Wednesday, January 26, 2011

 

Portugal toll road information

It will probably surprise most with a general knowledge of Galicia that, the fish landed in the greatest quantities by the Galician fishing fleet last year was horse mackerel, 28,500 tonnes of it. Apparently “hake” has been the fish of choice in the previous years, but in 2010 it became the bridesmaid. Painted mackerel was in the bronze medal position.

Toll roads in Portugal

Here is the best link that I can find with information about the new toll road system in Portugal. If you are flying in to O Porto airport with the intention of driving up to Galicia you need to read this link or you will definitely have some fines to pay.

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/5031043523/m/789006232001

The new system was introduced in October 2010 and, if you do not appraise yourself of how this affects you, you can expect a fine of anything from euros 120 to euros 600.

In either a malicious or a money-grapping approach, the government have also increased the police presence around these toll roads in an attempt to catch people out.

The other disappointing factor in all of this is that car rental companies are not informing their customers of these tolls or the fines that are involved if you mistakenly do not pay them.

The final point I will make is to take a quote from the link above with reference to "the toll roads":

You should note that when landing at Oporto airport it is impossible to leave it without driving along one on the auto-estradas affected by this toll scheme.

Monday, January 24, 2011

 

Developing property in Galicia

For those interested in buying and refurbishing an old rural property in Galicia, this site - visitgalicia.co.uk may be of “great” interest to you.

I have added it as a permanent link in the left hand column for anyone who wants to refer back to it. I suspect that a number of people will.

In short this website is an ongoing web-log about a collection of buildings that are gradually being refurbished by their British owners. The eventual intention is that they will be fully restored, upgraded and renovated into a small complex that will operate as a rural hotel. The couple who own them will then relocate to Galicia and run the hotel themselves.

Consequently, the website is a live log of everything that they do and the processes in which they have to involve themselves in order to reach their goal. The whole project will, I believe, take a few years to fully complete, so those who follow it will see the project unfold before their eyes.

What makes this particularly interesting is the fact that a number of people have done a similar thing (although often on a much smaller scale), however few (if any) have documented it in a public way.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 

Thank you – Flights – Toll charges – AGA

First of all, thanks to the numerous people who have emailed me and commented on this blog over the last couple of weeks. I am unused to this level of interest and must put it down to the fact that Colin Davies is taking a temporary rest from his blogging activities. It would seem that I am the beneficiary and this is putting pressure on me to increase my post regularity and the quality of my writing. Please do not judge this blog by Colin’s high and entertaining standards, I cannot begin to compete with him.

Unfortunately, being a visitor rather than a resident of Galicia, my posts cannot be about daily life or the amusing and infuriating experiences of Galician bureaucracy (like Colin’s), so my blogs tend to be related to how to get to the region and what to do once there.

As anyone who does visit this blog regularly will know, I do have a couple of websites about Galicia and these tend to take up 99% of my “Galicia related” effort. To this end I have just finishing updating the current UK-to-Galicia flight details on one of these sites – and you can see this information here galiciaspain.net/transport.html. I hope that this will assist anyone who has been caught up in the recent furore regarding Ryanair and the Galician Xunta. Things have now been agreed and there is a fixed flight schedule which should continue to operate until the end of summer in 2013. Incidentally, there are also direct flights by Vueling (formerly Iberia and Clickair) from Heathrow to la Coruna. So those who can get to London easily do have a couple of options.

If anyone has any further information, tips or advice on reaching Galicia by air or any other means, please let me know. Unfortunately getting to this part of Spain is never as simple as it should be and any information that I can post here and on my websites will help others.

The other thing that I would really like more information about is the new toll road system that has been put into place in northern Portugal. It would seem that this has the sole intent of “catching out” commuters from O Porto airport to Galicia. Any fixes or alternative route information (that can be utilized by other visitors) would be much appreciated (and would be posted here).

