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Starting to plan for 3.5 weeks in northern Spain, May 2015

Starting to plan for 3.5 weeks in northern Spain, May 2015

Nov 18th, 2014, 06:52 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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<< I do understand that one-nighters don’t suit most people, but I have a LOT of experience with them and don’t mind them NEARLY so much as I loathe backtracking -- and I do, seriously, loathe backtracking. Years of solo international travel have taught me that I, personally, will rarely (if ever) spend more time moving on than staying put if the travel time to my next destination is more than an hour and is in the general direction of my subsequent journey. Moving on is, quite literally, a time-saver for me. >>

I completely agree with you. I hate backtracking when I can be moving forward.

It doesn't take me long to pack up and check out of a hotel, I don't understand the general statement always made here that it will take you at least half a day to pack, check out and move to your next place. Takes me 10 minutes to pack at most and about 2-3 minutes to check out. Throw my stuff in the car and I'm off while most are still figuring out how to take the train or bus to their "day trip".
joannyc is offline  
Nov 18th, 2014, 08:07 PM
  #22  
kja
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@ joannyc – I’m glad you understand my approach to one-night stays! That said, I do understand the general advice to “allow a ½ day” and have often given it to new travelers who may unknowingly propose skimming itineraries, plan to travel between cities that are not very close to one another and that cross linguistic and cultural borders, and especially if there are 4 or more in the group (when at least one person is likely to prevent full efficiency of movement). But for those of us who are experienced travelers, pack lightly, use only wrinkle-proof clothes, unpack ONLY as necessary, know our transit options, and pre-book … you are so right – it takes almost no time!
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Nov 22nd, 2014, 06:57 PM
  #23  
 
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My memories of Spain go back to 1972, but although I have little memory of Madrid except for the American Express office where I met the guys on the VW bus I would travel through the country to Morocco with, I do remember that El Prado museum was truly stunning.

And as a non one-night stayer, I found what you and joannyc wrote very interesting and it may help in planning our trip to Nepal and Bhutan next year.
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Nov 22nd, 2014, 07:19 PM
  #24  
kja
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@ cmstraf - thanks! I spend 4 days in Madrid back in 2004, and one of those days was devoted entirely to El Prado -- from the time it opened until the time it closed, and I chose a day when it was open late. Such a treat! I hope to revisit it some day, but doubt that I will fit it into this particular trip.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 01:03 AM
  #25  
kja
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@ ribeirasacra - You say, on another thread, "Those who say one nighters work, I am sorry to say, do not know what they are missing." So please help educate me: What am I missing when I choose to spend a single night somewhere rather than backtracking to a base?
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Nov 29th, 2014, 10:18 AM
  #26  
 
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Well it is like reading the headlines. You may think understand the story, but never know the details.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 10:40 AM
  #27  
 
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Off topic: kja, I'm in the middle of my trip report and just getting to the Croatia part (later today). You provided so much help in the planning process that I'd love for you to take a look...includes a very successful one-nighter in Split.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...uca-madrid.cfm
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Nov 29th, 2014, 12:16 PM
  #28  
kja
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@ ribeirasacra -- Hmmm... I don't see how spending a night somewhere that is frequently seen only as a day trip makes it more like reading headlines. I think it actually gives me a more in-depth experience of that place.

@ crosscheck -- thanks for your kind words! I'll be sure to look at your TR when I have a chance.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 04:39 PM
  #29  
 
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I have a feeling kja researches the places she visits so well before arriving that she can "get the story" in a short stay. She probably knows more about certain sights than some locals do!

I'm not generally an overnight stayer (I am way too lazy for that) but there are many different ways of traveling and seeing the world. My way would probably bore the bejeezus out of some people. Kja's way would not work for miss Lazypants who sometimes can't get out of the apartment very early (me.) But we can all share experiences regardless of the method and that is what I love about travel.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 08:23 PM
  #30  
kja
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LOL, rialtogrl, I do love to research my trips, even if I don’t achieve QUITE the level of mastery you suggest. ;-) It has payed off in lots of ways, though, including a surprising number of occasions when a knowledgeable local has noted my interest in something that most tourists walk past and chosen to make sure I see some of the other things in which s/he takes pride. How kind!

