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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stunning TV footage of Valle Gran Rey


Click to see some amazing footage of Valle Gran Rey and surrounding areas on La Gomera shot by Spanish national TV and broadcast earlier today. There's an interview with the mayor of the south-western municipality and it is in Spanish, but there's some fantastic footage dominating the video. Enjoy, and if you don't understand Spanish just lower the volume.

La Laguna Grande restaurant reopened

The restaurant and bar in La Laguna Grande during recent refurbishment work
The restaurant in the centre of the national park which had been closed for about a year, has been refurbished and reopened its doors to the public a couple of days ago. The clearing in the forest of La Laguna Grande is a popular spot for locals and visitors and there are public toilets to the right of the restaurant. The dining room has seating for 90 guests and offers a menu of food typical for La Gomera and there's a separate bar serving snacks and drinks. The building is the only one in the in the national park and owned by the municipality of Vallehermoso. After a tendering process the lease was won by the ferry company Fred. Olsen who also lease the restaurant at the spectacular Mirador de Abrante.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Craft fair this Wednesday

La Gomera pottery
A craft fair will be held in La Playa, Valle Gran Rey, tomorrow Wednesday Feb. 21st 2018 from 10am. About 20 craftworkers from La Gomera will exhibit and sell their products. There will be some live music and workshops will be held for those wanting to learn new skills.

Monday, February 19, 2018

British walker rescued after fall on treacherous path

Mountain rescue (Archive image)
A 70-year-old British woman had to be rescued by helicopter on Saturday afternoon after falling while walking in the Las Lecheras, El Guro, area of Valle Gran Rey. Emergency services say that they were called out at around 4pm after reports that the woman had lower leg injuries, and she was airlifted to San Sebastián and then taken by ambulance to the island’s Hospital Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe where her condition is said not to be serious.
The Las Lecheras path is one of the most treacherous in La Gomera and is officially closed as erosion and rockfalls have made it almost impassable and hard to find in places. There are some misleading goat paths in the area which add to the danger. This path and the dangerous path up (or down) the Argaga ravine are the two paths which are definitely best avoided and and often the cause for complicated rescue operations.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Carnival 2018 Vallehermoso

Poster for the 2018 carnival in Vallehermoso where the main theme will be 'horror'.

Sunday live last minute change

Caro Spiller from Argentina (above) with Tony Reece and friends will play at the bus station this Sunday afternoo instead of Poisoned Folk (due to illness), who'll be there again next Sunday Feb. 25th  2018 at 1:30 pm, I've been told.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sunday afternoon live music

Poisoned Folk (above) will play at 1:30 pm this Sunday, Feb. 18th 2018, at Ramiro's
bus station bar in La Calera, Valle Gran Rey (in front of Sunday market).
From about 3:30 pm an open music session will follow, where anything can happen...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Superfast catamaran in port

The catamaran 'Gemini 3' (above) visited Vueltas harbour today. This superfast ocean racer can reach speeds of over 38 knots (about 70 km/h) under sail, has won many races and even broken a few records in recent times. The ultra-modern design with the towering 100+ ft mast  and ultra-wide 44 ft beam is an impressive sight. The vessel is one of the fastest sailing vessels in the world and was built for skipper Roman Paszke, sailing under the Polish flag. 
More and more yachts are visiting Vueltas port, showing the need for a marina (most yachts have to anchor in the bay now) and proper facilities. This in turn would generate much-needed employment and extra revenue.
Gemini 3 showing off the very tall mast against the backdrop of La Gomera's towering cliffs                     

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Blue sky is back

Valle Gran Rey this morning with 3-masted sailing ship 'Alva' from Stockholm in fine weather and not enough wind for sailing. The settled, warmer conditions will last for the next couple of days. Still a bit cold in the higher regions, though.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Drive carefully...

