6 week trip to Spain

Old Sep 25th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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6 week trip to Spain

Hi! We are new to posting in Fodor's but have been reading the forums for quite some time.
Husband and I are planning a six week trip to Spain in March-April of next year. We like to travel in the spring, when itís cool and less crowded. This will be our fifth visit to Spain and have already been in or near some of the places we are planning to visit. Main reason for the trip is revisiting Galicia and Asturias. We like the Paradores and with their offer of Días Dorados we find them to be a very attractive option for us. We will have a car and will drive any reasonable distance to see a special town, church, sight, etc. We have read postings from various Fodorites and have incorporated some of their suggestions to our schedule. Here is our tentative schedule; any input would be greatly appreciated:

Arrive Barajas airport in Madrid and pick up our leased car.

3 nights: Pedraza (?) or Turégano (El Zaguán?)
Lunch in Sepúlveda (Tinín) and day trip to La Granja and Santa María del Paular.

2 nights: Ávila (Parador)
Day trip to El Tiemblo (Toros de Guisando), Mombeltran, etc.

3 nights: Ciudad Rodrigo (Parador)
Day trips to Peña de Francia and to defensive castles on Portugal-Spain border.

4 nights: Parador Santo Estevo do Ribas do Sil near Ourense in Galicia.
Day trips throughout the area.

4 nights: Santiago de Compostela (Hotel Costa Vella, as per Marigross, or Hostal San Francisco, have stayed there before)
Daytrips to La Guardia, Rías Baixas, etc.

3 nights: Vilalba in Galicia (Parador)
Daytrips to San Andres de Teixido, Betanzos, etc.

3 nights: Cudillero in Asturias (Casona de Pio?)
Daytrip to Oviedo, lunch in La Maquina.

4 nights: Cangas de Onis (Parador)
Day trips to Covadonga and the Lakes, Llanes, Ribadesella, Cuevas de Tito Bustillo, etc.

2 nights: Cosgaya in the Picos de Europa (Hotel Del Oso)
Cocido lebaniego for lunch.

3 nights: Either Mundaka (Hotel?) or Lekeito (hotel?)
Day trips to San Juan de Gastelugatxe and to Basque coast towns (lunch at Eneperi?) Day trip to Azpeitia (Loyola)?

4 nights: Either Laguardia (Hotel?) or Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Parador)
Day trips in the Rioja area, Escalay, etc.

3 nights: Either Covarrubias (?) or Santo Domingo de Silos (?)
Daytrips to Burgos, etc.

Return car
3 nights: Madrid.

Thanks in advance.
Luhimari is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2005, 02:21 AM
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<< Husband and I are planning a six week trip to Spain in March-April of next year. We like to travel in the spring, when itís cool and less crowded. >>

Try to avoid coinciding with students on Spring break: When my wife worked in the school system, she was off during H.S. Spring Break. I described the flight to Madrid as 'the Mother of all Slumber parties.'

Also, in March & early April some of the mountain Passes may not be open. One year we went to Potes (capital of Liebana) for Santo Toribio (16 Apr). The bus that usually goes to Fuente De terminated in Potes. The Guardias who patrolled the mountain areas were having cross country skiing & rescue competitions that week.

<< 3 nights: Pedraza (?) or Turégano (El Zaguán?) Lunch in Sepúlveda (Tinín) and day trip to La Granja and Santa María del Paular.>>

Segovia is conspicuous by its absence from your itinerary; but you probably covered that on an earlier trip.
When you are in the area, visit the Gran Canyon del Duraton: lots of vultures there!

<<4 nights: Santiago de Compostela (Hotel Costa Vella, as per Marigross, or Hostal San Francisco, have stayed there before)
Daytrips to La Guardia, Rías Baixas, etc.>>

At Hostal Hogar San Francisco, have you had the pleasure of staying in the 'special' room?? It's named for the Carbonero who helped St. Francis build the place.

Be sure to visit Monte Santa Tecla there in a'Guarda. The Celtic village is really impressive.

<< 3 nights: Vilalba in Galicia (Parador) Daytrips to San Andres de Teixido, Betanzos, etc.>>

That's where Fidel Castro's family was from. Back in '92 we coincided with him on our trip to Galicia.

