Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cruise ship visit hampered by gales

The AidaVita passing Valle Gran Rey this morning
The very windy weather has delayed the arrival in San Sebastian de La Gomera of Italian-registered cruise ship AidaVita. The ship had sailed from Gran Canaria as scheduled last night on a course directly to La Gomera's capital to arrive there at 8 am, but due to the combination of heavy seas and gale force winds was unable to berth in the harbour. AidaVita then sailed on along the northern coastline and is now completing a full circle around La Gomera, having just passed the south-western town of Valle Gran Rey and is rescheduled to arrive in San Sebastian at 12 noon, but current weather conditions aren't much better...
The highest wind speeds in the Canaries this morning were recorded at the weather station on La Gomera's highest peak Alto de Garajonay, with a sustained wind speed of 86 km/h at 8:30 am and a gust of 134 km/h at 8:10 am.
AidaVita tried again to berth in San Sebastian de La Gomera just after 12 noon. The pilot came aboard, but the attempts to dock were given up before 1pm. The pilot was taken off again, and the cruise ship sailed away from La Gomera.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The average tourist...

Tourists enjoying the views at the 'Mirador de Abrante' above Agulo with Tenerife in the background

...stayed 11 days on La Gomera in 2017 and spent about 1.650 Euros on the island during that time. That's according to the latest statistics released by the island's government. The spending per visitor is up by 3% on the previous year and the spending averages 150 Euros per day, a figure which includes the cost of accommodation. The total number of tourists who stayed on La Gomera in 2017 was close to 700.000 which is quite impressive for an island with a population of only 20.000 and without direct flights from the European continent. My personal observation is that a lot more visitors now hire a car for the complete duration of their stay, and not just for a few days during their holidays here as they did only a few years ago.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Popular poison

Troubadour Tony on guitar and Toxic Tom on fiddle, aka Poisoned Folk, are back by popular demand tomorrow Jan.14th 2018 from 1:30 pm at the Sunday market behind the bus station in La Calera close to the bridge. They'll perform a semi-unplucked (sic) session/concert with an Irish guest bodhran player called Wild Willie on the terrace of Ramiro's bar. So come on up and get intoxicated...

Friday, January 12, 2018

It's a large cake...

...''and you're stood on the cherry on top''. Sign at the Mirador del Santo viewpoint in Arure,  above the village of Taguluche

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Chaos once again

Fred. Olsen and Armas ferries in the port of Los Cristianos

The past weekend once again brought traffic chaos to the port of Los Cristianos as many more people were travelling to and from the western Canary Islands through the Tenerife port due to the end of the Christmas holiday season. All the traffic has to pass through the bottleneck of the port access road in Los Cristianos and the congested port itself, where several lanes of disembarking vehicles have to go through the small roundabout into the single lane that then has to pass through the centre of the town. It often happens that two or three ferries arrive at the same time leading to delays in berthing the ships, and parked cars and trucks waiting to board add to the traffic congestion. The ferry companies' sailings also often serve two islands during one trip, i.e. stopping over at La Gomera on the way to and from La Palma. When two ferries arrive at the same time in Los Cristanos discharging hundreds of cars and trucks and even more foot passengers laden with luggage, delays are inevitable. Be warned and expect hold-ups of up to one hour if you need to catch a flight, as taxis and buses often can't get in nor out of the busy port during peak times. The traffic delays sometimes also upset the ferries' sailing schedules and the past weekend's heavy seas added further problems, resulting in some visitors missing their flights home.

