Sunday, March 30, 2008

Vacances de Printemps: Les Vacances de -agne: Espagne et Bretagne

As usual, here is the run-down of my upcoming Spring Vacation: The Vacation to the -agne: Spain and Brittany. Brittany is the nose of France. I will be spending one week in Spain and one week in Brittany with my best friend from home, Maggie. Why I decided to put these two destinations together is beyond me, but I'm super duper excited for it. So this is what and where and when of it all:

Saturday, April 5:
Ussel -> Madrid
A train from Ussel to Toulouse where I will catch a flight with easyJet, a discount British airline, to Madrid.

In Madrid, I plan on seeing the Reina Sofia, Thyssen, El Prado, El Parque del Buen Retiro, as many churches as possible, some nifty museums, and all sorts of other amazing Madrileno stuff. I plan on eating tapas, paella, gazpacho, and chocolate y churros. I plan on attenting a flamenco recital and a zarzuela performance.

I will also be making a day trip to El Escorial, a monastery where pretty much the entire Spanish royal family is buried.

I will be staying from April 5 to April 8 at the Albergue Juvenil which has an 87% approval rating on

Tuesday, April 8:
Madrid -> Barcelona

I will be taking either a bus or a train to Barcelona. I haven't decided. I'd like the trip itself to be an adventure and allow me to soak up as much of the Spanish countryside as possible.

In Barcelona, I plan on seeing La Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, Barri Gotic, the Museum of the History of the City, Parc Guell, any of the Olympic sites, the "Spanish Village," the Ethnology Museum, and the beaches. It will probably not be warm enough to frolic but I'm all for a lazy afternoon with a beer and a book on the sand.

I will be staying at Center Ramblas, an HI-affiliated hostel.

Saturday, April 12:
Barcelona -> Paris

I will take another easyJet flight from Barcelona to Paris. I will be staying, hopefully, at the BVJ Louvre for one night. Maggie arrives on Sunday morning. We will do a whirlwind tour of Paris because she won't be exhausted enough from an eight-hour flight and jet-lag and then hopefully stay in BVJ Louvre Sunday night. I say hopefully because despite numerous phone calls and numerous online reservations, I have yet to receive any confirmation. And inexpensive, safe, and clean accomodations in Paris are hard to find.

Monday, April 14:
Paris -> Rennes

We will be basing ourselves in Rennes, the capital of Bretagne (Brittany). We will be staying at the HI Hostel in Rennes for this week. While in Rennes, we will see what a big provincial French city looks like and hopefully visit the Brittany Museum about Breton culture and history. There's also a neat science museum.

From Rennes, we will be making day trips to:
Mont Saint Michel: the monastery on an island whose causeway gets washed away by the tide.
Saint Malo: beautiful walled port city on the northern coast. There's an aquarium to see too!
Quimper: on Finistere (literally the end of the earth), this city has another Breton Culture and History Museum, a cathedral, and beautiful silly French-ness.
Carnac: known for stone monoliths, menhirs, and dolmens. (We will learn the difference among them, I hope.) My goal is to get a hiking tour, but it's hard to get there from anywhere so we'll see.

We will eat crepes, galettess, moules frites, lots of awesome Breton cheese, cider, and tons of amazing French food.

We return to Paris on April 19 in time for Maggie's flight back to New York and in time for my train back to the booming metropolis of Ussel.



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