Monday, August 27, 2007

 

"Au Pair" in or close to Noia


Wanting an “Au Pair” in Noia

Just on the off chance that anyone in or around Noia is reading this, I know an English student who will soon be working in Galicia and who is looking to live with a family in or around the Noia, Porto Sin. Outes or Lousame area for about 8 months. She wants to live with a family with children in order to help her language skills. Post a comment if you think you can help or know anyone who can.

Asturias Guide

I have now started to add the new content to http://www.asturiasguide.com with updated sections and lots of photos about Covadonga, Cangas de Onis, Luarca, Ribadesella and Arriondas. I am now putting together the guide for Oviedo which should be 10 pages or more and the guides to Gijon and Aviles will follow.

Once they are complete I have some additional town guides plus lots of info to add about canoeing and the adventure tourism market in Asturias.

I have written, but yet to upload, a couple more town guides to Galicia Guide. I will do this in time, but Asturias Guide is taking priority for the moment as I try to get some (hopefully) good and unique content up about this fantastic part of northern Spain. I managed around 4 or 5 hundred photos while over there and optimising them for the web also takes time.

Galicia trip 3

Since my last entry we have organised a third trip to Galicia for 2007. We will be there again for 9 days in October (a month in which I have never visited this region before), but alas, we will not extend this visit to Asturias again.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

 

A bit more on our Galicia and Asturias break

As previously mentioned we spent the first few days of our July holiday in Asturias and then the remainder (two weeks) in Galicia.

As a big fan of Galicia, but not of its (the organisations not the people’s) inward and sometimes “near offensive” view of tourists, tourism and how to promote it, I was surprised by the deep differences between tourism in Asturias and tourism in Galicia. Perhaps someone from the Xunta or turgalicia should visit Asturias and see how “proper” tourism works.

First, to put things in context

As I have said on many occasions, the Galician tourist bodies jump from a near ignorance of the fact that tourism should be geared towards the visitor (at least visibly and superficially) to an almost total ignorance of the fact that tourists have any connection with tourism. This manifests itself in every tourist attraction imaginable closing for at least 3 and often 4 or 5 hours every afternoon and the mass publication of every tourist guide on Galicia being available in the native tongue of Gallego, with Spanish and other “foreign” languages getting sparse treatment.

The concept that a tourist (at least one who adds value to your economy) comes from another country, or at least another region, some how passes by turgalica and the Xunta and this is why “real” tourist numbers on the ground have dropped over the last 2 years in many Galician towns.

I was therefore amazed by the contrast with Asturias where the attitude to tourism was so radically different.

Despite each tourist office that we entered being full of queuing tourists, the attitude of those working there was to find out as much as they could about you, what you wanted from the region and what they could do to help you. At our very first call, a small tourism centre in Luarca, we left with reams of information covering the entire region and much of it in perfect English. The same would have been true had we requested it in German, French or no doubt several other languages.

Furthermore, road signs were also in Spanish – we could understand them (the Welsh use their own language and English, in Florida, USA, all signs are in English and Spanish), so why can’t the Galicians also use their “national” language too, is it such a massive concession – they did so up to 2 years ago.

What Galicia has to realise is that if it wants tourism (which it continually claims it does) it has to attract tourists and, once it has them, it needs to make their experience enjoyable, not frustrating. Tourism is competitive and if I visited Asturias and Galicia and could only ever go to one of them again, I know which one I would choose and why!

Throughout Asturias we found everyone and every organisation helpful. This did not (and should not) require a change in culture, beliefs or behaviour, but it did include some thought and foresight in terms of how to bring (the right kind of) tourists in to the region, and once there, how to make them want to come back again for more.

My question is: why is this seemingly so easy and simple for Asturias, yet almost impossible for the larger and more connected Galicia.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

 

Holiday summary

With my PC up and working again I can add a bit more to my previous post.

Our visit to Galicia was very enjoyable and, after settling in for a couple of days, we spent three days and two nights in the neighbouring region of Asturias. I took around 400 photos and picked up a wealth of guides to the area and its three main cities. I will use this visit to develop the asturiasguide.com website (over time).

Asturias ultimately lived up to our expectations, but whilst Oviedo and Aviles have great old towns, they remain industrial on the outskirts and Gijon was really quite ugly.

To the west of these cities there is the picturesque area around and including the Picos de Europa and this part of Asturias is truly breathtaking. There is also a very active “adventure tourism” industry which was on a much bigger scale than I expected.

If you are planning a trip to Asturias, the villages around Cangas de Onis and Cavadonga are definitely the locations to use as a base and there are loads of great little hotels about.

Once back from Asturias (in Galicia), we had some awful rainy weather, but this ultimately cleared and our last 10 days or so were great. As previously mentioned we finally got around to visiting Vigo. This city is massive and the motorway that passes through it offers some excellent views of the winding Vigo coastline.

Vigo’s old town is pretty good too, although our visit coincided with the hottest day of the summer (over 36 C), so we did not explored as much as we might have liked.

We were also taken around a bodega in Pontevedra – details of this and the excellent wine it produces will be posted on galiciaguide.com soon.

Other than that we visited places like Mondeneo and Carnota, saw fellow webmaster Colin Davies, met up with the owners of Galicia Mystic Tours who were just able to fit us in to their schedule and generally chilled out.

We also met a very nice couple from Liverpool at John Lennon airport on 17 July who were just in the process of buying a house in Galicia, so we hope that all went well with them.

Other than that, lots of coffees, very few nights in bed before 2.00am in the morning and plenty of sun.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

 

Ryanair Liverpool to Santiago de Compostela

After a poor start in terms of weather, our vacation went well and we spent time in Asturias and also finally got to visit Vigo with an old town that was nicer than expected. Will add more later, but serious PC problems are preventing me from doing much more right now.

Ryanair

Ryanair look set to stop the Liverpool to Santiago flight route from Sept/Oct this year, although it “may” run over summer 2008. No formal announcement has been made yet. It also looks like the schedule from Stansted to Santiago de Compostela will be reduced too – all bad news for those wanting to visit Galicia.

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