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Initial itinerary – Northern Spain and Catalunya

Initial itinerary – Northern Spain and Catalunya

Jan 11th, 2015, 10:38 AM
  #41  
kja
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@ danon - Thanks for the warnings!
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Jan 11th, 2015, 11:04 AM
  #42  
 
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I think I mentioned in another thread, I found driving in Oviedo very difficult (and I have done quite a bit of driving in Spain.) Get a GPS for sure. You are going to be driving a lot, but you already knew that!

Someone posted somewhere about the El Fabulista winery - this is a winery IN Laguardia, with a very cool tour. And you can taste there, and not have to drive after. http://www.bodegaelfabulista.com/

I will be in Catalunya May 15 - June 3 but the 22nd through 31st I will be really busy (though I do get a free hour here and there.) If it works out it works out... send a note to sfloca33 at the service that has a y and h in it. I hope you get my "code"
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Jan 11th, 2015, 11:23 AM
  #43  
kja
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@ rialtogrl -

Yes, I remember your warning about driving in Oviedo and will keep that in mind as I plan my time in the area. What made driving there so difficult?

Thanks for mentioning El Fabulista; I'll definitely give it a look. Once I was reminded that one can (should?) spit at a wine tasting, I stopped worrying about driving after visiting a winery and decided to stay in Laguardia-Biaster, but then I forgot to check which wineries are right there.... How I love that you and others are so willing to offer these wonderful suggestions!

Message decoded -- I'll be in touch once I've nailed my plan down.
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Jan 11th, 2015, 11:45 AM
  #44  
 
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Driving in Oviedo... lots of one way streets & routes that take you around in circles. I did not have a GPS though. I think if you have one it would probably help a LOT.

Always nicer to not have to spit (I am not a spitter, but I am VERY careful if I taste and have to drive after.) I didn't think the wines at El Fabulista were anything extraordinary, but the tour was really great. I think you would enjoy it.
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Jan 11th, 2015, 11:59 AM
  #45  
kja
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@ rialtogrl -- those kinds of road plans can be so frustrating! Fortunately, I have a TomTom that I use for road trips in Europe. I'll update the maps and program it before this trip. It isn't a perfect solution, but it definitely beats trying to drive and navigate unfamiliar roads simultaneously.
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Jan 12th, 2015, 06:59 AM
  #46  
 
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Here are the hotels that I stayed at during my trip that coincide with the cities/towns that you are visiting:

Burgos: AC Hotel Burgos
Leon: NH Plaza Mayor (Room 206 overlooking the Plaza)
Oviedo: Melia Hotel de la Reconquista
SdM: Hotel Casa del Marques
Bilbao: Hotel Carlton

Highly recommend seeing Santa Maria de Naranco and San Miquel de Lillo while in Oviedo.

Also, Our Lady of Covadonga is a worthwhile stop. And a few hours or so in Congas de Onis.
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Jan 12th, 2015, 05:07 PM
  #47  
kja
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@ joannyc -- thank you so much for the hotel recommendations! I will be sure to see Santa Maria de Naranco and San Miquel de Lillo -- seeing them is main reason that Oviedo is on my itinerary. Thanks for making sure I didn't miss out on them! I'm glad to know that you thought Our Lady of Covadonga worth seeing -- I've been vacillating about that one. And I definitely hope to make it to Congas do Onis -- the link that cruiseluv provided covers some LOVELY short, easy walks in that area. I am going to have a REALLY wonderful trip, aren't I?!?
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Jan 12th, 2015, 07:16 PM
  #48  
 
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Oh, yes, you ARE going to have a wonderful trip! I'm very happy for you, kja!
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Jan 12th, 2015, 10:43 PM
  #49  
kja
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WooHoo! I have a reservation for the Tito Bustillo Cueva!
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Jan 13th, 2015, 01:18 AM
  #50  
kja
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AND I have reservations for the Museo de Altamira, Hornos de la Pena, Las Monedas, El Castillo, and El Soplao. Yes, YES, YES!!! (Why did my mapping functions consistently and incorrectly put El Saploa to the EAST of Santillana del Mar? At least I learned in time to adjust the timing of my reservation accordingly -- I will visit it on the way from Potes to Santillana del Mar.)

