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Pregnant - Need help with a laid back itinerary

Pregnant - Need help with a laid back itinerary

Sep 22nd, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Pregnant - Need help with a laid back itinerary

We're planning a 10 day trip to Spain in the first week of October. I'll be 20 weeks pregnant and my doctor just gave me an OK to go so I'm here looking for itinerary ideas since I have only 9 days to book everything. Since I'm pregnant I'd like to do a more laid back trip...nature, scenery, beautiful sights...not so much museum or other places where I'll have to stand in lines for long periods of time. We went to France last year, drove from north to south of France and loved that experience since it was mostly nature and coastal drive. I'm looking for a similar experience in Spain this year and was hoping someone here might be able to help. We were thinking about flying to Barcelona, spending some days there and then driving down to the south, visiting interesting/beautiful coastal towns on the way, Is not visiting Madrid a bad idea? I really wanted to do Basque country but I think the weather will be a bit too chilly. I think swimming in the ocean might not be possible as well because of the weather. I'm hoping to make the most of this trip without it being overwhelming for me. Any itinerary ideas would be great!
bluesky_2504 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 10:45 AM
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hi bluesky,

well, Barcelona hardly fits the bill as the queues for the major sites can be huge and the sites are quite a long way apart. I think that andalucia would be a better fit - more laid back, smaller places, [both granada and Seville are smaller and easier to navigate than Barcelona] and there are plenty of beaches around Malaga.

you could fly into Malaga, drive to Seville via Ronda, then to Granada via Cordoba, then south from Granada through the mountains to the coast. an easy 10 day trip.
annhig is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 11:18 AM
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We went to Barcelona early last November and there really wasn't any huge queues at major sites except Sagrada Familia (going inside isn't even necessary, it's the outside that's most worth seeing). As far as getting around, public transportation is very good, no need to walk much.

I can't speak for theses other locations because I haven't been, but both driving south of Barcelona and Andalucia sound appealing. I don't think skipping Madrid is a problem if you are focusing on other areas.
MFNYC is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 11:22 AM
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As far as getting around, public transportation is very good, no need to walk much>>

I beg leave to differ, MFNYC. there are a number of metro stations [sadly the ones we kept using] where you have to walk what felt like miles underground. and in late September, the queues were huge. we found Madrid much easier to get around than barcelona, but I still favour andalucia.
annhig is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 12:34 PM
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9 days doesn't give you much time to cover too much ground, driving or not.

If you're flying into and out of Barcelona, then I recommend spending most of your time in the general area. If you want something a bit more laid back, after a few days in Barcelona, then you can head up the coast to Begur on the Costa Brava to explore this region. After a few days you can then head inland to La Sur d'Urgell before finally heading back to Barcelona. You'll find the Catalan countryside is beautiful and can be relaxing in early October with the season changing.

You can save the Basque country for another trip, when you have the time to enjoy its equally magnificent scenery, people and outstanding cuisine.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 01:13 PM
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I guess I'm just used to walking a lot. I live in NYC, and have through 2 pregnancies. I walk all the time and only use public transport for longer distances or if I'm in a rush. I thought the public transport in Barcelona was great... I guess it's a matter of perspective. I thought the public transportation in Madrid was good as well, it's a very compact city (more so than Barcelona).
MFNYC is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 01:54 PM
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well, Barcelona hardly fits the bill as the queues for the major sites can be huge and the sites are quite a long way apart.>

getting mugged in Barcelona is a very real possibility - not that nearly all tourists do but if you've read past threads on Fodor's it does happen - not sure if i were pregnant i would take even a remote chance - ditto for Madrid.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 12:51 AM
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"Fear of getting mugged" Not something I think of when traveling in Spain, but there probably are some places one should be weary of. Dark alleys come to mind.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 01:44 AM
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"getting mugged in Barcelona is a very real possibility - not that nearly all tourists do but if you've read past threads on Fodor's it does happen - not sure if i were pregnant i would take even a remote chance - ditto for Madrid."

Yes, no-one who's pregnant visits or frequents these cities.

MFNC, do what you do in NYC and enjoy these lovely cities, you seem to realise that pregnant women can walk. Yes, public transport in Barcelona is excellent, although we did pretty much all the stuff we wanted to do on foot, the option is there if you want it.
alihutch is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 04:15 AM
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In Barcelona, the walk-on walk off tourist bus is a good way to find out where things are. After your 24 hour ticket expires, you can use public transportation or walk.

The only site that I think might be difficult is Parc Guell, which is up a very steep hill from the main road at the bottom. One of us was having sciatic problems when we were there, so we took a cab from the main road to the top of the Parc for a few euros and walked down instead. It is not to be missed, however you go.