Scene of today's accident. (Image: gomeraverde.es)
...on La Gomera's roads. Today's accident shows that you have to treat the roads here with the greatest respect. It happened just around midday in good driving conditons on the main road between La Gomera's capital and the northern town of Hermiga (GM-1). This road is in very good condition, but all roads here have a lot of twists and turns. The cause of the accident is still being investigated, but the barriers on the side of the road are said to have slowed the vehicle on impact, preventing the vehicle from tumbling into the ravine below. The two ''younger'' occupants of the crashed car thankfully escaped with minor injuries.
Image: pclagomera
GENERAL ADVICE (not relating to this accident):
There's a lot more tourists about in hired cars these days and most of them are not used to rural mountain roads, often driving erratically and/or being distracted by the beautiful scenery, adding to the danger. If you're driving on La Gomera, stay alert and always indicate and let locals pass when/where possible. This allows you to enjoy the scenery at your own pace and lets the local driver meet his appointment. Local drivers are generally driving with a lot of foresight, communication and skill, and even if it isn't immediately obvious to the visitor, they generally know what they are doing. So don't rely on the fact that accidents on La Gomera are few and far between and do your bit to keep the roads safe. They can't be straightened here, you know...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Surprise in island tourism statistics

Beach in La Gomera's busiest resort of Valle Gran Rey during peak season this winter
I recently came across the following post and statistics on buzztrips.co.uk, an online travel magazine and I researched the figures further. The statistics compare the number of visitors in island holiday destinations worldwide with the number of island inhabitants. The figures are based on 2016 statistics and since then there has been a decline in population on La Gomera and an increase in tourism numbers. So I wonder where La Gomera would rank now. Here's the main part of the article:

''...Islands are a different matter. There’s generally more space to absorb visitors so that personality and culture aren’t necessarily unduly diluted… as long as the balance doesn’t shift too far.
Meeting the challenges posed by the impact of tourism on popular holiday islands is (was -ed.) an agenda item for the Smart Island World Congress in Mallorca between 20 and 21 April 2017.
In the run up to the conference, Spanish tourism news portal Hostaltur published a report about the numbers of tourists per 100 residents on 25 islands. The results were interesting and might surprise some people.
The island which had the fewest number of visitors per 100 resident was Trinidad & Tobago with 30, followed by Cuba with 35.
Topping the chart with 2,217 visitors to every 100 locals was Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. Second was Lanzarote with 2,097. After that was the Balearic trio of Ibiza (2,096), Menorca (1,520), and Mallorca (1,258).
What’s particularly interesting about Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is that Tenerife (648) and Gran Canaria (503) are often seen as the bad boys of mass tourism in the Canary Islands. But they didn’t even come third out of the archipelago. That position went to La Gomera with 782 visitors to every 100 Gomerans. Both La Palma (279) and El Hierro (156) came out with quite low visitor to resident ratios, no surprise to anyone who knows those islands. But not as low as distant neighbour Cape Verde where numbers were almost on a par (101).
These figures don’t necessarily mean an island with a high visitor to resident ratio is more spoiled in tourism terms than an island with a low ratio, that’s clearly far too simplistic a formula. Many other factors need to be taken into account.
However, there’s no doubt that when the visitor/resident ratio is high, local culture can be diluted more when there’s not a significantly large resident population to counter the impact of high numbers of tourists...'' (buzztrips)

Surprised like I was? Anyone who knows La Gomera will agree that La Gomera still comes across as a quiet, laid-back, rural  island 'untouched' by mass tourism and full of natural beauty where vast areas are protected and left to nature. In fact the whole island of La Gomera has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO a few years ago and the uninhabited national park and forest have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. La Gomera, 'the island without traffic lights', has a population of only about 20.000, though. Also, what may be distorting the tourist/inhabitant ratio are the day trippers and organised day tours from Tenerife (a lot !) - and maybe to a much lesser degree the increasing cruise ship traffic, but that is counted in the rest of the world, too. Anyway, the list of the top 12 islands in the world receiving the most visitors per 100 inhabitants comes as a surprise:
  1. Fuerteventura: 2.217 turistas por cada 100 habitantes.
  2. Lanzarote: 2.097 por cada 100 habitantes.
  3. Ibiza-Formentera: 2.096 por cada 100 habitantes.
  4. Menorca: 1.520 por cada 100 habitantes.
  5. Mallorca: 1.258 por cada 100 habitantes.
  6. La Gomera: 782 por cada 100 habitantes.
  7. Tenerife: 648 por cada 100 habitantes.
  8. Islas Cook: 587 por cada 100 habitantes.
  9. Gran Canaria: 503 por cada 100 habitantes.
  10. Bahamas: 361 por cada 100 habitantes.
  11. Maldivas: 326 por cada 100 habitantes.
  12. La Palma: 279 por cada 100 habitantes.