<< 2 nights: Cosgaya in the Picos de Europa (Hotel Del Oso)
Cocido lebaniego for lunch.>>

When were you going to have the Favada Asturiana?? You didn't mention it.


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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 03:20 AM
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Hi Luhimari, make sure you take lots of layers of clothes, it was COLD in Potes and on the VERY COOL side in Burgos in late May. (Did you see my picture in Fuente De in my trip report?)

If you decide to stay in Santiago in Costa Vella make sure that you get a room towards the back, we had a very noisy room in the front. Lots of rowdy pilgrims celebrating their arrival to Santiago Great location though! Do not miss the curch and choir in San Martin Pinario.

I loved Covadonga and Los Lagos. I would have hated to drive up there, thankfully DH took care of it! Take a picnic basket and lay on the grass to eat it. It looks like Switzerland. I would be a little concerned regarding the temperature, when we were there it was on the cool side up there as well. But then again I am Puerto Rican and not used to the seasons Nevertheless, DH is Swiss and was still wearing a jacket.

I also loved going up to Bulnes, I made the mistake of leaving my hiking boots in the car at the bottom of the funicular so I missed some nice trails.

.....I have to go back...I can hear it calling my name, enticing me with Favada... Cocido... Cochinillo...lots and lots of pinchos and cheap wine. Sadly I am out of vacation days and money so it will have to wait a year or two.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 05:04 AM
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Hi Luhimari,

How lucky you are to be able to enjoy such a long leisurely trip!

Have you considered going to Baiona in Galicia? I haven't been but the Parador there consistently receives raves from anybody that goes. It's on my must do list for next time I'm in Galicia.

Re your stay in the Parador in Cangas, you'll lve that. After Santiago that area is my favorite. Ask them for a room that doesn't face the parking lot. Mine( in the "old" section of the Parador) faced the back, I could see the Rio Sella from my windows. Covadonga and the lakes are lovely. Mari's suggestion of having a picnic there is a great one!

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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Nedsireland, thank you so much for your comments. We always try to fly in the middle of the week and have met some groups on Spring Break on the plane, but they have been mostly college students on tour with their teacher-guide and, believe it or not, they have been very well behaved. We do tend to go to out of the way places, where the Spring Break crowd is not a factor. Local tourism is, mainly during Semana Santa (Holy Week).

We have been to Segovia before and really enjoyed it when we were there. We have been to San Frutos Monastery near Sepúlveda and the setting is sensational, surrounded on three sides by the Río Duratón with the vultures circling above. Outstanding views! I would love to go again, thank you for mentioning it.

We have stayed at Hostal Hogar San Francisco before, but have not had the pleasure of staying in the ďspecial roomĒ. We have heard that it is closed for repairs but have no other information on the hotel for the moment. Please, do let me know if you learn anything about it.

We have stayed in A Guarda at the Convento San Benito and spent three lovely days just hanging around and visiting the area, including Monte Tecla. Husbandís great grandfather was born in A Guarda. We will do a day trip from Santiago this time.

We have not been to Vilalba nor visited that area and are looking forward to it. Itís not surprising that Fidel Castroís family is from Galicia. Many of the colonists of the Spanish Antilles, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico, came from Galicia and Asturias, looking for greater opportunities.

The fabada asturiana is scheduled for La Máquina in the outskirts of Oviedo. Weíll go while staying in Cudillero. Never been there but have heard a lot of good things about it. The fabada is lunch only, just like the cocido lebaniego, you have to walk it off afterwards.

Marigross, I think my husband is your greatest fan. He loves the way you write. We are from Puerto Rico too and we always take lots of layer of clothes, ready for anything. Sometimes I look like Bibendum, the Michelin man. We did see your photo at Fuente De. We would never be able to travel with just a carry-on. We need a carry-on bag just for husbandís traveling goodies: books, maps, gps, compass for the car, camera (35 mm) and film, etc.

Based on your writings some friends of ours are right now staying at the Costa Vella in Santiago. They loved the room and where able to see the botafumeiro yesterday. They followed your advice on where to sit, etc. and were thrilled by the experience. I am adding San Martin Pinario to my list of things to see in Santiago.