A question: I've read about a drawing for tickets to the ACTUAL Cueva Altamira, but I haven't seen any way to throw my hat in the ring. Any suggestions? I know the chances are minimal, but I assume my chances would be at least ever so slightly greater if I actually try than if I don't. ;-)

One tweak to my plan: Having just seen an old post by kimhe (thanks!), I hope to take the route from San Sebastian to Taüll that goes through Torla.

danon's last post made me realize that even if I skip Tarragona, I really am not giving enough time to Barcelona. I'm not sure what to do with that, and would welcome any suggestions. I am aware that Barcelona is easier to reach from the US than anything else I'll visit on this trip, so if I have to shortchange something, I guess it "makes sense" to shortchange Barcelona on the assumption that I'll revisit when I go to Valencia and other parts of central Spain. That is an option, but not a particularly satisfying one. I'm playing with various options, which involve working around a goal to return the rental car on the morning of my day 24, which will be a Monday.

And another question: Have any of you visited Sant Pere de Rodes near Cadaqués? I just read about it, and it sounds spectacular! -- but getting there might require some other adjustments to my plan....

Thanks again for all your help -- it is very sincerely appreciated!
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Jan 13th, 2015, 01:33 AM
  #51  
 
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" Have any of you visited Sant Pere de Rodes near Cadaqués? "
Yes, the view is stunning. It is not far from Figueres.
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Jan 13th, 2015, 02:21 AM
  #52  
kja
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@ Pvoyageuse: That's what I was afraid of hoped -- thanks! I think I can find a way to fit it in....
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Jan 13th, 2015, 02:55 AM
  #53  
 
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I see you are planning to spend a day in Figueres. If my time was limited, I'd chose San Pere de Rodes over Besalu (which is cute, but not as impressive as San Pere). BTW there is a decent cafeteria in San Pere with a wonderful view of the ocean below.
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Jan 13th, 2015, 03:14 AM
  #54  
kja
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Oh, I so love what one can learn from Fodorites!

@ Pvoyageuse: Thanks so much for this information and for taking the time to look at my draft itinerary! Input about how places like San Pere de Rodes and Besalu compare is incredibly helpful, especially as I try to trim my wish-list. I will make time for the views from San Pere de Rodes.
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Jan 13th, 2015, 04:06 AM
  #55  
 
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On your way back to Figueres, you could stop at Vilabertran (less than 1 mile from Figueres) to visit the medieval Abbey.
http://blog.costabravas.fr/monastere...e-vilabertran/
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Jan 13th, 2015, 05:31 PM
  #56  
kja
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@ Pvoyageuse -- Oh how gorgeous - thanks so much for brining this site to my attention!
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Jan 18th, 2015, 12:22 AM
  #57  
kja
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I've made a LOT of progress I've reserved:
- all of the caves I hope to visit for prehistoric art or fascinating geology. (In addition to those mentioned above, I've now also confirmed Santimamine. )
- tours of 2 wineries in La Rioja (and I've requested a reservation for a 3rd),
- paradors in Leon and Santillana de Mar (the Gil Blas),
- accommodations that I think will be at least suitable every where else I plan to stay. (I'll continue to tweak those reservations, as all are cancelable.)

BUT I still struggle with some decisions...

Item for your input:
I'm currently thinking of skipping Sitges and the cava wineries in Sant Sadurni d"Anoia to make more time for Barcelona. Any thoughts about that decision?

Thanks again!
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Jan 18th, 2015, 08:50 PM
  #58  
 
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you can probably play that one by ear..
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Jan 18th, 2015, 11:02 PM
  #59  
kja
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@ lincasanova - thanks! BTW, I now plan to stay in Laguardia-Biaster for my 2 nights in La Rioja and am grateful to you for suggesting it.
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Jan 19th, 2015, 12:11 AM
  #60  
 
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Just a small note about Santimamiñe caves...I´ve seen it many times when I was a kid and it´s really impressive, but at present you can only see a small part of the cave and no paintings at all. In any case, the landscape is gorgeous, very close to it you have the amazing Painted Forest of Oma (google) and the restaurant Kamiñoko, very close to it, offers great Basque food.

The Pozalagua caves, in Bizkaia and close to Bilbao, offers (I believe) the biggest collection of eccentric estalactites in the world. And voted as "Best Spot" last year.
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