Marital travel fight

Old Jan 11th, 2000, 10:26 AM
  #1  
Andy
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Marital travel fight

My wife and I are travelling to Spain in April with our three children (ages 8,5,3). We are flying into Madrid and our final destination is south of Seville. The problem is we are torn on whether to rent a car or take the train. My wife thinks we should rent a car, drive to Toledo and spend the day, then drive the rest of the way the next day (stopping occasionally to sight see). Although I think that is a good idea in theory, it's probaly to much for young children,so, I think we should take a train right away to get to our final destination. Any suggestioins? Does anyone know how long the trip from Madrid to Seville is by car? We were guessing about seven hours. Also can anyone recommend a place to stay in Toledo should we choose that option? Thank you!
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 11:11 AM
  #2  
ilisa
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I take it you don't take your children on long car trips. I am speaking here from the perspective of someone whose parents took her on very long car journeys starting when she was about 3 (New York to Florida, mostly). Follow your wife's advice, and make the car ride part of the trip, not as a just a means to reach the final destination. Your children should be fine if you make it a point to stop frequently for breaks and to look around. However, you have to listen to them, and take their wishes into account. Try to stop when they want, and don't overload them on sightseeing. I have never been to those parts of Spain, but it is my understanding that you will do yourself a disservice if you just hurry on to Seville. A good book to read is Have Kid, Will Travel (forgot the author - found it on Amazon for 7.95) which gives excellent advice on train and car travel.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 11:55 AM
  #3  
Helena
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I was 14 when my parents drove me around Spain -- roughly in the areas you're going -- and through all my teenage indifference, I LOVED it. Drive, stop often, talk about everything you're seeing, and have fun.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 12:07 PM
  #4  
Maribel
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Dear Andy,
I won't weight in on the car versus train debate (a no kids couple so don't have any first-hand experience with long auto trips with children in Spain (plenty, years and years, of experience travelling all over Spain with teens though, who when travelling sometimes resemble young children!)

cwlease.com says 325 miles from Madrid to Seville and estimates 7 1/2 hrs. travel time. When we travel Madrid to Seville we always take the AVE "bullet" train (2 1/2 hrs-a very comfortable, easy ride and fun for kids of all ages). When our route is Madrid-Granada, we opt for the car, spending a night in Toledo on the way and from Toledo to Granada we usually stop in Consuegra, the heart of Don Quijote's La Mancha, to see the scenic and well-preserved windmills on the hill, take a rest stop in Valdepenas for a plate of manchego cheese and the typical cookies, "pastas manchegas" and a final rest stop at the Castle/Parador atop the hill in Jaen.
If you decide to rent the car, I would certainly agree with your wife regarding the night in Toledo-it will make the trip more relaxing, and Toledo is difficult to enjoy on the run.
I can personally recommend two pretty, charming and reasonable hotels in Toledo: the Pintor El Greco and the Hostal del Cardenal. The Cardenal has a fine restaurant with large menu, but there are lots of stairs (inside and out) -the El Greco (www.estancias.com or www.madeinspain.com) is probably a better choice with young ones, and the management is very pleasant. It's easy to find-just follow the signs for the "sinagogas" and the Casa-Museo El Greco, which are adjacent.
Good luck with your decision!
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 12:44 PM
  #5  
Maribel
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Andy:
Hi again.
Web page for the Hostal del Cardenal:
http://cardenal.macom.es/cardenal/ingles
Forgot to mention the Parador (www.parador.es) which is lovely and restful and has a beautiful view of the city, but for touring it's somewhat inconvenient (2 miles up the hill), as it requires taxis back and forth-on street parking in Toledo is next to impossible-we've been ticketed many times over the years, and tow trucks do a brisk business! If you plan not to do too much sightseeing in Toledo and simply want to rest, you would certainly enjoy the comfort of the Parador-the dining room has a stunning outdoor terrace.
Hope this helps you to decide.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 01:09 PM
  #6  
Ed
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Overall you may find the car more convenient for a group that size. Do check the luggage space on what you rent (and pack) to be sure you can carry everything about with you.

What's not clear to me is whether you intend the inital journey about which you asked immediately after arrival following a long overnight flight. I hope not.

We have no problem driving 3-4 hours after a transatlantic trip for ourselves. It may end up being a bit much for the kids, though. Certainly a 6 or 7 hour car trip on top of the flight is liekly to be too much for the youngsters ... if not for you.

Alternatives are to drive a car to Toledo for an overnight. It's a lovely city and worth some time. The parador mentioned above has a spectacular setting over the city and is pretty affordable. Or, take the AVE to Seville; if you need a car, rent it there.

