A small rock in the Atlantic

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

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

An Octupus and a Sardine

Poster for the Octopus's Funeral, Los Cancajos, La Palma Island
The Octopus's funeral has been rescheduled for Friday 26th.

The procession will leave the pharmacy at 8 pm and make its way to the beach, where the octopus will be cremated. There will be fireworks and dancing. Everybody welcome.
This is a new fiesta, so it'll be interesting to see

Meanwhile the sardine's funeral at Los Sauces will take place on Saturday 27th. The percussion music starts at 8 pm and the funeral procession starts at 9:30 pm in the main square by the church. Last time I saw it, it was wonderful.

And I believe that Barlovento will hold their sardine's funeral the weekend after, on March 5th or 6th. Watch this space.

Poster for the Sardine's Funeral, Los Sauces, La PAlma island

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Friday, 6 November 2009

San Andres

The Square, San Andres, La PalmaThe Square, San Andres, La Palma

San Andres is a very pretty little village in the northeast of La Palma. From Santa Cruz, you take the main road north until you're almost at Los Sauces, and then take the little road down towards the coast (yes, it's signposted).

The church was built in the early 17th century, when La Palma was rich from transatlantic trade. It's supposed to be beautiful inside, with two particularly good Flemish statues. Unfortunately every time I've been there, it's been shut. But there are lots of lovely old houses (it was the first part of the region to be settled after the conquest) and the square is particularly delightful.

Even better, there are two restaurants and a bar, all nearby. So you can admire the view while you eat. The restaurant on the lower level serves very nice fresh fish. I haven't tried the one higher up (with the red parasols) but a friend tells me they do very good tapas.

Old lime kiln, San Andres, La PalmaOld lime kiln, San Andres, La Palma

There's a footpath running north along the coast from the village to Charco Azul and Puerto Espíndola. One of the first thing you see is this limn kiln, which is being restored. At one time, everybody painted the insides of their water tanks with lime to kill off the bugs, and most people painted the outside of their houses with lime, too.

The path is paved, and smooth enough for a wheelchair or pushchair, but the climb back up into San Andres is steep, and I think it would be rather hard work.

Last time I went along the path, we found this baby gecko (Tarentola delalandii). Since the adults are about 6" (15 cm) long, it must have hatched very recently. Good luck to it - they're on the red list of threatened species.

Baby gecko, Charco Azul, La PalmaBaby gecko, Charco Azul, La Palma

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Footpath from Charco-Azul to Puerto Espindola

Map showing location of Charco Azul,La Palma, Canary Islands

La Palma has a nice, new seaside footpath, which runs from Charco-Azul to Puerto Espindola, in the municipality of San Andres and Sauces. It's been under construction for some time. My friends in Franceses went along to see how it was progressing, and found themselves in the middle of the official opening.

Seaside footpath at Charco Azul, La Palma, Canary Islands
Footpath from Charco Azul to Puerto Espindola. Photo: Helen Bennett

Charco Azul has salt-water swimming pools, rather like Piscinas la Fajana, although they're still not open after a rock slide during the winter. At one time, Puerto Espindola was a working port, mostly exporting the agricultural produce of the borough. Now it's mostly a fishing port.

The walk also goes past an old lime kiln. Lime was important, because everybody used it to whitewash their houses and water tanks.

Lime Kiln at Charco Azul, La Palma, Canary Islands
Lime Kiln near Puerto Espindola. Photo: Helen Bennett

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Friday, 14 November 2008

Where's the village gone?

Map of La Palma municipalities

Tourists sometimes go nuts trying to find the village of Breña Baja, or Fuencaliente.

There's a really simple reason why they can't find them. They don't exist. Breña Baja and Fuencaliente are municipalities, and their town halls are in the villages of San Jose and Los Canarios, respectively. It like driving all over the south east of England, looking for the town of Sussex.

The map shows the 14 municipalities (in blue) , with their administrative seats (in pink). Where
there's no name in pink, the municipalities are named after their chief villages, which makes things simpler. Just to keep things interesting, one, San Andrés y Sauces, is named after the two biggest villages. The town hall is in Los Sauces, which is much bigger and on the main road.

That's easy to find.

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Monday, 16 June 2008

Flags Galore

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 that weren't enough, La Palma has 14 municipalities, of which twelve have their own flag.

Santa CruzBreña BajaLos Llanos
El Paso Barlovento Breña Alta
GarafíaMazo Tijarafe

Puntagorda Puntallana Tazacorte

(The other two municipalities are San Andres y Sauces and Fuencaliente)

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