Saturday, September 24, 2005

 

Property prices in Galicia

Many people assume, quite incorrectly, that the north of Spain has comparatively low property prices. This is in fact quite the opposite of the case and the "sale" prices of real estate are ridiculously high.

Even more confusing is the fact that the expectations of a sale are very low and consequently it is not unusual for a house to remain on the market for several years before it is either sold or withdrawn. Estate agents too are generally not particularly professional and rather than advise a client of a going rate, put the house on the market for the figure the seller wants (rather than should expect to get).

Location, as ever, is everything and both land and property outside the main towns and cities is considerably cheaper than that within them.

Buying land and building yourself is also another option, but the Galician’s have a thing about not wanting to sell any land they own – even if they could make a good profit. Consequently, finding land is almost as difficult as finding a reasonably priced property.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

 

Galicia Updating

I am finding it hard work up dating old pages about Galicia on the web site. It is something that needs to be done, but it is surprisingly tedious and boring. It is also illuminating to discover so many silly and thoughtless mistakes.

Writing new stuff is always fun and allows you to mentally revisit a place or visitor attraction with renewed interest, but make overs are a different matter. Still it needs to be done and I am interspersing it with adding new stuff anyway.

Google are a constant source of irritation to me at the moment. Yahoo and msn show various pages of the site on page one, two or three of "serps" on a large number of multi million indexed site searches, but google, next to nothing.

As an example, when I had a single page about a particular town in Galicia, google ranked it No. 1, but now there are 15 or 16 pages about it, it fails to appear at all. I think google have got their page rank algo' badly out of sink with "real content" and I am sure that at some point their bubble is bound to burst.

Final thought. There don't seem to be any decent dvd's out at the moment (unless you like remakes), what's going on!

Friday, September 16, 2005

 

Nothing to do with Galicia

What ever happened to 7 of 9 actress Jerry Ryan. I seem to remember that in the early 1990's she was in a series called "Dark Skies", which I though was great, but the makers dropped after a single series. Then Star Treck came along and she was in that - but nothing since (or not in the UK).

Also why does Cathy Dennis stay out of site these days? I still remember her video for "irresistible", and she certainly was.

Going back to Star Treck, I see that former captain Jean Luc Pickard is constantly ranting on about Huddersfield University (where I think he is now Chancellor). My suggestion, take a break and do another "Next Generation" film - but don't let "number one" direct it, his direction is anything but inter galactic. Over and out.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

 

Carry your own casket

As the summer ends and the year starts to draw to a close, some lucky devil in a town called Pobra do Caraminal in Galicia will be carrying his own coffin through the streets of the town.

And no its not a joke, or a comment made in poor taste. This particular town has a September festival called "the feast of the Nazareno", a feature of which is the procession of "las Mortajas".

This procession is particularly morbid and involves the (lucky) recipient having the dubious honour of carrying his own coffin through the streets of the town. He is, I might add, assisted by friends and family.

The festival, which I have yet to witness, is famous throughout the region and attracts large crowds.

The town of "A Pobra do Caraminal" is actually very beautiful and I would advise anyone visiting the "A Coruna" province of Galicia to make a stop there. As for the festival itself, I am not too sure!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

Low expectations and high prices!

Having had three weeks of paying around one Euro for a cup of real coffee and, half the time getting a cake or something else thrown in, I wonder why we tolerate poor coffee at high prices.

The only time I have ever had a decent coffee in the UK is at the continental style cafe that my wife's parents used to run in north London. Starbucks and the rest charge joke money for awful coffee (in my opinion).

How can places over here seriously put a price tag of two or three pounds sterling on a badly made coffee. More importantly why do the British put up with it? Does anyone in this country ever complain, or do we just accept any rubbish at any price?

That's it, "Lost" is on TV, so I am off.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Getting a name and address

We have a friend, in fact quite an elderly lady, who lives in Noia (Galicia) opposite what was once the family home of my wife's kin (an old word for you).

Each year we go and see her, each year she tries to persuade us to move to Galicia and then another 12 months pass because we don't know either her surname or house number.

This year, having twice visited and twice forgotten to ask the question, we decided to ask some other family members who are in close phone contact with her. The same problem! they have the phone number, but no address and could not remember her surname.

There is no real point to this tale, but it illustrates how easily communication can be lost, simply for want of a pencil and a bit of common sense.

Hopefully tomorrow I can come up with something more interesting - not that anyone ever reads this!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

 

No marks for accuracy!

I had a rather shocking and initially disturbing email on Friday.

It came via my site and was from a Galician visitor who, disturbed by some of the inaccuracies and cliches he saw, forwarded a highly critical and really quite offensive note to me. His conclusion, don't write about Galicia.

It was a first. Every other comment I have received has been positive and I was genuinely shocked.

The message was long, not particularly pleasant in its construction, but unfortunately accurate in "some" of the errors that it highlighted.

I have learnt through past experience not to strike while the iron is hot, so I pondered the comments and then sent a conciliatory reply acknowledging some of the mistakes and explaining my reasons for what were perceived as offensive generalities and stereotypes.

My reply, which took some time and thought to put together was, I am pleased to say, well received and I got a further, more sympathetic email in return.

The point however, is that an enthusiasm to provide information, had actually led to the provision of miss information - never desirable. To make matters worse, I now realise that my excuse for allowing this miss information to remain (for some time after I became aware of it), was the fact that it appeared in another language and that the majority of my readers would be unaware of it.

That said the bigger picture shows two additional lessons. The first, avoid immediate and emotionally charged reactions and the second, try to see beyond critiquing (which none of us like) to the motivation behind it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

Back in the UK

My first entry since returning from Galicia and what a shock it is to get back to Britain. Firstly, it was light till gone 10.00pm at night there, but the big difference is the people.

Turn on the news here and its muggings, murders and rapes. In one day I heard more about crime on the UK news than I saw on Spanish news in 3 weeks. Why? because the crime levels are so low there. You can walk the strees of any city at any time, day or night, without fear.

But there's more to it than that. Here you go into a supermarket and, if you're lucky, you might get a grunt from the checkout person - in Galicia, they actually talk to you - they also pack your bags and, most amazing of all, people actually seem to be happy!

FAT PEOPLE - Britain is full of them. I've had 3 weeks where I hardly saw an over weight person and the first thing that hit me when we got back was how like America Britains health and size is becoming. We are a nation of overweight slobs and it covers every age group from the kids to the pensioners. What is happening to this country.

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