Rome.Switzerland.Bavaria
www.twenj.com
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 01:31 PM
  #7  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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ANDY,Just did this route in Apr and will
suggest the car. Too much hassle on trains for 5 people and Toledo is a must. We stayed at the Cardenal and it was fine. As you go south stop and see the La Mancha wind mills at Conseurga.
The kids will love this--great photo op.
The roads are fine and spain is very
user friendly---go for it.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 02:25 PM
  #8  
Helena
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Ditto on the Toledo idea. It was one of my favorite towns in Spain and kids will love it.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2000, 08:21 PM
  #9  
Pete
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Very interesting topic for me... my wife and are are having this very same discussion, except that she wants to fly to Seville or Garanada from Madrid, rather than drive, which is what I want to do. We have 10 days in Spain April 1-10, flying into Madrid from Philadelphia, arriving 10:30am Sat 4/1...my plan: rent a car at Madrid airport, drive to Segovia. Spend the night (Hotel Linajes) do some sight-seeing...next day drive to Toledo, sightseeing, spend the night (Hotel Cardenal) next day drive to Granada (4 hrs) spend two days and two nights (Hotel America) next day Wednesday drive around Andalusia, visit Piletta Caves spend the night at parador in Ronda, next day Thursday drive around backroads some more ending up in Seville return rental car, spend two days & nights (Hotel Laurel) then on Saturday take AVE train to Madrid (Hotel Mora) for Saturday & Sunday, fly home Monday morning. How does this sound? My wife wants to fly south immediately upon arriving, then touring Granada, Ronda, Seville, as outlined above, then flying back to Madrid and from there visiting Toledo & Segovia. The weekly car rental is only $103! Does anybody out there have any helpful comments? thanks
 
Old Jan 12th, 2000, 10:29 AM
  #10  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Pete, I love your itinerary and your
hotel choices. Make sure you can get into the Parador at Ronda--very busy.
Why spend the bucks to fly---enjoy the
countryside---you too should stop in
Consuerga for the windmills.
 
Old Jan 12th, 2000, 10:43 AM
  #11  
Marija
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Pete--
We've been to all the places on your itinerary but at a much slower speed.
If you would like a somewhat more leisurely pace, consider dropping Segovia from your itinerary and spending two nights in Toledo. By the time you make your way to Segovia from Madrid (assuming your plane gets in on time), you'll be exhausted. ( Hopefully, you won't find the road into Segovia closed for four hours for a bike race as we did.) Segovia is a delightful town, but Toledo has so much more to see and you won't have very much time there. Since you'll be heading to Andalucia you prob ably won't miss much by skipping Segovia. However, you'll have a much more restful start to your trip if you spend the first two night in Toledo.
 
Old Jan 12th, 2000, 03:33 PM
  #12  
Maribel
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Pete
A second to Marija's suggestion of spending two nights in Toledo for the following reasons: if your plane arrives late, it is only a little over an hr's drive from Barajas to Toledo, whereas it will take you almost two hrs. to reach Segovia, and also it would give you the chance to rest the first day and do your sightseeing in Toledo the next day,(the sights in Toledo close from 1-
3:30 or 4 and close early, at 5:45 or 6 in April) then leave early the next morning to take in the windmills in Consuegra (a small detour) plus the perfectly preserved Renaissance towns of Baeza and Ubeda (if you can see only one, choose Ubeda-it's a relatively undiscovered 16thc gem of magnificent noblemen's residences and ornate churches)then go back to the highway and take a rest stop at the Parador Castillo Santa Catalina on top of the hill in Jaen overlooking miles and miles of olive groves-great photo op and stunning Parador!. These sights are all on the way to Granada. Ubeda in particular is really worthy of a visit-many don't know about it-drive straight to the beautiful Plaza Vazquez de Molina and the ducal palace Parador Condestable Davalos. I promise it will be well worth the detour! I wouldn't fly to Seville-there are so many great things to see from Madrid to Granada by car. I love Segovia, but I would save it for another visit and hit Avila and Salamanca then as well.
I love your choice of hotels.
You've really done a great job of planning your trip! What a car rental rate! Through Avis?

 
Old Jan 12th, 2000, 06:32 PM
  #13  
Jennfer
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Hi Pete,
My husband and I are doing a similar trip. After reading these comments I definately will drive rather than using the train. Where did you get that great car rental rate?
 
Old Jan 13th, 2000, 10:03 AM
  #14  
Pete
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Wow! thanks everybody for the excellent feedback---I'm even more excited now than I was before----I got the car rental rate at Yahoo Travel, they use travelocity I think, and the rate is actually $145, including all taxes, fees, and hidden charges...still a good rate...but check this out: I called back yesterday and upgraded from economy manual (the smallest car, cheapest rate) up four notches to Mid-size car (much more comfortable and smoother ride I hope) for an additional $4! That's a weekly rate, only $149, pretty good deal for a mid-size car. That's Dollar Renta-A-Car but they say they are using EuropeCar. It's all a bit confusing, you pay one company but get your car from another. As far as Segovia goes, it was not on my original itinerary (even tho it looks great) but my wife has GOT to see the Roman Aqueducts, so I tried to fit it in there. The good news is we can swing through Avila on the way to Toledo for lunch and a quick walk-around, somehow I get the feeling this is going to be one of those trips where you need to rest when you get home! Funny thing is, it's always like that for me, I like to travel when I'm travelling, keep moving, squeeze in as much as possible. The only regret here is I'm not leaving any time for exploring or
serendipitous discoveries, etc....usually I set aside a few days with no plans, just poke around somewhere looking here looking there, not following any guidebook suggestions. We did that in Costa Rica last year and Wow! it was great! Costa Rica is awesome. Anyway, thanks again y'all for the tips, windmills in Conseugera, stopping in Ubeda, Jaen...I was wondering what there is to see between Madrid & Granada, where to stop...now I have some great ideas, wish we had a few more days.....adios
 

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