I suppose the only other issue, not one I have experienced personally but one that I have observed is the need for fairly frequent access to toilets as pregnancy goes on. That might be an argument against really long car trips. Though I am by no means expert in Spanish country toilets, I have lots of experience with them across the border in southern France, where they are often sqauts.
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 07:53 AM
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For a first time trip to Spain with only 9 days I would land in Madrid and take the train to Seville for 4 nights. I would spend 2 nights in Granada, one in Malaga or Ronda and then take the AVE train back to Madrid for 3 nights. I'll admit I am totally biased towards Andalucia (and the Basque country). 9 days is not enough time to do Barcelona and Andalucia justice. I would not drive as there aren't a lot of beautiful towns on the coast. You'll see a lot of concrete high rises. Now the inland drive is different as there are places like Teruel to stop in but there is no need to rent a car. They can be a major hassle inplaces like Seville and Granada, Madrid. Public transport is great in Spain and the high speed trains go to most regions. Anywhere else you want to go the slow train or bus will get you there. We went to Barcelona and San Sebastian last summer and my wife was pregnant. Unfortunately a lot of tapas have mayo in them or some type of sausage. She was really bummed out even though most everywhere uses pasteurized mayo. I kept asking, "esta pasterizada la mayonesa?" She didn't want to take a chance and the Spanish women thought we were crazy because they eat everything when they're pregnant.
Egbert is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Thank you all for your great suggestions. We booked our flights and we were able to get a good deal on direct flight to Malaga and back from Madrid so now we we have 10 full days in Spain starting in Malaga and ending in Madrid. I've decided to do Barcelona and Basque country at another time so we'll focus on Andalucia this time. We were planning on booking a car (cost = $600) so we can visit other towns (Seville, Granada, Cordoba) and make our way up to Madrid. Is this not recommended? We will probably return the car once we arrive in Madrid and do Madrid by public transportation.
Ackislander - you made an excellent point about the need to access the restroom frequently when you're pregnant! I don't mind if I have to squat, as long as there's a place for me to go!
Egbert - I will also be asking if the dairy products are pasteurized! I hope most of the stuff is safe to eat because I'm really excited about the food in Spain. Your comment about driving in Seville and Granada concerns me. Is it similar to driving in Paris or more like French country/small towns with narrow roads?
I'm going to be doing some more research(books and other other posts) and finalize on the towns I'm visiting but please keep the suggestions coming.
bluesky_2504 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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$600 for a rental is a bit steep unless you're planning on renting a premium car with an automatic transmission. We just booked a compact through Auto Europe for $376, less our discount, for 10 days.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 12:35 PM
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You do not need a car in these cities. The parking is a nightmare, as is driving in the city itself. For going from city to city, take a bus or train. If you are going on a day trip or into the countryside, then rent a car.
Talk to your doctor, but I don't think European women worry so much about soft cheeses and the like.
I don't think 10 days is really enough time do visit Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Madrid at a leisurely pace. Cordoba is an easy day trip, but something else may have to go. I loved Malaga, but one day/night there is enough to see the old town. So, maybe Malaga 1, Granada 2, Sevilla 3, Madrid 3?
yorkshire is offline  
Sep 25th, 2010, 04:28 AM
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Egbert, I don´t know how many spanish pregnant spanish women you have met, but no ... they don´t eat everything. The best present I have been giving upon the birth of a new baby in the last 10 years has been 100 grams of iberic ham for the new mum ...

I can give you the list of things that doctors forbid to eat : iberic ham and all its associates ( chorizo, salchichón, lomo ...), soft cheeses (specially Cabrales or the Tortas from Extremadura), raw vegetables, undercooked meats, foie,raw fish ... Believe me, there are a lot of no-nos and "I won´t have that just in case".

Anyway, bluesky, people do manage. When we go out with our pregnant friends, they might ask for a non-alcoholic beer and choose the cooked pintxos, to be sure. If they are planning on order meat, they ask for it to be well-done ( muy hecho ). Salads are usually eaten at home where they know how they have cleaned up.

As you are going to Andalucia, I´ll try to avoid iberic hams and the likes, and I would also be careful with cold soups as gazpacho or salmorejo. Try to eat cooked foods ( remember "muy hecho", even if it pains you ). There are some lovely dishes with chickpeas ( garbanzos ) and vegs, and you can always opt for finding out the best tortilla de patatas in the land ( potato omelette ).

