Francis Drake on La Palma

Francis Drake tried to enter Santa Cruz harbour on November 3rd, 1585. This was after Drake was knighted and before the defeat of the Spanish armada. The Spanish regarded him as a pirate, with some justification. Drake left Plymouth with 23 ships and over 2,000 men, heading for the Caribbean. The prevailing winds meant that the logical route was via the Canary islands, so he headed for the biggest port…

November 29, 2017
Read More >>

A quick visit to Santa Cruz

The famous balconies in Santa Cruz de La Palma
November 22, 2017

Cruise ships regularly call into Santa Cruz de La Palma, and I thought people might like suggestions on what to see while they’re here. Of course it might be useful to people staying elsewhere on the island, too. The Tourist Information Office is a distinctive glass building, right outside the entrance to the port, and the staff are very good. But it does tend to attract longish queues when a…

Read More >>

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…

Read More >>

Photos of the Pirate Invasion

August 6, 2017

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but that was fun! I hadn’t expected nearly so many actors in such good costumes, so very well rehearsed. I hadn’t expected so many spectators either. The crowds made for a great atmosphere, but they also made it hard to get good photos, and it didn’t help that I was using my new camera so I had to think about what I was doing….

Read More >>

Pirate’s Day Reenactment

In 1553 French pirates led by François LeClerc (known as Pata de Palo or wooden leg) attacked Santa Cruz de La Palma and took the whole town over. Then they refused to go until they were paid a huge ransom. The island council, in exile in Tazacorte, tried to raise the money and negotiate a lower price. Meanwhile, a group of goat herders from Garafía led by Baltasar Martín, came…

August 3, 2017
Read More >>

Las Nieves

May 22, 2017

Las Nieves is a pretty hamlet, in the municipality of Santa Cruz, but about 2 km outside it as the crow flies. If you’re fairly fit, there’s a pretty (but rough and steep) footpath between the two. More importantly, Las Nieves has the most gorgeous church on the island. It’s also one of the oldest, dating from at least 1423 (they had missionaries here before the conquest in 1493). The…

Read More >>