Sketches of Spain
Twin tours with Rick Steves
by Bob and Deb Knetzger
We had a great time sketching our way around Spain in October 2019. Here are a few highlights and TIPS, hope this helps you plan your trip!
At the January 2019 Rick Steves Test Drive A Tour Guide, we listened to the guides talk and chose two tours. Combining Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days, a fully guided tour with planned activities and My Way Spain in 11 Days , with a guide but no guided daily activities, gave us time to sketch along the way. We linked the two tours with extra days on our own.
Our RS pre-trip consultant Rich E suggested flying into Paris for a day or two before the Basque Country tour began, then taking the high-speed train to Bayonne, France to start the tour.
With the My Way Spain tour we needed help planning advance tickets to attractions in Barcelona, Madrid, Granada and Seville. We reserved extra pre-tour days in Barcelona at the Hotel Midmost. We rented a car for driving ourselves around the north coast of Asturias and arranged for transportation from Seville south to Tarifa for a day tour in Tangier, Morocco.
TIP: A consultation with a RS guide is very much worth the modest fee to get a personalized plan and practical answers to all your questions.
TIP: Book WAY ahead! Even off-season, advance tickets are required to many museums and attractions as well as desirable lodgings and trains. Some of our first choices were already sold out. Book early on the internet: six months ahead is not too far. For train and air tickets use Rome2rio.com.
Our extra day in Paris gave us a chance to see a fabulous Edgar Degas show at the Musee D'Orsay with friends Kim and Megan, also in Paris due to a train strike.
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TIP: Zut Alors! On this day, advance tickets did not help. The longest line to get into Musee D'Orsay was for advance ticket holders. The “walk ups” went right in as we advance ticket holders waited in line down the block - bonne chance and keep your sense of humor!
TIP: Add a day or two on your own before your tour. The extra day we planned in Bayonne gave us time to relax, stroll around the city, sketch the sights and catch up on needed jet-lag sleep before beginning busy RS tour days.