Subject: Re: Spain
Hi Sandy, I appreciate that there is a long time ahead before you leave for Spain,....Madrid and Barcelona are a must of course, if you haven't been there. Both cities have very interesting places for visiting, my favorite near Madrid is Salamanca, this is in my opinion one of the nicest places in all Spain, Avila and Segovia could easily be included in a small tour from Madrid that would cover these three cities. I would recommend the Parador of Avila, but the other two are not in the center of town, so in Salamanca, the Hotel Rector (a pleasant quaint small hotel) might be a good choice.

Some years ago we rented a small car in Madrid for this purpose and it turned out a perfect choice. We drove first to Salamanca,slep there, after lunch drove to Avila, sleep in Avila in the Parador and in the morning of the third day left for Madrid, visiting on the way Segovia.

Should you wish to avoid the hustle of driving in and out from Madrid, you can take a train to one of them and then pick up the car. I hope that you decide to do something like this because you will love it. (I made a mistake in my previous mail, the 8 EUR meal was in Avila not in Toledo),

Toledo located in a different direction can be reached by bus or train. Many tourist there but very nice anyway.

Same from Barcelona, ....the Monastery de Montserrat is a must, and the city of Girona is lovely this city can easily be reached by train or bus from Barcelona.

Once a year Girona which has a medieval quarter is totally decorated with flowers and plants, each little court, each little portal, arch etc is full of flowers for several days...fantastic...

Near Girona there is a spa town called Caldas de Malavella, it is a quiet place, but two hotels offer great deals, full board plus pools with warm surging water, plus all kind of massages etc for very little money. The food in both places is great and the rate for full board is very very low.

And of course the beaches of the Costa Brava are nearby too.

Good luck in your planning. Graziella