As you say, there are LOTS of ways of traveling – perhaps as many different ways as there are travelers. And thank goodness for that – I think the world would be infinitely less interesting if everyone approached things the same way!
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Nov 29th, 2014, 08:50 PM
  #31  
 
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We do one-nighters fairly often, as when exploring a new area and accommodations (business), but, as ribeirasacra says, it's difficult to enjoy If the destination would make for a good day trip instead. That way you don't have to waste time checking in and getting oriented.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 09:07 PM
  #32  
kja
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But if checking in and getting oriented (etc.) take less time than getting back to one's base....
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 05:11 PM
  #33  
 
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If you go to Oviedo (oh, you should!) don't miss the Naranco sites. Up about 3 km behind the train station are two pre-Romanesque absolutely astonishing places. One a palace, Santa Maria de Naranco, and one a church, San Miguel de Lillo. My opinion is that Asturias has the best cheese in Spain, so I always have at least one or two artisanal cheese plates while I'm there. My absolute favorite is La Peral, a creamy and not so biting sharp blue cheese.

Some of the coastal towns combine lovely natural settings with interesting historical sites -- Cudillero, Luarca, Castro Urdiales, to name a few.

Once you decide how far west you are going to go, we can give lots of ideas about Galicia if that's going to be on your plate. Aside from Santiago, I think Lugo, Bayona, maybe even some little towns like Pontedeume and Betanzos, are all worth it.

I agree with those who recommend Leon and Salamanca, but that may be taking you too far south. There is just way too much to see in northern Spain.

And a p.s. to the one-nighter debate, even though I hate to disagree with my pal ribeirasacra, I have to go with kja on this one. A well organized one nighter may be just the thing. Especially if you travel with a carry on and have nothing to lug around and pack up in the morning. I usually take a four day trip somewhere on the Iberian peninsula in connection with a work trip every year, and there is inevitably at least one-nighter in there somewhere. But it has to be well planned or it will turn into the nightmare ribeirasacra describes.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 05:49 PM
  #34  
kja
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Thanks so much, lreynold1! Oviedo is quickly moving onto my must-see list (UNESCO World Heritage sites are always a high priority for me), and the mention of that cheese might just push it over the edge. ;-) Leon, too, but alas, not Salamanca, where I spent 2 absolutely wonderful days some time ago. Galicia is definitely not off the table -- in fact, Santiago de Compostela is also quickly moving into the for-certain category. I feel like a kid in a candy store, and I've barely begun my studies! Ultimately, you are all going to end up having to help me NARROW my wish list -- as you say, "There is just way too much to see in northern Spain." But I'm not to the pare-down point yet!
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 05:54 PM
  #35  
 
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I love Oviedo... I think it is one of my favorite places anywhere, much less in Spain. The locals are VERY proud of their city and many of them will stop if you are reading a map or a guidebook. The first time I was there, with my mother, we were looking at a map and a large, burly policeman came up to us. Complete with gun-in-holster, he asked if we knew where we were (we did) and then said "follow me." Umm... OK what did we do? Then he proceeds to take us on a (very fast) tour of the center - city hall, the tourist offices, and the indoor market. In the market he took us to a cheese counter and said, very proudly, "In Asturias, we have FORTY TWO different cheeses." He used his fingers (10, 10, 10 and 2) to add emphasis... I will never forget that 15 minutes for as long as I live. I have been back to Oviedo several times but never saw that policeman again, but I guess on a normal day he has more pressing matters to attend to.

Anyway, GO TO OVIEDO, it is a wonderful town.
rialtogrl is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2014, 05:55 PM
  #36  
 
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I messed up my numbers up there (10, 10, 10, *10* and 2) but hopefully you got the point.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 06:01 PM
  #37  
 
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PS kja I will be in Catalonia the last two weeks of May, if it happens that you are in the same vicinity, we could meet for a glass of wine and talk travel. But you may be headed west by the time I get there.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 06:14 PM
  #38  
kja
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What a wonderful memory, realtogrl! Moments like that are SO special - thanks for sharing it! (And yes, I got the point -- I chalked the minor error up to justifiable enthusiasm.)

I'll keep the possibility of a shared moment in mind and, if it looks like our paths will actually cross, I'll let you know. Thanks for suggesting it!
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 06:39 PM
  #39  
 
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Works for me!
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 09:47 PM
  #40  
 
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oh yes, Oviedo is a great city. Hope you get also to the Picos de Europa area , not too far from there. And yes, Santiago de Compostela its a very special place , hope you get there as well (although I was saddened this summer to arrive from my Camino Portugues to find the Cathedral facade covered in scaffolding!
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