Subject: Re: Two weeks in Spain in June

You wrote:
>Are we biting off too much?

In a word, Yes. In my opinion at any rate. We have been fortunate enough to go to Spain three times in the last three years (each visit for 2 weeks). It is a large country with tremendous sites and I believe you will enjoy your visit more if you limit yourselves to fewer places.

On our first trip to Spain we did the North. This was in June when the heat in the south can be oppressive. So we went directly from the Madrid airport to Segovia, then on to Salamanca, Borges, Bilbao, the northern coast, and then returned to Madrid for 3 or 4 days. The three famous museums in Madrid each are worth at least a day and even then we were on museum overload.

On our next trip in November, we did the South. We drove straight from the Madrid airport to Toledo, then on to Granada, the south coast, the white towns and to Seville where we left our rental car. After Seville we went to Cordoba by fast train and a few days later took the fast train to Madrid for a few days before flying home.

This last November we visited Barcelona and the Catalan countryside, including the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava.

On each of our trips we probably should have traveled less. We would have been able to get into the rhythm of the country better. I personally think that a trip is much better if you can get into the country's rhythms. This means planning to have a 2 or 3 hour lunch at 2:00 p.m. and having dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. If you are driving from city to city, or try to stay on an American meal schedule, you miss a lot of being able to at least see how the Spaniards truly live.

As to your question about flying from the various cities, that depends upon your budget and where you want to spend your time. You could fly directly to Barcelona. Then fly to Seville and rent a car to see the white towns. The return to Madrid by the fast train. That would enable you to see quite a bit without having to change hotels too many times. However, if you added Granada, I would think that you might have to eliminate something else.

But would Madrid be your departure point to return? Most bargain fares from the U.S. require that you arrive and depart from the same city in Europe.

Well - that's all in my opinion at any rate.

Mark Schwartzman