Ship building in Santa Cruz de La Palma

October 15, 2019

Santa Cruz used to be the third biggest port in the Spanish empire, after Cadiz and Antwerp. So perhaps it’s not surprising that it also used to be quite a big shipyard. Some 90 ships were built there between 1809 and 1948. In fact I was recently told that the chestnut trees weren’t introduced for the chestnuts: they were mostly for the wood, for shipbuilding. One of the biggest was…

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El Paso’s Silk Museum

October 12, 2019

La Palma has a long history of silk production, going back to the 16th century. In fact, at one time, silk was made in all the Canary Islands, but since the 19th century, El Paso, in the centre of La Palma, is the only place which still produces it. They use an old fashioned, labour-intensive technique, the only place in Europe which still does so. You can see most of…

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Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971
October 8, 2019

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 48 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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Ravens on La Palma

October 5, 2019

Common Ravens live all over Europe, Asia and North America, but we have a different sub-species here. Some biologists group our raven in with the North African sub-species (Corvus corax tingitanus) and others think the Canaries have their own sub-species (Corvus corax canariensis). Like other members of the rook-and-crow family, they’ll eat whatever’s available: carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste. And they’re pretty intelligent about…

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Nacidas

Nacidas peeping out of the soil.
October 1, 2019

We’ve had quite a bit of autumn rain, particularly at the forest altitude. That means that the wild mushroom season is in full swing. There are people who know enough to collect all sorts of wild mushrooms safely, and they assure me that they’re delicious. I know it can be done. There are people who will never eat a mushroom unless it comes from the supermarket wrapped in plastic. I’m not…

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The Rally

Rally car zooming through San Jose, Breña Baja
September 20, 2019

The annual car rally starts tonight. This is quite a big event in the national rally calendar, because racing along La Palma’s twisty roads is not at all like racing round a track. About 60 cars will drive along the route through the Breñas and Mazo once tonight and three times tomorrow. Thetimes when the road closes are posted along the route. The race itself starts an hour later and the…

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