Thursday, October 28, 2010

 

Ryanair and Galicia

Following on from the comments at the foot of the last post, here is the latest state of play with Ryanair flights to Galicia for 2011.

At present they are suspended and below is a very brief summary of the current stand-off situation between all parties.

A meeting was held yesterday by a committee comprising of representatives of the Xunta and the 3 Galician airports. Ryanair were invited to this meeting, but declined to attend and have taken the action referred to above.

The meeting was not resolved (and is continuing) as there is a rift between the attending parties for the following reasons.

1. La Coruna council are prepared to pay Ryanair 3 million euros to use them as a Galician base. However the other airports and the Xunta object to this.

2. There is disagreement as to whether more than one airport should be used.

3. There is disagreement as to whether or not more than one carrier should be allowed.

4. There is disagreement over paying a subsidy.

In short the committee cannot agree on anything and whatever one proposes another seems intent on blocking. In the meantime it would seem likely that Ryanair will have already taken their bat and ball home and for once (possibly the first time ever) I can see their point.

Monday, October 25, 2010

 

"Coach trip" in Galicia

Whether or not this is good news for Galicia I do not know, but the TV show “Coach Trip” finished recording a new series recently in which, to my knowledge, at least two stops were made in Galicia.

The first was la Coruna and the second was Santiago de Compostela and, as ever, they were looking for interesting things for their passengers to do. I will keep those activities quiet for now, but they will obviously be revealed when the show goes out.

As for when it does go out, I have not got a clue as dates were not mentioned in my communications with them.

My hope would be that the passengers in question were capable of appreciating the charm, culture and uniqueness of Galicia, but based on my (very) occasional watching of this show I have my doubts.

I see that in his blog, Colin Davies has made mention of the insane toll road charges that anyone travelling through northern Portugal to Galicia will now face whilst in Portugal.

The impact of this madness on Oporto airport will, I am sure, be very detrimental. However, whether Colin’s hope and mine of increased business to the three Galicia airports proves to be a reverberating result is questionable. I think that having a few routes in and out of these sparsely used airports would be a good start, but there are no signs of this happening in the foreseeable future.

What confuses me is the fact that my local airport, Leeds-Bradford, has seen both Ryanair and Easyjet announce new routes for next year whilst the main L-B carrier, Jet2, are asking passengers for suggestions as to new destinations.

I know for a fact that about 5 years ago Jet2 were considering a north of England flight to one of the Galician airports, so what has put them and everyone else off?

It clearly cannot be Jet2’s own passenger number research or they would never have mentioned Galicia to start off with. You are therefore forced to conclude that the Galician airport authorities and probably the Xunta remain the primary obstacle. It would not surprise me if turgalicia also had a hand in things as promoting the region “outside of the region” is something that they seem to have an aversion to.

In any event this will no doubt go down as another missed “tourist promotion” opportunity for the region and one that the hoteliers, bar and restaurant owners would gladly have benefited from.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

 

Monterrei Castle

After a couple of weeks absence I am back to giving some summary ideas about places to visit in the north of Spain. This particular one is a hill top castle in the land-locked province of Galicia.

Monterrei Castle can be found in Ourense and the big disadvantage to this attraction is the time and travelling distance that most visitors to Galicia will have to run up in order to reach it.

Since most foreign tourist stay in Santiago de Compostela, la Coruna or Pontevedra, the south west of Ourense can take some hours to get to and that is compounded by the fact that you have an equal travelling time to return to your base destination.

For those who are prepared to make the journey, this castle is one that is spectacular from a distance, but one that equally becomes less impressive as you get nearer. Having said that, the same is true of many castles around the world.

Monterrei Castle first becomes visible when you are some distance away and its hill top location must have made it close to impenetrable in the days when it was still active. The biggest features of this castle are its massive walls, rather that what is found within them. For more details you can take a look at this page galiciaguide.com/Monterrei.html.

As with many Galician castles there is not (or at least was not when we were there) any visitor centre of note. Nor has much been done to renovate, restore or spruce up this piece of heritage. The plus side to this is that you will be one of very very few visitors which gives the place an unusual feel and I suspect that not too much has happened in the years since its active use ceased.

The views from the castle are also good and there is even the occasional old cannon (although in disrepair) pointing out into the distance.

Visiting this castle, as a special day out, is probably not the best use of your time, however if you are intending to spend some time in this part of Galicia then it is worth seeing. It is shown on most maps and the route is fairly straight forward.

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