Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Hotels in Galicia

Finally completed and uploaded the hotel links page to galiciaguide.com yesterday.

I believe that I have structured it in a clear and easily usable way and I have worked it so that there are a series of predefined searches that are run automatically (behind the scenes) resulting in hotels for any given city, town, airport or region, being displayed automatically.

The selection is pretty good and there are over 70 hotels to choose from, most with reviews. I have also included a complete selection for green Spain as well as a list of well over 100 for antone planning to travel one of the Camino (holy pilgrimage) routes. Now all I need is google to stop de-indexing pages and start getting my visitors back.

I also added a brief page on Betanzos today. It is not first hand, but sounds and looks well worth a visit and we will check it out in July.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 

Galicia travel arrangements

Having arranged flights, car hire and insurance, our Galicia travel arrangements are now complete.

It is however poignant to note that all but the insurance are dealt with in paperless form over the internet with reference numbers and proof of identity being the means by which the services will actually be collected. For our generation and beyond this is fine, but for the older travellers (especially those without the internet) this must seem odd, or even be inaccessible altogether.

Barely two and a half months remain before we head for Noia (via la Coruna airport), but my excitement level remains zero. This despite the fact that our August 3 weeker last year proved one of the best holidays we have ever had. I can only hope that between now and then I start to look forward to things!

Monday, April 24, 2006

 

Galicia Holiday insurance

I said I would give details of the best single trip European holiday insurance deal we could find for this summer, so here it is.

A single trip (25 day) holiday in Spain with Esure is £41.

That includes both baggage and cancellation cover, which were both extras. It was still considerably cheaper than anything else we (or really my wife) could find. Single item cover goes up to £500 which does not quite cover our camcorder, but will satisfy most as prices continue to fall.

Without the extras the price was in the high twenties.

The wonderful google added 5 of my pages to their index over the weekend, but all “out of date” pages that were superseded or removed in May of last year – nearly 10 months ago. Do google have a clue what they are doing?
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Friday, April 21, 2006

 

Galicia and Noia holiday

I will make an entry today despite not really wanting to. I can at least console my self with the reasonable PR of this blog and the high PR of one of my others.

Despite having a 23 day vacation booked in Galicia for July, I am strangely not looking forward to it. Why I do not know. I was the motivator behind such a long break and it was also I (not my wife) who suggested that we overlap our last week with the first week of her parents stay there. We will all be at the same apartment in Noia and leave on the last day of the month. In effect we almost duplicate our (2nd) holiday of 2005, but take it one month earlier.

I have still to purchase a domain and upload my latest site about Galicia, but should be able to get around to it next week. I have added a series of links from 2 of my other sites to the main galiciaguide.com site which, whilst valuable to yahoo, will no doubt be overlooked by google. I also notice that 3 new one way links to my main Galicia site (one with a PR of 5) again fail to register with the so called biggest search engine. The links only come from the fourth largest site on the entire internet, a university and a Spanish tourism site! What kind of links do google value?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Galicia Ourense Spain

My despondency with google continues. Fortunately it is only my site that is affected and the work that I have done for others seems OK. As a result I am not very motivated to add any meaningful content to this blog, so here is some padding. (The title above is meaningless too!)

Here, simply for the sake of writing something, is a list of towns, cities and provinces in Galicia – or at least those that readily come to mind.

Ponteverda, Ourense, Lugo, la Coruna, Vigo, Ferrol, Santiago de Compostela, Tui, Muros, Rianxo, Ribeira, A Pobra do Cariminal, Noia, Finisterre………….

At some point in the near future normal service will, I hope, resume…………… For real info, visit one of the url links to the left –the Colin Davies one also tells you about buying property and some Galician property finders/sellers you can use.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

Hits halved

Thanks to google removing pages and showing, in their cache (of my remaining indexed pages), content that was superseded over 9 months ago, my daily hit numbers have fallen in half.

I am totally bemused. Pages with a different style sheet, different content and totally different appearance have now replaced the actual pages that google were showing up to a week ago. I know of no host problems and msn, who spidered the site yesterday, saw around 230 pages worth indexing – all of which were current. Yahoo too have 233 indexed pages and all can be found using searches.

I really struggle to see a problem with the site and any problem that does exist was not there a week ago! On a different tack, work revising the index layout is now coming to a conclusion (I hope) and any visitors that I have left should see the results, plus a hotel booking system, sometime next week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Galicia Spain web site

Once I have made the index (and other cosmetic) changes to Galicia Guide, I have no immediate plans to add any further content.

