Los Sauces Bridge

The big bridge at Los Sauces The new bridge over the barranco at Los Sauces is huge. It’s 319 metres long and towers 150 metres above the valley floor. It opened in December 2004. To begin with, it was rather controversial because it crosses the same valley as the Los Tilos National Park. But you can’t see the bridge from the park, and it’s really rather elegant for something so…

September 15, 2014
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Starlit Skies

There’s a really simple reason why the Royal Greenwich Observatory moved their telescopes here. It’s one of the three best places in the world for astronomy. The observatory was founded in 1675 by Charles II of England – hence the “royal” for £520 (£20 over budget!). It was the first purpose-built scientific research facility in Britain. At the time, Greenwich was a great place to build it – away from…

September 12, 2014
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La Cancelita Viewpoint

The view of Los Llanos from La Cancelita La Palma has even more glorious viewpoints then the other Canary Islands. One of my favourites is La Cancelita, where you get two amazing views for the price of one. The good view covers Los Llanos and a good chunk of the surrounding plain. (Los Llanos means ‘the plains’ but it’s not that flat by UK standards. The view of the Caldera…

August 26, 2014
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La Zarza Rock Carvings

One of the best archaeological sites on La Palma is La Zarza and La Zarzita, in Garafía. You have to walk, but it’s a beautiful stroll through woods of heather and bayberry trees. Yes, heather is a tree here – see the top photo. The whole walk takes about an hour, and first bit of the path is the steepest. It’s clearly signposted. You reach La Zarza first. Here there…

August 16, 2014
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The Swedish Solar Tower

Two of the fourteen telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory are solar telescopes — highly specialised to observe our own sun. This is the Swedish Solar Telescope, which was the first telescope built on the Roque. It’s currently the best solar telescope in the world since they added the new adaptive optics in 2005. (Adaptive optics compensate for air turbulence.) It can resolve details of the sun’s surface…

July 1, 2014
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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…

June 11, 2014
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