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, 2018
Read More >>

Tobacco in La Palma

October 20, 2018

I don’t smoke, so everything I know about Palmeran cigars is from hearsay. But they seem to have a very good reputation. Certainly Winston Churchill was known to be a fan, and certainly they get shipped off to the Spanish royal family. Most of the tobacco farms on the island are in Santa Cruz, Breña Baja, and especially Breña Alta. Typically, the crop is grown in tiny fields and given…

Read More >>

Santa Cruz Market

The inside of Santa Cruz Market
August 10, 2018

Santa Cruz market is on the Avenida del Puente, the main shopping streeet which runs uphill, perpendicular to the sea front. It was built in 1886 on the site of the hospital of Our Lady of Sorrows, founded in 1514. I think it’s a decidely nice building, with classical lines, and lots of light inside thanks to the big skylight. There are six little side markets plus a big open…

Read More >>

Pirate’s Day 2018

August 3, 2018

  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. Tomorrow (Saturday 4th August) is Pirate’s Day (Dia del Corsario) and there’ll be a reenactment starting at 6pm by the Naval Museum (the copy of Columbus’s ship at one end of…

Read More >>

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…

Read More >>

Las Nieves Sacred Museum

The back of the statue of Our Lady of the Snows, Sacred Museum, Las Nieves, La Palma island
May 27, 2018

I’ve written before about the lovely church at Las Nieves. Las Nieves means “The snows”, and Our Lady of the Snows is the patron saint of the island. The statue in the church is small, maybe 20″ high, and she dates from the early 15th century. That’s before the Spanish conquest of the island, because she was brought here by missionaries. Most religious statues here are made of wood, but…

Read More >>