Despite all my efforts to make the guide as useful, content rich and navigatable as possible, google have recently started removing my pages from their index and I now feel that there is little point in adding additional content when the existing pages themselves are disappearing. I have no idea as to the reasons for this, although I will investigate plagiarism which is a possible cause. If I am unable to resolve the issue I will cease adding content for the foreseeable future. That will also result in a reduced number of postings to this blog. Confusingly, other sites that I also run about Galicia seem immune to this problem, prompting the thought that the site is being penalised in some way.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

The town of Muros, Spain

Having been ranked at number 5 or 6 for months on a google search for “Muros”, my main index page on this town has suddenly disappeared. As I have said before I really hate google, they cater for commercial sites with no real content and can be spammed by any company with enough money to buy links – despite google’s pitiful claims to the contrary.

All told it has been a bad week on the SE’s with my Galicia site falling on all of them, particularly msn – usually my strongest. Google though, remain the “bug bear” because of the perception that they are so good, so clever and so genuine with their results – Rubbish!

If you do want to find out about Muros, click the title which is a link to some pages describing and illustrating it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Galicia site changes

Having been “parked” for 2 days the blogeasy.com web log site is back up. Good news for anyone with a blog on them. I have 2, one about general stuff which I enjoy running along with, plus another broadly connected with Spain which is more of a chore.

I am continuing with the tedious task of adjusting the style sheets and simplification of code on my Galicia Guide site, but it is proving a bigger job than I at first anticipated. Although the style sheets allow site wide manipulation of visual characteristics, they are tied in with “on page” CSS that is requiring that I make (what I hope will be once only) changes to every single page on the site. It is one of those jobs that you become motivated to do, but then regret ever having considered doing it – but it is too late now.

I am also considering replacing the email addresses with a comment/question form that looks more professional, but also discourages the more casual comment – something I do not wish to do.

Content wise I have now gone over 3 weeks without the addition of any new pages – a record, but the necessity of the other work I am doing on the site has left me with no free time.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

No more blogeasy!

Having spent 6 months building up a blog on www.blogeasy.com, the site has expired and is currently parked with no indication of whether it will be revived. This is very disappointing as my personal blog there had reached a PR of 4 and was finally starting to act as a good SEO tool. I also enjoyed my entry making too!

For reasons unbeknown to me, this blog now does very little on the SE’s, probably because my initial theme of Noia Galicia has faded and I comment on anything at all to do with Galicia including how to get there and what to do when you arrive.

I will have to make a concerted effort to make more relevant and themed web logs and use the title links more effectively.

Monday, April 10, 2006

 

Comments on blogs

I get very few blog comments on this particular blog, although rather more on another one I have.

It is annoying and also totally pointless when some idiot decides, as happen with my last entry, to treat a comment as a piece of “fly” advertising – it also shows how ill advised they are if they thing that the effort that went into writing it will be rewarded with any business – it will not!

I am slightly disappointed at galiciaguide’s fall on msn over the weekend. It has happen before on numerous occasions and thus far (at least) it has always bounced back. But I struggle to see the reasoning behind it. I also had a slight fall on google, but still get the majority of traffic from them.

I will be sourcing some single trip holiday (Europe) insurance this week and will post details on which company/policy we decide to opt for.

Friday, April 07, 2006

 

Current developments with galiciaguide.com

I am just completing the design changes to the page layout that will accommodate the additional commercial index on Galicia Guide. I have also decided to include separate style sheets to allow for,

1. Browser recognition of Explorer 6 and below and

2. Browser recognition of Explorer 7 (when it comes) plus Opera, Mozzila and the other CSS2 and W3C compatible browsers.

Up to now I have used some fixes to produce a “fudged” style sheet to cover everything (I hope), but whilst this produced an OK rendering on Explorer it was at the expense of the W3C compliant browsers. When I up-load the new stuff that should be corrected.

The current plan is for the hotels to be visible in about 10 days to 2 weeks and the villas etc to follow. Real content will continue to be added on a regular basis with a significant influx of new town guides from August onwards.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

A quick summary of this blog

This web log has been going since July 2005 and its aim is to offer pieces of information and advice to anyone thinking about visiting the northern Spanish region known as Green Spain (i.e. Galicia).

