2003 Spain/France


Monday, June 2 Depart USA for Madrid on Continental Airlines. Depart San Antonio at 12:40 on #578, arrive Houston at 1:33. Depart Houston at 2:40 on #62, arrive Newark for change of equipment.

Tuesday, June 3 Arrive Madrid on Continental #62 at 9:25 a.m. Coach transfer to Hotel Moderno, 0034915310900. When your room is ready, shower, nap, get some lunch. Either meet in the lobby before 3:45 to walk to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza or be at the museum at 4:00. (Alternative: take a taxi for about €4.00.) Use this museum to give you a rich overview of Western Art beginning with the 13th C. Italian all the way through to knock-your-socks-off modern. You start on the second floor and then follow the developments in art history as you move on down. The visit will take anywhere from one to three hours. [Note on museum entrances: If you know that you are going to go to all three of the museums, I will buy all of you who are under 65 a reduced admission ticket to the Thyssen, Prado and Reina Sofia museums. If you know you are going to give the Reina Sofia a miss (modern art), then I will buy you individual tickets for the Thyssen and Prado. If you are 65 or older, you get into the last two museums free, so I will only buy you into the Thyssen. Bring your passports.] Meet back in the hotel lobby at 8:00 to walk to the nearby Pazo de Gondomar Restaurante for dinner.

Wednesday, June 4 Today we do the Prado. Meet in the lobby at 9:00 to walk to the museum. Or take a cab. Be sure and bring along the ticket I gave you yesterday, or your passport to prove your age. Note: I lead people to museums, not through museums. Do some homework before to prepare for the experience. Meet in hotel lobby at 8:00 to walk to Casa Gallega for dinner. 

Thursday, June 5 Today you can choose between a Madrid Vision “Hop on, hop off” bus ticket or a visit to the Royal Palace. Meet in hotel lobby at 7:30 to walk to Rincòn de Roque for Tapas. If you want a night on the town, this is a good time for it since we will be through with dinner fairly early.

Friday, June 6 9:00 a.m. coach transfer to Bilbao. With lunch and comfort stops along the way, we should arrive around 4:00 p.m. Upon arrival, check into Hotel Conde Duque, 0034 94 4456000. Dinner at the hotel restaurant at 7:30.

Saturday, June 7 Visit Guggenheim Museum at 10:00 a.m. Your ticket allows re-entry, so you can either have lunch at the museum, or hit a bar across the street and come back in. Dinner is at Restaurante Victor in the Plaza Nueva at 9:00 p.m. I recommend arriving at the Plaza early so you can watch the locals. 

Sunday, June 8 Transfer to Biarritz by coach with a stop in Saint-Jean-De-Luz for shopping, lunch and poking around the resort town. After arrival in Biarritz, check into Hotel Plaza, (0033) (0) 5 59 24 74 00. 8:30 dinner at Restaurante Galion.

Monday, June 9 Free day to explore Biarritz. 8:30 dinner at L’Operne Restaurant.
Tuesday, June 10 
9:00 a.m. coach transfer to Narbonne. With lunch and comfort stops along the way, we should arrive around 5:00 p.m. Upon arrival, check into Hotel Residence, (0033) (0) 4 68 32 19 41. Dinner at the Le Jardin du Narbonne.

Wednesday, June 11 Depart hotel at 8:50 to meet our guide at the Hotel de Ville at 9:00 for a two hour walking tour of Narbonne, including the horreum and the cathedral. After the tour I recommend going to the market and perhaps pick up a picnic lunch. Dinner at L’Estagnol.

Thursday, June 12 Coach transfer to Barcelona and the Hotel Royal, (0034) 933019400. Since this is a short drive, we will stop in Cerbere for lunch at Restaurant de la Plage. We should arrive in Barcelona around 4:00. Evening free.
Friday, June 13 
For the next two days you will have a pass for a “hop on, hop off” Barcelona Bus Turìstic which will take you to all of Barcelona’s attractions. 7:30 walk to dinner at La Gavina near the port.

Saturday, June 14 Continue exploring Barcelona with your two-day pass. 8:00 dinner at El Glop (lousy name, great food.)

Sunday, June 15 9:00 a.m. main tour returns to Madrid and the Hotel Moderno. With lunch and comfort stops along the way, you should arrive around 6:00 p.m. Dinner at Pazo de Gondomar Restaurante.

Monday, June 16 8:25 departure for airport transfer for return flight to USA on Continental #63 departing at 11:25 a.m. Or. 

OPTION: Aix-les-bains & Verona 

Sunday, June 15 Depart Barcelona Sants at 8:45, arrive Montpelier at 13:16. Change trains. Depart Montpelier at 13:35, arrive Lyon at 15:27. Change trains. Depart Lyon at 16:06, arrive Aix-les-bains. at 17:14. Very short walk to Park Hotel du Casino (0033) (0)4 79 34 19 19 Dinner at hotel.

Monday, June 16 Morning visit to Faure Museum, afternoon excursion by boat to Abbaye de Hautcombe. Dinner TBA.

Tuesday, June 17 Day free to explore the spa town. Excursions available, but you may just want to stay around and take advantage of the offerings of our hotel. Dinner TBA.

Wednesday, June 18 Depart Aix-les-bains at 8:15, arrive Milano at 12:45. Ken & Julie will leave us in Milano for overnight stay in the First Hotel (00390) (0) 331 71 70 45 in Malpensa and fly home tomorrow. The rest will continue on, departing Milano at 13:05 and arriving in Verona at 14:38. Transfer by taxi to the Hotel Accademia (00390) (0)45 596 222. Depart hotel at 6:50 to walk to Ponte Nuovo to meet our guide for a tour of osterias. Dinner at one of the osterias that we will visit.

Thursday, June 19 Informal city tour in the morning. Cooking class and dinner at I Signori Zoppi. Signore Zoppi will pick us up at Piazza Bra to take us to their villa in the hills of Verona, departing the hotel at 5:30.

Friday, June 20 Excursion to Valpantena & Valpollicella to visit cantinas. Visit to the ancient quarry where the Rosso Veronese marble was quarried from Roman times until just recently. Dinner (pizza and some of the wine that we purchased earlier) at my apartment while watching a video of Turandot.

Saturday, June 21 Free day. Dinner at the excellent hotel restaurant. Evening performance of Turandot.

Sunday, June 22 Checkout of hotel by 11:00 but leave bags with porter. My apartment will be available as a “crash pad.” Dinner at Osteria Sgarzarie. Evening performance of Aida. Return to hotel to pick up luggage and departure for Milano Malpensa. Overnight in the First Hotel,Malpensa.

Monday, June 23 Return flight to USA.

Laurence Barker
Alan Cutler
Jay & Evelyn Rogers
Mary Rose Walls & Antoinette Acone-Pace
John & Linda Edmundson
Dan Rains & Cathy Gilbert
Julie & Ken Ortolon
Molly Cundari & Victor Carrillo
Ann & Richard Adams
Dale & Patsy Meyers
Ken & Joyce Kennamer
Rick Herold & Dale Matlock
Judy Parks & Jean Hays
Laurence Barker
Evelyn Rogers & Joyce Kennamer
John & Linda Edmundson
Julie & Ken Ortolon
Molly Cundari & Victor Carrillo