Where on Earth is La Palma anyway?

Map of the Canary Islands, showing La Palma at top left
February 13, 2017

I originally came to La Palma to work at the astronomical observatory here. Almost as soon as I heard I’d got the job, my parents went to a travel agent to find out how much it would cost to visit. The young man at the desk said, “Las Palmas de Gran Canaris? Certainly Sir. I’ll just look it up for you.” “No,” explained my father. “The island of La Palma….

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Heather Trees on La Palma

heather_dew
February 10, 2017

All the heather trees are in bloom along the road to the Roque de los Muchachos. Yes, heather trees. Canarian heather (Erica arborea) is close relatives of English and Scottish heather, but it’s a tree, growing anything up to 5 m tall. The tiny leaves are very like English heather, and the flowers are much the same shape, but always white. The wood’s very dense and hard, so it’s good…

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Water filters

water_cooler_small
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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“Goodbye Street”, Tijarafe

Goodbye Street, Tijarafe, La Palma island
February 3, 2017

This is the street in Tijarafe which leads from the church to the Town Hall, where the cemetery used to be. Consequently it has the eloquent and poignant name, “Goodbye Street” (Calle Adios) This stuck in the mind of a local girl who emigrated to Cuba and became a poet: “If you come to visit my island, La Palma, do not forget Tijarafe where there is a street called Adios……

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Bus stops

busstop23.jpg
January 18, 2017

Yes bus stops. Here in the municipality of Breña Baja, we have the nicest bus stops on the island. The council built them, and the local painters’ association turned them into works of art. Puntagorda also has artistic bus stops, but I prefer ours. My husband and I watched this one being painted and said, “Gosh that’s really nice. I wonder how long it’ll be before it gets covered in…

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Blessing the Animals

January 17th is the fiesta of San Antonio Abad (St. Anthony the Abbot) in Fuencaliente, and at midday the priest holds a special, traditional service to bless the animals in the church square. I was curious, so a few years ago, I went. I didn’t know whether to expect pets or farm animals, but there were both. At twelve promptly, the priest came out, gave a short sermon on looking…

January 15, 2017
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