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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Puppet theatre festival

An international puppet theatre festival is starting today in Valle Gran Rey at 4 pm on the Plaza San Pedro in La Playa, where there'll also be a craft fair. Various puppet performances and workshops for young an old will take place and tomorrow, Friday Nov. 17th 2017, the festival will continue in the Cultural Centre in La Calera  from 5 pm. All are welcome and all is free of charge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Some Irish tunes in Valle Gran Rey

World music group Sarabande, who are on a visit to Valle Gran Rey at the moment, will give a final concert at Gomera Lounge in La Playa, tomorrow night, Thursday 16th Nov. 2017 at  8pm, before they return to Berlin. They do play a few Irish tunes as well as music from around the globe. They also pop up here and there for impromptu street performances (above). Below is a sample of how they sounded in the Gomera Lounge last week:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roadworks progressing

The widening of the twisty stretch of main road to Valle Gran Rey just before arriving at the first houses of Arure village after leaving the national park, which is had been very narrow and dangerous, is progressing well. The major roadworks are ahead of schedule and the new road section should be finished early next year. However, until then you can expect delays at times during working hours as heavy machinery is at work. If you wanted to avoid this road you could take the minor and even more twisty road through Las Hayas. More...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Further growth for La Gomera's main port

Cruise ship 'Mein Schiff 4' with close to 2800 passengers in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera yesterday
Latest statistics show further growth in both freight and passenger numbers passing through the port of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera. Freight handling has increased by 11,5% and passenger numbers were 6% more than during the same period last year. It is expected that more than 1,3 million passengers will have passed through the port by the end of 2017. What isn't clear from these figures is whether passengers travelling to and from the island of La Palma are counted or not. They do spend time in the port of La Gomera in large numbers and are included in the docking ferries' passenger numbers, but they don't disembark during the brief stopover.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sensationalism: Accident forces hikers to WALK home tonight, possibly due to NO major minor earthquake !

Buses delayed by the accident having discharged hikers, forcing them to go home the last bit ON FOOT !

Scene of the ''sensational'' car crash a short time ago, which led to delays on the main road into Valle Gran Rey just a while ago. There were NO injuries, but the first car is a hired car whose occupants wanted to adhere to the rules of the hire contract before moving out of the way. ''Where's the cops when you need them'' was the local comment. What caused the accident is still under investigation, but I'm sure the Express.co.uk will blame it on the 'swarm' of extremely minor earthquakes on Tenerife soon, just to show how dangerous it is to live or holiday in the Canary Islands and quoting German scientist-cum-doomsayers again (we do get our fair share of them here, too). The printing presses may even erupt from a bullshit overload. The MEGA SENSATIONAL HEADLINE I'd propose: ''Shaken hikers forced to abandon buses  and walk home amid traffic chaos due to breaking, shaking earth - amid traffic chaos in Canaries. Officials in fluorescent vests barely coping while trying to control the fleeing masses' with my image above to prove it.  Anyway, it's all over now...

Thursday, November 09, 2017

New roundabout at Apartacaminos fit for UFOs

The new roundabout at Apartacaminos in La Gomera's national park, where the main road west (GM-2) from the islands capital ends and joins the GM-1 to Valle Gran Rey (left) and Vallehermoso (right). Gone is the old junction with the green traffic island and a new two-lane roundabout has been built. I would have preferred a one-lane roundabout with a green area in the middle, as was built in Pajaritos. Maybe the three road signs in the white traffic island are removable to create the perfect secret landing area for UFOs at night ? Some here swear they've seen them trying to land...

