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1 month driving fling from Venice to Barcelona

1 month driving fling from Venice to Barcelona

Sep 18th, 2011, 09:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 42
1 month driving fling from Venice to Barcelona

Hi everyone,
It has been a while and I am excited about the planning of another "Fling!" The Father/Daughter duo are off again on another fabulous adventure...

We always pick a new destination while still flinging due to an experience/person/place or food... makes for a great game. IE; -4 degrees in Hamburg, walk for over two miles in the dark to find any restaurant... I'm so freezing I don't care what I eat... off on the distance a light... possibly a sign... oh please let it be food, any kind of food...

Open the door and the warmth hits me... the smell of fresh baked bread fills the air... colorful murals on the wall portraying fishing villages and beautiful beaches... have I died of hypothermia and gone to heaven? In the midst of residential Hamburg on an evening that could have frozen the abominable snowman an oasis... a Portuguese restaurant. Over an amazing caldeirada Dad says ... "next year Portugal?" and in an instant I wholeheartedly agreed.

Criteria: 2 adult travelers, one introvert and one extrovert. We always drive on our adventures and prefer to go off the beaten track. Total foodies and wine aficionados, love architecture and long walks through maze like streets... getting lost is just part of the fun. (Honestly I am not trying to make this sound like a personal ad! Ha ha) Don't need 5 star accommodations... agriturismos and apartments are more our style... we spend 70% of our budget on food and wine... and the older I get the harder it is to get rid of those 15 pounds I put on every trip.. Yea, traveling really sucks... : )

So here's are a few questions for my worldly Fodorites.... inquiring minds want to know...

If you had 3 weeks in December to drive from Venice to Barcelona what would you do?
If you have done any part of this trip where was your favorite place and why?
Have you had a meal that has blown you away and your'e willing to share? ( ranging from a shack on the side of the road to upscale eateries)
What was your favorite purchase for yourself or a friend while in the area?
Describe the feeling you had when you came home and shared your trip with a friend...

Please feel free to throw out anything... love all ideas...
If you have a question for me please don't hesitate to ask!
Thanks all and can't wait for your responses! XXXOOO
francefling is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 42
PS the last part of the trip we always spend in Paris... our home away from home
francefling is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Sounds a great adventure:
I suppose you will be hiring a car? If so have you considered the drop off fees?
There maybe away around to reduce these that is long-term contract with either Peugeot or Renault.
But hiring one of these cars depends on which country you are from?
Over the Christmas period a lot of places will be shut. What dates do you have in mind?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
Montpelier...Perpignan...Ceret...you will find that the Southwestern part of France is pretty much year-round (except for the beach communities). We were in that region the month of November last year. In Montpellier we ate a wonderful meal at La Diligence. If you like Paris, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Montpellier. And if you like good wine, you will be in heaven. The Catalan influence that really gets heavier once you reach Perpignan. Ceret is a knock-out of a village not far from the Spanish border. There is not as much to do in Collioure, but we found it still gorgeous on a couple of very sunny days at the end of November

I hope my spelling is right, I'm using my iPad and took off the auto corect as it is such a pain.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 42
Hi Ribeirascra,
Thanks for your reply. We know about the high fees for dropping off a car in other countries and always check the train schedules to see if we can use public transport first. We are going from Barcelona to Paris on the train. Sometimes it is less expensive but we enjoy driving, stopping when we want, eating on the side of the road at family owned places, meeting the locals and not being on a schedule. (I live on a tourism based island so the last thing I want to do is be a "tourist"! I prefer the word "traveler"!)I have not heard about a long-term contract but unfortunately we are from the US so I doubt we would qualify.

We are flying to Italy somewhere between Nov 23 to 27th and will be leaving from Paris on Dec 24th. I welcome any suggestions , comments or itinerary help!
francefling is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,533
ribeira asks excellent questions. Car? Will you be traveling over Christmas?

I put Venice to Barcelona into Google directions and got a pretty fabulous looking route.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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Posts: 16,511
Actually, the car strategy should be key to your planning.
I am a bit confused---what is already cast in concrete?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 42
Hi everyone and thanks for spending some time contemplating my questions!

