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Part 7 of The 2.5 Month Trip to Spain and More

Part 7 of The 2.5 Month Trip to Spain and More

Old Jan 14th, 2004, 10:33 AM
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Part 7 of The 2.5 Month Trip to Spain and More

Hello Readers:

This has been quite an undertaking and a great experience to write this report.
Your encouragement and enjoyment are major motivators so, THANK YOU!

My goal is to finish today...let's see how it goes...SMILE


We arrived in TOULOUSE, FRANCE
Toulouse is beautiful. Our ride from ANDORRA was fabulous.

Ibis is great. Super clean, friendly folks, bright and colorful rooms, and includes an "all you can eat" buffet breakfast!
COST: $35.00 USA per person, per night including taxes and service.

Our room had a perfectly unobstructed view of The Basilique. WOW!

We stayed two nights. Saw all of the sights, ate lots of yummy French food and were lucky to be there during a major Carnival.

After our lovely time in Toulouse, France we headed north towards ALBI, FRANCE

Albi, France is where the magnificent Musee Toulouse Lautrec is. The Gardens are stunning too.
Albi has an impressive number of cultural sights, sculptures, and more.

We had a delicious lunch at LA TARTINE in ALbi. I had a Roquefort Salad that is still hard to get out of my mind. We had hamburgers that were exquisite. We wrapped this meal with dessert of the most incredible chocolate crepes you could imagine...

That evening, after a beautiful drive through the French country side, we arrived in BORDEAUX, FRANCE


Ok, we are "Wino's" as described before. Bordeaux is one of the wine "Mecca's" for wine folks like us.
Bordeaux has over 2,000 Wine Chateau's. You do need appointments for the "top" Chateau's.
I had spent many days, calling long distance, trying to get these appointments while in America. You can call months in advance and still be turned away because they are booked.

Despite my persistence and commitment, we had secured only ONE appointment: CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(If you could only get one in 2,000 this is the one you want to fight for.)

The appointment was a once in a lifetime experience. We were here for many wonderful hours. Amazing...
We managed to "work" our way into about a dozen other Wine Chateau's and a few Wine Farmhouses. Our time was magical. If felt like a dream.
Over the next few days we would canvass the Haut Medoc, Pauillac, Margaux and Saint-Emilion Regions tasting, touring, buying and enjoying the people and the wine...

French restaurants are off the charts. I have been to France before but this time and these restaurants warrant mention:

L'OMBRIERE in Bordeaux...a four star delight!

SAINT JAMES in Bordeaux...A-moment-of-silence
WOW! This "institution" is bestowed a Relais and Chateaux Bronze plaque (One of the top restaurants in the world) and more.
We dinned on: Roquefort soup w/grapes, salad of mints, lasagna of eggplant, two types of fried veggies, soup of fish and snails, fresh strawberries w/chocolate sauce and a choice of 4 out of 12 cheeses on a lovely silver tray.
Cost: $113.00 USA
A bargin in my book.

Day 50: Heading to BIARRITZ, FRANCE
Somehow we managed to say farewell to one of the most incredible wine regions in the world.
We took a beautiful drive south stopping along the way numerous times for photos and the like.
That evening we arrived in the ritzy resort and playground of the rich: Biarritz...

Right on the Ocean with a sweeping view...perfect!

We spent most of our time shopping, at the beach and next door at the infamous: Hotel Du Palais...awesome. Loved this place.


After a delicious breakfast of croissants and cheese we continued south towards Northern Spain or the BASQUE Region.

We got into San Sebastian, Spain late that morning. Our drive was lovely! San Sebastian is classy. We were aware of all the terrorist activity but could not miss this part of Spain.
The Chef's here are world class and so we went to find some of them. Not a problem...
DELICIOUS. We sat on the water and ate and drank and journaled and just took it all in.
Late that night we made our way to:


Pamplona does not have much if the bulls are not running and by golly they were not(smile). We walked around a little and then headed to:

which is the northen wine region for SPAIN.
We spent time at the Wine Bodegas most of the day...We had a delicious lunch of Tapas which we were beginning to miss...

Early that evening we arrived in: BILBAO, SPAIN!

This is a bonafide five star hotel located in the center of Bilbao.
Our suite was well over the top. Everything was beyond perfect...did I say perfect?
I was glad that we got in early enough to enjoy the suite.

The Basque Chef and all prepared dishes were beyond words. Our dinner bill was a whopping $160.00 USA. Worth every single penny...

We rose very early and after a delicious breakfast we headed to the GUGGENHEIM spending much of the day there.
Some of the Guggenheim was a hit and for us some of the Guggenheim was a miss.
We completely enjoyed our time in Bilbao. The Museum, Basque food and the De Haro were our reasons for the stop and stay so we were delighted!

