A small rock in the Atlantic

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

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Sunday, 21 March 2010

Palmeran Sow Thistles (Sonchus palmensis)

Sonchus palmensis

Sow thistles look rather like a dandelion gone balistic. That is, the individual flowers look much like dandelions, but they're growing on a shrub anything up to 2 m (6 ft) tall. And now they're flowing all over the island, especially on the east, up to about 1,000 ft. Like so many other plants here, La Palma has a different species from everywhere else - Sonchus palmensis.

The local names are cerraja or lechuguilla.

Sonchus palmensis closeup

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Banana Museum, Tazacorte

When I first heard there was a banana museum in Tazacorte, I laughed. But since about 40% of La Palma's population works works in the banana industry (growing, packing shipping etc.) it makes sense. Besides, bananas are the 4th most important crop in the world, (after rice, wheat and maize), and this is the only museum about European bananas in the world.

The museum contains lots of information panels in English and Spanish, all about thing like the origins and history of bananas, how they're grown, their health benefits, and the geology and history of Tazacorte. There's also a good selection of tools used for growing bananas.

Open Monday- Friday, 11 am - 1:30 pm
(Groups of visitors 10 am - 14:30 pm, but only by prior arrangement - Tel 922 480151)

To find the museum, first find the church then head downhill. The lane meanders through some lovely old houses, but if you follow your nose whenever there isn't a sign, you'll find it - the building's yellowy-green. And you can't beat the entrance price - it's free.

Beside the banana museum stands a mojo museum, almost ready to open. (Mojo is sort-of Canarian ketchup.) I gather the hold up is mostly paperwork, because they want to make mojo on the premises. That would make it far more interesting, of course, but the paperwork for anything to do with food is far more complicated.

The soon-to-be Mojo Museum next door

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Fiestas in Breña Baja

Los Cancajos
They'll be having yet another attempt to cremate the octopus in Los Cancajos on Friday 12th, starting at 8pm. This was supposed to happen during Carnival, but it's been postponed twice due to bad weather. The town hall assures everyone that the octopus won't have gone smelly, because it's been frozen during the wait.
[This is a joke. I'm sure it isn't a real octopus.]
Anyway, the procession will leave at 8 pm from the chemist's near the south end of the village.

San José
Spain celebrates Father's Day on March 19th, because that's St Joseph's day. Since the Spanish for St Joseph is San José, the village of San José will hold fiestas, starting on Friday 12th at 5 pm. There will be various sporting events and talks, an exhibition of oil paintings which opens on Monday evening, and films (in Spanish) . There'll be a special mass on Friday evening (the 19th) and on Saturday there's a hike, bouncy castles and a horse race. In the evening, there's batucada (serious percussion) a stage performance by the kids, and a disco.

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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tazacorte Church

The outside of the church of St Michael the Archangel, TazacorteThe outside of the church of St Michael the Archangel, Tazacorte

On Thursday I was in Tazacorte, so I popped into the church. I'm not religious, but most of the churches on La Palma are beautiful, and worth at least a quick look. Even if the building itself isn't special, there's often a beautiful renaissance statue. In this case, I'd recently translated a text that said the church "was built at the end of the 15th century, making it the oldest religious building on the island. It has been restored, enlarged and altered on several occasions."

The old nave in Tazacorte churchThe old nave in Tazacorte church

Sure enough, this nave is very like most of the old churches on La Palma, with whitewashed walls, semi-circular arches, and a lovely coffered ceiling and baroque altar-piece.

The new nave of Tazacorte churchThe new nave of Tazacorte church

And this is the other nave! They weren't kidding about " restored, enlarged and altered" were they? I haven't been able to find out a definite date, but the style looks like the 1960s or 1970s.

The amazing thing is that the combination looks great. The architect must be a genius. I'm sure that if I tried to put a 1960s nave next to a 1490s nave, the result would be a right dog's breakfast.

Standing in the old nave of Tazacorte church, looking towards the new naveStanding in the old nave of Tazacorte church, looking towards the new nave.

So I tried to work out why the two very different nave look as though they belong to each other. Well, they both have white-washed walls, and the same floor and pews. They're joined by semi-circular archways, which are common in the old churches here. Both have wooden ceilings, although the new one is lower, lighter, and simpler. So I sort-of see why it works. but I still say the architect is a genius.

