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bock64 Feb 15th, 2005 09:19 AM

First Trip to Spain with Kids
My husband and I are considering a trip to Spain with our two boys 12 and 9. We are not sure if there would be enough to keep their interest or if we should wait until they're older. We were in Italy last year (Amalfi Coast) and they enjoyed that.
I don't really know much about Spain from a travel point of view. For a first visit, can someone recommend a region to focus on that would have a combination of beaches, city and of course Bull fights. We'll be going for 10 days.
Thanks in advance.

Eloise Feb 15th, 2005 09:59 AM

Andalusia, interior and coast. But do you really think it wise to expose boys 12 and 9 to the cruelties of a Spanish bull fight?

You can always take them to the lovely bull ring (with tiny museum) in Ronda, the first bull ring built in Spain.

Robert2533 Feb 15th, 2005 12:24 PM

When will you be planning this trip? Your 12 and 9 year old boys will have a great time, depending on where you go. In the summer you should head for Green Spain, from the Basque Country to Galicia, especially if you are into outdoor activities of any kind, from water sports to trekking and mountain biking. There is also the cultural aspect of visiting the Basque Country. It is the oldest culture in Europe, dating back 40,000 years.

You can head for Extremadura, the land of the conquistadors, and Andalucia in the late winter through early summer, before it gets too hot, or wait until the fall when it begins to cool down. I would keep away from the south during the middle of the summer unless you love large crowds of foreign tourist.

Madrid is fine through most of the year, except for late July and August when just about everyone except the tourist leave for the mountains and coastal resorts and most of the restaurants close down for a holiday.

The bullfight season begins in April in Sevilla, with the last bullfights ending the season in Europe in October. Bullfighting is not something everyone likes or understands, so if you are planning on taking your children, be sure they understand that the bull will die in the bullring. There is also the possibly that the matador will be injured, sometimes severely. This is a very dangerous contest, but one with pageantry. A good bullfight can be exciting, while a bad one can be upsetting for some, but understandable to others. The bulls don’t always react the way they are expected to, but they will die. There have only been a few times when the bull has been spared. And yes, the bull is sold and will be available the next day in the market, “el toro del día”, the bull of the day.

Regardless of what some people think, the majority of Spanish bullfights cannot be considered “cruel”. There are a lot of misconceptions concerning how the bulls are treated in Spain, but when the bullring pays upwards of 15,000 euros for one bull, they expect the animals to be well taken care of. The situation in Mexico and South America is different and has no association with how toro bravos are treaded in Spain, France and Portugal. You also have to remember that these are not farm animals. They are very dominant creatures and their natural tendency is to be highly aggressive. They will kill anything that gets in their way, sometimes including another bull. If they where not bred to fight in the bullring, then the species would cease to exist since they cannot be use for farming and their meat is far to lean for the average beef market.

bock64 Feb 16th, 2005 07:17 AM

Thanks for the response. Robert, we are planning to go last week of June for about 10 days. I've done a little bit of research on the bullfights, and in spite of what many think, I agree with you, and believe that taking out kids would expose them to a significant cultural tradition that they most people only hear or read about.
Any suggestions for a potential itinerary that would allow us to easily get to sevilla as well as the Basque Country that sounds really interesting. What would be the closest airport to fly into if we were to take this route. Ideally, because of the kids, I'd like to base ourselves in 2 or 3 places that would allow us to daytrip, so we're not in a different hotel every night.

Phread Feb 16th, 2005 08:51 AM

We took our girls to Catalogna for Christmas holidays and we had a great time... we stayed in some Paradors, a series of historic monuments converted into hotels by the govm't, so they got to stay in a medieval castle.
Barcelona was fantastic, particularly hanging out with the local merchants at the Boqueria food market, the Gaudi park and cathedral and the port.
They liked expoling Dali in Cadaques and his museum further north. My mind is drawing a blank on the name of this town, but we stayed just outside in the coutnry at a converted flour mill that had some of the best food we have ever had in our lives (and we live in Paris!)
Girona was a great place for strolling.

Robert2533 Feb 19th, 2005 01:18 PM

If you are going to be in Spain for the last ten days of June, and want to see a bullfight, then you might want to consider the following.

There are bullfights in both Sevilla and Madrid on Sunday, the 19th of June and again in Madrid on Sunday the 26th. These are the only venues listed on the schedule for June. After attending the bullfights at either place, you can then head north to La Rioja for the Wine Festival in Haro on the 29th of June. This is a great one-day fiesta. Laguardia, on the Basque side of the Rioja, also celebrates on this day with the running of the vecas, the cows, which are left to run down the street in the medieval walled city.

If coming from Sevilla, you have the option of flying to the regional airport in La Rioja and picking up a rental car in Logroño, or driving. It is a distance of nearly 900 kms and will take you at least two days. Madrid to La Rioja is a distance of 370 kms and is a easy drive of a little over 4 hours.

But with only 10 days, you would be hard pressed to cover a lot of area. My personal opinion, since this will be in June, would be to spend the time in the north, Madrid to the Basque Coast and save Andalusia for the spring or fall months when the weather is a bit more comfortable.

It's getting late in the season for making reservations, so if you need any assistance, you can contact Totally Spain ([email protected]), an incoming service in Vitoria-Gasteiz (the Basque Country), or send me an email at [email protected] and I'll see what I can do to help.

Laura25 Feb 21st, 2005 03:38 PM

There is only one place to go, of course, Andalucia. In Andalucia you have everything, beaches, beautiful cities, and of course bullfight. I think it's not a very good idea to go to the Basque Country and to Andalucia, because the Basque Country is the north, and Andalucia the south. I you have 10 days it's better to discover Andalucia. You can travel to Malaga or to Sevilla. Sevilla has one of the most beautiful bullring, and a great architecture, Malaga it's a beautiful city with beaches and, of course, Picasso native city. So start your trip in Malaga or in Sevilla, and discover Andalucia, you have to go to Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and to Cordoba.
In you have 10 days, Andalucia is your places.

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