Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Galicia, websites and holidays

A friend of a friend who lives in Galicia is setting up a website to promote her business (property finding for English and French speakers) and I have been avidly watching her new site evolve and change on a daily basis.

I believe that some weeks ago she thought that she could never do any of this work herself, but just a short time later she has developed and uploaded the pages and, although much work still needs to be done, she is on track..

I got possibly the most bizarre email I have yet to receive in connection with a question about Galicia – or so it seemed to me. The question was, in effect, how one should go about trying to get child seats in a hire car. I assume that for some reason the thought was that, whilst baby seats can be rented everywhere else in Spain, they are unavailable in Galicia. Perhaps preconceptions about Galicia been backwards are greater than I thought!

It finally looks like we will next be in the region in July. We will attempt to finalise details this weekend, but hope to take a 3 week break covering most of the month.

I have a desire to see a lot more of the “pre-history” features of Galicia this year and to compare them with what we have from a similar time period in Britain. How interesting that will be for galiciaguide readers I am not quite sure, but I do get questions about the castros and megaliths, so it will give me a chance to find out more. I am also inspired by the BBC History magazine that mentioned the site and offered an interesting article about such things.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

What to wear in N.Spain

Clothing for Galicia

One of the questions I often get emailed about is the climate and types of clothing needed for a holiday in northern Spain.

The weather does not get as hot as it does in the south of the country and as a result you need the odd item to keep out the cold – even in the summer. As a general rule, jumpers cardigans jackets etc only serve a purpose if you are out on an evening (when the temperature can drop), but if you have a particularly poor day, even in July or August, you will need something to protect you from Galicia’s famous rain. The rest of the time shorts T-shits and the typical attire of a summer holiday will suffice.

An Umbrella! Actually this is not a bad idea, and you will have no trouble finding shops that sell them, but a parasol for the strong sun will probably get far more use.

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Buying property in Galicia – a couple of pointers

Although nothing like as popular as the south of Spain, a number of Europeans are now looking at buying a Galician property.

The first thing that they will notice is the price – this is a surprise and not a good one. Property in Galicia is expensive and any site that tells you otherwise is lying. The days when you could find a peaceful town and buy a house for a few thousand pounds are long since gone. Even apartments now exceed 100K Euros in many towns.

Buying a more rural and “in need of repair” property may be a better idea, but prices are still rarely cheap and connections for sanitation and gas are often unavailable. Significant restoration will also often be required and Spanish contractors are paid based on time taken as opposed to a fixed quote – all a bit pie in the sky!

The purchasing process is also very different to that in the UK (and many other countries) and the big demon to be aware of is the association of a debt (e.g. a mortgage) with a property and not the individual who takes it out. Many Brits have found themselves burdened with massive debts or even contested ownership when buying in Spain and Galicia is no different.

If you do want to buy a Galician property get an agent who speaks the language, knows the system and has some legal knowledge.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

Galicia’s Castros

These are the remains of Celtic settlements and fort towns, often on hills or in remote locations with natural protection from the surrounding landscape. They are located across Galicia and more are being discovered all the time. Some of the best are at Viladonga – just outside the city of Lugo and also Barona which is in the lower bays or rias of the region.

To look at, these ruins are nothing that special and often take the form of a series of almost circular collections of stone walls that once were roofed and represented individual buildings. Most date back over two thousand years and you can get a good idea of the size and geometry of the settlement when you see one. Many artefact including utensils, jewellery and crockery have been found at the Castro sites and some have visitor centres or museums associated with them.

As ever, to find out more visit the link to the left or click on the title of this post which will take you to a page about the Castro de viladonga

Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Our 2006 Galicia holiday

We are finally starting to try and sort out some dates for our trip to Galicia and are looking at the last 3 weeks in July.

Surprisingly, Iberia (flying to la Coruna) is considerably cheaper that Ryan Air to Santiago and although there is an additional hour of car travel with that option, we favour it at the moment.

The “Free” daily excess that Jet2 have thrown in on cars booked with them (via Holiday Autos) over the last 2 years has now gone. That means an extra £3 to £4 per day in care hire. So costs in real terms have increased slightly.

One thing we would like to see is the medieval festival in Noia and the timings that we are looking at would include this. We would also like to avoid the multi day August fiesta which is fun the first time, but tiring there after (if you sleep close by).

