Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 2: La Palma (Canary Islands)

Town Square
Canarian House
La Palma is the furthest west of the Canary Islands.  The climate is "forever spring" with the northern end most influenced by the colder, wetter Atlantic and the southern end by the more arid Africa.  The island is basically a large (mostly extinct) island, so there is a 5,000 foot mountain in the center and the rest of the island sloping down to the sea, ending in most places as cliffs.  The mid-point of the island is mountain ranges and a caldera (from the oldest volcanic area).  The soil layer is fairly thin over black lava rock.  Throughout the entire island are walls, fountains, buildings constructed out of chunks of the rock crafted into puzzle pieces to form smooth even surfaces (as is shown in the top picture).

This building, in the town of El Paso, mid-point on the island, is typically canarian architecture.  Bright colors, white trim, and lots of small porches, railings, shutters, and other ornaments.  The fountain is in the town square.

On La Palma, we stayed at the H10 Costa Salinas in Los Cancajos.  The main tourist area on the east coast of La Palma is between the airport and Santa Cruz de la Palma (the capital).  The entire island is only 70 miles long and 30 miles wide but has a 5,000 foot peak in the middle.  One road bisects the island (through El Paso) while most of the roads snake along the cliffs on the edge.

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