Monday, September 27, 2010

 

Galicia's airports

I read in Colin Davies’ blog that the Xunta of Galicia would like to extend the Jubilee year into 2011 and, not surprisingly, have been told by the Vatican that they cannot.

All told it is fascinating that the desire for more tourism would prompt such an idea in a region that has all but lost the support of the budget airlines required to get the same tourists into the area.

Why does the Xunta not make a concerted effort to get Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 or one of the other budget carriers to fly regular scheduled flights into Santiago from different destinations around Europe. Santiago’s “international” airport is all but dead.
Just 2 years ago it took 3 flights per week via Ryanair from Liverpool and back and a further three from the East Midlands. Now only the London Stansted route remains (and on a diminished schedule). It begs the question, what is the point of an international airport if it has next-to-no international flights. La Coruna fairs no better and Vigo is even worse.

Having said all of that, perhaps the explanation is in the request for the Jubilee extension. The Camino is of course a walk and both the French and Portuguese Ways start in countries where flight access is readily available. Maybe the Xunta’s new idea is to do away with flights into Galicia altogether and let visitors walk in from France or Portugal. I do however feel that this approach is doomed for failure.

Finally, and to my absolute amazement, my wife’s parents returned to England a week and a bit ago and declared that the weather in Galicia had been very good this summer. This is high praise indeed as we have previously enjoyed the same good weather as they have only to have them describe the summer as wet and miserable most of the time. It just shows that this year the summer months must have been exceptional.

Next time I will try to get back to another mini guide covering some worthwhile location in Galicia, until then, take a look at the links to other sites and blogs on the left.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

 

Ribadavia

Continuing my brief and spasmodic overviews of some of Galicia’s towns and villages, here is one of the best – Ribadavia.

Ribadavia is in the province of Ourense (or Orense if you prefer) and it takes a bit of getting to if you are in one of the more touristy parts of la Coruna or even southern Pontevedra.

Ribadavia is an inland town, but a fairly large one. It is a wine centre and its old town, which is almost totally intact, is arguably the best in the region of Galicia.

At the entrance to the medieval quarter there is the ruin of an old castle and this sets the tone for what is to come. The highlight of the town is probably its main square which is fully enclosed by three and four storey high buildings with colonnaded first floor levels. The tourist office is in this square as are a number of café bars, some shops and a tiny church.

To one side of the town there is a river and scenic countryside abounds in this part of Ourense. Ribadavia has a Jewish quarter and a few other historic connections that make it interesting on all levels.

If you are thinking of visiting this part of Galicia you can find out more about this town at galiciaguide.com/Ribadavia.html. It has a population of about 6,000 people and there are main highways leading to it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

 

A good summer

The excellent weather in Galicia has continued and even my mother-in-law told my wife yesterday that the weather was good this summer. This from someone who normally says it is too cold, too hot, too wet, or too something or other. In other words it must be one of the best summers on record.

For our part we have been excluded from it for the first time in almost a decade. Various circumstances have meant that a trip to Galicia has not been on the cards this year and a later excursion has now been derailed because my wife has just started a one day a week 15 week course that goes on till late November or early December.

Ferry and flights

The possible ferry cancellations that I mentioned in an earlier post (some months ago) do not seem to have taken place and one ferry company has increased the number of sailings this year.

On the air transport side things are not so good and the three Galician “so called” international airports have added no further UK to Galicia flights this year. None are planned for next year and these three airports between them, i.e. Santiago, la Coruna and Vigo carry only a fraction of the passengers of O porto in Portugal (your next best flight option).

I know that on almost all of our incoming and outgoing flights to Santiago we have hardly seen another plane and the airport seems semi deserted. How this makes economic business sense for the airport or region is beyond the reasoning of anyone with half a brain.

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