Tuesday, February 27, 2007

 

Flights to Galicia with Ryanair

We have just booked flights to Santiago, arriving in July and departing in August. We will be in Galicia for about 2 and a half weeks and we will be flying with my all time favourite airline, Ryanair.

I am not a fan of Ryanair, but you get what you pay for and they have made travel to Galicia very cheap. We will be using one of their two new routes, the one from Liverpool which (very surprisingly) was cheaper than Stansted or East Midlands.

Flight times are also excellent. We depart (Liverpool) in the early morning and depart (Santiago) in the late afternoon. The Stansted and Heathrow (Iberia) options are reversed, making the entire exercise a rushed one.

As ever Ryanair have their “little extras” and the 2 big ones that they have added since we last used them (2005) are:

1. No grouping of baggage within a family or group. In simple terms you cannot lump an overall baggage allocation for a family together, i.e. 3 people with 3 hold luggage bags @ 15kg (max) = 45kg. If however 2 bags are 10kg each and the other is 20kg (i.e. a total of only 40kg), you still get an excess baggage charge of 5kg on the 20kg bag. Fair? I do not think so.

2. Even if you are within the baggage limit you now have to pay a fixed charge for each item of hold luggage. This amount is charged both ways, but can be reduced through pre-payment – very generous!


To balance things out, Ryan air are “no frills” airline and I guess that their defence is that if you take only limited hand luggage there are no extras to pay.

Frankly I could accept all of this, but my problem is that the “no seat allocation” approach turns boarding into a free for all and this must have an implication on security – at least in my opinion.

All that said we are using Ryanair again, so clearly the positives in terms of price and destination airport, out-way (at least ahead of time) the negatives mentioned above.

Now all we need to do is sort out airport parking an my absolute favourite, car hire!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

 

Ribadavia

After a week without writing anything I am now obliged to fill this space.

The last few days have seen a relative glut of people wanting to add, or offer, an alternative view of something on galiciaguide.com.

As ever I am more than happy to post their views. It just goes to show that we all see and experience things differently. That said I have yet to have a positive amendment to the mini guide about Ferrol – I actually hope that one is in the pipeline, but I suspect not.

Slightly unusual requests, or more correctly requests that assume the site to be, or be connected with, something that it is not include: a request to compile a list of lodgings for a party travelling on the Camino and a request for a list of “child friendly” attractions in southern Galicia. I have yet to figure out which the “child unfriendly” ones are.

I have finally added the 4 page guide about Ribadavia to GG. I have been holding on to it for months and sheer laziness is the result of my not uploading it. Anyway it is now there! I have also added some information about Asturias, Galicia’s eastern neighbour, also accessed from the page for anyone interested in this stunning region. With a bit of luck I may get the chance to visit Asturias later this year.

A final comment is on the “adsense experiment” which is proving most successful, my only regret – I did not start using the ads 6 months ago!

Friday, February 16, 2007

 

Galicia, London and a correction

We have still yet decide the when’s and how’s of this years Galician trip(s). My preference, as of this moment, is the last week in July and the first week in August – dates that we have used before. Whether we would stay beyond two weeks is questionable! The near 4 weeks of last year was simply too long. There is also the possibility of taking a short break in the region before then and I would also like to take a look at Asturias.

Complementary emails about GG have been on the increase over the last week and a half. It is very odd that this coincides with the addition of google ads to the site. It is hard to see a connection, but there you go.

I have also been informed of an error on one of the pages about Lugo. It seems that my childhood history education was loose with the truth and that a reference that I make to the Roman walls in York (England) are not in fact accurate. Most of these walls are medieval with only parts dating back to Roman times. The biggest and most complete Roman wall sin the UK are at Chester.

Finally some more publicity for another good website that I have encountered. This one, www.londonweekendbreak.net, is much nearer home and is all about researching, organising and booking a short break in London. It seems to have some good content plus links to sites that enable you to get information and make your reservations for anything from hotel to theatre tickets online. It is worth a look.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

 

Hosting problems

The latter part of this week has seen me face a few web hosting problems – the cause of which is still unknown to me.

The problems started when I purchased a new domain and hosting package and received a message the following day telling me that the domain was unavailable. Interested to see who and how someone snapped it from under me I did a “who is” check” and discovered that I was the registered owner. When I informed my host of this they confirmed an error on their part, but that was not the end of it.

Next I noticed that one of my client’s accounts was suspended! Something I had not done. Again I made contact and the situation was resolved, but without explanation.