And yes, there's a very old painting of St Michael the Archangel defeating the devil.

Old painting of St Michael in Tazacorte churchOld painting of St Michael in Tazacorte church

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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Divine Biscuits from the Cistercian Convent

The Cistercian convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La PalmaThe Cistercian convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La Palma

The Cistercian convent of the Holy Trinity at Buenavista in Breña Alta is surprisingly new. It was founded in 1946, and it's the only closed order on the island. I was surprised to find out that there are only ten nuns who live there.

The convent has a small shop. I first went there about eleven years ago, in search of a rosary made of dragon-tree seeds, for a Catholic friend who was losing her eyesight. The seeds are big enough that you can feel your way through the prayers, and she was delighted. At the time, the shop was still in the older part of the building, and to my eyes, very exotic. The room was rather dark, and seemed darker because of the wooden paneling. The nun who came to serve me stayed behind a tiny barred window, as though she were in jail - until she saw that I had a toddler with me. Then she disappeared, and came round to my side for a good coochi-coo.
A Cistercian nun in the convent's shop, Breña Alta, La PalmaA nun in the convent shop

The new shop is much airier, as you can see. They still sell rosaries and religious medals, but they're best known for their biscuits, pastries and fruit liquors. Since they're handmade, they're a bit on the expensive side (these were €4.50), but they're delicious. My mother-in-law always used to say, "God knows what they put in them, but they taste divine."

Biscuits from the convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La PalmaBiscuits from the convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La Palma

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Sunday, 21 February 2010

North Road Closing

We've had major roadworks in the north of the island for some time, with some places reduced to one lane, so that you have to wait for traffic lights. Now they'll be closing the road completely at km 24, just north of Los Sauces, twice a day.

The road will be closed Monday - Friday 9:30 am - 12:30 am and 4 pm - 7 pm.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

La Palma Carnival: Tuesday - Friday

Fiesta de los indianos (powder night) santa cruz de la PalmaLos Indianos, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Tuesday 16th
Santa Cruz de la Palma
5 pm Fancy dress ball in the senior citizens day centre, with live salsa music

Los Llanos

Wednesday 17th
Santa Cruz de la Palma
11 am Presentation of prizes in the town hall.

Los Llanos
11 am - 1 pm Children's activities, Plaza de España
8 pm Murgas, Plaza de España

8 pm the Octopus's Funeral followed by a dance

Thursday 18th

Los Llanos
7 pm Comparsas (musical groups) at the carnival stage
8 pm Murgas, Plaza de España

Friday 19th
Santa Cruz de la Palma
9 pm The Sardine's funeral. Procession from the Alameda to the carnival stage, followed by the cremation, fireworks and a dance.

Los Llanos
11 am - 1 pm Children's activities, Plaza de España
1 pm The Sardine's funeral starts at El Camino Los Lomos -Los Pedregales. At 7 pm the procession leaves for La Calle Ramón Pol. and should arrive a 9:30 pm. On it's arrival, the sardine will be cremated.
10 pm Live music at the carnival stage
The Sardine's funeral, santa cruz de la palma

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Puntagorda's Almond Blossom Fiesta

Puntagorda fiesta: almond blossomPuntagorda fiesta: almond blossom

La Palma isn't a big island, but it still takes almost 2 hours to drive from Breña Baja to Puntagorda. I found most of the blossom had been spoiled by the bad weather last week, but it was still pretty. (In a good year, the whole hillside turns pink.) Then I got sidetracked into visiting a friend's barbecue, and very nice, too. I finally got to the main fiesta just as they were packing up, at 10 pm. This is amazingly early for a Canarian fiesta, but they danced half the night on Saturday, and they all had to get up on Monday morning.

Puntagorda fiesta: Hippy playing a didgeridooPuntagorda fiesta: Hippy playing a didgeridoo

A lot of German hippies live in and around Puntagorda, and they seem to get on very well with the locals. Here's one playing the didgeridoo at the end of the fiesta.

Puntagorda fiesta: the debrisPuntagorda fiesta: the debris

You can see that people had a good time! One of the locals was embarrassed to see my photographing this, but I don't like rooms that are so tidy you're scared to sit down, and I think villages are supposed to get messy when they've had a good party. Besides, the street cleaners were already hard at work, and I expect it'll all be clean and tidy by the time I post this.

