cruz de La Palma and took the whole town over. Then they refused to go until they were paid a huge ransom. The island council, in exile in Tazacorte, tried to raise the money and negotiate a lower price. Meanwhile, a group of goat herders from Garafía led by Baltasar Martín, came…

August 3, 2019
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A Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs

The underwater memorial to the Tazacorte martyrs off the coast of Tazacorte, La Palma. Photo: Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez
July 11, 2019

The Tazacote martytrs have an unusual memorial – 18m underwater at Malpique, the site where they drowned. There are 40 crosses, one for each of the victims. The memorial was created in 2000, and I’m told that it’s easy to visit even for novice divers. The photo was taken by Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez who is a local diving instructor and ecologist.

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Where did the benahorita come from?

May 5, 2019

  The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita. (Or according to some people Benawara and Benawaritas. They insist their spelling is correct. I find this odd, because to me the correct spelling would be the one the people themselves used, only they didn’t write.) The Benahorita probably arrived on La Palma somewhere between 1000 BC and 100…

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Easter under Franco

My husband was telling me what Easter was like under Franco’s dictatorship. Catholicism was pretty much compulsory. From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the one TV channel showed the test card and played solemn classical music. The one radio channel also played solemn classical music. It wasn’t acceptable to play pop music, either live or on cassette. You couldn’t even sing or whistle. Acting happy was a sin. He was…

April 19, 2019
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Water filters

February 15, 2019

Some of the older houses still use these water filters and coolers in summer. You put the water into the bowl at the top, made of a porous stone (I think it’s volcanic tuff). The water filters through, and drips into the bottom bowl, which isn’t porous. Obviously this filters out any impurities, and because some of the water evaporates, the rest cools down. The stand for the wooden bowls…

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