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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

New music festival


A welcome new music festival is being held for the first time in La Gomera's capital San Sebastian this Saturday, September 10th 2015, from 9pm. There will be six bands performing music from from around the world including Reggae, Roots and Rumba (see poster above). The new event called 'Gomera Sound Fest' will be held in the town's main square (Plaza de las Americas) and is free of charge.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Passenger terminal nearing completion

Image taken a couple of weeks ago by H.P.
The new passenger terminal in the port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey is nearing completion and the facility should be officially opened just in time for the busy winter season. 
All that's missing now is some solid news regarding the reopening of the sorely missed ferry connection...

Friday, August 26, 2016

Movie shot in La Gomera showing in Playa de Santiago

Filming a beach scene in 2013

The movie 'In the Heart of the Sea' directed by Ron Howard which was partially filmed in La Gomera's south will finally be screened for the first time on the island in the main film location in late 2015, the town of Playa de Santiago. The open-air screening will take place in the town's square on Sunday, August 28th 1015, at 9pm and the event is free of charge. Don't miss to see it exactly where lot's of 'Hollywood action' took place now almost three years ago. However, this screening will be of the Spanish language version called 'En el Corazon del Mar'.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer rock festival

A rock festival will take place in 'La Villa', as islanders call La Gomera's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera, this Saturday, August 27th 2016, from 8pm. The annual event will feature six bands headed by local rockers 'Tonelada' and the other bands are 'Doctor Yao' from Tenerife, 'Metalmorfosis' (Lanzarote), 'Leche Frita'  (Fuerteventura), 'The Last Drop' and 'Represion 24 Horas', both from Gran Canaria. The 'Villa Rock' festival is held near the 'Avenida Maritima' this year and entry is free of charge.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Helicopter stationed in La Gomera

The helicopter stationed on La Gomera (Image source: gomeratoday.com)

La Gomera now has a multi-functional helicopter stationed at the airport above Playa de Santiago for the summer months. The chopper is equipped for rescue missions and can carry a load of 1500 litres of water in a special attachment for firefighting purposes when needed.  It arrived last Friday and will remain in La Gomera on stand-by until October. For next year it is planned that the same helicopter will be on the island for six months from May. The funding came from Canarian government.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Lovin' La Gomera

Below is an article which appeared in yesterday's Irish Independent:


''The Secret Canary Island: A holiday paradise beyond the brochures



La Gomera3
La Gomera is the Canary Island that time forgot. And that's exactly why you should visit, says Thomas Breathnach.
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Bienvenido to bliss!  
The lush, avocado-hued mountain terraces that surround me could be in Goa. The echoes of merengue from the sleepy hamlet in the valley could be the sound of Hispaniola. 
I've never experienced such exotica so close to home - and I didn't even change my watch to do it. I'm on La Gomera, second-smallest of the seven Canary Islands, delighting in the go-slow harmony of local time.
I was cast away on the island the previous night, via a crossing from its gateway neighbour, Tenerife. The larger Canary Island commands a sort of mainland status over La Gomera (900,000 residents live on Tenerife, versus just 20,000 for the latter). Ferries are the typical way to get here, so I caught the morning sailing from the bustling port of Los Cristianos. I was joined by passengers ranging from Germanic hikers and native weekenders to an on-board entertainment troupe, fresh off a red-button performance of España's Got Talent. 
With so few tourists reaching La Gomera's shores, however, there's still an air of pioneering travel to the place. Once at sea, memories of Tenerife's high-rises and karaoke bars quickly faded to end.
Just shy of an hour later, the charcoal cliff-faces of La Gomera finally parted for the verdant harbour of her capital. Home to half the island, San Sebastian feels positively downtown compared to what would follow. There's a lively indoor mercado, small financial centres and charming cobbled alleyways which buttress its punchy history: Columbus set sail from La Gomera to the New World in 1492, and its ties to the Americas have been buoyant ever since. In fact, locals will tell you the cultural gusto on the island is more like Venezuela than mainland Spain.Depositphotos_70347747_l-2015.jpg  
From San Sebastian, I spring-boarded to Playa de Santiago, the pocket-sized coastal resort some 34km (translation: 90 minutes) away. The scenery en route is gasp-eliciting spectacular: from La Gomera's curb-kissing ravines and palm tree oases to the sight of Mount Teide, Tenerife's landmark volcano, looming across the sounds like a sun-scorched Mount Fuji. By the time I've traversed the island, I've met just two cars and a farmer's pick-up truck (a relief, given some of those hairpin bends).
The largest hotel on the island, my base of Jardin Tecina, is a cool and calm hermitage of white-washed villas clustered around a bougainvillea-brushed cliff-face. Beneath it, an abandoned beach cove is reachable by private elevator (only fitting that such a deserted paradise should have its James Bond touches). Beach-lovers, however, should not expect white sands on La Gomera: due to its volcanic nature, you'll be leaving footprints in the black, sole-scorching variety here.
Given the island's landscape - not to mention the dominance of Berghaus over bikinis, it's clear that La Gomera's main draw is hiking. The island is a Garden of Eden for all-level trails and I joined three-decades-a-local Gordo Wenk for a guided trek. Gordo, a silver-haired Stuttgarter with a thick accent, dovetails perfectly with the local demographic. La Gomera developed as a hippy commune for Americans and Continentals in the 1960s and today is said be Europe's last outpost of true boho living. "We still have a few folks who actually live in beach caves here," he says, as we wander through the flora-flecked surrounds of Garajonay National Park. Flower power,indeed.Depositphotos_52913051_l-2015.jpg  
My hiking efforts are later rewarded with a local lunch at the panoramic Mirador de Abrante restaurant (+34 638 661490; above). El menú? Potaje de berros, a moreish watercress soup heartened with pork belly, fresh sea perch with buttery asparagus and an ice-cream dessert gilded with local palm honey. Delicious! 
Almost more impressive were the waiters and chefs who chat in El Silbo, the Gomeran, UNESCO-hailed whistling language (once used to communicate across valleys, now used to place my side order of patatas bravas). There are hidden nuggets of culture in La Gomera and this one is written in the wind.
 La Gomera is a switch-off destination with a refreshing lack of choice when it comes to activities: everybody is simply here for nature. For another taste of the wilds, I take a whale-watching trip with a local operator (excursiones-tina.com; €45 including lunch). True to Gordo's word, we've barely lifted anchor when the sights of nudist hippies inhabiting the caved coastline dominate our binoculars. But they're soon overshadowed by the sight of bottle-nosed dolphins followed by a hammer-head shark and a pod of pilot whales! That evening, I retire to the lounge at Jardin Tecina, where resident pianist Anne-Tina is reciting Ludovico Einaudi to an audience of one. This is high season on the island. As we banter, I learn that she is Danish, loves Dublin, and has voluntarily stranded herself on La Gomera for the past seven years.  "Why would I want to be anywhere else?" she asks. All but alone on what must be Europe's most beautiful island, I could only say Salud! to that.''

Monday, May 23, 2016

Air-to-air missile found on La Gomera

Image source: eldia.es

The explosives and bomb disposal unit of the Spanish police Guardia Civil had to be dispatched from Tenerife South airport to La Gomera after a viable air-to-air missile was found on La Gomera near the main road in the sleepy banana-growing village of La Dama on the south coast yesterday.

The damaged missile with the words 'cabeza de guerra', meaning warhead, measured three metres long and weighed 80 kilos and was successfully defused in what was said to be a 'difficult and very complex operation'. Its origin is most likely the squadron of jet fighters of the Spanish airforce which is based at Gando airport on Gran Canaria and probably 'lost' the missile during exercises when flying over La Gomera.
Thank God it didn't explode.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

No news is good news

It's spring time on La Gomera island and off-season. Spring and early summer are La Gomera's most quiet times and there isn't much to report.
However I can reassure my readers that I'm regularly in contact with my winter exile and I follow the local media. Should anything worth reporting happen there I will of course bring it to you on this blog...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Canaria Dancers

I spotted these sunny 'Canaria Dancers' busking in the wind and rain in a town in the southwest of Ireland recently, and boy, can they move ! The music was Irish though and not Canarian.
They're probably collecting for a holiday in the sunny Canary Islands to recharge the batteries...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Casa La Familia closed down

