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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Día de Todos los Santos - All Saints Day

I will be the first to admit that La Palma likes nothing better than a jolly good fiesta. In fact almost anything, noteworthy or not, can have its own special day. For example, La Fiesta del Entierro de la Sardina, the Fiesta of the Funeral of the Sardine. However, fiestas are not to be confused with  religious days, which are often Public Holidays. 
And one of these very special religious days is the  Día de Todos los Santos - All Saints Day - which is held on 1st November. Here on La Palma it is normally called El Dia de los Difuntos, the Day of the Deceased. 
This is a day which is dedicated to remembering, not just the saints, but also those who have gone on before such as relatives, friends and neighbours. There is a saying, 'Nadie más muerto que el olvidado' - Nobody is more dead than the forgotten. And in Spain, they say it with flowers thus making sure nobody is forgotten.

Prior to the day, cemeteries are given a spruce up and flower shops begin the task of trying to make sure there are enough flowers. In the larger towns and cities, people are literally queuing up to buy flowers. But even in smaller places, if you leave buying your flowers until the last moment, they will have run out. 

A rather improbable venue for a celebration, the cemetery, becomes a hive of activity on 01 November, with swathes of people turning up every few minutes with arms full of flowers. At our village in the north of La Palma, groups of cheerful local ladies trim, tweak and tidy the blooms into beautiful arrangements, sprays and posies with which they decorate not just tiered vaults but also the ancient graves. In a jamboree of festive colour, a celebration of life gradually blossoms.
And so, one of the lovely things about the Day of the Deceased is that the cemeteries are not just a place for sadness, but also for happiness and laughter when recalling the good times. There may be sobbing or singing but always there is an over-riding sense of support for each other. It is certainly a bitter-sweet experience of remembering and celebrating all rolled into one.
It really is a question of flower and glory, for ever and ever.
I think we can say Amen to that.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Observatory Tour at Roque de Muchachos

If you're thinking about taking a tour at the La Palma Observatory at El Roque de Muchachos (ORM), we can highly recommend it! 
It's something that we are often asked about and no wonder, the Roque de Muchachos Observatory is one of three best observatories on Earth - and home to the largest optical telescope in the world.
Taking a trip up to the Roque de Muchachos is practically a must while on La Palma. At 2426m above sea level and the highest point on

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Plaza la Glorieta, Las Manchas

At a quiet crossroads on La Palma, you may be surprised to stumble across an almost hidden enclave filled with sub-tropical plants, dragon trees, man-sized lizards and circling crows.
You may think you've been time-warped back into a prehistoric era and just need a few dragons to make the fantasy real. But this is no fantasy as everything is depicted in tiny mosaics.

The Plaza de Glorieta in Las Manchas Abajo (or the Plaza de Los Cuatro Caminos, Plaza of the Four Roads) is an impressive and

Monday, 19 June 2017

San Andres and Marine Walk to Charco Azul and Puerto Espíndola - Part II

On our way now from the beautiful little village of San Andres to the Puerto de Espíndola, this the second part of our blog post - you can see the first part here:
Although the walk is very easy and quite short, there are many things to see along the way and of course even a bit to learn. For example, you'll be able to read from one of the information boards about how the settlement of San Andres was the most important trading centre in the north-east of La Palma, especially in the 16th and 17th century. It's hard to imagine what it was like that far back!
But the tiny port of 'La Cuevita' that is passed along way was doubtless key and you can still see the winch that was used in more recent times to get boats in and out of the water. Before the advent of the fantastic roads we have now, it was