The Santa Maria

Replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria in Santa Cruz de la Palma Back when I worked for the observatory, we ocassionally gave visiting astronomers a lift up to the mountaintop. I always enjoyed detouring past the replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria, partly to see the visitor’s reaction. Astronomer: “What on earth is that!?” Me: It’s a concrete ship in the middle of the road. What’s it look like?”…

April 18, 2010

Living Statues, 2010

Every year Santa Cruz has a demonstration of living statues, and I believe this year is the fifth year they’ve had them. If you haven’t seen them before, living statues stand perfectly still (or try to!) until you put money in the hat (or whatever), and then they perform. They’re performing along the main street of Santa Cruz, the Calle Real. Everybody calls it “the Calle Real”, but nowhere along…

April 11, 2010


A lot of people on La Palma take Holy Week very seriously. The bigger churches hold solemn processions, which look very exotic to my English eyes. They take various heavy statues along the street, and some of these statues are beautiful works of art from the 16th century. But the bit that grabs visitors’ attention is the costumes. They remind me of the Klu Klux Klan. This is unfair, because…

April 3, 2010

Moon Exhibition in Santa Cruz de la Palma

The moon. Photo by Nick Smith, taken on August 14th at the Roque de los Muchachos
November 26, 2009

Photo: Nick Smith, taken on August 14th at the Roque de los Muchachos In honour of the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon, and the International Year of Astronomy, the observatory is hosting an exhibition about the moon. It covers the history of lunar observations from the first time Galileo pointed his telescope at it in 1609 to the present. You don’t have to…


S/C Flea Market

On the first Sunday of every month, the port car park gets taken over by a flea market. It’s only small, but I love it. This morning a couple of hours slipped by very fast. There’s an amazing variety of stuff on sale. For some reason there are lots of flowers, plants and vegetables. This morning I stocked up on herbs. Most of the stuff is cheap, but this stall…

March 2, 2008