A small rock in the Atlantic

All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

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Saturday, 11 October 2008

35th Isla Bonita Car Rally

Rally car at high speed
Rally car: Pentax K10D, 1/20th, f16 and ISO 100

The annual car rally is today, with 59 cars going along the route three times. This is quite a big event in the national rally calendar, because racing along La Palma's twisty roads is not at all like racing round a track. Today's route goes through the Breñas and Mazo.

The road will be shut at 11:10, 14:14, and 18:10. It opens again when all the cars have gone past. It's fast, exciting and noisy.

And if you want to know how I got the background blurred and the car sharp(ish), see my article on panning.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Asteroid strike

A small asteroid, some 3 metres in diameter, came screaming in at 12 km /s (27,000 mph) and exploded over northern Sudan at 2:45 am on Tuesday October 7th. They don't think any of the bits would have been big enough to hit the ground. This is the first time an asteroid has been spotted and tracked before impact.

And the reason it's on this blog is that the William Herschel Telescope got a spectrum of the fireball as it zipped over the CanaryIslands.


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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Camp Sites


If you want to get really close to nature and have really cheap accommodation, you can't do better than one of the camping sites on the island.

They're open all year round, but be aware that it can be cold in winter, and it's quite likely to rain. You have to pay before you put the tent up, but you don't have to book in advance except for the Caldera. You may also have a problem with transport. Some of them are a long way from public transport.

They've all got toilets, water, and picnic tables and benches. All except the Caldera camp site also have car parks, showers, and barbecues.

This is probably the best site if you haven't got a car. It's about 3 km from the bus stop in the village (still a long way carrying a tent, but just about manageable) and the offices are right beside the site. There's also a bar and restaurant, if you don't fancy cooking, plus a sports area and children's play area. The catch is that Barlovento is the wettest part of the island, and from about October to April the chance of rain is very high.

Tel 922 696023 Mon-Fri 10 am - 2 pm and 4pm - 6 pm. Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm. They say they speak "limited" English. Of course if you turn up at a camp site with a tent, it doesn't take a genius to get the general idea.

The last I heard it was €4.50 per tent per night Mon- Fri, and €9.00 at weekends and bank holidays. They also have small huts, €20 per hut Mon- Fri, and €30 at weekends and bank holidays.

El Pilar
Don't even think about getting here by public transport! It's up on the central ridge, and the nearest bus stop is in Tenerife. All right, I'm exaggerating. Just not very much. The office where you pay is in Santa Cruz (Avenida Los Indianos, 20) which is at least fairly close to the airport. The site must be well over 1,000 m and you need a decent sleeping bag even in summer, as I found out the hard way. (See Sleeping with my Best Friend's Wife ) Maximum 7 nights. In summer, it does tend to get very dusty.

So what's the good bit? You're in the pine forest, at the start of the volcanoes footpath (ruta de los volcanos), the kid's play area is really good, and the barbecues are large and plentiful.

Tel 922 411 583

San Antonio del Monte
This camp site is in Garafía, in the laurel forest. San Antonio used to be a big village, 400 years ago. Then the people moved away but the church and the fiesta stayed. Unless you coincide with the fiesta, it's very peaceful.
Max 1 night. Book in Santa Cruz, on (Avenida Los Indianos, 20).
Tel 922 411 583

As well as the campsite, there's a hostel intended for small groups of hikers doing the long distance path around the island. They only accept groups of ten or more, but lone travellers can phone up and ask if there's a group they can share with. You have to bring your own sleeping bag or sheets and blankets. They have heating, showers and a dining room.
http://www.alberguesanantoniodelmonte.com/index.htm (only works with IE, not Firefox.)

The Caldera Campsite
See The Caldera Campsite
Probably the most beautiful camp site of all. 2 nights maximum, pay in El Paso, and they'll want to see your ID card or passport. If it rains really hard, you may be stranded for a day or so.
Tel 922 497277

La Rosa (Puntagorda)
I've never been here, but it sounds so nice I think I will. They have hot showers (solar heated water) barbecue, a small gas cooker, dining room and 220V electricity available. You can hire a tent (sleeps three) for €4. Also mountain bikes, binoculars, Internet access, washing machine.
€5 per adult, €3 per child 3-6 years old.
They have also three cabins, each of which sleeps six, prices from €20 for two people to €90 for ten. They'll even cook for groups at reasonable prices.
You can hire a tent (sleeps three) for €4. Also mountain bikes, binoculars, telescope and star map, Internet access, and a washing machine.

The bus stops at the entrance to the site.

http://www.airelibrelapalma.org/ Click on "Centro de Naturaleza la Rosa"
Tel/fax:(+34) 922-493306 E-mail: airelibre@airelibrelapalma.org

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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Ruido Fiesta 7

Casiano Melian

Friday night was the fiesta for issue 7 of Fanzine Ruido, held in bar Jon y Jor, inthe same building as the Millenium cinema in Los Llanos

It was a great night out. €3 paid for entrance to the gig, a copy of the magazine, and a free beer. (I was driving, so it was the only alcohol I had all night.)

The bands were Casiano Melian and Eremiot y la Tripulación. They were great!

And finally, they had an impromptu jam session. My husband joined in on the drums, and had a great time.

Eremiot y la Tripulación

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