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Wendy Jan 8th, 2002 09:11 PM

Help in Planning trip to Spain
My new husband and I are planning a honeymoon trip to Provence and then to spain end of June. Can anyone tell us about the drive along the coast from France to Barcelona? Suggestions for places to stay, eat and visit are appreciated. Also, what is driving or train time between Madrid and San Sebastian? Any suggestions for day trips out of Madrid? places to stay? Prefer 3-star or up to $US150/night.

cristina Jan 9th, 2002 12:33 AM

Wendy,<BR><BR>Madrid-San Sebastian is about 6 hrs. by train (TALGO/Intercity). There is also an overnight service (Costa Vasca)departing at 10.45 PM from Madrid, arriving at 7.00 AM. If you have the chance you´d better drive and stop by Burgos, visit the gothic-style Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful in Spain, have lunch at Ojeda Restaurant-(Plaza del Cordon),including roast lamb and "morcilla" in the menu and then head towards San Sebastian (2 1/2 hrs). I live in San Sebastian so can give you all the information you need about hotels, restaurants etc.<BR><BR>Hope this helps<BR><BR>Cristina<BR>

wendy Jan 9th, 2002 11:12 AM

christina- what great information. Thank you. One more question - do you know how far is San Sebastian from St. Jean de Luz in France?

cristina Jan 10th, 2002 01:05 AM

St. Jean de Luz is about 40-45 kms away from San Sebastian.

margo Jan 10th, 2002 03:55 AM

Wendy<BR><BR>Out of Madrid - go to Toledo.<BR>It's just an absolute masterpiece, especially if you are not getting to the south - Andalusia. This is a little spot of Moorish Spain, quite close to Madrid.<BR>I did a half day tour, and this wasn't enough. There's so much to see that a day would be great, and longer would be even better. I was just blown away by it.<BR><BR>Don't bother with El Escorial, unless you like monuments to fascist dictators.

olga Jan 10th, 2002 05:31 AM

About El Escorial...<BR><BR>What Margo is talking about is the Valle<BR>de los Caidos monument, near el Escorial, which it´s true, was built by Franco in honour of the fallen in the civil war, and it is rather dreary.<BR><BR>However, El Escorial proper is actually<BR>one of the most amazing XV palaces you can find, enormous and imposing and full of art, riches, the tombs of kings<BR>of Spain of the last 10 or so centuries, and also a nice little town<BR>with good places to eat. <BR>Nothing to do with Franco there.

olga Jan 10th, 2002 05:34 AM

Sorry, I meant 16th. century.

Rod Jan 10th, 2002 05:42 AM

Here's some very good advice - don't go to Madrid unless you are an art lover. Except for a couple of museums, there is not much to see. It was the worst part of our otherwise ecellent Spain trip. The only good thing to say about it is that it's close to Toledo. El Escorial is OK, but it's a lot of trouble to get there and not worth consuming an entire day. <BR><BR>There are many far better places in Spain. Fly to Seville or someplace like that from Barcelona. Air fares are cheap in Spain.<BR>

Clay Jan 10th, 2002 06:29 AM

We toured the Costa Brava north of Barcelona last year and had one of the most spectacular meals ever at "El Buli" in the little town of Roses just across the french / spanish line. I'd found it on this site and would travel back to spain just for this food! Try searching this site for "El Buli" for past postings.<BR><BR>Have fun

Jim Jan 10th, 2002 09:07 AM

Amazing how everyone has different opinions! Madrid is great to stay in because of the many day trips available. Don't miss Toledo, Segovia, Avila, & yes, Valle de Los Caidos. Maybe 30 years has ruined my memory, but I thought it was a memorial to all the Spanish Civil War dead, not just the Fascists. It is impressive!<BR>Be sure to spend at least one evening visiting the tapa bars of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid; you will be glad you did.<BR>Suerte!<BR>Jim

lynn Jan 10th, 2002 05:44 PM

Hi Wendy:<BR>If you are planning on driving the coast all the way from Provence to Barcelona it is a very circuitous route. You have to travel in and around the rocky coast and it does take a good amount of time. If you don't like heights I wouldn't recommend it as parts of it are hair raising. If you want to find some neat places along the way then just travel in and out of these<BR>from the motorway. (In France it's the A9 in Spain the same road continues after the border at La Jonquera and is called the A7).<BR>Some interesting places along the way from Provence would be the Camargue, some of the beaches along the coast at Cap d'agde etc, Perpignan,Collioure, (you can follow the coast from here on a very windy road into Spain the N114,connecting to the N260 to Llanca then you can follow a smaller (read scarier road to Sant Pere de Rodes and eventually Cadaques). near here is the restaurant mentioned above, in Roses. There is so much to see from Provence to Barcelona, we have spent our last five holidays exploring and haven't scratched the surface! <BR>Some neat little towns to see besides the above would be Girona, Sant Marti, Banyoles, Tossa de mar and on to Barcelona.<BR>If I can be of any help let me know.<BR>Regards,<BR>Lynn

wendy Jan 11th, 2002 12:58 PM

Thank you all for the good information. Any other tips & suggestions are welcomed.<BR><BR>Wendy

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