Some entries will be about places or locations that you may wish to consider visiting, whilst others can be about travel, airlines or car hire. It depends on what I am doing at the time and how long I can commit to the entry. From time to time the entry title will be a clickable link to a page or resource with further information.

The other thing that I try to do is give first hand experiences of our own travel arrangements including prices, airline details etc, so that you have a comparison of what it might cost you if you are thinking about venturing out to this part of Iberia. There is also an email address that you can use if you want to contact me.

If it is information about Galicia that you are looking for, then click on the link to the left. This will take you to a large site with hundreds of pages about all aspects of Galicia including travel tips, descriptions and views of the area’s towns, cities and even some smaller villages. You will also find opinions and recommendations and a lot of links to other sites that also have similar themed content.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

Developments with galiciaguide.com

I must confess to being a bit short on something to write about today and not for the first time!

I am usually quite excited at the prospect of a recently booked holiday, but for some reason this is not the case at present – I do not know why.

I am now in a position to buy another domain and upload a new site about Galicia, I have also conceded to commercial adverts on galiciaguide.com which will commence in about 2 weeks. These will only be accessed by a tab menu system and will relate to very specific services such as hotels/villas in Galicia etc. Hopefully my regular visitors will see this as an enhanced level of service and not a sell out! Ultimately all the real content of the site will remain and any revenue generated will help in developing and enhancing the site. Long term I will add real estate services and car rental operators, but I intend tot take things slowly as this site was never designed as a money making operation.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

Car hire (rental) in Galicia

We booked our flights yesterday and at that time the cheapest car hire we could find (for 24 days and with CDW and daily excess cover) was around £430 with Holiday Autos.

Today, the same rental with the same cover and via HA (although through Jet2) is £350 ish – a massive saving in just one day.

A good tip is to try the duration of rental you are looking at not just for the dates you have in mind, but for some equivalent, but closer and more distant dates, to determine if prices increase or decrease as you get closer to the rental itself.

I recon that if you can get the overall figure to come out at close to, or less than, £110 per week in the north of Spain you are doing very well.

For more info on Galicia select the galiciaguide.com link in the column to the left.

Monday, April 03, 2006

 

Flights to Galicia via la Coruna

We have now booked a 3 week visit to Galicia in July, this time flying with Iberia to la Coruna. The flight cost was just over £91 per head (up from £67 last week), but it still beats Ryan Air to Santiago with their added complication of getting to and from Stansted.

Car hire looks like working out at between £130 – £140 per week with Holiday autos and including the daily excess waiver. We will hunt around and see if we can discover anything cheaper. The above is for a Ford Fiesta class with A/C and is the same cost as it would be renting from Santiago de Compostela.

These dates will avoid Noia’s big fiesta (in August), but will take in the medieval one in July. Unfortunately I suspect they will not tie in with the Galician visits of our Floridian or South African friends. If this turns out to be the case it will be a shame.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

 

Flying to Galicia

In addition to the flights to and from both Heathrow and Stansted, to Santiago and la Coruna airports respectively, you can also get to Galicia via Liverpool. I believe that the Galician airport is in or near to Vigo. I will find out more, but think that the carrier may be Ryan Air.

I have done little work on Galiciaguide.com over the last 3 weeks. Partly because of a server host problem, but also as a result of the development of another site about the region. As a result I have probably lost potential earnings from the hotel chain who want the site as an affiliate. I have not planned or implemented things very well – but am still furious with my hosting company (I have slagged them off in another blog).

I am slightly disappointed that someone who contacted me, and offered to write an article for the site about her families Galician town of origin, has never got back to me. I guess she must be busy and that it has slipped her mind, but her initial enthusiasm about the town led me to believe that she would come up with something very readable and interesting.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

 

Another site featuring Galicia

I am about to upload another website about Galicia, this time containing a series of brief descriptions about the main towns and cities of the area. I have been working on it for some time.

To complicate matters there is an exiting site which has the name I intend to use, but with a variation of domain extension. I need to confirm that this site is not connected with any of my friends who also run sites about Galicia. If it is, I may be tempted to opt for a different name.

As an aside, I am been driven round the bend by a pair of blackbirds that seem intent on digging up our back garden in order to make their blasted nest. I cannot believe the amount of mess that they have created and the area of lawn that the little B******s have dug up. I normally scare off any cats in the garden for the sake of the birds – but no more.

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