Spain in July

Old Jan 14th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Spain in July

My husband and I are planning a trip to Spain in July, we will either go for 10 days or go for 4 and join a tour group in Israel.
We would love to see the Jewish highlights of Spain. What do you think is worth seeing--
Toledo, Cordoba, Seville ,Madrid and of course Barcelona( and anything that might be interesting and does not have to be Jewish)
If we took a 10 day tour-- what would be the easiest way to get to these places?
If we had 4 days in Spain I know Barcelona and Gerona would probably be all we could do. Please let me know what you think. I really need some feedback. i hope this is
clear. natjgc
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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Its me again. Is it easy to get around in Spain by train?
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 08:17 PM
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Hey Nat, Friday nite must be a quiet nite for Fodors. Hopefully, this will move up your post and others will see it. If you go to Spain for your entire vacation you can fly into Madrid, spend the day and then take a bus or train to Toledo for the day. On day 3 take the AVE (fast train) to Sevilla stopping for the morning and afternoon in Cordoba. See the mezquita and synagogue, have lunch and be in Sevilla by late afternoon. It will be very hot there. Spend day 4 there and then take a train to Granada or rent a car and drive to Gibraltor or Ronda or Granada. The driving is so easy. Don't believe anyone who says it's not! From there, I can't help you in getting to Barcelona, because, as you know, I have never been. But that will give you 6, 7, 8, & 9 day there. I think I remember reading there is a train from Granada to Barcelona or maybe you can fly. All I know, is I love visiting Spain. Its more exotic then many of the western european countries in my humble opinion. Or if you spend half the time in Israel, you can pick up day tours in Barcelona that probably hit Gerona also.
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 05:59 AM
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Thanks Mary,
What you say makes alot of sense.
What if we started in Barcelona,then what would anyone suggest? A train to the next point? How hot is it? Dry or humid heat?
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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hotter than the dickens most places mentioned. by the coast you can hope for sea/mountain breeze, and it will cool a bit at night.

but andalucia will be roasting if this summer remains with a traditional climatic cycle.
you could train from barcelona to valencia (Euromed high speed.. go first class.. food and drink and VIP lounge for little more).

stay awhile in valencia, and take drop off car to andalucia stopping at MANY interestng villages/paradors, and towns on way to the major sites..(granada.. sevilla>/cordoba). or..

rent car barcelona, stop in peñiscola (beautiful beach/ castle where EL CID with charleton heston was filmed..remember it???) on way to valencia.
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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We were in Spain last July, first in Barcelona where the weather was absolutely perfect, not too hot, not too humid. After Barcelona we took the overnight train to Madrid, arrived around 7 in the morning, and enjoyed the most friendly and informative cab driver we've ever had. It got us off to a good start in Madrid which was pretty hot but not stiflingly so. Everyone told us we were crazy to go to Spain in July but it was fabulous.
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Kathie,

Did you go Seville??
I know parts of Spain are terribly hot but we have been to many places in Europe and America where it has been hotter than hell. We know- but my husband can only take off in the summer
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Hi Nat, I'm moving you to the top again, but I also have a suggestion. Since you really want to go to Barcelona and Girona, why not spend half your time there and then the rest of your time in Madrid, doing day trips or going to Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial and anywhere else that is close by and interesting. It won't be as hot as Andulucia or the costa del sol which is southern Spain. You won't go to Sevilla, Cordoba or Gibraltor, but those places, plus the white villages can be another whole visit. Believe me, the towns and villages around Madrid are outstanding. We drove from Toledo to Segovia and it was a beautiful, beautiful trip and even without spanish language skills, it is almost impossible to get lost. Toledo has got to be the gold standard for jewish history in Spain and the other 2 places are just plain lovely and fascinating!! Can you tell I like it there? Hope you get lots more input from people here. C'mon guys, help Natalie!
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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Unles you do the overnight train, the fastest rail connections Barcelona-Madrid still take about 6.5 hours unless the newest high speed link has been completely finsihed.

Spanair and Iberia compete heavily on the Barcelona-Madrid route and you can usually get economical one-way fares...air travel takes about 1 hr 15 minutes between those two.

AVE Madrid-Seville takes about 2.5 hours with a stop in Cordoba as mentioned above.

Hotter in Seville than elsewhere; drier in Madrid than in more humid Barcelona.
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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As a follow on...last time we were in Madrid in July we were dining late, as usual, and the temperature at midnight in downtown Madrid was 98 degrees but it was very dry.
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Old Jan 15th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Spain is a wonderful country, but I have found that ten (10) days is not a lot of time for an ambitious itinerary that aims to covered both, North and Southern parts of Spain (in the summer no less). If aiming for the Jewish Spain, I would recommend definitely Toledo and Seville (Barrio de Santa Cruz). There are other less known cities such as Caceres that has an Old Jewish town, very well preserved.

I am glad you are prepared for the hot, hot weather, prepare also for the traffic in some parts of Andalucia (Malaga, Marbella, Sanlucar). A car is a good idea for those mountain towns (Ronda). A draft itinerary would look like this, fly into Barcelona (couple of days), fly from Barcelona on to Madrid (three days), daytrip train to Toledo from Madrid (a weekday preferably, take a guided morning tour, you'll avoid the lines and avoid losing time figuring out the labyrinth that are the streets of Toledo). Take the high speed (AVE) to Seville, couple of days day trip to Cordova from there. Back to Madrid. If renting a car while in Seville, do it at the end of the Seville portion. Recommend renting from Estacion Santa Justa. Have a great time in Spain!!
 
Old Jan 15th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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We've been to Spain twice, last time was in May 2004 and I specifically sought out the Jewish highlights.

In my opinion, you may find it more fulfilling to skip Madrid this time around and do 4 days in Barcelona (3 days in town, one in Girona), and spend the rest of the time down south, seeing Seville, Cordoba, Granada, perhaps Ronda.
Visiting Andalucia is an obvious choice, for the mesquita, synagogues, and interesting cultural and historical influences on the country - I personally consider it the heart of Spain.

Toledo and Madrid are wonderful as well but I am concerned that you don't have enough time, unless you could stretch your vacation to 12 days and take an overnight train up from Seville. (You could, for instance, fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid!)

I would never miss Barcelona and Girona - the latter in particular is a fascinating place to explore Jewish roots, not to mention quite the day trip. Prepare to climb and descend labyrinthine pathways and narrow stairs - we were lost for an hour and a half before we found the Jewish museum!

In Barcelona you can get maps of the old Jewish neighbourhood and can do easy walking tours, both accompanied and on your own. Also, I would recommend the city's hop on-hop off bus - it has two routes and covers EVERYTHING - Gaudi, Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Olympic Park, Barceloneta beaches, etc. At 20 euros for 2 days, it is a bargain.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Thanks to all of you for giving us some
very interesting ideas. We are going to consider these options and decide on just Spain or Spain and Israel.
natjgc
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