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

New surface on main road in national park

The new surface at Raso de la Bruma in the forest of Garajonay national park on the main road known as GM-2, which is the main connection between the east and the west of La Gomera.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Chipi-chipi rainbow

Looking north...
Last night around sunset time there was this beautiful rainbow over Valle Gran Rey, caused by a bit of chipi-chipi, which is what a soft and light drizzle is called in La Gomera. Everyone here is talking about the severe drought this year and the chipi-chipi is most welcome, even though it barely wet the ground. However, at the weather station near the highest point in the mountains a more generous 6,8 mm of precipitation was recorded yesterday while the rest of La Gomera's official weather stations didn't record any rain.
...and looking south last night

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Valle Gran Rey harbour terminal open


The doors are open as is the Valle Gran Rey office of the Armas ferry  company
The interior of the terminal building in the port of Vueltas, where there are the first public toilet facilities in Valle Gran Rey. Work on the exterior landscaping and car parking has also just begun.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

What time is it ?

Well, the answer is simple: It's that time of the year again, when clocks go mad and people like me get confused. The sun still rises and sets when it wants to, but somehow at a different time. Well, the recommended procedure for tonight's ritual is to put all your clocks and watches upside down very early this Sunday morning - so don't forget to set your alarm clock to ring at 3 am, by when it will weirdly be 'already' 2 am, to do this. To avoid complications and  repercussions make sure you don't leave any clock unturned before you go back to bed after hours of searching and upturning. Most importantly, don't even think about getting up at all on Sunday. Then from Monday on keep asking people ''What time is it now'' as if nothing had happened for about a week, just to help get the discussion going. After a further ten days of time-related discourse and debating this clock-up a general consensus should have been arrived at and the correct new time agreed upon. Your internal clock will have adjusted a bit to things like disrupted sleep patterns, confused meal times, etc., while your digestive system is still struggling. Now the time has come to turn your clocks and watches back the right way and set the new time - if they're still running that is. Should they have stopped you can just leave them there until March 25th 2018. If turned back at the right time then, they will miraculously show the correct time for about a minute twice every day until this time next year (or just once per day if it's a 24 hour system - still not bad, though).
Seriously though, how many more years will we have to go through this madness twice annually ? It costs more energy than it is supposed to save, that's for sure. An absurd measure that is running out of time, even if it is useful in providing a readily accepted excuse for turning up late for work, missing appointments, and so on. 

It was hot

Yesterday was another hot day during the current heat wave, producing yet another exhausted shirt. I recorded a top temperature of 33,3 ºC, but it should be a bit 'cooler' with the temperature in the high 20s ºC from today. La Gomera needs rain badly...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Update on the new ferry connections

So now that I've had the pleasure of travelling on the Armas car ferry to Valle Gran Rey, which took just over thirty minutes to get from San Sebastian de La Gomera to Valle Gran Rey, let me tell you that all here in VGR are delighted and the lorry drivers of the the regular delivery services are most happy that they now can have a cup of coffee aboard the ferry instead of driving for up to two hours through the mountains and the national park on narrow winding roads. The HSC Alboran has been refurbished in recent times and all services are of a high standard. The food and drink on offer aboard is of good quality and very competitively priced.
The passenger ferry Benchi Express, which so far has only been running two return sailings daily, has proven a success, too, and over 8.000 passengers have travelled on it in the first few weeks. About two thirds of this number have been locals and the remainder tourists. The Fred. Olsen company has announced that from next week the service which connects the ports of San Sebastian de La Gomera, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey will begin its winter schedule with three return sailings daily.
Cars bound for VGR boarding in San Seb. de L.G.
The high-speed car ferry Alboran which will connect San Sebastian de L.G. and V.G.R. with Los Cristianos on Tenerife is still in the initial phase of operation and schedules are only issued for the week ahead. Some adjustments have to be made to the docking ramp in San Seb. and some sailings involve changing from the vessel Volcan de Taburiente to the Alboran there, but soon all trips will be direct which will make this the fastest connection from Tenerife to Valle Gran Rey ever.
And now there's a 'well-informed' rumour that the Fred. Olsen company will also bring a high-speed car ferry to Valle Gran Rey. I'll keep you posted...

