Walking ferns

July 20, 2019

In the shadier corners of the laurel forest on La Palma, the ferns walk about. Sort of. Woodwardia ferns live in the damper parts of the forest. You can find them along the river bed at Los Tilos, and in the irrigated garden around the visitor centre. They have enormous fronds, anything up to a metre long. When the tip of a frond touches the ground, it often sprouts roots,…

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Los Tilos Waterfall

June 13, 2019

Canarian waterfalls aren’t common. There are lots of temporary waterfalls after heavy rain, but they tend to be very short-lived. But La Palma has two, pretty much year round. This one is in the Los Tilos biosphere reserve. From the visitor centre, you follow either the ravine or the water channel upstream. (If you follow the ravine, be prepared for some scrambling. If you follow the channel, bring a torch…

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Flags Galore

Garafía's flag
June 27, 2018

  You see a lot of flags on La Palma. Most English visitors will recognise the flags of Spain and the European Union. But the Canary Islands are an autonomous region within Spain, and they have their own flag too. You see it a lot, especially around May 30th, which is Canary Day. And then each island has its own flag. Here’s the flag of La Palma: And as if…

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The Puerto Espindola distillery

The old wood-fired still at the Ron Aldea distillery, Puerta Espindola, San Andres y Sauces, La Palma island
June 20, 2018

It’s been some time since I wrote about the rum factory (the Aldea distillery) at Puerto Espíndola, in the borough of San Andres y Sauces, and some things have changed. Unlike most rum factories, they still start with sugar cane rather than molasses. After all, sugar cane has been grown on La Palma since the 15th century, before the West Indies did. At present it’s harvesting season, and the factory’s…

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Canary Bell Flower

December 10, 2017

This is the Canary bellflower, Canarina canariensis, which has no close living relatives. It scrambles over things, like bindweed, with a stem up to 3 m long, and produces these lovely flowers in December. All the examples I’ve found so far this year are in Los Tilos, on the road up to the visitor centre.

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Where’s the village gone?

November 14, 2017

Tourists sometimes go nuts trying to find the village of Breña Baja, or Fuencaliente. There’s a really simple reason why they can’t find them. They don’t exist. Breña Baja and Fuencaliente are municipalities, and their town halls are in the villages of San Jose and Los Canarios, respectively. It like driving all over the south east of England, looking for the town of Sussex. The map shows the 14 municipalities…

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