Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sunday music session

These boys and many more will have a session today, Sunday Feb. 7th 2015 at Ramiro's bus station bar, La Calera Valle Gran Rey  at 2pm. Just a bit of fun and bring your instrument...

Friday, February 05, 2016

New rescue helicopter first time in action on La Gomera

The  brand new Sokol SAR helicopter on a rescue mission in Valle Gran Rey; La Gomera yesterday
Rescuers assisting the injured hiker yesterday

I witnessed the first action in La Gomera of the brand new search and rescue helicopter stationed on neighbouring El Hierro island yesterday afternoon. A 72 year old German lady had suffered a fall near the top of La Merica mountain on the popular but very steep mountain track between Valle Gran Rey and Arure leaving her unable to continue her hike. The emergency services were called on 112 and the helicopter was dispatched to set down rescue personnel who then gave first aid and got the casualty ready on a stretcher for the helicopter transfer to hospital. The victim's arm and ankle injuries were said to be 'minor', but police and the local voluntary fire brigade were also mobilised.
The new Sokol helicopter is one of three acquired by the Canarian government which were delivered from the manufacturers in Poland to the islands of El Hierro, La Palma and Fuerteventura  just a few days ago. These twin-engined choppers fly at a speed of 140 knots and can accommodate up to 14 persons. They will also be used in fire fighting, lifting about 1600 litres of water in a special attachment. The new state-of-the-art SAR helicopters also offer greater range and safety than the models previously used here.
The new helicopter picking up rescue crew and the casualty yesterday afternoon

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Cruise ship Thomson Majesty back in Valle Gran Rey

Yesterday saw the return of the large cruise ship Thomson Majesty to Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera. This time passengers had more time to explore the area as the ship stayed the whole day and not just half the day as on previous visit. Many of her crew were out and about as well and both passengers and crew were very impressed with Valle Gran Rey as a cruise ship destination and the glorious weather yesterday.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Buddha Finding New Buddies In La Gomera

The two ton  Buddha of La Gomera
What's a huge marble statue of Buddha weighing two tons doing  in the middle of nowhere in a remote part of La Gomera's northwest, you may wonder...
Well, the (true |) story goes that someone who bought a house in the area had befriended the Buddha in South East Asia, bought it  and had it shipped in a wooden crate from Singapore to La Gomera. All went well until the transport by road on La Gomera to the new owners home came to the end of the paved part of the road near Arguamul in the parish of Vallehermoso and got stuck, unable to continue along the track to the final destination due to the heavy load. They tried this and they moved that but the truck was stuck.
Finally the Buddha in his wooden crate was offloaded and deposited by the roadside with the transport documentation marked as 'delivered'. There the two tons of marble statue remained for quite some time while a solution to the transport problem was sought. Various options were pondered, even including the carving up of bulky Buddha into manageable chunks for further transport which would then be reassembled at the final destination.
However, eventually it was decided that the scenic location where fate had decided to deposit the statue was just as nice as any other and would have to do. Buddha was freed from his wooden cage and there he remains sitting smilingly as if he had chosen exactly this location himself.
He's finding more and more new buddies and some of them travel long distances to see the rare sight. Locals and visitors even drop offerings, mostly in the form of coins, into his left hand which The Big Buddha of Arguamul then duly passes on to the local church. Who knows, in a few decades' time he may even become another patron saint of Arguamul and get his own dedicated fiesta.
A visitor tickling the belly of The Buddha of Arguamul for luck  (Images courtesy of  R.N.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

La Gomera carnival season 2016 begins

Carnival time in the Canary Islands has begun and this is a huge event that doesn't exactly keep to the traditional carnival timetable. It may go on well after Ash Wednesday, even getting close to Easter some years, as each community stages their own and wants participants from neighbouring towns. The main events are in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria and in Santa Cruz on Tenerife, the latter being the second-largest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro (see their 2016 programme)
The 2016 carnival season in La Gomera begins today in San Sebastian de La Gomera. Below is the programme of events in the island's capital and I will post information on the carnival in the remaining towns on La Gomera when available:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fire quickly extinguished

The remote mountain village of El Cedro.
A fire broke out in La Gomera's Garajonay national park yesterday at midday affecting 1100 sqm of palm trees, sweet chestnut, heather trees, laurel and brush near the village of El Cedro. Fire brigades as well as national park personnel and police rushed to the scene and the fire was under control about an hour  and a half later, but due to the very dry conditions this winter the area around the outbreak was hosed down as well as a precautionary measure.
The El Cedro valley is normally one of the wettest areas in La Gomera receiving a lot of rain, drizzle and fog, but this winter conditions there, and in the rest of the island, have been exceptionally dry and warm.

