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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Explore La Gomera's north

The town and valley of Hermigua in La Gomera's north
The much quieter and greener north of La Gomera island, which includes the municipal areas of Agulo and Hermigua, is well worth exploring and the following link has loads of information in English: northgomera.com

Monday, June 24, 2019

Gomera banana in action during bonfire night


Once again there were many bonfires and parties all over La Gomera last night during 'la noche de San Juan' (St. John's Eve) to celebrate midsummer. Here in Ireland the same tradition is still alive, but the music is a bit different. The 'Gomera Banana' was in action here briefly during the Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe and Traditional Music Festival in beautiful Glengarriff, West Cork as you can see (and hear if you click the sound on) in the above video taken at about midnight last night when the Gomera banana was shaking up fiddle player extraordinare Ross Couper. The video below was taken earlier during the festival on the pub sessions trail called 'piping for a pint'. Well more than a dozen musicians (some out of shot) got together and played until the cows came home...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New mayor in Valle Gran Rey

The new mayor of Valle Gran Rey, Cristopher Marrero (image: gomeranoticias.com)

Valle Gran Rey's new local administration has now been formed and Cristopher Marrero of the PSOE is the new mayor, even though his party holds only two of the eleven seats on the council. His election was facilitated with the help of the two councillors of the Si Se Puede grouping and the two of the Nueva Canarias party, leaving La Gomera's strongest party ASG in opposition with five seats. See all La Gomera local election 2019 results...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Recent fires in Valle Gran Rey

''Fears grow that Valley Gran Rey is target of an arsonist

A shocking fire on picturesque La Gomera has reinforced a view that an arsonist could be at work in the municipality of Valle Gran Rey.
The blaze affected 20,000 square metres of land and led to the evacuation of several houses and three apartment complexes, some of them being used by tourists.
The authorities have praised the swift actions of the emer-gency services for controlling the fire before it spread even further. Fortunately, no-one was hurt and there was no damage to any properties.
However, there are fears that it was started on purpose and follows on from another fire a few weeks ago.
The Mayor, Angel Piñero voiced “his sincere gratitude, on behalf of residents and the corporation, for the effective-ness and predisposition of Civil Protection, volunteer firefigh-ters of Valle Gran Rey, the Environment Brigade of the Cabildo, the Police Local, Civil Guard and other groups that collaborated to stop the advance of the flames, as well as all citizens who helped and collaborated for hours.”
He added: “Valle Gran Rey is suffering sabotage and intentional arson for months. The Civil Guard will investi-gate the causes of this event, but what is clear is that the town does not deserve what is happening.”
The fire began during the night on the coast of Valle Gran Rey and affected an area of 20,000 square metres.
The flames were detected at 10pm (May 19th 2019, Ed.) in the place known by residents as Quiebracanilla, next to the road that leads to Playa del Inglés, about 200 metres from the coast. 
The head of the volunteer firemen of Valle Gran Rey, Guillermo Barroso said the fire “was very virulent” in the first hours, due to the existence of “strong gusts of wind”. 
At one stage, the flames threatened to spread towards the apartment complexes of El Guirre, Los Tarajales and El Cieno. Because of this, they were evacuated, together with several houses, and parked cars were removed.
The first fire was recorded in this municipality a few weeks ago at a private property (at the municipal recycling compound on April 30th, Ed.) in the area of El Altito. There has also been continuous sabotage carried out against the drinking water supply network during the last months. ''

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Local election results La Gomera 2019




Casimiro Curbelo
The independent La Gomera socialist ASG party of the island's president Casimiro Curbelo (image on top) was the clear winner in the recent local elections, followed by the socialist PSOE. The graphics below (source: gomeraverde.es) first show the results for the election to La Gomera's cabildo (island government) followed by the results in all five municipal areas of La Gomera, where in some it is not clear yet who will form the new local government ('escaños' = seats). Left environmental group SSP (Si Se Puede) won two seats for the first time in Valle Gran Rey and Vallehermoso as well as one in San Sebastian de La Gomera, plus two seats in the cabildo.

