Theoretical Spain Trip

Sep 5th, 2015, 08:43 PM
  #1  
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Theoretical Spain Trip

We have not visited Spain since 2008 and are thinking of going Fall 2016. In 2008 my wife walked the 500 mile Camino. When you combine all the time we have spent in Spain it is more than a year in total for each of us.

We will visit family near Santiago de Compostela and then we are undecided, except to say that we will we will travel across the north and wind up in Donostia. We have old friends in Burgos, whom we will probably see. And then spend a few days in Madrid and a possible visit to Toledo which we have not visited in 40 years. (My wife does not like Madrid, but we have not seen the expansion of the Prado.)

We saw the original Altamira, what is the quality of Altamira II?
Has anyone been to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe on the Basque Coast? What was your impressions?
Are most of the highways four lanes between Santiago and Burgos?

Thanks you in advance for your responses.

Kimhe-Right now we are not going to see Flamenco, but if that changes we know where to find the expert.
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Sep 5th, 2015, 10:04 PM
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Sounds like an excellent plan.



He-he, keep your eyes open for Rocio Molina (Malaga 1984), she's "flamenco and beyond" and likely to stage a new work next fall: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/201...-bosque-ardora

Touring all of the world all the time, but likely to premiere in Spain: http://www.rociomolina.net/agenda/
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Sep 5th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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Re: Altamira II:

I thought it worth seeing. But then, I am enamored of prehistoric art, so I'm not necessarily the best source of information.

The only other replica cave I had seen was in Lascaux, and this one was different, although I'm not sure I can articulate the differences very well. At Lascaux, I felt like I was in a cave, even though I knew I wasn't. I didn't have that sense at Altamira -- I was well aware that I was in a modern, man-made space. At Lascaux, there was a guide who provided an oral commentary; not so when I visited Altamira (but there was printed info). I'm not saying there was anything wrong with Altamira's approach -- it was just unexpected. (LOL, as though having seen one cave recreation, I would have known what to expect. ;-) )

I will admit that my first thought, when entering the Altamira reproduction, was not very favorable. There was something in that first glance that made it seem too obviously fake -- maybe it was just that the space was so obviously "wrong"? Or maybe it was some of the same actual features that made many people dismiss the actual paintings as fake for some time? I don't know. All I can say is that upon more considered examination, I was very favorably impressed with the quality of the reproductions. And once I got beyond that initial impression and began to take in what I was seeing, I was enthralled. If I thought I could have laid down and simply kept looking, I would have been there until closing! As it was, I left only when every part of my body hurt from looking up at the ceiling.
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Sep 5th, 2015, 10:52 PM
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***Are most of the highways four lanes between Santiago and Burgos? ***

Most yes. but not all.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 05:40 AM
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Thank you all.

As noted we were lucky enough to have seen the original Altamira. And I once sent a letter to them asking if we could see it again. It was a pure pipe dream as I have no academic standing in the area. We have also seen Lascaux II and were quite impressed with the detail and craft. It is an interest of mine and if you want to spring for the bucks, there is a scholarly and well illustrated book called The Nature of Paleolithic Art by R. Dale Guthrie.

The original visit to Altamira sparked my interest in cave drawings because those who existed 17,000 years ago wanted to communicate with others and now they were speaking to us. There is something fundamentally basic and graceful about it. I was always stunned by their techniques, the beauty and their sense of proportion.


Kimhe-A SIL who been studying flamenco for decades, will be visiting Spain again next Semana Santa. When I find out her itinerary, I will go to the source to see what you recommend. Thanks as always.

Thanks Ribe. Just trying to figure out approximate driving times.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 06:42 AM
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my place to Burgos no more than 4 hours, add another for SdC. One stop for a coffee.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 10:15 AM
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kja
 
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I'm sure you realize there are other caves with prehistoric art in the area that are open and are original -- Tito Bustillo, Les Mondedas, El Castillo, and (for engravings), Hornos de la Peña to mention a few.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 11:35 AM
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The last time when where in the area we drove through Monforte de Lemos, stopping for the night at the Parador, but the quickest route to Santiago from Burgos is to take the A-231 to León and the A-6 to to just south of Lugo, picking up the A-54/N-547 to Santiago. The drive will take you around 5-1/2 hours.