Accommodation is not as straightforward as before and we are uncertain of where we will be staying, but we hope to finalise that over the next few days. If we can we will book something later this week.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

Ryan Air and baggage charging

The changes are significant and go beyond the obvious implications of just a further charge. They will also affect how you pack and organise your luggage.

Ryan air changes will result in:

1. A charge of up to £5 per bag (hold only). It is around £2.50 if you pre-book your luggage.

2. You can no longer pool your hold luggage as a family. In other words you cannot divide the total weight by the number of travellers in the group. The implications of this are obvious – you need separate bags (and therefore additional baggage charges) for every member of your group or family. Having a family of 4 use 2 cases is no longer an option – you will have to buy more (and smaller) cases - one for each member of the group. Regrettably this is a scam to give the impression of artificially low ticket prices.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Iberia, hosting and a second Galicia site

Iberia news first.

Having given up the Santiago route (conceding it to Ryan air), Iberia are now flying direct to la Coruna. Prices appear very low – in actual fact lower than the equivalent Ryan air to Santiago charge. It all seems slightly mysterious, but anyway, as an example you can travel each way (from Heathrow) for around £130. You also avoid the excess baggage charge which RA like to apply, but probably have an additional hours worth of car travel to take into account on your arrival.

I am having some problems with my web host for galiciaguide.com, who seem to like the idea of charging me twice for the same thing. Trying to resolve, what seems like a straight forward problem, is proving akin to banging ones head against a wall and I am now starting to get highly agitated. It will no doubt end in my having to find a different (and more honest) host.

On a different tack, I am also finishing off the first phase of a second site about Galicia. This one is far smaller and offers more of a series of summaries, rather than the full blown detailed descriptions of galiciaguide.com. I hope to sort out a domain and hosting package and get the first phase uploaded by the end of this month – but my other problems may interfere with this.

As far as our next visit to Galicia is concerned we are now looking at July for 2 or possibly 3 weeks, but we have nothing booked yet.

Monday, March 06, 2006

 

Porto do Son

Porto do Son is not merely a town, but a coastal conurbation of several other towns and villages including places like Queiruga and the well know holiday resort of Porto Sin.

The latter is famous throughout Spain for its private sailing club, but also has a traditional fishing port and an old town close by. The entire area of coast in this small conurbation is several kilometres long and it is full of beaches and villages, many of which can be easily missed if you do not keep your eyes open.

Porto do Son itself is a decent sized town and has hotels, a harbour and a long beach. It is also well placed in terms of travelling “to” or “from” Santiago and has places like Noia and the inland town of Padron only a relatively short distance away.

If you are interested in finding out about this stretch of the Galician coastline you can discover more by hitting the title which is also a link to galiciaguide.com’s page about this seaside area.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

 

Rianxo

Although there are plenty of small towns lining the coast of Galcia, one of the most appealing to the visitor is Rianxo. It is far from famous – at least outside the region, but it is still worth a mention.

This town has a port, a small but pleasant town center and a large beach a short distance away. It is a good couple of hours from Santiago de Compostela, but is worth the journey and the route takes you along the coast and around a couple of the rias. Once there it is a nice place to wonder around and it has some Galician history by virtue of being the birth place of the “father of galegoism”. On Rianxo you can see his house and also a monument to him.

To find out more about this location, and its famous citizen, click on the heading.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Lugo, the BBC history magazine and Noia

Just got a first google hit on one of the “up until now” un-indexed new Lugo pages.

On checking, I was pleased to see that another 9 pages have been indexed by google meaning that all the sites main pages are now covered (at least from one center). Those that are not, whilst not supplementary pages, are pages with perhaps a lesser value. It still concerns me (and certainly should concern google) that they cannot find all the pages on a site using only xhtml menus, but that is their problem.

I received a copy the BBC History magazine (vol 7 number 3), as promised, mentioning galiciaguide.com and the article to which the reference is connected is extremely good. It also mentions Noia and refers to a prehistoric artefact near to the town of which I am not aware! That may sound arrogant, but I know the area pretty well and I am really surprised to have been unaware of it.

The magazine is surprisingly good, well written and has articles full of quality information and content, I may well buy it from time to time.

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