Hi Tusanlife... yes by car and leaving the 24th of Dec. The route does look amazing!! I have heard so many great things about Bologna and I must go on the search for the perfect piece (or pound or two)of prosciutto!

Hi Bob.. my traveling motto... the only thing set in stone is the departing time on my plane ticket... and sometimes that too can change!! I pick my cities and anticipated route but from landing to taking off it really is all up to the travel gods!

Thanks again and unfortunately I have to go to work but will anxiously be awaiting some great advise or some funny stories tonight after work with a nice glass of wine! Cheers and Ciao
francefling is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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So, do you have plane tickets?
Do you plan to spend time in Italy--do you know when?
Are you going to finish in Paris---as you always do?
Is Barcelona on your itinerary?
Do you plan to have a car sometime on this trip?

If yes, then these are evidently cast in concrete. I love serendipity, but you are asking for planning help and that is hard to give without some facts. Your style is wonderful but if you want help then give us some parameters.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319
It is worth checking out the car lease schemes.

US citizens are eligible, and you can collect/drop off the vehicle in various countries.


mpprh is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Peter (mpprh) those are the ones I was suggesting to the OP in my first post.
However (I think) they already have a hire car plan.
Or are they going by train...

Yours ....................confused already!
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319

I agree that it would make sense. I put the links in because I don't think that the OP had considered it.

mpprh is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39
Cinque Terre is worth 3 days. The gorges and causses of the Cevenne (west of the Rhone) are dramatic, have neolithic remains, caves and good family run hotels. I stayed at the Hotel Family in Meyrueis to name one. The town of Millau has a more than decent wine labeled "Cote de Millau." As you enter Millau from the south, you can see the Gorges du Tarn bridge, which is over 1,000 ft above the valley floor. Another bridge, the Pont du Gard is well worth an hour or two. Nimes is an old Roman town with many remains. The temple called the Vieux Carre and the arena are worth looking at. Barcelona is worth several days. The Catalan cuisine is simple, healthy and delicious. The Fodor's guide reviews some excellent restaurants. Gaudi's architecture makes a lot more sense when you've studied it at first hand.

I hope this is the traveler's advice that you are looking for.
Fife is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,586
You would qualify for the "lease" program of a Peugeot or a Renault, but it might not be worth the cost because each program has a hefty delivery fee and pick-up fee for cars outside France. You might want to combine train and car, if only be driving the Italian car to the nearest border drop-off point, take the train to cross the border and pick up a car in France. Do the same between France and Spain, although the distance is so small that it might be best to take the train from Perpignan to Barcelona.

Michael is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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Hi francefling,

What would I do?

I would pick up a car in Venice and drive to Ravenna for 2 nights or so. Then I would drive to the best food agriturismo in central Emilia-Romagna and visit Modena, Bologna and Parma from there, as well as the castle of Torrechiara. I've heard some people say the best meal they've ever had in their life they had at Al Cavallino Bianco near Parma.


others talk about Da Amerigo in Savigno near Bologna


After that I would travel to Liguria, and probably stay in Rapallo. I'd visit Chiavari, San Rocco di Camogli, Genova and some of the hilltowns above Sestri Levante. Then I would head north beyond Genova to the other side of Liguria. I would use David Downie's "Food and Wine of the Italian Riviera and Genoa" as my basic guide to all of Liguria to find olive oil, wine producers, cheese and honey makers and beautiful scarcely known places.

Then I might go to Nice and spend a few days -- but then I would drive back into Italy, to Genova (2 hour drive), ditch the car, and take an overnight ferry to Barcelona. Or fly to Spain from Genova. I don't much care for Barcelonal, so I would probably rent another car in Barcelona and explore Tarragona and the wine country there and close by. (Or I would fly to Madrid and take a train to Sevilla and Cordoba.)

Then I'd go to Paris.
zeppole is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 01:53 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,598
Dang, I just booked a hotel in Bologna for 3 nights next June. Would be my first time in Emilia-Romagna.

Not a foodie but what is the "best food agriturismo" in E-R?
scrb11 is offline  

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