Injured walker rescued

A woman out walking had climbed the mountain of La Fortaleza near the town of Chipude in La Gomera where she suffered a broken limb after a fall yesterday lunchtime. As the 51 year old German national could not descend the steep part of the mountain the emergency services rescued her by helicopter and transferred her to the island's hospital in San Sebastian de La Gomera where she received treatment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vallehermoso's Roque Cano

The volcanic plug Roque Cano towering over the town of Vallehermoso in La Gomera's northwest

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Live music returning to Valle Gran Rey

Guitars are for playing - not shelving !
...nice idea, though, spotted in a bar in V.G.R.

There's been a notable and most welcome increase in small live music gigs all around Valle Gran Rrey on La Gomera lately. Some bars such as 'Ramiro's' at the bus station in La Calera, the Cacatua in Vueltas, Manolo's bar 'Teguerguenche' in La Puntilla and the Gomera Lounge in La Playa (they even invested in sound proofing) are hosting live music fairly regularly again and other bars and restaurants have followed suit. La Gomera's best and most eclectic live venue is once again the social club 'Casa La Familia' where they now hold concerts and spontaneous sessions as private parties, but all are welcome to attend and become members for the night. This cosmopolitan place is just off the main track towards the statue along the beach in La Playa, up a bit beside a rough looking builder's yard. Their facebook page usually lists the main events and highlights the bohemian atmosphere with a distinct 70's hippy touch. You never know what may happen there musically, and a few years ago I met a well known jazz musician from the US who joined an impromptu session in dusty Casa La Familia in his expensive suit and was very happy to have found live music in those days when it had almost died here due to the repressive interpretation of some regulations which made it almost impossible to play music.
Local musicians still find it hard though to get paying gigs and legendary music bar and meeting place Bar Maria is still closed and for sale. Also some bars and venues remain fearful of a sometimes over-enforced law and/or punctilious and jealous  neighbours.

The once very promising Valle Luna Festival is still not happening officially again this year, but many musicians and groups such as the 'Gomera Street Band' will descend into Valle Gran Rey in February again this year and will surely find spots and venues to treat us to their performances. 

Overall it appears that the situation has greatly improved but it still is not back to the times when the slogan for the island was 'La Gomera es Musica !'. It is time to take the dust off the 'Musicians Welcome' signs - after all it simply is good business and most tourists and visitors are forever asking for live music.
We're keeping our fingers crossed while enjoying a bit of music again...

I've newly included an Events tab in my menu bar above. This will direct you to a website listing some events on La Gomera. It is not a complete list of events here and i found it to contain some errors (e.g. location of bars, etc), but hopefully they will correct that and improve this welcome service. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

An immaculate Morris Minor

I spotted this Morris Minor 1000 in the harbour of San Sebastian de La Gomera recently. The left-hand drive example had the original old TF (Tenerife) registration plates and was in mint condition inside and out with some rare extras. There are lots of classic and vintage cars in the Canary Islands, where there seem to be a large number of enthusiastic and careful collectors and where many examples of old but well-kept cars can be seen in daily use. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

La Gomera one of Telegraph's greatest 20 destinations

Below the article in the Telegraph's travel section:

La Gomera: the Canary island that time forgot

''This small island was Columbus's last port of call before his voyage to the Americas. It is still a secluded beauty for winter sun travellers today 

La Gomera: getting to know the island is like peeling the layers from an onion.
La Gomera: getting to know the island is like peeling the layers from an onion.  
The jeep juddered to a halt on a dusty red mountain path 400 metres above sea level. With a foot to spare at the side of the track, I looked down as if into a kaleidoscope that had broken open. Below was an intensely green and fragmented world of giant palms, banana trees, huge ferns and mossy boulders blanketed by flowering vines. Beyond, the colour of mercury, the Atlantic Ocean seemed to stretch into infinity. A Cleopatra butterfly floated lazily by, its yellow wings tipped by tiny pink spots. 
It was early December. I was little more than half-a-day’s travel from wet-and-windy London, and just 50 minutes by ferry from the egg-box apartment resorts of southern Tenerife. But standing spellbound on the side of that mountain, on the lesser-known island of La Gomera, I felt light years away from the chaos and brashness associated with the Canary Islands’ more obvious tourist destinations. Bathed in sunshine and silence, with only sea, sky and nature for company, I could have been in a different century. 
The second-smallest of the seven Canary Islands - near-circular and with a diameter of only 25 kilometres - La Gomera feels like the island that time forgot... Read full article...