For four years 'Casa La Familia' had been La Gomera's best and most popular music venue, meeting point and social club for residents and visitors alike. Their regular live music events, flea markets, and parties were always well attended and many visiting musicians and artists found a great welcome and an open stage. Casa La Familia also had a very important role to play when it came to feeding the poor as well as giving shelter and showers to homeless people, and serving to break down barriers by just providing a peaceful and relaxed space where all were welcome.
Some people in La Gomera were critical, some were jealous that live music and drinks could be enjoyed without a licence, and some just wanted the place shut down as it was just too much of 'the free spirit' for them. Most of the population here just 'lived and let live' and many enjoyed the facilities and events under the peace banner themselves and it even became a new tourist attraction for Valle Gran Rey.
In the end Vera, the lady who initiated the idea and rented the former car hire facilities, could not get the lease renewed after same had expired earlier this year. However, the local owners, who always had been supportive of her ideas, let her continue until this month without charge to finish the season. Now Vera wants to move on and a few days ago all the decorations and facilities were taken down by her and an army of volunteers, all to be scrapped. Even the kitchen and the stage were dismantled and the place is back to how she found it. Bye bye Casa La Familia !
Rumour has it that the owners now want to remodel the property into a proper bar and music venue which is supposedly to be opened there later this year.
A big thank you to valiant Vera for four years of great events, and for her caring, unpaid social services. Vera has made Valle Gran Rey a better place.
Full house at a singer/songwriter night        (Images: Casa La Familia)

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Praise for La Gomera's genuine laid-back atmosphere

The following is an excerpt from an article by Damien Enright, who like me will spend the spring and summer at home in Ireland. It appeared in the Irish Examiner last Monday and eloquently describes the type of atmosphere La Gomera calls its own:

''A king’s ‘ramson’ wouldn’t keep me from West Cork

IT’S goodbye to La Gomera and the canaries, their bubbling morning song from the fruit trees when we stayed in a friend’s house in the mountains, and from our neighbour Gerardo’s spacious aviary when we dwelt in the valley, writes Damien Enright.
A wild canary taking the evening sun on a tree in La Gomera, Canary Islands. Picture: Damien Enright
...  As you read this, we will be journeying home. We’ve greatly enjoyed the walking, swimming, meeting old friends and the food in La Gomera. Holidaymakers who visit the island always say what they most love is that it is so laid-back.
‘Laid-back’ is, of course, a 1960s hippy-term, now used by upright citizens who never actually got laid-back, back then. Why do they find La Gomera so easy-going? Well, they’re no hurry, not much traffic, no bustle, no hustlers, no crime, no aggravation. There are no garish tourist shops or waiters waving one into restaurants, girls in high-heeled cowboy-boots and short shorts handing out time-share leaflets, or signboards for monkey parks, excursions, whale-watching boats or dolphin aquariums blocking the pavements.
‘Laid-back’ has become a high saleable quality for many stressed-out city dwellers. There are, we know, hundreds of sun-blessed Caribbean, South American, and Asian beaches where commercial action is unknown: but holidaymakers ask themselves if they can relax in places where there are no other foreign footprints on the sand. These days, the locals may no longer be happy with just “livin’ on coconuts and fishes from de sea”.
A big plus for Gomera’s laid-back feeling is that there is no crime. Women can safely walk alone on remote trails. They can go out at night to a restaurant or bar with no fear of being approached, much less accosted, by intrusive locals or other holidaymakers. It is to be admitted that there isn’t a lot of after-dark action. There are no nightclubs or discos — not the place to take your teenage kids on holiday! — but two bars stay open late. Small groups of local and international musicians play impromptu sessions in others.
Most visitors are ‘into’ the island, its natural charms. Many are walkers, and German. German walkers eat dinner early, are asleep by 11pm and up at dawn to set off, a Nordic walking stick in each hand, rucksack on back, valderee-valderah. Then, there’s the ambience. There are no amusement parlours, McDonald’s or Starbucks.
Only one hotel is owned by multinational operators, The Tecina in Playa Santiago, a sort of luxury mini-Tenerife resort owned by Fred Olsen international. Elsewhere, towns have small, family-owned hotels or pensions. In Valle Gran Rey, the handful of hotels are small, low-rise and locally owned, with one or two four-star establishments.
Laid-back may also be a result of local families owning most businesses, being comfortably off, and living traditionally. At least a dozen Germans, long-term residents, have set up successful activity or amenity enterprises, which ‘fit in’.
Local families build their low-rise, small apartment blocks or rented accommodation units themselves; there’s always a builder in the family. The restaurants are largely locally owned, staffed by sons and daughters, with fresh fish and succulent sun-infused vegetables supplied by family members; there’s always a farmer or fishermen in the family.
So, the money is kept at home. The land is locally owned, not sold to conglomerates. The profits are not shipped out. The locals are not just waiters. They have a stake, and the island’s ambience, morality and laid-back way of life is theirs.
The same can be said of tourist villages in Ireland. Tourists say what they like best in Ireland is the atmosphere and the people. Our village in West Cork is a lot like Gomera, but for the weather. However, it will be spring — and we have to go home anyway, because we’ve run out of Barry’s Tea.''