Puntagorda fiesta, La Palma: The last bar openPuntagorda fiesta: The last bar open

Even though the band had left, and most of the stalls were packing up, a few people still gathered round the last open bar. As usual, people were merry, but nobody was outright drunk, and nobody was annoying. In fact I got two offers of bed and breakfast, but neither gentleman took offence when I said that, sorry, I was going home to my husband.

Puntagorda fiesta: the last few revelersPuntagorda fiesta: the last few revelers

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Breña Baja: The Old Butcher's Shop

The 19th century butcher's shop, Breña Baja, La PalmaThe 19th century butcher's shop, Breña Baja, La Palma

The old butcher's shop stands on the outskirts of the village of San Jose, in Breña Baja, near the Paradorof La Palma. The building dates from the late 19th century, and it was a butcher's shop until the 1960s. But now it's been renovated as a craft exhibition and shop.

The famous cigars of the Breñas San Jose de Breña Baja, La PalmaThe famous cigars of The Breñas

Although the place is small, they've packed a lot in. They've got lots of traditional embroidery and basketwork. They've also got the local cigars, which Winston Churchill enjoyed when he visited in 1959, and ceramics from a local artist.

Some of the fine embroidery and drawn-thread work on sale in San Jose de Breña Baja, La PalmaSome of the fine embroidery and drawn-thread work

And my personal favourite is the Canarian style rag rugs. Like most places, poorer people needed to make use of everything, and so they made rugs out of old clothes. Here, the cloth to be recycled was torn into narrow strips, which were then sewn together to make longer ones, and finally used as the weft thread on a loom (usually with a linen warp thread).

The shop opens on Tuesday -- Saturday, 4pm -- 8pm

A Canarian-style rag rug on sale in San Jose de Breña Baja, La PalmaA Canarian-style rag rug

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Monday, 1 February 2010

It's Raining on La Palma

Some people think it never rains in La Palma. Well, it's the greenest of the Canary Islands for a very simple reason. And right now, it's busy getting greener. In fact, we have an official orange weather alert, and all school is cancelled for tomorrow, for the whole archipelago.

The thing is, it's not raining all that much, at last not here. It's just like a wet day in Wales.

I suppose it's rather like the way Britain grind to a halt with the sort of snowfall that wouldn't bother a Siberian at all. And of course here, the rain is at last warm.

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Friday, 16 October 2009

The Molino Museum

Old weights at the windmill museum, Mazo.
A collection of old weights

As well as the workshop making replica ceramics, the windmill at Mazo houses a small museum. Entry is free, but there are a couple of places you can make a donation. Upstairs is mostly a collection of old tools: an old Singer sewing machine, combs for flax, knife grinders, braziers...

Old oil lamps at the windmill museum, Mazo.
Oil lamps

... the millers glasses, shepherd's poles, long handled pallets for putting bread in a large oven. To be honest, it's all crammed in rather haphazardly, but it's almost all labelled, and it's rather fun.

Gears underneath the windmill, Mazo.

But the best bit is downstairs. Much of the bottom of the windmill is still there. You can see the main flywheel and the gears, and hoppers for the grain.

Gears underneath the windmill, Mazo.

Best of all, you can still turn some of the mechanism by hand. Of course young boys love this.

Gears underneath the windmill, Mazo.
The brake and the bread kneader

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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Pre-hispanic Ceramics

The workshop at el Molino, Mazo
Inside the workshop at El Molino

The Benahoaritas (or Auaritas or Awaras) were the people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish invasion. They lived in caves and wore animal skins, but they farmed, and they had ceramics. The older ceramics are simpler, and the newer ones usually more decorated.

At El Molino, in Mazo, they make replicas of these ceramics. The business was started by Ramon and Vina, but these days they have other people working there too.

Cutting the decoration into a replica bowl
Cutting the design into the clay

Each design -- usually a bowl -- is an exact copy of a object made before the Spanish invasion in 1492. The walls of the workshop are lined with the reference pieces, each one labelled with the place where the original was found. The finished items are for sale in the shop, and prices range from €12 to €200. They also sell souvenirs.

Smoothing the base of a replica bowl
Smoothing the bowl with a pebble.

The workshop is in an old windmill. To get there, take the road from Santa Cruz to Fuencaliente which passes below Mazo, and look out for the signs and the windmill's sails. The windmill also houses a small museum (more in another post) and it's set in a beautiful garden.

