Sunday, August 29, 2010
A new link
Amazingly I managed to plug a couple of companies (to which I have no real connection) in the last post without getting any comments from “trolls”. Perhaps they have figured out that I never publish or respond to their provocative statements, so have desisted from writing them.
I will add some further “mini town guide tasters” again from next week, but an injured finger has made typing awkward over the last couple of weeks – hence the lack of posts.
And, with the injury as an excuse, I will excuse myself now.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Property in Galicia
House prices have fallen to a degree, but certainly not to the extent that they have in southern Spain - and the reasons for this you can find by reading some of my previous posts.
Most people who buy into Galicia tend to go for the old farm house style properties called rural houses and these often require refurbishment. That said there are many new and modern homes for sale across the region with some of the more expensive and better fitted being in the Pontevedra province. The reason for this being that this area sees most of the beach based summer tourism from other parts of Spain. These are the people who tend to buy this kind of house in this kind of area and the result is a good deal of new build.
In northern la Coruna and Lugo you will find a lot of ruins in what are now depopulated zones. These homes can come with good sized plots of land, but they are often in the middle of nowhere and were once small holdings or farms. They can be good value, but whilst isolation may seem appealing on a 2 week holiday it can be very different if you live there all year long.
If you want to explore or buy into the Galician property market, take a look at a company and site like this one http://www.galiciaholiday.com where there are English speaking owners who can explain everything fully. Also make sure that you use an English speaking solicitor (e.g. http://www.galiciapropertylawyers.net) so that everything is both explained and protected on your behalf. Trying to go it alone is fraught with hazards and many people have paid a high price for trying to take short cuts or fumble their way through a Spanish property sale.
Incidentally “land grab” does not exist in Galicia, so you will not find the regional government forcing a compulsory purchase order on you in the way that some other Spanish councils do.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Padron is one of the most significant towns in Galicia and its districts (and Roman name) have significance with St. James and his arrival in Galicia. It is in la Coruna province.
During his life St. James himself preached on a hilly outcrop just a few minutes walk outside of modern Padron and you can visit, as many pilgrims do, the spot where he delivered his sermons. There is also a hole in some stone which it is said was caused by him bringing down his staff as a demonstration of power.
Two other features of Padron include the “pedron” stone to which the disciple’s boat was moored when his decapitated body was returned to Galicia after his murder and the church in which it is held. There is a replica “pedron” stone next to the river close to the church to indicate how it might have looked in its day.
Aside from its associations with St. James, Padron is well known as being the home of the famous Spanish poet Rosalia de Castro. Today her former home is a museum celebrating her life and works and it is well worth a visit. The cost is minimal and parking across Padron is free.
I will close with a link to this http://www.ihspanishinmadrid.com website which will be of interest to anyone wishing to learn Spanish in Madrid.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Aviles & Muros
The one in Asturias, which is a city, is called Aviles and I think that it is the best of the region’s three main cities. (The others being Gijon and the capital Oviedo.) You can find out more about it from the index menu at the top right of this page www.asturiasguide.com/Aviles-old-town-3.html.
Muros on the other hand is a much smaller coastal town in Galicia in the la Coruna province. It is pretty touristy in summer and has a great promenade, a small marina and lots of tapas style bars where you can get something to eat and drink. You can also walk up some steep steps to the top of the town where you will get some really good views looking across the ria.
Muros is definitely a place to visit for a few hours and it is on a very picturesque coastal road that runs from “the coast of death” and beyond (in the north) all the way down to (and past) Pontevedra in the south. If you drive this route on a nice sunny day I think that you will find the scenery, beaches and former fishing villages that you pass hard to beat anywhere. You can see a few photos of Muros here: http://www.galiciaguide.com/Muros4.html.
Aviles on the other hand is somewhere where you can easily spend a couple of days. It has a beautiful colourful old town with lots to see and it is not a million miles away from the Picos de Europa mountains. The one drawback that we found to Aviles was the price of food and drink. Everything seems to be more pricey than other parts of the region and indeed Galicia.
That is all for now, somewhere else next time.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Camino de Santiago
There are also a couple of appendices with lots of information about the places and buildings that he (and his companions) passed through (and by) and it should prove interesting and motivating to anyone who is considering a similar challenge.
If you want to know more about the cathedral at the pilgrimage’s destination your best source will be http://www.galiciaguide.com/Santiago-cathedral.html and the various pages that connect off from it.
This year has been a holy year for the Camino’s many pilgrims and as such it has been unusually busy. Next year will however be less hectic for those who want the Camino experience, but without the ballyhoo of the Jubilee.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Amieva and Vimianzo
I will start with Amieva which really is a little known place in Asturias.
Around one hundred years ago is was fairly prosperous and had farms, both agricultural and livestock, and it produced a lot of cheese (for which Asturias is famed). Since then its population has seen a rapid descent as subsequent generations have turned their backs on the outdoor life in favour of city life.
Today Amieva has a population of about 800 and the trend continues to see a fall. Even so, it is has a beautiful location situated close to the Picos de Europa mountains and its scenery is stunning. If you do get the chance to go to Amivea you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are one of very few non locals who will have been there. You can get a little bit more background on this town here - http://www.asturiasguide.com/Amieva.html.
Back in Galicia, I will give a quick run down of Vimianzo and you can explore it more fully by going here http://www.galiciaguide.com/Vimianzo.html. We visited Vimianzo once to see a castle which doubles as a living museum to local crafts that you can see being “kept alive” by the few who still posses the necessary skills.
Getting to Vimianzo is fairly straightforward and it is not a million miles away from Finisterre with its port and lighthouse.
Other than the castle there is not too much more to see, but the castle is impressive both internally and externally and you can easily spend a couple of hours there. It can also make up a good drive if you want to see the coast and some of the inland areas of Galicia by stopping at both Finisterre and Vimianzo in the same trip.