NOTE: Both ferry services are still frequently adjusting schedules and may experience some 'teething problems', so it is advisable to keep checking their websites before travelling. It is best to book your trip just before intending to travel, or at the port offices prior to departure - until the dust has settled.
HSC Alboran in San Sebastian de La Gomera 

Despite the Calima...

...there was a beautiful sunset in Valle Gran Rey last night.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A recipe...

...spotted on the Armas car ferry to La Gomera. More about the ferry connections soon.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Car ferry in Valle Gran Rey

First of all let me apologise for not having posted any updates this week, but the storm resulting from hurricane Ophelia which hit Ireland on Monday left me without broadband internet until this morning. There's another storm named Brian arriving here later today, so I might lose the internet again as all the infrastructure has been weakened by the previous blow...
The big news on La Gomera is that the first ever regular car ferry arrived in Valle Gran Rey yesterday and was open to the public. There were cheers and applause from the local population who'll now be able to bring their cars to Tenerife and back without driving through the mountains and the national park.
The connection will now be served initially by the large high speed catamaran HSC Alboran and not the HSC Volcan de Teno as previously reported. The later vessel is still in Cadiz and rumour has it that this is being held by the Spanish security forces for a possible takeover of Catalonia. They've even commissioned cruise ships...
Anyway the car ferry Alboran, owned and operated by Naviera Armas will now connect Valle Gran Rey with Los Cristianos in about 90 minutes and can be booked on the Armas website and services are to begin from this weekend. More details and to follow soon, if I have got broadband. Here some images from yesterday's presentation of the service (courtesy of Vino Tinto shop in Vueltas). I'm hoping to travel on it soon and also on the new passenger ferry Benchi Express with special posts on this blog to follow...

Friday, October 13, 2017

New ferry connection ''in a few days''

Well, you still can't book the new Naviera Armas car ferry connection from Tenerife to Valle Gran Rey, but the recent post on the company's Facebook page (below) states ''In a few days we start !!!! Valle Gran Rey, welcome to our route network''. However, as of this morning the vessel is still in Cadiz. Hurry up, I want to book...
Ferry Valle Gran Rey poniéndose “guapo”.
En unos dias, comenzamos!!!!!
Valle Gran Rey, bienvenidos a nuestra red de rutas.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fast car ferry to connect Valle Gran Rey with Tenerife

The wave-piercing fast catamaran HSC Volcan de Teno which will connect Valle Gran Rey (Image: Naviera Armas)

The shipping company Naviera Armas has announced that it will introduce a new ferry service between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera. The direct service between the two ports will be served by their high speed catamaran Volcan de Teno with a top speed of 38 knots (about 70 km/h ) and a capacity of more than 900 passengers and up to 290 vehicles on the cargo deck. It is not clear yet whether this service will also connect neighbouring El Hierro island after stopping in Valle Gran Rey, but this would make economic sense.
The service is to begin in the middle of next month (October 15th, 2017) according to local press reports. The super fast catamaran (HSC) was built in 2000 by Incat in Tasmania and was acquired by Armas last year. The company has just announced the new service through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but as yet there's nothing on their official booking website.
The Canarian Naviera Armas shipping company has also placed an order worth 74 million Euros for a much larger wave-piercing HSC with the same shipyard and this vessel is currently under construction.
After the recent introduction of the new Fred. Olsen vessel Benchi Express which will serve the 'interior ferry line' of La Gomera this is further very welcome news as it will now offer direct cargo services to Valle Gran Rey which in turn should ease traffic congestion in the national park considerably.
I'll keep you informed when more details emerge, and I'm hoping to be one of the first passengers on the new service...
+UPDATE:
It has now emerged that the new car ferry high speed service will not connect with the island of El Hierro, but will exclusively serve the connection between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and La Gomera, and will connect La Gomera's south-western port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey for the first time regularly with a car ferry. Naviera Armas have also stated that their existing ferry service served by their slower vessel 'Volcan de Taburiente' which also connects the island of La Palma with San Sebastian de La Gomera and Los Cristianos will continue on that route. El Hierro will continue to be served from Los Cristianos seperately by another Armas vessel.
Wow, for more than five years there wasn't any ferry service to Valle Gran Rey and now there shall be two! Just at the right time, too, because there are major road works with traffic delays being undertaken near Arure on the only road into VGR.
More details on the new car ferry service soon...
Part of the interior of 'Volcan de Teno' (Image: ferrybalear)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Festival 'Atlantico Sonoro' 2017