Finally, I was told by Colin (I think) some time ago that the AGA had come to an end. As a result I removed some links that I had placed to the site and its forum. However, the other day I saw that the website was still operating at http://angalas.resai.es, albeit without a fully functional forum link. Is this site still alive and being used? If it is can someone let me know and I will reinstate some backlinks to it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

 

Latest on Ryanair flights from London Stansted

Please be aware that the information below is taken from regional newspapers, so I am relying on their accuracy and information sources.

Good news if you live near London and want to visit Galicia (or if you have a holiday home there.

After many weeks of discussions and (reported) walkouts, Ryanair will re-commence their London Stansted flight route to Santiago de Compostela and tickets apparently went on sale for the summer season on Friday 14 January 2011 (yesterday). Flights are now available to book from 27 March to 31 December 2011. It would also appear that this schedule has been secured for three seasons, i.e. to the end of 2013.

I have just tried to get on their site to check days and times of travel, but as yet without success. However, if you want flights, then I suggest you take a look now. Ryanair are supposedly launching many 2011 summer routes with some “very cheap” initial “early book” tickets

Summary of Ryanair flight details for 2011 (to 2013)

Flights between Stansted (London) and Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain)

Flights commence 27 March 2011 and continue to 31 December 2011

Flight days will be Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (i.e. 4 flights per week)

Monday, January 10, 2011

 

Ryanair flights for 2011 (provisional)

I will try and post any information about the Ryanair-Galician Xunta situation as soon I become aware of it.

Taking my information from the regional newspapers etc, here is what “appears” to be the current state of play.

It looks like a general agreement has been reached between Ryaniar and the Galician Xunta for Ryanair to continue flying into and out of Galicia. However there are still some problems that need resolving and the result of this is that the current schedule will terminate today. I.e. There will be no more Ryanair flights to Galicia until the outstanding issues have been resolved on both sides (more on these below).

At the moment is seem likely that Ryanair will (if things “do” go according to plan) recommence their schedule some time around 28 March 2011. This date is however a long way from being cast in stone.

The main outstanding issues are:

The Xunta paying Ryanair the originally demanded subsidy (or whatever part of it has had a negotiated agreement made upon it).

Ryanir refunding the illegal 25 Euro charge made against passengers who paid for their flights on credit card. Interestingly, this is a demand of the Galician parliament that can only be applied to those who bought their tickets in Galicia. The rest of us will not benefit from this unless the British and other national governments decide to look after the best interests of their electorate and apply the law. (Very unlikely!!!!)

So when and if these problems are resolved in practice, as apposed to by verbal agreement, Ryanair will start flying again. Hopefully by the end of March or the beginning of April.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

 

A film about Galicia plus flight info

So, to my surprise it appears that Ryanair will be flying to Galicia again this summer. A deal has now been negotiated, at least to and from Stansted (London).

Last year a big fuss was made by the Galician Xunta about giving Spanish budget airline Vueling a UK route from the region after Ryanair decided not to waste their time talking to Xunta about a “renegotiation”. That was of course all back in October/November 2010 and things have changed.

Given the fact that Vueling is a reincarnation of Clickair and that Clickair replaced Iberia (who own them), it would now seem that the “old” status quo is been maintained, i.e. the latest incarnation of Iberia and Ryanair both servicing Galicia from the UK.

That said, for those of us not fortunate enough to be within easy travelling distance of a London airport, nothing has really changed. No flights from Liverpool or any other northern English (or Scottish) airport.

A 2011 boost for Galicia’s tourist trade

Last year Galicia had its usual ten yearly tourist boost by enjoying a religious Jubilee year, i.e. lots of pilgrims.

This year another bonus could be on the way in the form of a film by Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez (Estevez apparently being Sheen’s real surname).

Martin Sheen’s father was a Galician, so the project was one inspired by more than Hollywood and money and Sheen has expressed a wish that the movie will increase tourist interest in the region. Based around the Way of St. James pilgrimage you can find out more about the film here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1328844/Martin-Sheens-The-Way-hopes-boost-tourism-northern-Spain.html.

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