Sunday, May 27, 2007

 

Galicia in Spring – visitor tips

Something that I only touched on in my entry of 2 blogs ago was the scenery of Galicia in Spring. It really is at its absolute best and, aside from the freshness of all the green colours, the number of wild flowers and trees really make this the best time of year to visit if you want to see the region at its best. I will add some photos to the general Galicia section of galiciaguide.com soon.

The downside is the uncertainty of the weather, but there are no guarantees in summer either and I would certainly visit in late April or May again. The temperatures can also get pretty high at this time of year and we had 6 straight days of cloudless sky, temps of over 25 deg centigrade and burning hot sun. I got burnt on the first weekend and remain so now, 3 weeks later! I did of course neglect to use a sun screen. Night time temperatures are much cooler in April/May and a jacket or extra layer of warmth is a must. The days are still light until around 9.00pm.

This time of year is also ideal if you want to avoid the crowds. Everywhere we went was quiet (except at the weekends), but on the down side, the bars and cafes do lose some atmosphere as a result. That said late July and August are manic and if you really want to explore, or simply chill out, avoiding those periods is a good idea. This is also the time when the fiestas are just getting started, so again it is easy to see one, or avoid them depending upon your preference.

For more detailed info about the region, see www.galiciaguide.com , www.galiciaspain.net and www.colindavies.net . If you are interested in a guided tour of the any part of Galicia: by foot, people carrier, coach (with much larger groups) or cycling on the Camino, take a look at Galicia Mystic Tours on www.toursofgalicia.net, they offer an incredible number of organised tours covering every area and theme connected with Galicia. For property purchase, villa rental or hotel and other holiday services, planning and bookings, see the Galicia Guide link above. You will have access to over 400 pages about the area which should give you some idea of what the place is like.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

 

May trip to Noia

Still in shock from my complementary review of Ryanair’s excellent performance I am back to add more – not on Ryanair though.

Our 9 day break was highly enjoyable and we met up with, had coffees, lunches and dinners with, the friends that we have accumulated over the last few years.

Food prices in supermarkets continue to rise, but getting a drink (alcohol or otherwise) remains incredibly cheap and helps to foster the Galician (and Spanish) social activity of calling in at bars and cafes for a drink and a chat, or simply to read a newspaper or contemplate.

More on Noia

The road refurbishments of last year are now completed. Most are really paths in the medieval quarter, but all look good and enhance the town. The new board walk, which is on a far grander scale than we anticipated, is great. We took a constitutional on it a least once a day and when the sea is in it is highly enjoyable. There are a couple of platforms with benches and the entire length has small night lights on it. At its end is a patio like area with views into the bay and the small dock area of Testal.

The 2 big negatives were the closing of the “la Parra” tapas bar over Christmas and the continued removal of sand from Testal and Taramancos beaches. Frankly there is no beach left, just mud and rock. When the beaches are protected it is hard to see how this could have taken place. It is also impossible to get any kind of answer on what has happened, but the volumes involved mean that it must have been authorised by a council or bigger official body. All very unfortunate.

On this particular trip with stayed local to Noia for most of the time, but we did venture to Pontevedra to see the people who run Galicia Mystic Tours and Colin Davies in the hills above the city. Pontevedra has a beautiful old town and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the area. It is great during the day and even better during the night.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

 

Back from Galicia

Our 9 day break in Galicia could not have gone better.

The Ryanair flights were excellent and their service from Liverpool is more professionally run than that from Stansted. Both flights arrived early, bags were off and in baggage “pick-up” quickly and the staff were very pleasant. On the downside, neither outgoing or inbound flights were full, with 10 rows of seats kept free of passengers as a result. With the closing of the East Midlands route, as a result of poor ticket sales, this is somewhat ominous! If you are considering visiting Galicia from the north of England, check the Ryanair prices, they have some amazingly cheap offers.

I also need to get the name of the company with whom we left our car (I will post it here later) as they were also first class and incredibly cheap. I think it was Skybus

We also used buses (2) to get from the airport at Santiago to Noia and both were on time, very clean and comfortable. All told it was a very stress free trip.

The weather was generally hot with clear sky and temps reaching 25 centigrade. Galicia is of course very quiet at this time of year (which may suit many), but the scenery is spectacular. April and May see the hills, meadows and mountains covered in flowers, primarily wild yellow broom, masses of large yellow daisies, plus fox gloves, irises, columbine and many more. The landscape is a mix of green and yellow and without doubt this time of year is the best to see Galicia in full bloom. More in next blog.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

 

Holiday

All being well I should be in Noia this time tomorrow. We fly out early to Santiago de Compostela airport and if things go well should be in the apartment by the early afternoon. Just hope the weather is good.

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