Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in 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 is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

October 26, 2013
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The Devil in Tijarafe

La Palma has several fiestas where the devil appears. He’ll visit Tijarafe in the early hours of September 8th for the annual fiesta del diabolo. This is the night of Saturday to Sunday. It starts off like most fiestas. The village centre is off the main road, and on the way in, you pass the usual mobile bars, blasting out music at full volume. In the main square, higher up,…

September 6, 2013
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The William Herschel Telescope

The William Herschel Telescope at sunset. . The William Herschel Telescope was for many years the biggest and best optical telescope in Europe (until GranTeCan opened in 2009).  The main mirror is 4.2 m across (165″, or 13′ 9″) which astronomers call “a good light bucket”. It’s rather old as world-class telescopes go, since it opened in 1987, but it still produced excellent science. In fact data from the WHT…

August 7, 2013
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A Night of Stars

Tonight is the big shopping night in Santa Cruz de La Palma. Shops will have special offers and stay open late, and there’s all sorts of activities on offer. The town hall have organized a special temporary car park on the sea front. (Traffic will circulate through the car park only from south to north. Presumably to go north to south you have to go along the bypass.) Nova Foto…

December 15, 2012
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A Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs

The Tazacote martytrs have an unusual memorial – 18m underwater at Malpique, the site where they drowned. There are 40 crosses, one for each of the victims. The memorial was created in 2000, and I’m told that it’s easy to visit even for novice divers. The photo was taken by Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez who is a local diving instructor and ecologist. He has a blog in Spanish (with excellent photos)…

July 14, 2012
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The Convent of the Holy Trinity in Breña Alta

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 ten years ago, in search of a rosary made of dragon-tree seeds, for a Catholic…

March 25, 2012
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