The complications are particularly serious on weekends, the busiest time for traffic to and from La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, but no-one appears to have a solution for the long queues of vehicles at a virtual standstill for up to an hour in some cases. Port Police do their best to keep the traffic moving but are severely hampered by the narrow exit. The often heavy traffic through Los Cristianos town adds further delays on the road to the motorway. The negative image generated by the hold-ups also worries the officials and has led to calls for the ferry companies to work together to ensure their ships do not arrive at the same time in Los Cristianos. La Gomera's president has suggested the new port of Granadilla in Tenerife's south could be used provisionally for at least some of the sailings. Los Cristianos is much too small a harbour for the current volume of traffic and additionally is used by numerous fishing vessels, excursion boats and pleasure craft. Passenger and vehicle numbers continue to grow every year and recent fare reductions for residents of the Canary Islands have produced an even steeper increase of traffic through Los Cristianos, a popular and very busy holiday resort, prone to congestion anyway.

Monday, January 08, 2018

The great fiesta is over

After a final few rounds anticlockwise around the idyllically-situated chapel in El Guro (below) in Valle Gran Rey, the statue of Nuestra Señora de Los Reyes (above) is now back home inside her sanctuary, ending a month of processions, festivities and fiestas. The images were taken on Saturday Dec. 6th 2018 which is the most important day of this Bajada, which is celebrated every five years. The prayers were heard and a few light showers ensued, but the ragged-looking bunting shows how windy it was over the past weekend.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Poisoned Folk Session today

Once again today, Jan.7th 2018 from about 1:30 pm Poisoned Folk will perform a semi-unplucked (sic) session/concert with an Irish guest bodhran player. Come on up to the Sunday market behind the bus station in La Calera close to the bridge (not under) where host Ramiro keeps the cold beer flowing to the sound of the boys above...

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Exhibition by expressionist painter

Italian-born expressionist artist Marco Menato has asked me through this blog to draw your attention to his forthcoming exhibition in the 'Casa de Colon' (Columbus house) of San Sebastian de La Gomera. It opens with a vernissage on the 9th of January 2018 at 4:30 pm and runs until the end of the month. Marco lives in La Gomera's west in Alojera where he draws inspiration for his paintings which he signs as 'Brazza'.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Two concerts of World Music

Two free concerts of World Music will take will take place this week. The first one in Playa de Santiago on Wednesday January 3rd 2018 will feature three acts: Local musician Juan Mesa and his band, as well as Virginia Guantanamera from Cuba, and Brazilian group Brasileando in the town's square from 7:30 pm. 
The following day the same concert, but without Juan Mesa, will be staged from 8:30 pm in the harbour of Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New crown, new year

As part of the VII Bajada Fiestas, the statue of Nuestra Señora de Los Reyes receiced a new golden crown during the open air mass before the folklore festival at the bus station yesterday. A first for me: 'Attending' mass while drinking beer at the bar, from where I took these images.
By the way, the main New Year's Eve fiesta of Valle Gran Rey takes place in La Playa this year. There are fiestas to count in the new year in the main towns of all the municipal areas of La Gomera with the usual salsa bands and open air dancing tonight, but there will be lots of other parties, too...
Yesterday's open air mass

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The pits

Woman, 39, dies after dog attack in La Palma 
TenerifeNews reported recently:
''A 39-year-old woman has died after being attacked by one of her own mixed pit bulls on La Palma.
The animal had to be shot by the police before they could gain access to her home. The animal had inflicted “significant leg injuries” on its owner. It is believed she could have bled to death.
The woman, who was Spanish and had four children, lived in a rural property in the area of La Camacha. The emergency services were called to the scene following reports that a woman had been attacked by a pit bull and needed urgent health care. On their arrival, medics found she had already died because of the injuries received. A full investigation is already underway to determine what happened.
The woman apparently owned several dogs, one of which “turned on her”, according to sources.The pit bull is one of the breeds on the potentially dangerous list and there are strict regulations about their care, including the wearing of muzzles in public.
The attack happened within the confines of the woman’s own garden. Both the victim’s husband and four children, aged between four and 20, are receiving psychological help. Neighbours, who reported hearing cries for help, said the dog usually accompanied the woman everywhere, slept with them at night and was normally docile.
The local council issued a statement lamenting the death and offering condolences to her family. A number of events were cancelled as a sign of respect.''