Where did the benahorita come from?

May 7, 2017

  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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Happy Birthday Copernicus

  Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland on February 19, 1473. From the ancient Greeks, everyone in Europe believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The great work of Copernicus De revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), published in 1543, showed that the sun was at the center. You can see evidence of this yourself with binoculars or a small telescope. Both…

February 19, 2017
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Water filters

February 6, 2017

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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Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971
October 8, 2016

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 45 years old, and it’s their birthday this month. The Teneguía volcano erupted during October and November of 1971. My husband was a teenager at the time, and he remembers going to see it from the San Antonio volcano, and he remembers hearing the deep rumbles at…

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Water Mines on La Palma

January 11, 2016

Although La Palma has more water than the other Canary Islands, many farmers used to be desperately poor and frequently hungry. The only water for irrigation was rainwater, and obviously they had no control over how much they got. Then somebody suggested digging into the hillside to find water. (If anybody knows who, please tell me.) The idea is that much of the rainwater seeps into the ground, and runs…

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Cancajos Salt Pans

December 17, 2015

You can visit a working salt factory on the southern tip of La Palma, but if you’re staying in Cancajos, in Breña Baja, it’s worth taking a peak at the ruined salt factory. The sea front promenade runs south from the main beach along the top of a low cliff, and it’s a very pleasant walk. It’s smooth and flat enough for push chairs. A couple of stone towers stand…

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