Saturday, 19 April 2014

La Isla Bonita

Strains of Madonna flit through my head. It's Sunday 6 April 2014 and we have arrived at La Isla Bonita or La Palma as it's more properly known.

The Thomson Celebration moors up in the port of Santa Cruz de La Palma and we have an early breakfast as we are taking an excursion tour today.

Our first stop is at the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. The Caldera is a massive crater. Whilst it looks volcanic - and probably is - the crater was actually formed by natural erosion not a mighty cataclysm. It is huge though - 10 kilometres across and, at its highest point, almost 2.5 kilometres from the peak to the floor.

It is home to some pretty tame ravens as seen in our photo above. A few more photos are called for...

We set off as a group walking around to a viewpoint. They set off at a pace though and I found I was starting to feel the old angina making its presence felt after a bit, so we stopped and started back at a more leisurely pace. In fact the pace had been too much to actually admire the view - the ground was rocky and the drop at the side of the path extremely deep, so you tended to walk with your eyes firmly fixed as to where to place your feet! Taking it a bit easier meant you could enjoy the view a lot more.

Another couple joined us coming back. They were also struggling with the pace and she said she was quite relieved when we turned back as she didn't want to be the first.

We got back safely to the coach and had time to sit on a wall and relax a bit whilst the rest of the party came back.

Coming back we passed a sleeping giant...

Can you make him out? He's gone to sleep holding his pride and joy...

The Mirador de La Concepcion. Overlooking some brave souls who have built their houses around the crater of a volcano! It a few thousand - tens of thousands - of years since it made any fireworks, but still...

Form the viewpoint we could see Tenerife's Mt Teide floating in the haze above the sea. You could make out snow on the slopes near the summit. Once we got back on the ship I twiddled the pencil for a bit from our balcony. This wasn't a large sketch - I drew it across the top of the A5 pad so it only took a few minutes.

We also visited a small church - the Santurio Virgen de Las Nieves, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Snows. This was quite crowded and we found out that a christening had been taking place. Just what you want in the middle of a family event - a load of camera toting tourists turning up...

Coming out of La Palma was a, or the experience of the cruise. Half an hour out of the harbour we were watching dolphins playing about in the sea from the balcony. I didn't have the camera to hand (but there will be some photos of dolphins from another day). However the real star of the show this day was a huge whale which majestically emerged from under the ship, which it had crossed beneath, and it was easily ten times the size of the dolphins, some of which were playing above it and not much more than the size of half its tail flukes. Awesome!

Colourful Coasts Cruise Index

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