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News/Web Changes

 New Page:  Apartment to let in Son Parc, on the northern coast of Menorca, near the golf course.

 

22 April 2009 : It was announced that further controls will be introduced to control the cost of using other services such as 3G in Europe, and further reductions in call costs. Details will be announced later in the summer. The reason? Apparently there are elections to the European parliament coming up, and the cynical BBC reporter suggested that this could somehow be connected. Whatever the reason, it is good news.

July 2008: New international airport in Murcia. The bulldozers have just started flattening the ground for the runway. It is anticipated that work will take 2 years to finish (sounds pretty optimistic).

July 2007: some banks are putting up charges for using their cards abroad. See Money.

The European Parliament has just (June 2007) passed a new law that will make using your phone abroad much cheaper. The proposed "Euro Tariff" will cap roaming charges at 33 pence a minute for making calls and 16 pence for receiving calls. It should come into force by August  2007. BBC Report

New Links Page here

"European telecom regulators have backed the European Commission's plan to outlaw excessive roaming charges for mobile phone users... The proposed law will force mobile phone companies to cut their international roaming charges to the level of domestic cross-network calls... they could come into force in the second half of 2007."
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/business/4696494.stm)

Credit card problems: apparently some retailers immediately convert the value of purchases into pounds rather than charging them in euros (this happens commonly in Spain, Italy and France); see this  report from BBC's Moneybox (22/04/2006). You then end up paying at the conversion rate given by the retailer--typically worse than the one on your credit card (even though most cards charge 2.75% for conversion to sterling). You are supposed to be given a choice about whether you want this, but apparently often this doesn't happen. The  practice is known as Dynamic Currency Conversion, or DCC.  The Moneybox advice is that normally it is better to pay in euros and suffer let your credit card company do the conversion: the lesser of two evils. See my article on credit cards for advice about how to avoid the 2.75% card charge.

Polaris World have recently suffered a setback (Feb 2006) by having plans turned down for a development in the south of Murcia. They say that they remain committed to the region but  I have heard people express doubts. This may only be a temporary blip. There seem to be mutterings of political involvement.

Air-Scotland have stopped flying as of Dec 06; rumours are that they might be airborne again summer 07.

From April 06  jet2.com is flying to Murcia from Edinburgh, as are Globespan.

FlyBe are flying from Norwich to Murcia.

EUJet, which used to fly to Murcia out of Kent, went into administration (July 05). Passengers were left stranded, but full marks to EasyJet and Monarch who offered to fly passengers home for a minimal fare. Surprisingly, it seems you have less insurance with scheduled flights than you would have with charter flights.  Those who booked with a credit card should have had some cover (over £100) according to the Costa Calida Informer.

Murcia (San Javier) Airport will soon have a second runway, which will allow morning flights (at the moment the military use the runway in the morning). According to La Verdad, morning flights will start up even before the runway is ready. It has recently  been announced (Feb 2004) that plans to build a new airport in Murcia have been approved. The new airport will have international flights (e.g., to America). First flights are anticipated for December 2005. The airport currently in use at San Javier is a military airport, but I understand will continue operating as now. The new airport is located inland, and closer (south-east) to the city of Murcia.

EasyJet now fly from Murcia to Bristol (as of July 2005).

Ryan Air have recently started flying from Prestwick (from 1 March 2005), Liverpool (31 March), Luton (12 Jan 05) to Murcia from 2005.
Warning: they have a strict hold baggage weight limit (normally of 15 kg per person but check your details) which they enforce; you will be charged excess if you exceed this (I think at 7€ a kilo). I have fallen foul of this the last two times I travelled with them.

Easyjet start flying to Murcia from Bristol starting 7 July 2005.

A high court decision in November 2005 says that credit card companies do not guarantee goods bought outside of the UK (including online purchases). This will be appealed apparently, and some companies (but I don't know which) will anyway continue offering protection.

Lloyds TSB has just (April 05) increased its charges (though it has introduced a cap of £4.50  you can pay). As I understand it (from BBC moneybox, 23 Apr 05), you will now have to pay £1 every time you use your card for a purchase (not ATM withdrawals, but even here  the minimum charge has gone up from £1.50 to £2.00 ) -- one other bank charges £1.50 according to moneybox. According to moneybox, this makes it no. 2 in the "high charges" stakes. If you take out £100 in foreign currency from an ATM, you will pay £4.75 (2.75% in the foreign currency loading + £2 minimum charge).

Eurodirect phone cards no longer look such a good option from Telefonica kiosks (as of August 2004); you now only get slightly over 30 minutes for 6€ (instead of 200 previously), but they are still great from other phones, including most hotel phones from my experience. 

I am told that as of January 2004, non-photo driving licences are not acceptable for car hire. As of end July 2004 you are supposed to carry a bright reflecting jacket in your car in case you break down (costs around 8€ - someone is making money out of this).).

Also as of 2004, if you are caught drink driving in Spain, your driving licence may be confiscated for a matter of months.

New air routes that I am aware of include  BMIbaby flying from Teeside to Alicante, starting April 2004.

Ryan Air took over last year the previously relatively expensive Stansted to Murcia route from the loss making Buzz with the promise that they would cut fares, and they seem to have delivered on their promise.  It remains to be seen what will happen in view of a French court ruling going against them, and whether this could have implications for their flights to Murcia.

Air-Scotland.com,  a new airline as of 2003  flying to Alicante from Edinburgh,  offer very competitive prices. They have been using Air Holland, a Dutch charter company, but because of reliability issues I understand that they are now using their own aircraft, a Boeing 757 (Officially Greece Airways but I gather that there is common ownership). I have noticed that their prices often seem to fall as the flight day approaches (provided of course that the flight is not close to being full - so it's risky waiting if you need that flight). Previously Air Scotland had a track record of changing the timing of flights, and it remains to be seen whether they can improve this now, so if you are travelling with them always check the time of your flight within a day of travel (0141 222 2363) (I say this from bitter experience).

globespan have  also started up from Scotland with flights to Alicante from Glasgow as of Nov 2003 (Sundays and Thursdays at the moment), and flights from Edinburgh from summer 2004.

Article on Alcoy region included in site: THE ALCOY AREA by Mike Whittock

 

                                                                              

                                                                                          The Owl and the Sparrow

                                                              2003

                                                      Revision 2012

                                                                                                          

 The Owl and the Sparrow is a book about a battle that takes place in a forest. The battle is between the birds on one side of the forest,  which they themselves  call the good side of the forest, and the birds (vultures) on the other side,  the dark side of the forest.

 Owl is the leader of the good forest and his adversary is the Condor, reputed as being the darkest force in the forest.  Into  the story enters an apparently naive sparrow who is seduced by Condor into the dark side of the forest against the rulings of Owl. Owl refuses to send help because he does not want to endanger the lives of more birds, but also because he is furious with the sparrow. He says that  sparrow was asking for trouble.

 Also on the good side of the forest are an incredibly silly group of finches who like to play games and torment the vultures. But their silliness  and game-playing skills are no match for the profound darkness of the vultures, and some are captured, and terrorised.

  Golden Eagle rules over the whole forest, but he gets little involved because he has left Owl a set of rules. Finally he gets angry with what he sees happening on both sides of the forest, and  realises that rules are not enough. So  out of his concern and love for the birds , he sends his  son, Silver Eagle, to the  forest.   The book covers the events that follow including  a bitter battle and the discovery that there is an unknown traitor within their camp.

 

Author Ruth Thomas

Editor Joan  Mitchell

First version typed up and suggestions made by Deborah van Welie

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