Resurrecting Spain Trip

Old Sep 30th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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Resurrecting Spain Trip

Attempting to resurrect a twice cancelled first trip to Spain.

Original itinrary included:
Granada - part of 2 days (for Alhambra)
Seville - most of 3 days plus Cordoba and Carmona day trips
Madrid - most of 3 days plus Toledo day trip and possibly an overnight to Salamanca.

Thinking of adding 1 day, dropping Salamanca and adding most of 3 days in Barcelona.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Hi Maribel!! Yes trying it again.
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Old Sep 30th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Yeah, Myer!!
3 times charm! If you add Barcelona, I'd drop Salamanca, save for later, and fly to Bcn. Glad you're trying this again.
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Old Sep 30th, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Myer--- I am rooting for you!!

Agree w/Maribel; head out to Barcelona and do Salamanca on a combination return trip to Northern Spain. When are you going? what's the hotel situation?

P.S. In 2001, I had to canceled a trip to Rome twice (tickets in hand and all). Three times was the charm; had a great time when Mom & I finally went in 11/02. Go for it!
 
Old Sep 30th, 2003, 03:57 PM
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Hi Maribel and Maira,

Boy, attracted the experts in a hurry.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Haven't done anything yet. I'm shooting for the end of May first half of June to go for 14 days excluding leaving days.

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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 03:43 PM
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Myer-- would you consider moving the trip up so that it would fall around the San Isidro Festivities. That is a great time to be in Spain, specially Madrid.
 
Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:56 AM
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Maira,

Who's San Isidro?

I always try for weather that's a bit too warm rather than a bit too cool.

A year ago first half of May in Rome and Sorrento we were very lucky the weather was perfect. 5 degrees cooler and it would have been too much.

I'm a former Montréaler who has been living in South Flroida for 10 years (not retired).

Originally thinking of late May, now First half of June.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 09:30 AM
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Hi Meyer,
San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid, the saint of the peasants or the workers, and the feast day, May 15, is celebrated most heavily in the working quarters of the city, like Lavapies and La Latina, and they are special concerts held on the Plaza Mayor and in Las Vistillas and dances of the "chotis", the traditional Madrid dance. Old Madrid, the Madrid of the Hapsburgs, is a very lively quarter of the city then!
The days before and afterwards are also part of the celebration, and there's a month long bullfight feria called San Isidro as well that runs into the first of June.

read about it here:
spainforvisitors.com/archive/features/aa042901a.htm
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:03 PM
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Maira and Maribel,

You guys must know everything there is to know about Spain!!! Or maybe everything worth knowing.

On another topic. Since I'm thinking of adding Barcelona, I've started to do some reading and I'm becoming dangerous.

I'm getting the feeling that other than day trips around Madrid, there's much more wandering to do in Barcelona.

Am I correct? Should I try to allocate more time to Barcelona than Madrid?

We aren't really museum goers other than the obligatory one (in Paris we've been to the Louvre and d'Orsay and even skipped both on our last trip to Paris).

We like to just wander around the sights and the streets. In Rome we walked most of the city center each day we were there and had a great time.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:36 PM
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Myer,
I think there is more "wandering" to do in Barcelona at least in the sense that you need to travel more ground to see the sights, as they're quite spread out all over the city.
I always recommend that first time visitors let the handy, easy to use, foolproof Bus Turistic do their initial sightseeing for them. It's the "hop on/hop off" bus that efficiently takes you around to everything there is noteworthy to see in Bcn. It's divided into a northern and southern route, blue and red, that you can do either in 1 full day or in two. I'd do the Bus Turistic self tour first to get my bearings then return to those places or areas that really captivate. There's plenty of great strolling, aimless wandering, to do in the Modernist architecture-packed Eixample district and in the atmospheric Barri Gotic and the newly hip Soho type El Borne quarter.

Another school of thought says that you might be better to limit your first visit to Madrid (+ day trips) and the large region of Andalucia only, where there's certainly an abundance of treasures to see and plenty of places to wander, then do Barcelona and the rest of Catalunya (Costa Brava & Pyrenees), really a very different land, complete with its own language, traditions, culture, cuisine, on a second Spain visit.
But it sounds like you want to cover a lot of ground on this trip, true?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 02:12 PM
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I think I know how Myer feels. I started out with Madrid- Seville-Granada and back to Madrid, but I started to think about (just in the last hour) Barcelona - Granada - Seville by plane. Believe it or not, the costs are about equal. I have been to Madrid before and now I am going back with my family that is not into museums either. The only "bad"thing about the Barcelona trip is that (a) we miss Toledo and (b) with Madrid, we start on a familiar path (which for us is good as our family usually takes a day or two to recover from jet lag). As usual, Maribel probably has the right idea about leaving Barcelona for another trip entirely.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:55 PM
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Maribel, jparis, et al,

I started thinking about how I could fit Barcelona in with a future trip and it wasn't working.

While we've been to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Switzerland and Italy several times each, Italy is special for us. Some photos at www.travelwalks.com (non-commercial).

I think the next trip might be the towns of Tuscany and Umbria. I've never driven a car in Europe. Always by train.

That would put Barcelona somewhere in the future.

We can get a lot done in a couple of weeks without rushing.