Open Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm. Tel 922 440213

The web site is listed as http://www.ceramicaelmolino.com, but it isn't up at the time of writing.

The kiln at el Molino, Mazo
The kiln at el Molino where the finished pieces are fired.

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Thursday, 3 September 2009

My Top Ten Things to See and Do on La Palma

I had an email asking me to recommend the top ten things to see and do.

It was actually quite difficult to decide, because tastes differ so much. So this is a purely personal top ten. Your mileage may vary.

10. The Observatory
See The Observatory and Visiting The Observatory. While you're there, be sure to go up to the highest point of the island, the Roque de los Muchachos, and admire the view.

9. San Antonio and Tenguia Volcanoes
Teneguia last erupted in 1971, and it still looks a lot like the surface of Mars. See Which Planet Are You On? San Antonio is a much older volcano, with a visitor centre, and a nice strioll with spectacular views. You can even ride a camel.
See Taking the Hump

8. El Tablado
Well, I say El Tablado, but really the whole of the north of the island is stunning. You know those fantasy paintings, where the landscape is too steep and green to be real? That's what it looks like, sprinkled with picturesque villages clinging to the . El Tablado is just the most picturesque of these villages.

7. The Night Sky
There's a really simple reason why the observatory's here. I grew up in Leeds, and I was lucky to see ten stars in the sky. Light pollution's got a lot worse since then. After the big earthquake in Los Angeles, apparently some people phoned the police to ask what on earth that white streak was running right across the sky, man? You see, they'd never seen the milky way in their lives. I find that sad. So while you're on La Palma, pick a cloudless night, get a couple of hundred yards away from street lights, and wait at least ten minutes for your eyes to adjust. If you've always lived in cities, it may be some time before you remember to shut your mouth.
See http://lapalmaisland.sheilacrosby.com/2008/05/starlit-skies.html

6. Los Tilos Cloud Forest
At the top of the ravine just south of Los Sauces inside the clouds is an ancient forest of laurels and heather trees.Since La Palma is an island, many of the plants here have evolved in isolation, making them unique.I saw an overweight, arthritic botanist bouncing like a child on Christmas morning, almost incoherent with delight.“Oh my! Woodwardia. I hoped I’d see that but I didn’t dare hope too - Canaria canariensis! Oh look at this and -” He said that when he dies, he doesn’t want to go to heaven, he wants to come to La Palma.

5. Cueva Bonita
Cueva Bonita means Beautiful Cave, and it certainly is beautiful, especially at sunset. The catch is that the cave is only accessible by sea. You take a boat trip from Puerto Tazacorte. If you're lucky, you might see dolphins or even whales too.

4. Las Nieves Church
La Palma has lots of old, pretty churches. Quite often, they hold beautiful statues, a reminder of the days when the island got stinking rich from the trans-Atlantic trade. The loveliest is the little church at Las Nieves, which holds a little, 14th century terracotta statue of the Virgin Mary on a silver throne.

3. A local fiesta
Each little village has an annual fiesta, usually when the patron saint of the local church has his or her saint's day. This means that it's a rare week that doesn't have a fiesta somewhere on the island. Ask the local tourist office for details. A typical fiesta takes place the night before the local holiday (so you can sleep it off). It includes a religious procession carrying the statue of the saint around the village (some of the statues are very old and beautiful), a live band playing salsa music, and mobile bars selling drinks and food. Many have something special of their own, like dancing horses made of papier-mâché, decorated archways, or the recreation of a battle. I recommend rum and coke (called cuba libre) and a fried pork sandwich. Do NOT drink and drive. The police know when the local fiestas take place, and tend to be hiding with their breathalysers just down the road. Even more to the point, the roads are twisty with lots of spectacular drops if you take a bend too fast.
The tourist office will have details of what's happening.