I have also noticed some anomalies with pages on GG reverting back to old versions. I have updated the current pages when I have discovered this, but it is all strange, without any obvious explanation and slightly worrying. This is also a host who, up to this point, have been very good. I guess it is just one of those glitches.

If you did not do so with my previous blog, check out www.toursofgalicia.net for a guided tour of the region by experts.

I must get round to putting adsense on this blog, even though my visitors are few!

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

 

Galicia Mystic Tours

This is nothing short of unabashed promotion for a newish company, but one that, if you are considering visiting Galicia, you may want to know about.

The company Galicia Mystic Tours have a website, www.toursofgalicia.net and offer a massive number of planned and hosted excursions across the region of Galicia. Their tours range from one day events to (I believe in the pipeline) a 12 day tour of the whole of Galicia. Their prices look very reasonable and the couple that run the company are Canadian and Galician and both speak English.

If you want to find out more, check out their website using the link above (or the title), or in the column to the left. They also have a great little leaflet (a copy of which they have just sent me) that offers a summary of many of their offerings. They are based in Pontevedra and the email that gets you the leaflet and/or contact with them is information@toursofgalicia.net. Check them out if you are looking at vacationing in Galicia.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

 

Site updates

I have been lax in adding several new town guides including that of Ribadavia. The guides are already written, but I have not selected photos or got round to uploading them. I also have a couple of pages about Asturias, Galicia’s eastern neighbour for anyone doing the overall “green Spain” exploration thing. I must start getting these up, time permitting.

Visitor numbers remain pretty good at the moment (for this time of year), but the regular comments I used to get are few and far between. The friendly “do it yourself” look of the site no longer being evident.

At some point I must get (or work out) some figures for UK visitor numbers to Galicia. It should be possible based on the number of carriers, flights and passenger numbers that each plane can hold. The trend is obviously up – but by what percentage!

The weather here continues to be bright, but colder with each day. We saw minus five last night and the low for tonight is up (or down) to minus nine.

Monday, February 05, 2007

 

No more paid advertising on Galicia Guide

The first 4 days of this month have as good as convinced me that I can make far more money from adsense than by selling £40 paid adverts in the property and villa sections. I would need 20 of these ads in each area to equate to the daily adsense income that will accrue annually. My plan is to run the property ads that are presently there until the last one expires (Nov 2007) and then replace them with ppc. This is unfortunate, but financially sensible.

The villa page has no advertisers on it and I am now convinced that I do not want any – now or at any point.

Hotel wise I will monitor things, but my affiliate parent is doing well for me at the moment, so I think that I will maintain the status quo.

What I now need to do is look towards marketing the content of the site to the ads. This is not something I had previously intended, but I now see the necessity of doing so, albeit in a subtle manner.

Amazingly, it was the two critical comments about the site (on this blog) last month that prompted this adsense experiment, so sincere thanks to both parties for helping me to think outside the box, even if that was not the intention. I am financially grateful.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

 

The Oldest Sweet Shop in England

The weather has been fantastic over the weekend and we went out on Saturday and ended up in Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire.

It is a small but attractive old town in the Yorkshire Dales and we wondered around and had a drink and some light lunch. The star of the visit was however our discovery of possibly the greatest place on earth – “The Oldest Sweet Shop in England”.

This literally is the oldest one in England and its shop fitting, displays and selection of “jarred” sweets took me back to my very early childhood in the late 1960’s.

We selected and bought a couple of bags of sweets immediately, but then went back and spent several pounds on all our old favourites.

The shop has a website and an on-line order service and their url is http://www.oldestsweetshop.co.uk/.

The photos on the main page show you the shop exactly as it is now. The two people running it while we were there also took us back to the days when shopkeepers were nice friendly people.

Incidentally the butchers across the road from the sweet shop also sell the best pork pies I have ever tasted. They actually exceed those of Weigmans in Otley (hard to believe!)

All told a great day and Pateley Bridge is a good day out.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

 

Final adsense observation

When I finished on the PC last night I checked the adsense earnings for the day and was, so I thought, brought down to earth with a current daily total of $1.20. Having just checked the day end total I see that it rose yet again to exceed the 5 dollar total at $5.37. (Over $11 for 2 days).

Doing the math I can see how people can make money by generating adsense only sites. 20 sites making $5/day takes you over the $35k mark and once you have done it, the money just keeps coming in. That said, finding the right topic, SEO the site and all the other things necessary do make it a bit more involved.

Finally the sun is out here (Leeds, UK) and I even have the window open. Next it will be holidays!

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