Fiesta in San Antonio

The procession to bless the animals, San Antonio del Monte fair, Garafía
June 11, 2010

  The biggest cattle fair and country market on La Palma will be held at San Antonio del Monte this weekend, in honour of St Anthony of Padua. About three hundred years ago, San Antonio was one of the biggest villages in Garafia, but the people gradually moved away. Now there’s just a pretty little church, a house where pilgrims used to stay and for one weekend a year, a…


Star Finders

M100 (NGC 4321), a barred galaxy in the Virgo cluster 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. A modern telescope could see the equivalent of a candle on the moon, so obviously they want to be well away from city lights. Even more obviously, they want to be somewhere that doesn’t…

January 27, 2010

The Kings are Coming to La Palma!

Gaspar visiting Santa Cruz de la Palma
January 5, 2010

Although Father Christmas does visit Spanish children, he’s a new arrival. Traditionally the presents arrive on the morning of January 6th, when the three kings visit baby Jesus. This is why the sales haven’t really started yet – Christmas isn’t over here. And on the evening of the 5th, they ride in procession through most of the major towns and villages in Spain. In previous years we’ve usually gone to…


NOT a place I’ve been before

In all my 11 years of working at the Roque as a software engineer, I never visited the Nordic Optical Telescope. We used to joke that it was NOT one of ours. And in two years of tour guiding up there, I never went in either. It was NOT on my programme. But now I’m writing an e-book about the observatory, and it’s NOT a good idea to write about…

November 22, 2009

Tired and relieved

August 4, 2009

Car workshop, Los Canarios, Fuencaliente The fire’s under control at long last. The La Palma blog‘s been going crazy with traffic, as people tried to find out what was happening here. So I started to feel a bit like a lighthouse-keeper — you know, responsible — and on Monday I went out for another look at the fire. The road was open and I got to Fuencaliente. It’s in better…


Photos of the fire

And we now have a fire-fighting unit from Seville come to help. We need them. The “controlled” part of the fire on the east side of the island has apparently revived, and more people have been evacuated from Montes de la Luna. I think the lava flow in the foreground must be the one they’re hoping to use as a natural fire break.

August 1, 2009