                                                                             CABILDO:
MUNICIPAL AREAS:
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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Golden Skink

Some time ago I snapped the above image of a 'Lisa Dorada', a golden skink. Only La Gomera  is home to the endemic spotted golden skink  (Chalcides viridianus coeruleopunctatus) which is a subspecies of the West Canary skink or Chalcides viridanus, a species of skink in the family Scincidae. Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae and the infraorder Scincomorpha.
Their natural habitats are temperate forests, temperate shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, temperate grassland, rocky areas, rocky shores, sandy shores, arable land, pastureland, rural gardens, and urban areas where they're found in altitudes up to 2,000 m. They reach a mximum of 18 cm in length and even though they need lots of sun like to 'charge their batteries' the Gomera skinks are extremely shy and vanish like a flash when there's the slightest disturbance.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

''La Gomera'' shortlisted for film awards in Cannes

The 'El Silbo' monument at sunset beside the chapel of Igualero with just-risen full moon

A movie called ''La Gomera'' (aka ''The Whistlers'') by Romanian film director Corneliu Porumboiu has just been shortlisted for the awards at this year's Cannes film festival alongside films by well known directors such as Ken Loach and Pedro Almodovar.
The comedy ''La Gomera” tells the story of Cristi, a police officer who arrives on the Canary island to learn El Silbo, the unique whistled language and ancient form of communication still in use all over La Gomera island (find out more here...). His mission is to release Zsolt, a controversial businessman under arrest in Bucharest.
''La Gomera” is a co-production by 42 KM FILM- Les Films du Worso (France), Komplizen Film (Germany) and Arte Grand Accord and is listed as a French/German/Romanian co-production. The one hour and 37 minutes long movie was shot in Bucharest and on location in La Gomera.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Green light for green energy

Wind and sun power this electric car charging-point in Hermigua
La Gomera's island government has provisionally approved the allocation of initially 500.000 Euros in subsidies for the installation of photo-voltaic panels by private house owners and businesses. Grants of up to 60% of the cost of the installation of solar energy systems will be paid out with a maximum of 12.000 Euros for small to medium enterprises and up to 24.000 Euros for private household installations. This announcement by the island's president Casimiro Curbelo was made last Friday and is a further step towards La Gomera's ambitious plan towards becoming independent of external energy sources. This well-intentioned plan has sadly suffered delays in the past due to the energy-supplying companies dragging their feet while their ageing diesel-powered electricity generating station keeps belching out thick smoke in the island's capital, so above news is most welcome.

Further, thinkspain.com reported some time ago:
''The Canarian island of La Gomera is aiming to be powered 100% by 'green' energy sources within 12 years, slashing its power costs by 37%.
La Gomera, just off the coast of Tenerife, will be the second island in the region to try to go completely 'renewable' after El Hierro attempted it between 2014 and 2016.
The latter survived for months on wind energy alone and, in 2016, covered 39% of its electricity needs using wind farms – then, in January and February this year, had all 10,700 of its inhabitants supplied entirely by renewable sources for 18 consecutive days.
But La Gomera's plans are far more ambitious – the westernmost island in the Canaries (Ed: no, that's La Palma) currently depends upon fossil fuel for 99% of its power needs and, aside from a handful of solar panels owned by private individuals, has just two wind generators of 0.4 megawatts (MW) of power.
Despite La Gomera being famous Europe-wide for its extensive forests, being the home of the Garajonay National Park and a pioneer in 'eco-tourism' dating back over 20 years, its obvious potential for powering itself through entirely renewable sources is wasted more than anywhere else in the Canary Islands.
The regional government wants to turn La Gomera into another Iceland by 2030, mirroring Europe's northernmost country's 100% green energy supply.
By then, it aims to have enough wind farms to create 8MW of power, sufficient solar panels to generate 5MW, and for 20% of the island's cars to be electrically-powered.
The overall objective is for the island, whose population is twice that of El Hierro and which has tourist resorts with capacity for 800 visitors (Ed: surely an error - see this post), to be entirely fossil-fuel free and rely on green energy for its electricity, heating and transport – lorries and buses will be electric or hydrogen-powered.
Hydrogen generators, water pumps and storage systems are being analysed as back-up for when there is insufficient wind and sun to cover the whole island's energy needs.
The considerable cost of this ambitious project would be offset within around seven to 12 years thanks to lower production expenses, meaning that by 2042 La Gomera will start to see a return on its investment.''

