Star Parties

Sheila Crosby setting up a telescope at Puerto Naos,
April 22, 2017

Last night there were star parties all over La Palma to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration, and each municipality turned off the streetlights near the star party from 10 pm to 11 pm. I took my new telescope to Puerto Naos and showed people Jupiter and its big moons, how to find the Pole Star, and which constellation is Orion. When the lights came back on at…

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San Nicolas to Jedey

The GR130 footpath from Jedey to San Nicolas, Los Llanos de Aridane
April 6, 2017

The GR 130 footpath goes right around the island between sea level and about 3,000 ft. Since the whole path is 150 km long, I’m walking along it in small, infrequent installments. Recently I hiked the part from San Nicolas to Jedey (and back, because I wasn’t organised enough to catch a bus). The beginning of the walk wasn’t too great because I had to walk through roadworks, but the…

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The Art of Fire

April 20, 2016

Artefuego glassblowing studio is at the back of Plaza Sotomayor, where they hold the Argual flea market every Sunday. It’s a good idea to combine the two, because they hold public demonstrations on Sundays between 10 am and 2 pm. They combine fragments of lava into their creations, and to the best of their knowledge, they’re the only people in the world to do so. This makes every piece unique….

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Volcanic Caves

July 26, 2015

I come from Yorkshire and I’m used to limestone caves, so I was surprised when I found that the volcanic island of La Palma has lots of caves too. Volcanic caves are formed when a river of lava solidifies on the top and sides, but the middle (insulated by the solid-but-still-hot lava around it) stays runny. Sometimes big bubbles of gas force their way to the surface, leaving a hole…

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Transvulcania 2014

Saturday is the famous Transvulcania. Crazy people will be running an ultramarathon around La Palma. The main race starts at 6 am down at the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island. The runners will race up the central spine of the island to the picnic site at El Pilar, then Punta de Los Roques. The race continues anticlockwise around the Caldera rim, climbing up to the observatory at…

May 8, 2014
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Easter Processions in Santa Cruz de La Palma and Los Llanos

It’s Holy Week, and in this Catholic country, a lot of people take it very seriously. The bigger churches hold processions, which look very exotic to my English eyes. Do try to see at least one.   It’s not so much that they take the obviously-heavy statues along the street – most churches do that on the respective saint’s days. It’s the costumes. They remind me of the Klu Klux…

April 15, 2014
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