Bye, Cova
cova is offline  
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:13 AM
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I guess it's more like driving in Paris, certain zones are restricted. Labyrinthine narrow one way streets, impossible parking etc. Unfortunately you may feel a bit bummed out by the dietary restrictions, my wife sure did. You can always eat lots of fresh anchovies and fried fish and tortilla "muy hecho".
Egbert is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:00 AM
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The Málaga-Madrid solution is as good as it gets!

Málaga is a wonderful city with spectacular sights, great food, cafés, shopping and an unbeatable Andalusian atmosphere. When in Sevilla, you should know that the world's most important flamenco festival ends on the 9th of October. If you are interested, I would highly recommend the singer La Tremendita and the dancer Rocío Molina on the 4th or fantastic Eva Yerbabuena (dance) in grand Teatro de la Maestranza on the 5th or 6th. Still some tickets left for the two last concerts, and for Tremendita/Molina it's always possible to get hold of a couple of tickets outside the venue an hour or so before. http://www.bienal-flamenco.org/

Not many charming villages/towns along the coast, but it's a totally different story if you go inland. Perhaps stop in Ronda or Antequera on your way to Sevilla. Ronda is a famous "white village" in a spectacular landscape and Antequera is known as the "heart of Andalucía" with its dolmens, Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains and baroque bell towers. Antequera was the first of the Granada emirate towns to fall to the Christians in 1410.

A couple of restaurant/tapas bar suggestions:
Tapeo de Cervantes close to the Cervantes theater.

La Eslava is extremely popular with locals: http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/category/eslava/

Watch the sun set behind the Sierra Guadarrama mountains from the terrace at El Ventorrillo in the Vistillas park, just beside the Almudena Cathedral and close to the Royal palace. The garlic chicken is the best.

If you want a not too developed coastal town, go to Nerja some 30 mins by car east of Málaga. La Marina is one of my favourite seafood restaurants in all of Spain, and I love the peace and quiet on the El Salón beach.

And if you want total peace and quiet, go 2 miles further east to the tiny coastal village Maro (pop 800): http://www.absoluteaxarquia.com/areas/maro.html

I leave you with two clips of the artists you might experience in Sevilla:

La Tremendita/Rocío Molina (Last year, New York Times described Molina as one of the finest dancers in the world today): http://www.deflamenco.com/videos/ver...igo=FLA%7C3087

Spectacular Eva Yerbabuena:

Have a nice trip!
kimhe is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:23 AM
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Fresh anchovies, please no ... you will see them in many places, called "boquerones en vinagre", they are kind of long and whitish and very yummy, but I would abstain, because they are raw fish and in some cases they have anisakis ... so leave them for next time.

Although if there would be fried anchovies, I would jump for them. Very yummy.

cova is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:56 AM
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A car will be a great plus if you plan to visit the countryside and the many, many beautiful villages in Andalucia and beyond.
But if you just plan to visit the cities Malaga, Sevilla, Granada, and so on, you don't need or want a car.

Driving in Sevilla, Malaga, or Madrid is no big issue.
You have the historic town centers you do not wish to drive into (or are not allowed to enter), but around the old towns you have wide boulevards with dozens of public (underground/overground) parking garages. But those are not that cheap if you stay for several hours or even overnight.
On the boulevards you have good signage to guide you out of town and back on your track again.

In Granada, if you just wanted to see the Alhambra, the road signs will lead you around the town to the central parking lots on freeways only.

If your car does not come with GPS, you should get a decently scaled map upon arrival at the next gas stations. The Spaniards build new roads like few others in no time, and any 2009 map you may find in the US might already be outdated. I also found some road numbering not fully consistent, i.e. roads had been renumbered but the map still showed the old number. It won't hurt if you know the general direction you plan to go.
Like in the other European countries, road signs show the direction to cities plus the road number. So if a sign points in one direction towards A-7 to Malaga, and in other direction to A-7 to Almeria, you should have an idea which way you need to go.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 04:30 AM
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On your way to Sevilla, you should drive up to the the spectacular limestone rock formations called El Torcal. Some 40 miles north of Málaga and close to Antequera. On a clear day you can see the African coastline from up here. Easy walks from the parking.

You might also be interested in the fabulous prehistoric caves outside Nerja, 40 mins by car from Málaga:

You could visit the Nerja caves on your way to Granada. Go some miles further along the coast to Almuñecar and then on to the A 4050 to Granada.

The road, known as the Moor's Sigh, is scenic and quite spectacular. The name comes from the legenedary sigh of Boabdil, the last emir of Granada, when he at the mountain pass known as Puerto del Suspiro del Moro, for a last time had a look back upon the now lost city. His mother shall then have said: "You cry like a woman over a city you couldn't defend as a man". On way to Granada, you should take your time to stop and look back on the sea.
kimhe is offline  

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