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Abundant rain in La Gomera's north


While all of La Gomera got some decent precipitation over the past few days, the northern regions received a lot of rain yesterday. The weather station at the visitor's centre above Agulo reported just over 70 mm of rain yesterday and the station in Hemigua recorded almost 40 mm. The above video by gomeraverde.com shows one of the many waterfalls in Agulo yesterday.
The next few days should bring sunny spells but also further showers to La Gomera and some of these may again be heavy with a risk of isolated thunderstorms. Caution is advised when out and about, even when it is not raining, as rocks and soil may have become unstable due to the rain and will expand during sunny spells.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Angela Merkel planning retirement in La Gomera

The German chancellor and the many variations of her trademark uniform of blazer and trousers. 
We still don't know if the the German chancellor Angela Merkel will find the time to spend a private Easter holiday once again in La Gomera, as she did last year when she visited this island for the sixth time (click to read more about it...), but we do know that La Gomera is her ''favourite island''. In a recent interview broadcast on German TV she was asked if she would consider moving to La Gomera after her term as chancellor ends in 2021, she smiled and said that she could well imagine doing just that in retirement. The fact that at least one of her aides has recently taken up part-time residence in La Gomera adds to the speculation.
I can now reveal that the current 'most powerful woman in the world' is indeed planning a move to La Gomera, but not for retirement. Instead of putting her feet up in the sunshine with a good book and just relaxing, she is instead planning to start a business here.
As she has managed to create a unique fashion style during her many public appearances in a uniform-like outfit of blazer and trousers, she now intends to promote and commercialise this style under her own label once she has left the political stage completely. Indeed, during her last visit to La Gomera she has viewed several shop premises in Valle Gran Rey which are for sale or lease. The most touristically developed town in La Gomera's south-west attracts more and more conservative German tourists who would be the ideal customer base for her outfits. There is also a large number of ageing female German residents in La Gomera who would benefit from updating their attire with the help of the planned new designer label outlet 'AB', i.e. Angelas's Blazers.
Last year Mrs Merkel and her husband Wolfgang Sauer were also enquiring about the possibility to produce the garments in La Gomera for exporting bespoke blazers worldwide and the commerce and industry department of the island's government has pledged its support as they expect some local women who already have the necessary skills will find badly needed well-paid employment with the new label. Local gossip has it that 'Modas Merkel SL' is supposed to initially open a small atelier and workshop in La Gomera's north which is renowned for its skilled craft workers.
Angela Merkel's boutique in Valle Gran Rey is set to open on April 1st 2022, but I am sorry I am not a liberty to divulge in which part of Valle Gran Rey the premises are located. We'll also have to wait and see if the formidable lady will occasionally appear in one of her own blazers behind the counter herself...
Merchandising Mrs Merkel is well underway in La Gomera. Above is a fun postcard which I bought a couple of weeks ago at the organic farm shop close to the bus station, one of the shops where they sell a good selection of Merkel-themed cards by a local artist called 'Alex' (?) I believe (sorry, but there's no copyright or other information printed on the cards).

Friday, March 29, 2019

More rain showers expected

More welcome rain showers are expected today and a status 'yellow' weather warning has been issued for toady, Friday March 29th 2019, for rainfalls of up to 15mm in one hour. Isolated thunderstorms may also form. Caution on roads and hiking paths is advised.
For the coming days more showers are forecast, but again with good sunny periods at times.