The Queen Elizabeth arrived in La Palma at 8.00am. This is the only port of call that we hadn’t been to previously, so we were looking forward to exploring this island. La Palma is the fifth largest of the seven Canary Islands. We had booked an excursion this afternoon to see some volcanoes and also (more!) wine sampling. 🙂
La Palma is known as la isla bonita, which means pretty island. It was the subject of a song by Madonna in 1987:
Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La isla bonita.
La Palma is very rugged as it was formed from volcanic eruptions in the Atlantic ocean millions of years ago. We spent the morning walking around and looking in the little narrow streets and boutique shops; I bought myself a pretty scarf/wrap which was velvet with a hand-painted pattern on it in plums and purples. It will go nicely with some of my evening wear. We then had a cup of coffee at a pavement café and wandered back to the ship.
After lunch, we boarded our excursion coach and went off on our trip; the first stop was to (yet another!) bodega. We sampled red, white and rosé wine, but they didn’t give us very generous measures; just a couple of mouthfuls really. So it meant lots of trips back to the table for more samples 🙂 We then went off to see, and learn about, the volcanoes.
The coach wended its way up the zigzagging, narrow mountain roads, higher and higher, which afforded us impressive views of the island and the Atlantic ocean beyond. It was a lovely clear day so we could see for miles. The bus parked at the visitor centre and we went inside, where we watched a docu-film explaining how volcanoes are formed and what happens when they erupt. We were then able to walk along the path to view the now-dormant crater of Teneguía, the best-known volcano in La Palma.
Teneguía is the source of the last volcanic eruption on Spanish soil – from October 26 to November 28, 1971. Several earthquakes preceded the eruption. An elderly fisherman was killed, who had come too close to the lava and asphyxiated. The eruption also caused some property damage and destroyed a beach, though a new one was later formed by natural means. Luckily, most populated areas were unaffected. The crater, and the mountain paths that lead to it, are popular with hikers, and indeed we saw quite a few as we walked along to the crater for the great views.
We got back to the ship around 4.00pm, sat out on the balcony for a while and then got ready and went down for dinner. As ever, it was far too easy to eat and drink too much, and I finished the meal absolutely fit to burst. In fact, I could have done with being trocarised to relieve some of the bloat. Really uncomfortable, but self-inflicted. 🙁
So I decided I wasn’t going to eat or drink anything more tonight. No going to the show, no going to the Golden Lion. I just went back to our stateroom and read my really good book and watched some TV. Actually, it was quite nice to have an early night, as most nights we had stayed up well after midnight, and sometimes even 1.00am.