Sunday, 8 March 2015

Romancing the Stone

La Gomera

        There are so many inspirational women that have encouraged women to stand up and be counted throughout the years and that's what, International Women's Day, is all about. Today, I want to celebrate a woman that I just found out about recently and her name is Olivia Stone.

Tenerife

    Olivia Stone, like me visited the Canary islands and very much fell in love with them. The only difference being, that when Olivia made her trip from the UK, there were no aeroplanes and travel for women was difficult and dangerous, the year being 1883.

Tenerife

    She, along with her husband travelled by steamship, the Parana, from France and although she wasn't the first to travel to these shores, unlike a fellow environmentalist Charles Darwin she was able to come ashore. 

    Charles Darwin, unfortunately had been prevented from visiting the island of his dreams, Tenerife, because the authorities wouldn't allow him to disembark because of a cholera outbreak in England. They required the crew and passengers to spend an incubation period aboard the ship, before allowing them to alight and it seems the Captain of the ship was unwilling to oblige.

La Gomera
    Olivia had planned to travel a couple of weeks around the islands, but the flora, fauna, wildlife and the hospitality of the locals seduced her into staying on for 5 months. She was the first traveller to visit the rural areas in Victorian times and her book, Tenerife and Its Six Satellites, has been hailed by some as a classic piece of travel literature. It's full of illustrations by Olivia's husband and she recounts a fascinating look at life on these islands in 1883, even including recipes. 

    Earlier this year the, University of La Laguna, Tenerife celebrated her work by hosting an exhibition in her honour and without their recognition of her, I most certainly wouldn't have heard about this inspirational woman.

    

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