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Easter Week in Lockdown

Normally Holy Week is a big thing on La Palma, although nothing like as big as it is in Seville. Normally lots of the lovely Flemmish statues are taken out in processions by people in special costumes which assure their anonymity. (Please note, these costumes are much older than the KKK) Of course none of that is happening this year which is very disappointing for some people. I believe some…


A-pause-calypse Day 21

La Palma now has 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is worse than the other Canary Islands in proportion to population. The Cabildo (Island Council) has suspended flights to and from Madrid, which is a hot spot for the disease. Most tourists left La Palma as soon as the lockdown was announced, many on special flights, but apparently some 150 have stayed on. They’ll find it hard to leave now…

Benahoara ceramic in the museum in Los Llanos, La Palma

Where did the benahorita come from?

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 BC,…


The Cloud Waterfall

Because the island sits in the trade winds, damp air hits the northeast of the island and has to rise, where it turns into clouds. Because La Palma has a north-south spine called the Cumbre Nueva, the cloud quite often reaches up to the ridge and then tumbles over as the cloud waterfall. This is extremely pretty, and best viewed from around the western side of the tunnel. You can…

The cover of 'A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: Second edition

A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

t-here’s a guidebook to the observatory for normal people. I think it’s a rather good book, with clear explanations, lots of photos and some good anecdotes. However you shouldn’t pay much attention to my opinion because I wrote it. Table of Contents for the Second Edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: a guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos”. Any words in bold are explained…


Lockdown Day 6

Everything is still weirdly quiet. There are now 11 cases on La Palma, one of whom is in intensive care, one in an isolation ward, and the rest isolated at home. The police are getting stricter, handing out big fines to people caught going out for no good reason. And people are talking about this going on for months rather than weeks. I keep hearing from people who think it’s…