The Romeria de San Antonio

July 16, 2017

A romería is a cross between a religious procession and a party. Typically, they hold a special mass and then take the statue out for several kilometres along a traditional route, followed by floats which hand out free food and wine, and lots of people, some in traditional dress, many of them singing and / or dancing. Since it’s a big event, most of them don’t happen every year, but…

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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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Palmeran Sow Thistles (Sonchus palmensis)

Sow thistles look rather like a dandelion gone ballistic. That is, the individual flowers look much like dandelions, but they’re growing on a shrub anything up to 2 m (6 ft) tall. And now they’re flowing all over the island, especially on the east, up to about 1,000 ft. Like so many other plants here, La Palma has a different species from everywhere else – Sonchus palmensis. The local names…

March 27, 2017
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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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Spot the Lava Flow

November 23, 2016

Just north of Fatima, El Paso Ladies and gentlemen, can you spot the lava flow in this picture? This lava flow at Fatima in El Paso is from the eruption of Volcan San Juan (St. John’s volcano) in 1949, but the whole island is volcanic. And, geologically speaking, it’s still in nappies. The very oldest rocks on the island formed as a submarine volcano, some 3 three million years ago….

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42nd Isla Bonita Car Rally

Rally car zooming through San Jose, Breña Baja
November 5, 2016

The annual car rally is today, with about 60 cars going along the route three times. 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. Today’s route goes through the Breñas and Mazo. The road will be shut at 10:09, 13:23 and 16:37. It opens again an hour later when all the cars…

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