2. El Time Viewpoint
See http://lapalmaisland.sheilacrosby.com/2008/06/el-time-viewpoint.html

1. The Caldera
The Caldera is a humongous crater, 5 miles (8 km) across, with rim walls almost 6,000 ft (1,800 m) above the floor. If you're really fit, I recommend the 27 km (17 mile) hike from Los Bresitos round to the camp-site and down the Angustias Ravine. It's exhausting, and I'm no longer fit enough myself, but the scenery is fantastic. Alternatively, you can stay a night or two at the camp-site in the centre. If you want to look down at the Caldera instead of up at the walls, a long-distance footpath runs around the rim, and if you're less fit, it's possible to walk short (or very short) sections to suit your abilities. Failing that, you can drive to a viewpoint on the rim and look down. The best ones are La Cumbrecita, La Cancelita, Los Andennes, and the Roque. See: The Caldera , Los Andennes Viewpoint and The Caldera Campsite

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Sunday, 30 August 2009

Fiestas in Early September

There are two nice fiestas coming up at the beginning of September.

In El Paso, the statue of the Virgin of the Pine was carried in procession from the hermitage up in the mountain down to the village. On September 6th, there will be another procession to carry it back.

The Devil's dance, Tijarafe, 2007.

In Tijarafe in the early hours of September 8th, the devil will join the dance. This is a man in a suit covered with lit fireworks, and no, I don't think it's entirely safe. On the other hand, I've never heard of any bad accidents, and it's certainly memorable and great fun. The party starts the night before, of course, with the usual music, dancing, and mobile bars.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Piscinas La Fajana

Salt water swimming pools at La Fajana, Barlovento, La Palma.

Fancy swimming in sea-water without the waves?

These are some rather nice salt-water swimming pools at Fajana, five km outside the village of Barlovento, on the main road to Santa Cruz. At one time they were only the natural pools, but they've been improved rather nicely. There's a pool near the top for senior citizens and the disabled, but the best places are reached down two flights of steps. They come in different depths, so that some are ideal for nervous beginners and some have more space. There's lots of flat space for sunbathing, and some caves beside the pools provide space for those who want to read a book without getting burned.

Salt water swimming pools at La Fajana, Barlovento, La Palma.

There's a cafe/bar/restaurant. It costs a bit more than similar places on the islands, but then they've obviously made a considerable investment by providing the pools. You aren't allowed to take your own food down to the pools.

You can stay in the self-catering apartments (visible at the top of the first picture) Tel 922 186162.

There are also fresh water showers (50 cents) and toilets.

And would you believe it, the toilets/changing rooms have a lovely mural on the ceiling and the tops of the walls. ! It's signed by the local artist, Luis Morera.

The toilets at the salt water swimming pools at La Fajana, Barlovento, La Palma.

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Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Church of San Juan, Puntallana

The church of San Juan, Puntallana
The exterior of the church of San Juan, Puntallana

As Palmeran churches go, the church of St. John the Baptist in Puntallana isn't all that old. The presbytery and the side chapels date from the 16th century, and the nave from the 1719. It was officially declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (rather like a listed building) in 1994.

The main altar in the church of San Juan, Puntallana
The main altar in the church of San Juan, Puntallana

The inside of the church is beautiful.

The nave in the church of San Juan, Puntallana
The nave in the church of San Juan, Puntallana

The oldest churches on La Palma were built by people who moved from what is now Andalusia, which has only recently been reconquered from the Arabs. The style is known as "Mudejar" which means "those allowed to stay." And this church has a beautiful mudejar ceiling.
The ceiling in the church of San Juan, Puntallana
The ceiling in the Presbytery

The ceiling in the church of San Juan, Puntallana
The ceiling in the crossing

The pulpit in the church of San Juan, Puntallana
The pulpit

The church houses lots of statues. This one, of St. Michael the Archangel, was made by Benito de Hita y Castillo in the 18th century. You get a lot of statue of St. Michael on La Palma, because Alonso Fernández de Lugo, who led the conquest in 1493, saw St Michael as his ally in a crusade to bring the poor benighted natives into the Catholic church. (I can't help thinking they might have seen the whole thing rather differently, especially since the conquest involved killing or enslaving so many of them, and taking all the best land away from the rest.)

