Friday, 27 April 2018

Island hopping with P and O cruises: La Palma

Britannia, P and O cruise, docking at Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover

Simply put, geographically, the Canary Islands consist of volcanic bumps poking above sea level. La Palma has a geological phenomenon called 'La caldera', the cauldron: in the centre of the spearhead shaped island is the pit of the volcano. I read a whole Wikipedia article on how there is a big split in the middle of La Palma and if it cracks and drops into the sea, it will cause a massive Transatlantic tsunami that will kill everyone in the Canary Islands and probably the East coast of America too. Fun!

Today I woke up at Santa Cruz de La Palma. (I do love waking up to a different port every day.) If you think of the Canaries as a mass market cheap holiday place you are wrong about La Palma, which is chic, elegant and stylish. Dating from the 15th century, it has a colonial vibe with pastel buildings, narrow pedestrianised streets, ornate wooden balconies and fabulous shops. Straight off the boat I bought some pink ballet flats for 8 euros. Hooray. 

Cruises are like a mini-variety pack of breakfast cereal. You can try a place, just a little, without too much commitment, see if you like it, make a note to come back (or not) then move on. Cruises seem naff but actually, in principal, they can be cool. Plus places like the Canary Islands really need the business, they depend on tourism. 

Again, as I didn't have much time, I headed towards the central market, then fanned out from there.

Food and Drink

They crush sugar cane with slices of lemon to make a refreshing sweet/sour juice or a cocktail.
almond cake/cheese at the market place, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
This fluted almond cake is called an almond cheese. Almond trees are plentiful in La Palma so many desserts are almond-based. There is one known as 'bienmesabe', which translates to 'it tastes good to me'. 
award winning goats cheese,  at the market place, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
La Palma has an award winning smoked goats' cheese. It won the Great Taste Award.
Mojo sauces, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
Mojo, a red pepper sauce, comes in mild, spicy or green. Absolutely delicious. It's served with everything but especially papas arrugadas, wrinkly potatoes.


A bar next to the market

Mussels being grilled, market place bar, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
Mussels , market place bar, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
tapas,  market place bar, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover

I do not know if I can adequately express how wonderful this tapas bar was. I was ordering tortilla then I spied green-lipped mussels steaming over the coals behind the bar. My sister ordered some, their plump little orange bodies came thickly drizzled with parsley and garlic. 

The Gastronomic Society 

tapas, sociedad gastronomica, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
tapas, sociedad gastronomica, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
The sign over this small bar down a side street to the sea front, said 'Sociedad Gastronomica' but possibly the name is La Rapadura. Not sure. But we were welcomed into this cool sombre cafe, which contained a tableful of fat Canarian men who were serious about their raciones and their tapas.

We ordered some La Palma wine then were presented with a free plateful of cheese, ensalada Russia and tuna filled boiled eggs. That's how tapas used to be in Spain before they became trendy.


Views of Santa Cruz

 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/msmarmitelover
 I was invited as a guest of P and O cruises to Madeira and the Canary Islands.

2 comments:

  1. Curious if any of the island shops do plus sized clothing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cate,
      as a plus sized but short person, yes they did. a lot of it were thin linen and not too tight. Really lovely shops.

      Delete

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