Nevermind the fact that I am only seven countries away from having visited all EU member states. Even if that happens within the next 7 months like I had originally hoped for, the truth is that my priorities have shifted and plans have changed. Does this mean I am giving up on Europe? Absolutely not. On the contrary, it means I am giving in to Europe.

No more checking countries off lists, I’m in this for the long haul as any Master of Europe should be. My new goal is all about fostering committed yet open relationships with every country, not just loving and leaving them like I may have done in the past. Sure, quickie visits can be wildly exciting and the easiest way to prevent getting too attached, but I’ve come to the realization that Europe deserves much more than that after all it has done for me.

This is why I’ve made the decision that from here on out, The Blonde Gypsy will be dedicating herself entirely to not only the exploration of every country in Europe, but also to the exploration of all its regions, cities, villages, neighborhoods, etc, both on and off of the continent. Kind of bold for a gal who tries to avoid being tied to anything at all costs.. Anyway, since this new conquest includes some several hundred to several thousand islands (who really has the time to count?), I thought I’d introduce one more that I am eager to get to for this particular episode of On My European To Do List:

La Palma – perhaps the most underrated of all the Canary Islands.

La palma map

Why do I want to go?

Because tropical the island breeze, all of nature wild and free. This is where I long to be…

 

La isla bonita” aka La Palma looks like a European island that might actually rival my love, Madeira. Unlike the other Canary Islands, La Palma is doing pretty good on water which has kept its interior lush and its flora and fauna famous. In fact, the entire island – heart-shaped I might add – is classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

La Palma

La Palma also seems like the closest I will ever get to Cuba with my American passport. Lots of Canarian Islanders emigrated to Cuba back in the day and for whatever reason, the Caribbean connection has stayed the strongest on La Palma. Music, food, its cigarmaking industry, and even the accent on the island have all been inspired by El Cocodrilo.

Cigars in La Palma

 

Where will I go?

Hopefully to La Palma. With three other similar-sounding island destinations, Spain really doesn’t make it easy for holidaymakers to plan and book their trips. Palma de Mallorca gets a bit of a break because it’s in a different body of water, but putting a Las Palmas just 250 kilometers away from La Palma? I would love to know how many people have ended up flying to one of them and having hotel reservations on the other. Sounds like something I’d do.

Assuming I make do it to the right place, I will probably stay in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma. It looks cute, fairly quaint, and I’ve got a thing for places named Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz La Palma

I’m also putting Los Tilos on my list because it appears to be one of the best spots for blonde gypsies to hike – like not too rigorous. La Palma is similar to the island of Corsica in that it’s a hotspot for hardcore hikers/freestyle walkers with not one, but two GR paths (130 and 131). Not for me though, I will pass.

Los Tilos

I will not be passing on the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory however…

First of all, I just like the sound of the place. Muchachos is one of my favorite Spanish words and Roque just sounds like a sexier version of “rock”. Jokes aside (even though that wasn’t a joke), Roque de los Muchachos is actually one of the best astronomical observatories in the world thanks to its location, cloudless nights, and government imposed darkness. No industry above 1,500 meters or white lights at night – it’s the law. You can get free guided tours around the observatory, but unless you are sleeping with one of the scientists, you probably won’t gain access to all of the telescopes, just one or two. That was a joke.

Roque de los Muchachos

 

How will I go?

Visiting La Palma island is a breeze from Spain, but if coming from elsewhere, it might be cheaper to get a flight to Tenerife or Gran Canaria instead. There are lots of flights to La Palma from both islands as well as ferries from Tenerife (can take 2 to 6 ½ hours depending on which one you choose).

Have you ever been to this Canary Island or any of the others? Have you ever slept with a scientist? I’d be interested in hearing about your experience with either.