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Published: March 21st 2011
Since October, 2010, when Doug's father, Bill, asked is if we wanted to go to Spain, April seemed a long ways off.
Today is the first day of Spring, March 20, 2011. The picture on the right tells the sad story....Hopefully, Spain in April will be nuttin' but sunshine!!
For this entire winter, I have been researching Spain and all of the places we wanted to visit. Total information overload!
I started by contacting a Tour Operator, Pierre, at Circa Tours. He is from France, has traveled extensively in Europe and knows Spain very well. He and his wife run Circa Tours out of Los Angels, California, USA. I thought this was a very good find; being able to talk to a 'local' in the U.S. about Spain would be perfect!
However, in the long run, Pierre did not work out for us. We had settled on a budget in the beginning, but after several weeks of hammering out an itinerary, he came back with a Proposal that was over budget and did not include our food, let alone half of our time in Spain. I was very frustrated; thew up my hands and said, "Forget it! I'll book the entire trip myself!" Thus, the information overload process began!
I had gotten the Lonely Planet's guide to Spain, and of course, had the Internet at my fingertips; but what really helped was when my riding partner suggested I get Rick Steve's Spain guidebook. I then had three reference points for recommendations and after a couple more weeks, put together a 34 day itinerary!! Yippee! (we still don't have enough time to see everything!)
Trip Advisor, Google Earth, and countless websites helped immensely. I would begin by reading about a Region; jot down the 'must sees' and determine the best location to start from. Google Earth rocks!! Then I would use Trip Advisor and Booking.com to see where the hotels were located and get reviews, pricing, etc. Double check my dates and press: BOOK NOW!
One of my new dreams (at least will be fun to try) is to ride horses in their native lands. Thus, the hunt to ride an Andalusian horse began. The horse is revered in Spain and there are a LOT of horseback riding vacations there, but they have 5 - 7- 10, etc. day rides. I could not go off and ride for days on end... I would have to settle for one day ride; or even just a few hours.
I found a place in the Andalucia region in Tarifa, Spain, at the southern tip on the Strait of Gibraltar that will guide day rides on Spanish Andalusian horses on the beach! Yahoo! Once step closer to the dream come true! Here are some pictures: Riding Horses on the Beach in Spain
Here is a brief description from their website:
"We ride from our stables along endlessly stretching, sandy bays, as well as to beaches unreachable by road, over donkey trails and through wild fields. If you wish, you can go swimming with your horse! We ride through various nature reserves with varied landscapes, from low hills to stony mountains and along coastal cliffs. We regularly encounter free-roaming horses and cattle herds while experiencing an extraordinary environment filled with a large variety of birds. The view of Africa will provide for new dreams. You will become overwhelmed by the nature."
I will be trying to post my trip as it happens; we have hotel rooms with WiFi on almost all our nights there. I will have to figure out how to take a picture with Doug's new iPhone and post it here... or at least with our camera.
We have three weeks before we leave; I can't wait!!! 😱
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