We have been to Covadonga and Los Lagos before, and we will take your advice on having a picnic there. That time we were driving from Llanes and took a shortcut through the mountains and by the time we reached Covadonga and took the road to Los Lagos, it was like going on the autostrada by comparison to the roads we had just been in. Husband is a very good driver. I would love to go to Bulnes and I put it on my list after reading your trip report. Not too sure about the funicular, though; I do tend to get claustrophobic. I know that Fuente Deís funicular is out for me Ė been there twice and chickened out twice.

Cruiseluv, yes, we are very lucky to have the time to take such a long leisurely trip. Husband and I were lucky enough to be able to retire in our 50ís, took our first trip to Europe and never looked back Ė we were hooked! Yes, I did consider Baiona but Santiago de Compostela calls me. I love the place. The Parador in Baiona is very beautiful, we stopped there for coffee once and it is worth visiting.

Iím looking forward to our stay in Cangas De Onis. Asturias is a wonderful place and I have heard very good things about the Parador. Thanks for the tip on the rooms.

Any other suggestions or tips will be more than welcome. Thanks again.



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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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I consider myself rather knowledgeable about Spain having traveled there on a rather regular basis for 40 years. Oh my God! But I must say I was very impressed with your research and itinerary. We have friends (Spanish) who live in Asturias; therefore, we make regular trips to Asturias...They are hoping it stays rather undiscoverwd. You are not helping the situation.
I must confess I skimmed rather than read every word, but it does appear that you get to the Basque region without visiting Guernica, the subject of Picasso's masterpiece that you have probably already seen in the doña Sofia.
At any rate, bien hecho (well done) for wrapping it up in the work world and discovering another world while you are young and healthy. I still advocate for younger, but you are living proof that one doesn't need to be 20 to explore.
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 11:11 PM
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Hi Luhimari,

pretty good itinerary

Regarding the Lekeitio vs Mundaka lodgings, as you will have a car, I donīt see a lot of differences between the two places. CathyM is right now travelling in Spain, and she was going to stay in Lekeitio, so she will have a better input regarding that. I am posting her latest thread, so you can have a look at her plans ...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34662917

And I know that you are planning to have fabada at La Máquina while in Cudillero (it gets good reviews), but ... Cudillero is famous for its "fabes con almejas" ( white beans with clams ). I have eaten there at a small restaurant just by the port (I donīt have the name with me), and I think that I like them more than the fabada (softer and less heavy in the stomach). Also the hake is pretty good in Cudillero.

Rgds, Cova
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Old Sep 27th, 2005, 01:47 AM
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I think the Favada Asturiana and Cocido de Liebana are basically the same dish except for the type of beans (Favada = Fava beans; Cocido = garbanzo beans). In the movie 'Silence of the Lambs' Hanibal Lechter describes a cannibalistic stew with Fava beans.

Try the Cheeses in Liebana! We brought some to relatives in Madrid and they loved 'em.

In Vigo (Pontevedra) Hotel Bahia Vigo has (had) an off season weekend rate including full breakfast that was quite reasonable. D. Cesar Ballesteros is (or was) the Manager. We had an 8th floor room with balcony overlooking the Port. (Wife's) Cousin who lives in Rosal was very impressed.

The Hotel is right at the Port (and la Pedra). Ask the tobacco lady at la Pedra for Havanas. She had some shrink wrapped blocks of 25 very inexpensive. In the AM, visit the Fish Market about 100m west from the hotel. Some of those beasties scare me (Rape, for` example)

You may want to stay at the Parador del Conde de Gondomar in Baiona where Columbus made landfall on return from his first Voyage of Discovery.

With so much time, it surprises me that you don't venture into Portugal (Braga & Guimaraes, for` example)

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Old Sep 29th, 2005, 11:29 AM
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Holakjs: Thank you for your comments. Being retired, liking to read and liking to travel are a very good combination. I have the time to read about the places Iíd like to see and have lots of time to plan our trips.

