La Palma (not Las Palmas) is one of the smallest of the Canary Islands.
The island, in the North-West of the island group, is, together with Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro, part of Tenerife.
Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria are part of the Las Palmas group.
The population of La Palma has gone up and down through the centuries due to pirates, wars, changes in exports, and the worst during Franco’s reign when 25,000 islanders emigrated to Venezuela.
At the moment there are about 82,000 residents on the island.
Fancy the island life? In an Estate Agent’s window in the Capital we saw a house with 7 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in Santa Cruz advertised for £199,000 and an old Finca (farmhouse) for £63,000.
La Palma is a very fertile volcanic island. Every road is curved as they are built around volcanoes, mountains and ravines, although there are some tunnels through mountains now.
You can drive round the island in a day, but (which is unlike me) I do recommend some of the coach trips as the guides are very well-informed about the island.
And some of the roads are pretty hair-raising. There’s a La Palma joke.
A priest went to Heaven and as St Peter was talking to him, a La Palma coach driver appeared.
St Peter waved him in and the priest said, ‘How come a simple coachdriver gets priority over me, a priest?
And St Peter replied, ‘Because not many people turn up to pray in your church. But the driver’s coaches are full, and they all pray!’
It’s a very green island. There are trees everywhere, with built-in sprinklers to prevent forest fires.
The main income is bananas. And if you have a meal or a drink in a bar, you’re usually presented with a banana!
There are over 20 varieties of grape, and the wines are delicious with a unique tang due to the volcanic earth. The most famous wine is the Malvasia, which Shakespeare referred to in several of his plays.
To my surprise, tobacco is grown there and La Palma cigars are highly rated.
One of the first tourists to the island was Columbus, who stopped there on his way to America.
There’s a replica of his ship there, with a naval museum inside it.
Further along from the ship is a row of old houses with eye-catching balconies, all different.
Eating out and drinking is very reasonably priced in La Palma.
There are official trails everywhere for hikers, with magnificent views.
Would I go back there? Probably not. But I’d recommend it to anyone for a visit.
This eruption and the earthquakes sound terrible.
There’s even talk of a tsunami, which could hit the South of England, as well as the USA & Africa.
All we can do is, wish the residents well and hope that things die down without being too dangerous.