The church of San Juan, Puntallana
St Michael Archangel

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Monday, 29 June 2009

Visiting the Observatory, 2009

GranTeCan, the huge new Spanish telescope
GranTeCan, the huge new Spanish telescope

La Palma is home to one of the three most important astronomical observatories in the world. (The other two are Hawaii and the Atacama desert in Chile.) The observatory sits at the top of the island, at the Roque de los Muchachos. It's a fascinating place to visit, but it's not normally open to tourists - they're too busy doing science. You can visit the mountain top and see the buildings from the outside any day of the year. But please note:
  • Days only, not nights. The William Herschel Telescope could see a candle on the moon, and the MAGIC telescope is even more sensitive. They really don't like car headlights. Some years ago there was an incident some years ago where a bus shone its lights right at the Herschel's dome. Now there's a barrier across the road which is shut a half an hour after sunset, and raised around dawn.
  • The road to the observatory is usually blocked for a few days each winter, by snow or landslides. Use your common sense. If the sign at the bottom of the mountain road says it's blocked, don't go up. I once rescued a couple of German tourists who'd spent the night in the car in the drainage ditch, after going past the sign, thinking that the weather couldn't be all that bad in the Canaries. It can. That night it was thick fog, 60 mph winds, and -5C. Thank God they didn't try to walk, because they'd have frozen to death for sure.
Since the MAGIC gamma ray telescope doesn't have a building, you get quite a good view from the outside. You can get fairly close by parking on one of the heliports (the bottom left as you go up the hill). From there, a footpath goes closer, and there's a display panel that explains how the telescope works.

If you want to see inside, you need to go on a guided tour. In 2009 they will hold 28 open days, each with only one group. Each visit starts with a visit to the MAGIC gamma-ray telescope, followed by one other telescope, and lasts about two hours. Visits must be booked in advance, by calling the receptionist at the Institute of Astronomy on (00 34) 922 425 703. And yes, the receptionist speaks English. Book early -- the places go fast. But no children under 12 allowed.

They also hold private visits, usually for schools or visiting astronomers. You can email your request to adminorm@iac.es. I believe the person who reads the email, speaks English. To be honest, they're unlikely to organise a visit for the average tourist, but if there's a visit organised anyway, you might be able to tag along. Cross your fingers!

The MAGIC gamma-ray telescope
The MAGIC gamma-ray telescope

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Friday, 10 April 2009

Belmaco Cave

Belmaco cave, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Belmaco cave, Mazo

Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it's open to the public. The entrance where you pay (€1.50 for a resident adult) is also a handicraft shop. A little farther inside, there's a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and lots of ceramics. Ceramics survive better than leather work, after all.

Benahorita artefacts, Belmaco museum, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Benahorita artefacts, Belmaco museum

After that you follow the path under the road to the main cave, with its rock carvings. By the way, that little square construction inside the cave is much more recent. It's an oven for drying figs.

There's a path around the site, with nine more small caves and display boards explaining things like which kind of tree is in front of you, and what it used to be used for. It's a nice stroll of about a kilometre, but in some places the paths are steep and rough, so it's not suitable if you have serious trouble walking.

There's a legend associated with the cave. The old canton of Tigalate (now Mazo) was ruled by two brothers, Juguiro and Garehagua. Their sister, Arecida, was beautiful and charming, and she fell in love with a brave and handsome warrior called Tinamarcín. Of course princesses couldn't usually marry for love, but her brothers thought well of Tinamarcín too, and so they started to prepare for the wedding of the year. All the island's royalty was expected to come.

And then Guillen Peraza arrived at the head of a party of would-be invaders. Luckily for the Benahoita, he was inexperienced, and they drove him off to LA Gomera. Tinamarcín was particularly brave and skilful in the battle, and Arecida loved him more than ever.

But Guillen Peraza came back just a few months later, and this time he brought people from La Gomera and El Hierro with him. They worked as interpreters,and fought alongside the Spanish. One of them, Jacomar from El Hierro, was dazzled by Arecida's beauty. But he was a cruel man, and when he found that she would never give him her love, he tried to take it by force. She resisted him, and he murdered her with his knife.

Tinamarcín swore vengance, but Juguiro and Garehagua got to Jacomar first. They killed him and left his body for the vultures, and Tinamarcín was left with nothing more than memories of his love.

The cave is on the lower road from Mazo towards Fuencaliente, at km 7, near Lomo Oscuro. It opens Monday - Saturday 10:00 am - 18:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am - 14:00 pm, Tel. / Fax: 922.44.00.90 (but I'm not sure how well they speak English).

They have a website in Spanish here with a map.

Did you know that I have a Google map for La Palma? Go to http://maps.google.com/ and search for "la palma canary islands". So far, I've marked 24 places of interest.

Rock Engraving, Belmaco, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Rock engraving in front of the main cave, Belmaco

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