Asturias is a lovely place. This will be our second trip to Asturias and I have an anecdote to tell about our first trip there. First I must tell you that our first language is Spanish, which makes it much easier when traveling in Spain. My ancestors on my fatherís side were from Asturias, from a small hamlet near Llanes called Puertas de Vidiago. It was not until six years ago that husband and I were able to visit Puertas de Vidiago. The purpose of the trip was to see the house and the area were my grandmother grew up in and where her sisters lived until they passed away. My father as a young man had lived there during school breaks while studying at Santiago de Compostela and over the years my parents had been able to visit a few times. I knew that the house now belonged to some people from Madrid and was used as a summer home and that there was no direct family left since the 70ís. But Puertas being the place it is, to my surprise, more than twenty years after my parentís last visit, everybody in the place knew about me, my husband and my sons. We had planned on a short stop just to look around and ended up staying the whole day, just talking to the extremely friendly people there. They made us feel very welcome and kept us entertained with stories about my family, especially about my late fatherís antics as a student in the care of two elderly aunts. We were even invited for lunch. The experience was amazing.

Yes, we are planning on visiting Guernica and would love to hear of other places in the area.

Cova, Iím waiting for CathyMís input before deciding on where to stay in that area. Thanks for the tips on food in Cudillero. We are looking forward to our stay there and if you have any suggestions on places to see while staying there, they are more than welcome.

Nedsireland, we do have lots of time, but we have found that no matter how much time you have, you need more. Itís never enough! I looked up Braga and Guimaraes as you suggested and they look very interesting and are the kind of places we like to visit. Iím looking for a way to fit them in our itinerary. Thanks for the suggestion.

I have to see ďSilence of the LambsĒ again, but I think I will wait until we return from our trip!

Thanks to all.

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Old Sep 29th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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What a wonderful story of discovering one's roots. Asturias would be a great place to do that...and the locals would not resent your treading on their Paraíso Natural/Natural Paradise.

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Old Sep 29th, 2005, 01:43 PM
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What a wonderful story of discovering one's roots...even better when you can speak the language. (Can you tell I am a retired Spanish teacher? Asturias would be a great place to do that...and the locals would not resent your treading on their Paraíso Natural/Natural Paradise.
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Old Sep 30th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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Luhimari, there seems to be a lot of boricuas in Fodor's

The Bulnes funicular is not that bad, you should give it a chance! It is quite similar to riding on the metro (I know....it will never be the same!!!!) Funny thing, the only cable car where I was totally clautrophobic was on the short ride up to the cross at the Valle de los Caídos. It was packed with people and extremely hot. I considered walking down but would have missed the bus.

Glad you liked my trip report! Hope your friends liked the Botafumeiro. Very impressive and should not be missed if you have the opportunity.

I absolutely loved Asturias and Galicia and can't wait to go back. If I dont break this Spanish addiction I will never see the rest of world.
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Old Sep 30th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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Hi Luhimari,

My mother's parents are also from Asturias, from a little town call Rosallana( I might have the spelling wrong) near Grado. I have been to Asturias twice but haven't visited that area.Maybe next time.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 06:13 PM
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We are back from our six week trip to Spain and will try to write a trip report as soon as I get organized. Thanks for all the tips. We modified our schedule and did go to Portugal, rode the funicular to Bulnes, visited Guernica, etc, etc. We ate a lot, drank a lot, walked a lot and in the process gained a few pounds.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 07:38 PM
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Dear Luhimari:

Can't wait to read you report.

MY
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 04:37 AM
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Hi Luhimari!

Yes please, write your report soon!!
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Hi Luhimari, I think your itinerary and choice of hotels is great the mater in fact I might take a few ideas from Ciudad Rodrigo on, only change based in personal experience, I would stay at Hotel El Oso in Cosgaya which is very near the Parador Fuente De instead of staying in the Parador. We stayed in El Oso, in the annex and love it, loved their food, superbe.The hotel is rated I believe only two stars, but to me the annex rooms where like four stars. I think the few stars is only because there is no front desk in the annex, which means nothing. We went to the Parador for a cup of coffee and to get up the mountain . It did not seem much to me. Nothing much. Buena Suerte.
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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We did stay at El Oso and recommend it to anyone visiting the area.

I'll try to finish my report next week, our son and grandaughter are visiting from the states and we have been very busy.
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