A small rock in the Atlantic

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

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Friday, 2 October 2009

The Outdoor & Walking Festival

Cubo de la Galga, Puntallana, La Palma
Cubo de la Galga, Puntallana

La Palma has a wonderful network of hiking trails, providing a great variety of landscapes and levels of difficulty. And this weekend, the island's hosting an outdoor and walking festival. You can go on a guided walk for free, but you have to register in advance: see http://www.senderosdelapalma.com/walkingfestival/actividades.php although places are filling up fast. I'm probably going to miss it because you have to meet the bus at Los Llanos to get to and from the walk. This is great for walks where you don't come back to your starting point, obviously, but I get very travel sick in buses.

All the buses leave from the Plaza España in Los Llanos, and they have a programme of other events there, too from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
o 17:00 horas.- Inauguration of the Plaza del Senderista.
o 17:00 - 21:00 horas.- Exhibition of local food .
o 17:30 - 19:00 horas.- Workshop focused on: Salto del Pastor, is a means of moving with a spear, which is used to jump over uneaven ground and geographical features.
o 18:00 - 20:00 horas.- Local food tasting.
o 18:00 - 19:00 horas.- Exhibition of stilts in Plaza del Senderista by TEATRO KDO.
o 19:00 - 21:00 horas.- Seminar "Periodismo de Montaña", focused on journalism in mountains.
o 22:00 horas.- Launch of the song "SENDEROS DE LA PALMA". A concert by Moise González & Son Iyá (salsa). Special guest stars: José Manuel Ramos, León de Romeo, Beselch Rodriguez.


o 10:00 - 12:00 horas.- Different activities and games for children.
o 12:00 - 13:00 horas.- Clowns and big balls at Plaza del Senderista with TEATRO KDO..
o 13:00 - 14:00 horas.- Humor with MANOLO VIEIRA.
o 17:00 horas.- Inauguration of the Plaza del Senderista.
o 10:00 - 21:00 horas.- Exhibition of local food.
o 17:00 - 18:00 horas.- Launch of sport (hiking and climbing) equipment. At the main stage.
o 18:00 - 20:00 horas.- Local food tasting
o 18.00 - 20:00 horas.- Globoflexia at Plaza del Senderista by Teatro Kdo
o 18:00 - 20:00 horas.- Workshop on GPS and Geocoahing, Geocoaching games at Plaza del Senderista.

Volcán de San Antonio (Fuencaliente):

o 22:00 horas.- Closing ceremony "Luces y Música en el Volcán". At the San Antonio volcano. (Volcán de San Antonio (Fuencaliente)

The summit of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, La Palma
The summit of Teneguía, Fuencaliente

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Monday, 28 September 2009

Meeting the Devil

The devil arriving at the fiesta, San Miguel, Breña Alta

La Palma has several fiestas where the devil appears. On Saturday night I went to one in San Miguel, a little village in Breña Alta. It started off like most fiestas - a band playing in the village square, with a couple of kiosks selling drinks and snacks, and a stall selling cheap kid's toys. Then, a little after 1 am, a group of special characters arrived: giants and "big heads" (cabezudos). They're a staple of Palmeran fiestas. The "big heads" are people in costumes including an outsize, moulded head. This lot included a couple of Snow White's dwarves, a wizard, Bart Simpson, and two witches, which is traditional. As usual, the witches had soft plastic sticks to whack people with, which is the bit the older kids love best. The giants are extra tall costumes, maybe twelve feet tall, which must be rather difficult to steer.

The devil, spouting fire at San Miguel, Brena Alta

The whole procession works its way down the hill, until it's below the square with the dancing. Then the devil appears with them. It's a man in a costume including a "big head", with fireworks on his trident and the head. He works his way up the hill again, to just above the church.

Then the cross lights up with fireworks, and the devil promptly scarpers.

And then they light more fireworks, set up to spin like catherine wheels.

Catherine Wheels

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