Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ferry connection to be reestablished this year ?

The so-called 'interior ferry line', connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey was the subject of a question by La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo in the Canarian parliament this morning and in his response the Canarian president Fernando Clavijo confirmed that just yesterday the ferry company Fred. Olsen Express had formally applied to run this service once again.
This time it appears to be a solid proposal and the president went on to state that the Olsen company had previously placed an order for a new fast vessel suitable to run the ferry connection and that it was already under construction in a shipyard, due to be completed this year. He further said that the reestablishment of the ferry line could be operational before the end of this year, 'hopefully sooner if possible'.
The 'interior ferry line' ceased operations early 2012 despite having been declared an 'obligatory public service' by the Canarian government some years previously, and the decision to subsidise resident's tickets even further in recent times.
The ferry route had been operated by three different companies over the years and attracted 150.000 passengers per year on average before it ceased operating. The last company to run it was also Fred. Olsen Express with a leased vessel called 'Benchi'.
It is worth remembering that by taking the now sorely missed ferry  it took just about 30 minutes to travel from Valle Gran Rey to the capital San Sebastian, while the public bus needs about 110 minutes to get there. The route by sea would also reduce the amount of traffic that currently has to squeeze through the centre of the national park, and that Valle Gran Rey only has one access road which is very narrow in places and prone to rockfalls.
We're keeping our fingers crossed, but with more optimism now...
...and I'll post any further developments on this blog.

+UPDATE early Nov. '16:
Very sorry to state that there's no good news to report yet and locals in La Gomera are pessimistic now about above promises and announcements
Who knows what'll happen, there's a lot of of different views - and vested interests.
KEEP THE FINGERS CROSSED and  please do always mention the lack of this ferry when being asked 'how do you like La Gomera' by anyone

++ UPDATE Feb. 8th 2017:
According to La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo the new vessel to operate the interior ferry line connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey ''will arrive in La Gomera this June or July''. Curbelo made the announcement when addressing the Canarian parliament yesterday about the necessity to upgrade and improve the port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey.

+++UPDATE Sept. 2017: 
++++UPDATE late 2018: 

New vessel to connect Valle Gran Rey with Tenerife

Monday, March 28, 2016

British prime minister also holidaying in Canaries

The British prime minister and his wife are also spending their Easter holidays in the Canary Islands. David Cameron arrived on Lanzarote by scheduled Ryanair flight last week and his wife Samantha arrived later to join him. In the in¡mage above she's enjoying a cortado, a small coffee with a dash of hot milk, the typical Canarian coffee.
The Canaries are having a bumper Easter season with many hotels and apartments completely booked out and a host of celebrities visiting.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

German chancellor Merkel on holidays in La Gomera

Image: La Provincia

German chancellor Angela Merkel is spending her Easter holidays on La Gomera together with her husband Joachim Sauer. This is the fourth time the 'world's most powerful woman' is spending her spring holidays in the island amid tight security. She is known to enjoy walking and exploring La Gomera's national park and ancient forest. She's also said to be fond of a local specialty called potaje de berros which is a soup made with watercress.
So if you see a lot of police activity and strategically scattered special agents wherever you are on La Gomera this Easter, then you know that 'Angie' can't be far...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Can you spot the egg ?

There's an egg hiding in our stack of firewood.
HAPPY EASTER and happy egg hunting !

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Scenic El Rejo road now fully open again

Images taken a few weeks before the reopening
The spectacular mountain road past the volcanic cone of 'El Rejo' whichis popular with tourists and connects the main north road with the main west and south roads through the national park had been first closed after a landslide late 2014. It was partially reopened some time ago and after remedial works which are said to have cost nearly half a million Euros were finished recently the road is fully open to the public once again. For locals in the area the closure of this byroad had meant very long detours.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

...and there was snow

When I left La Gomera two weeks ago there was snow on Mount Teide on Tenerife which is Spain's highest mountain (above image taken from the ferry), and when I was back  in Ireland there was dusting of snow on the mountains here, too.
Now it is getting warmer and spring is in the air...