The 13th edition of the festival 'Atlantico Sonoro' is taking place in the town of Vallehermoso on La Gomera this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22nd and 23rd 2017
On Friday the Festival begins in the town square with a dance and acrobatics spectacle at 9 pm, followed by live music. On Saturday  from 11am there will be a wide range of demonstrations and workshops of alternative therapies, massage, yoga, music, percussion, dance and much more. At night there will be a concert from 10 pm  with two live bands. All the events are free of charge. More details here: www.atlanticosonoro.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Minor earthquake close to La Gomera

EventoFechaHora GMTHora Local
(*)
LatitudLongitudProfundidad
(km)
MagnitudTipo Mag.
Int. max.
Localizacion
es2017ldmmo17/09/201720:49:0321:49:0328.1755-17.11682.0 mbLg   E AGULO.IGM
A minor earth tremor of 2.0 on the Richter scale occurred at a depth of nine kilometres close to La Gomera's north-eastern coast at around 9 pm on Sunday night, Sept. 17th 2017.
This is nothing to worry about, as La Gomera's former volcanoes are long extinct and the island has not experienced any volcanic activity for far more than a million years, being one of the oldest islands in the Canaries. La Gomera existed long before the volcanically very active neighbouring island of El Hierro was even born.

Generally volcanic activity in the Canaries is of a 'mild nature', but magma movements deep under and around the Canary Islands cause regular tremors. It is however a rare occurrence that such a quake was registered by the seismic station situated in the mountains above the town of Agulo with an epicentre so close to La Gomera.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another sad anniversary on September 11th

The monument close to Los Roques on La Gomera island with trees burnt in 2012 in the background

The whole world now remembers 9/11, but on La Gomera the date is remembered for another very sad incident which happened in 1984. On the 11th of September 33 years ago twenty people died in a forest fire near Roque Agando, a landmark rock formation in La Gomera's mountains above the village of La Laja where a forest fire had broken out. The spot is on an exposed ridge and the victims were trapped there when the wind suddenly changed direction enclosing them in fire and intense heat. Among the victims were local volunteer firefighters and some people from Tenerife, including a former mayor of Puerto de la Cruz. The tragedy is one of the worst fire-related disasters in all of Spain ever and a sad-looking rusty steel monument near the spot lists all 20 names of the victims. The area around Roque Agando which stands at the eastern end of the national park was ablaze again  during the devastating fire of 2012, but thankfully there were no casualties in that major fire.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome aboard the new ferry

Images from yesterday's presentation of the new Benchi Express ferry  in Valle Gran Rey.(Exclusive images courtesy of VINO TINTO)

The half-open upper deck can accommodate 100 passengers
The lower passenger deck seats 150 passengers. There's food on the counter of the cafeteria on right...
Today, Sunday, September 10th 2017, the vessel can be viewed again by the public as follows:
San Sebastián:          from 09:00 to 11:00
Playa de Santiago:    from 12:00 to 15:00
Valle Gran Rey:         from 16:00 to 19:00
The president of the government of the Canary Islands speaking at the official presentation of the new vessel and the interior ferry line in the new port terminal of Valle Gran Rey in Vueltas yesterday. (This image: gomeranoticias.com)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

New ferry arrives in Valle Gran Rey


The moment of arrival of the new Benchi Express ferry in Valle Gran Rey a short while ago...

...where she has tied-up at her newly-installed floating berth in Vueltas for the first time, ready for the official presentation ceremony to follow. (Exclusive images courtesy of VINO TINTO)