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Spain Itinerary & Trains - Need Help!

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Booked air for Spain – arrive Madrid 06/01/12, leave Barcelona 06/16/12, trying to plan how to spend 15 wonderful days between. Can you help with 3 areas? (Note: American dates – month first!)

1. Interested in Roman history in Spain. If we can only visit one ... Empuries (Costa Brava) or Tarragona (Costa Daurada)? (Merida is not on tentative itinerary)? Suggestions?

2. Taking lots of trains. Am nervous about traveling with luggage (large rolling duffel & carryon each).
* Is there assistance boarding, where is luggage stored, and is it secure? On Swiss train in 2005, bags were piled at the front of the car under a mountain of other bags. We could barely get ours on & off when changing trains.
* Renfe web says 20 kg combined allowed for each person’s bags, less than is permitted for checked bag on flight from US, so our combined bags will be over. Is the 20 kg limit enforced? Do they charge more or not let you board?
* Comments on 3 classes of tix: tourist, “butaca” or club? Mostly concerned about trips with bags. Any advantage to ticketing up?

3. Itinerary critique? One specific question is whether to do switch Cordoba to 2 nites & Granada to 1 nite.
06/01 Arrive Madrid.
06/01 – 06/04 Madrid & day trips via Renfe to Segovia & Toledo (limited time in
Madrid).
06/04 Renfe train Madrid-Seville (late afternoon / early evening) *
06/05 & 06/06 Seville
06/06 Renfe train Seville-Cordoba (late afternoon / early evening)
06/07 Cordoba
06/07 Renfe train to Cordoba-Granada (late afternoon / early evening)
06/08 & 06/09 Granada
06/09 late flight (21:55) Granda-Barcelona, via Vueling
06/10 - 06/12 Barcelona **
06/13 Tarragona & possibly Cambrils (day trip via Renfe)
06/14 Montserrat and/or Cadaques, Empurides, Tossa Del Mar (not sure how – train,
bus, car rental or guide with car)
06/15 Extra day – as needed for Barcelona, beach day, or whatever we must do before
returning home
06/16 Return from Barcelona
* No good rail connections Madrid-Granada. To avoid long trips / changing trains, best bet seems to be Seville, then Cordoba, then Granada. Considered Cordoba as day trip from Seville, but then Seville-Granada becomes a 5 hour evening trip with train change in Cordoba. Flow seems best Madrid-Seville-Cordoba-Granada.
** may do a day trip Mon if too many Barcelona museums/sites closed

Thanks for your tips/ suggestions / and yes, even harsh criticism.

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