Late that night we arrived in SANTANDER, SPAIN
We were pacing our driving and wanted to see "all" of Spain so Santander worked for us. Santander is a beautiful beach town with awesome weather.

Neat place to stay. Facing the beach...nice and inexpensive.

Awesome! The people were fun, funny and we felt like we were right at home.

We shopped and lounged and took our lovely drive south west to Gijon, Spain.
It started to rain and the drive was fairly long. We had a delicious and long lunch at a restaurant along the road...romantic.

We had planned on staying at the PARADOR in GIJON but upon arrival we changed our mind. This Parador was in our opinion: "in name only" and for the money we just could not see doing that. Nice people though.

Just what we needed. We got a room facing the beach and the hotel was in the center of this college town.
One small problem...A lovely park was across the street...what do teens and college kids do at night in the park??? We got little to none of our badly needed sleep...


Our goal was to do some of the: "off the beaten path" and this would be the icon for doing just that.

Lugo, Spain's old town was a 5 minute sight.
Yikes!!! Our HOTEL was smack dab located on the Highway...No other options as much of Lugo was tore up from the floor up.

We actually made the most of this travel "boo-boo". We re-packed our suitcase, played our cassette tapes in our room, did some laundry, journaled, re-packed the car and eagerly waited for sunrise.

Our plan to escape early morning was foiled.
We met the Innkeeper and his family for breakfast. I think they heard us talking about Lugo...Well, they really wanted to show us the best food and the best time so hours later we finally left Lugo. We had a blast with these people!

LA CORUNA, SPAIN is a pretty coastal town.
The hot sun and sights and shopping were ideal for the day.

A really good hotel with a corner view of the beach. Close to everything too.

A dimond in the rough...This beautiful restaurant delivered BIG!
We had the most delicious lamb chops, Angler in an Orange Cream Sauce, Lobster Croquetts and Flan of Carmel. All for $48.00USA

My Best...More to Come

Oaktown Traveler

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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 10:49 AM
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You covered alot of ground on your travels. How did you feel after your 2.5 month trip.
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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Hello Olchard:

Great question!!!!!

I hope you got to Part 8 which is the final installment of the trip report.

At the end...Home in California, I felt like this. I wrote this then so bear with...:

We left for HOME in the early morning

We left the fun, the sun, the sea, the food, the drinks, the treats, the mishaps and just driving into the unknown for many many weeks

We left or smiles, our tears, our selves and some old years

We left old souls, direction and filled up some marriage holes...

We were so careful and stayed mindful to Thank GOD at least four times a day.

We were real careful to watch our pennies, our dollars and we we spent with care. We spent in love and we sent in trust we did return with no gray hairs!

Now we are back and can see no lack in all the blessings that GOD kept on track.

We thank the LORD with all our heart. Our blessings have topped all charts we pray to continue to be CHRIST smart!


It took us a LONG time(weeks) to un pack.

We also had three of those large white plastic bins delivered to us from the Post Office. The bins were completely filled with mail.

We were smart to disable our voice mails at home and at work so we had no litany of calls to return. We did not leave any out going message about how long we would be gone etc...

We did not have e-mail back then so we did not have that issue.

We did have 70 rolls of 36 exposure film to process...
(Over 2,500 great shots!)

Of course I had the photo albums, wall frames and scrap book to do...

About 6 weeks later all of the above was done...Exactly three days before THANKSGIVING...laugh.

Remember we were gone all of August, September and half of October.

Happy Travels,
Oaktwon Traveler
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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Oaktown Traveler,

Your reports have been great to read...and the story about the ring - what a drama! So glad you found it.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions on our trip coming up in May. I'm trying to remain grateful we can take two weeks off from work although I know it will be so hard to leave Spain. How did you manage to get away for so long?
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Old Jan 18th, 2004, 01:08 PM
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So glad that you enjoyed the report.
I had a great time doing it.

Your two weeks in May will be EXCELLENT!

I have a flexible business and wonderful clients.

I have to REALLY WORK on my husband for the long ones. He defines this as anything beyond two weeks. On some trips he will meet me where ever I go for "his" two week part...It works fine for us. SMILE

Happy Travels,
Oaktown Traveler
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Old Feb 4th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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To get directly to part eight, click here...


Best wishes,

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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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Enclosed is our time in Gijon.

Hope this helps!

My Best,

Oaktown Traveler
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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I forget who asked about La Coruna but, here it is.

Happy Planning,
Oaktown Traveler
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Oakrown - - I know you were having difficulty with how to grab a URL - - are you still? It would be a lot better to give them the URL for this thread ON the thread where someone asked the question.
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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I am actually getting my skills together.

I was multi-tasking and forgot the shortcut.

You are the best!

Oaktown Traveler
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