Sunday, January 27, 2008
Every aspect of the evening contrasted the problems in the UK with what we see as the “superior” lifestyle of Galicia.
Our friends moved to a tiny town in rural Yorkshire where they now live in a couple of former tied cottages that have since been converted into a single house.
They moved there just before Christmas and based their decision to buy the property on the goals of living somewhere safe, without noise and where the values, standards, and general way of life reflected something that they once knew as children - but which no longer exist in urban England.
It speaks volumes of the UK, or at least of England, that the only way to feel secure, get to know your neighbours and enjoy a home life that escapes the madness of this country, is to live miles away from what we once considered “civilisation”.
The downside of this UK versus Galicia contrast was also illustrated by the presence of a pretty good (although expensive) Chinese restaurant in which we dined. This restaurant was located in another slightly larger town close by (called Howden).
In Galicia, the challenge of finding a “half descent” Chinese (or any ethnic) restaurant is a daunting one – even in a major city. “Cosmopolitanism” has not yet reached this part of Spain and many of the benefits of such ethnic and cultural “blending” have still to take place.
It does however suggest that in order to gain such benefits, certain sacrifices, particularly in terms of overall life quality, have to be forfeited.
I have long since taken the view that a multi-cultural society offers many superficial benefits like a variety of cuisines, fashions, lifestyles and interactions, but that ultimately the things that we take for granted like freedoms, safety and a sense of belonging, disappear in the process.
It is interesting to contrast that in Britain, where every "minority" group, ethnic denomination and special interest faction is given a disproportional voice, how real values get eroded and destroyed (often by political correctness) - But how in Galicia those values are retained and no foreigner, “green” or minority group has an influence on the culture.
I certainly favour the latter and believe that living in any country is a privilege for which we in the western world should be grateful. If you are a foreigner in that country, then your good fortune is all the greater.
But it seems that in the UK such views are no longer perceived as appropriate, politically correct or even rational. Perhaps that is why a 14 year old girl being stabbed dozens of times is no longer cause shock, or why a bomb going off in London is seen as one of the hazards of living in the British capital.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Spain's Cornwall (Coast magazine)
I was disappointed not to see the promised mention of Galicia Guide in the resource box, but a couple of my comments were included as quotes and both I and the website were cited twice in the feature itself.
Also used as an information source was another Brit now living in Galicia called Mark Adkinson. His observations were quoted in a similar way.
Later this month another magazine will also publish with a feature on Galicia, although this one is written by what I believe to be “an armchair” journalist - One of the many annoying “experts” who write about places that they have not actually visited.
I was also asked to offer some supportive material for this publication, but declined when it became obvious that the author had never set foot in the region. This scenario is made worse by virtue of the fact that the feature is about the Galician property market and, as far as I can tell, takes the stance of “an expert” reference to the region and its housing market.
Personally I find the morality of presenting oneself as a property expert in a geographical area about which you have no real knowledge very worrying. When you add to this the fact that some individuals may balance major financial investments on this kind of “ill informed” advice, it becomes nothing short of terrifying. I hope that no one is tempted to make a property buying excursion based on such copy.
If you are thinking about buying a second home (or retirement home) in Galicia or anywhere else, explore the area first. Additionally do not view the place as a holiday destination. Try to think of it in terms of what it would be like having a regular routine and how the lifestyle of that location would affect the things in life that you like, dislike, love and hate. Buying a house in another country is a big decision, so give it “big” consideration.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Interest in the region
I have twice been contacted by people and/or magazines doing features on Galicia over the last 3 months. The interest seems mainly property related and the legitimacy of the author’s knowledge of the region seemed, in one case, to be questionable. Even so all publicity is good.
The Liverpool Ryanair service is now less than 3 months from re-starting. Schedules have however changed a bit. Flights now arrive in Santiago late at night rather than in the early morning.
This is bad news as the flights are too late for the last bus to our destination – Noia. You also lose two thirds of a day – but I guess they are minor moans.
We fly out in early April. We were there in early May last year when the weather was good, but this trip will be one with a different itinerary. I think we are there Thursday to the following Saturday.
Right now Galicia’s weather is pretty awful with strong winds and a lot of (much needed) rain.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Ryanair - Liverpool to Santiago de Compostela
1. A number of Saturday flights from both destinations are now fully booked for April.
2. Flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be holding at less than a pound Stirling each way.
3. Departure times are reversed from last year between the two destinations (this is a negative). ie. You leave Liverpool in the evening rather than the early morning and depart Santiago de Compostela in the morning rather than late afternoon. In other words you loose half a day each way.
Other than that things appear the same with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Want some reasons to visit Galicia – then see the Galicia related sites in the column to the left (i.e. the ones above the google ads). You will find destination guides and more.
As this is the first of January - happy New Year