Subject: Back from Spain
Ziners, Jean and I have just got back from a wonderful trip to a part of Spain that was new to us. Because of commitments at home, our stay there was a little shorter than we would have wished - 3 or 4 days more would have been ideal for what we had in mind. These notes are just the "bare bones" of our trip. They may be of use to someone who is planning a similar trip and we hope to post more detailed notes later.

Our itinerary took us from a stay of a few days in Barcelona to a drive to the Rioja (Alava) region - an important wine producing area. Covadonga (who, apart from being a mine of information on Spain and being ever so ready to help) had suggested that we base ourselves on Laguardia (a charming walled town) which we did. We stayed at a winery which has a hotel attached to it. The next leg took us to Bilbao where we had a most delightful get-together with Cova. Bilbao is so much more than the Guggenheim and we would have liked more time there. From Bilbao it was on to Hondarribia (a town near the French border) which was to serve us as a base for exploring some of the Basque coast. At Cova's suggestion, we stayed at a charming hotel which proved that the local parador is not the only place to be comfortably housed in an historic ambiance. Because it was rainy weather (the only day of rain we had during our whole trip!) we thought we would have a look at San Sebastian where the International Film Festival was in full swing. - Then back to Hondarribia and, after one of those very good - and late- dinners, up early the next morning and -in one fell swoop- a drive all the way to the Costa Brava. We made a short overnight stop in Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dali and visited the museum dedicated to his work. Our final stop was at the Parador at Aiguablava - a wonderful place to relax. We had a few days there and were able to explore some of the villages and small towns in the area. As we said before, the weather was terrific - around 28 to 30 and sunny. Drove back to Barcelona in the morning of our last day and returned the car. Then back to Vancouver where, like at the Costa Brava, it was sunny, though a few degrees cooler.

We had a wonderful time in the part of Spain we visited and much of the success of our trip was due to the great advice and help we got from Covadonga. We told her that when we saw her in Bilbao but this is a public thanks from both of us to her. - We do hope to write more extensively and we will also try to put some hotel information on the data base.

Jean and Howard in Vancouver, Canada