I'm still tinkering with clock-wise or counter-clock-wise but it could look something like:

Arrive in Madrid. Spend 4 days including a day trip to Toledo. Other than wandering the streets and sights (Plaza Mayor, Retiro, etc) visit the Palace, Prado and Rastro market.

Train to Seville (either last evening in Madrid or the next morning). Five days in Seville including day trips to Cordoba and Carmona unless we feel we must stay in Seville an extra day and skip Carmona.

Train to Granada either last evening in Seville or the next morning. First day wandering and second for the Alhambra. I'm almost tempted to go to Granada the last evening in Seville and go to the Alhambra the next day, leaving for Barcelona that evening (either fly or sleeper train).

That would really rush Granada and I'm not sure we should do that. Depending upon how we do it, we'll either have 3 or 4 days in Barcelona.

I'm pretty good with maps, streets and directions. Other than scale, I pretty much know where everything is before I've ever been somewhere. That way there isn't much time spent not knowing which way to go. We can then spend our time walking around.

Then again, we could go in the other direction.

How does all this sound if you're able to understand what I wrote?

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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 04:03 AM
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Myer: I have only been to Madrid so I can only comment on time to spend there, but I will say I understand your desire to see as much as possible. I personally think you've left enough time to be settled in each area, and that Barcelona is definitely do-able. When planning a trip, it's always with some trepidation that you'll miss something or not enjoy something and stay too long. I think that if you really want to do Barcelona in this trip, you absolutely can, just realize that there might be things you'll have wanted to stay at longer (i.e. Granada) but it was a small sacrifice in order to see Barcelona, which you seem to really want to do.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 05:06 AM
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Myer - I just wanted to top your thread and say thank you for asking these questions!

I am planning a trip to Spain with my sister and brother-in-law for February, and we are having similar discussions about what to cover.

They can only spend 8 days, whereas I plan to stay for anywhere between 11 and 14 days. For their part, we will either do a Madrid/Barcelona split with day trips, or a Madrid/Seville/Granada split with others in between.

Whichever route we take together, once they leave, I will do the other part myself. So all of these things you are trying to work out are a big help to me!

I'm sure once we hash out a plan (should be in the next few weeks), I'll be posting to get feedback on my itinerary!
Happy travels,
Karen
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 05:17 AM
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Karen,

As you can see by the heading Maira and Maribel have been with me through several cancellations. I almost feel like I want to get it done for them.

First Spain trip was scheduled for 9/26/01 and I couldn't get my wife to go after 9/11. The second attempt in May of this year was cancelled due to other issues.

The first trip had Marbella area and no Barcelona. The second had no Marbella area and no Barcelona.

Now I'm tinkering with including Barcelona.

I guess that's part of the planning.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 06:03 AM
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Myer--- I am so looking forward to your trip report on Spain!!!

I think your itinerary is very good. You do know by our past conversations that I prefer to drive, which really opens up quite a bit of possibilities in Spain, a country with plenty undiscovered, off the beaten path gems.

Glad Maribel provided you with the San Isidro's info. Something to consider, right? Maribel suggested a book on Northern Spain, which I just got on the mail (on top of the pile of Books to Read this Winter). I will suggest to you a book I read years ago called Travelers' Tales: Spain. Great collection of interesting stories as told by noted travelers to Spain-- great read.

You probably know this, but for some reason, during February airlines have great rates for April-May travel to Spain. Something to consider. Have fun planning!!
 
Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 06:46 AM
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Maira, Maribel et al,

What do you think of squeezing (rushing) Granada (to 1 day instead of 2) to include only the Alhambra and add an extra day to Barcelona to make it 4 instead of 3?

Thanks for all the help.

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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 09:36 AM
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Hope its OK to tag on my question to this thread! My question is Barcelona - how many days do you suggest? I am planning a trip for late May - we have two weeks and plan to fly into Barcelona then head on to France (Colliure, Arles, Paris) and I'm debating how many nites to start out with in Barcelona. Also we think that we want to do Figueras as a day trip from Barcelona - is that a pretty easy do? We are train travelers, not drivers. Thanks! SueC1
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 11:48 AM
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Hi Myer,
The only way I personally would do Granada with just one overnight would be to train to Granada on your 5th Seville afternoon, arriving for a stroll around the city, taxi up to the Mirador de San Nicolás in the Albaicín for those stunning Alhambra sunset views, then early dinner, then get the earliest (8:30 a.m.) reservation for the Alhambra (reserve at www.alhambratickets.com), spend the entire morning and early afternoon at the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens, then late afternoon 6:55 p.m. plane to Barcelona. I wouldn't do that overnight train.

Now that you've added more days, I think you have a very good and doable itinerary! Maira, you and I have talked about this trip so often, I feel like we're family!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 11:54 AM
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suec1,
Forgot to answer your question! I enjoy 4 complete days in Barcelona myself, 3 for the city and 1 for a day trip.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 01:57 PM
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Maribel,

Then again, if 3 full days in Barcelona is enough, we could leave Seville in the morning after 5 days in Seville, spend late afternoon and evening in Granada, then the Alhambra the next morning and to mid-afternoon, and take the 6:55 plane to Barcelona.
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