Don't forget to stop in Ponferrada to see the restored 13th century Knights of the Templer castle and in Villafranca del Bierzo for pintxos and and a little of the local El Berizo wine. And since you'll be in the area, don't miss the 10th century Monastery of Carracedo built to take care of the medieval pilgrims headed to Santiago de Compostela. There is a nice wine bar in Villafranca, El Casino (www.casinorestaurante.com).

And if you want to have lunch, there is El Lagar de Montejos (San Andrés de Montejos), a 200-year old stone lagar, just outside Ponferrada, a favorite of winemakers. Casa Ramón (Molinaseca), would also be a goodl stop.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Thank you Kja, Robert, and Ribe, appreciate the info, it is all very helpful as we sort though the possibilities.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 12:39 PM
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Anyone who has spent time with a Spanish or Italian family knows you do whatever they tell you to do. But maybe Ribe, I can convince my cousins to visit your Casa Rural and the area. It seems like it is just an hour away from where they live.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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It's many years ago, IMD, since we were in that part of Spain [and I had to look on a map to see exactly where Burgos is near to!] but the places in the area that we liked and made an impression on us were Salamanca for its wonderful plaza major, and generally the lovely buildings and atmosphere, Valladolid for the Museum of polychromatic art, [yes, really!] and the parador in Leon, where I slept for the first time ever on pure linen sheets.

I remember a lot of other things, but those are the relevant ones I think!
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Sep 6th, 2015, 02:22 PM
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Thanks Ann. Now that we are older, we get a discount at the paradores. The plaza in Salamanca is one of the most beautiful in all of Spain and the university is the oldest in Spain dating from the 1200's. The museum in Valladolid sounds interesting.

Our friend in Burgos is an artist and has over 2,000 unsold paintings in his house.(He keeps a record.) It is cautionary tell for artists to either lower your prices or change your style.
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Sep 6th, 2015, 02:42 PM
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"and a possible visit to Toledo which we have not visited in 40 years."

The four of us liked Toledo the best of all the places we visited (and if you've seen of my trip report...I know how much you love them...we've liked most everywhere in Spain).

No huge big must-see sites (although we want to return to see the Cathedral altar that was under wraps for Corpus Christ), but Toledo had the best vibe and interesting places to visit. Maybe it was the GinTonics. Our apartment was fantastic....inexpensive, great view, centrally located and a wonderful owner.

We were surprised at how much we enjoyed Madrid. All the little plazas bustling with people (although the Puerta del Sol is a pit in our opinion) and places to eat were wonderful, and the Prado is now my favorite art museum in the world. A stroll though Parque del Retiro should not be missed, nor should you not go to the Royal Palace.

Thanks for all the NYC help, too. Much appreciated.

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Sep 6th, 2015, 04:01 PM
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Thanks Tom. Glad I can help about NY.

We were enamored with Toledo years ago and it so easy for a day trip from Madrid. When we visited Toledo, I did not know if it was imagination or reality, that at certain times the sky looked like the Mannerism of El Greco. Since I usually do not hallucinate, I will make one minor concession.

The view was quite spectacular from the parador.
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Sep 7th, 2015, 08:58 AM
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***Anyone who has spent time with a Spanish or Italian family knows you do whatever they tell you to do. But maybe Ribe, I can convince my cousins to visit your Casa Rural and the area. It seems like it is just an hour away from where they live.***
Thanks for that suggestion to your family. Sometimes we are only an hour away from someone's home but a world away from their lives when they take a break here.
Monforte de Lemos also has two El Grego paintings (Escolapios)

I would also suggest Zamora, Toro, Salamanca ,Aranda de Duero, Medina del Campo (or areas around them).
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Sep 7th, 2015, 11:26 AM
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Thank you.
Ribe
The family has never taken us to your corner of the world.

We will probably not go further south than Soria and we will not spend more than three or four days in Madrid.

There is a new town we added to the possibilities Otile.

And now my wife definitely wants to visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

Too many possibilities, we must be brutal in our selections.
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Sep 7th, 2015, 12:14 PM
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There are 241 steps down (and back up) to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Our friend, Kepa Junkera, once did a video including the island in part of the program - www.youtube.com/watch?v=seoloq5tF7I

You have to go down to the island, as the view from the mirador was getting a bit overgrown the last time we where there.
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Sep 7th, 2015, 12:46 PM
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Robert, I saw thought. It is a bit daunting.
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Sep 7th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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Daunting, but worth the view!
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Sep 7th, 2015, 02:31 PM
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We will probably do it slowly and in increments.
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