Where the Heck is La Palma Anyway?

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 girl 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. My…

January 10, 2019
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Roscon de Reyes

January 6, 2019

Today the three kings visit babay Jesus and bring presents for all good children (and coal for the naughty ones). There’s also a tradition of eating a ring-shaped cake called roscon</ There’s a Canarian version, something like a light fruitcake, but this year we tried the one from mainland Spain with a custardy filling. They come with two srprises, rather like the charms in an English Christmas pudding. My husband…

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New Year Celebrations: Australian and Spanish

December 31, 2018

New year is a big thing in Spain. In the last few years, many town halls have put on events for  “Australian New Year” which means they start at midday so little kids can enjoy them. The poster above is for the one at Los Alamos in Breña Alta (take the main road north out of San Pedro for a few hundred metres.) The writing in the bottom left is pretty…

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Cancajos Salt Pans

December 13, 2018

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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The Tsunami Risk

You may remember the fuss in 2001 when two geologists, Steven Ward and Simon Day, announced their theory that the west side of the island of La Palma would collapse one day, creating a mega-tsunami that would cross the entire Atlantic and still be anything up to 25 metres high when it hit New York, and indeed everything from Newfoundland in Canada to Recife in Brazil. These days, almost all…

December 9, 2018
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