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Fodor's Spain 2000 Expert Advice and Smart Choices, Updated Annually, with a Full-Size Map and Color Planning Section (Fodor's Gold Guides Series)
     

Fodor's Spain 2000 Expert Advice and Smart Choices, Updated Annually, with a Full-Size Map and Color Planning Section (Fodor's Gold Guides Series)

by Fodor's Travel Publications
 
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Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over.  Updated each

Overview

"Fodor's guides are always a pleasure." -- The Chicago Tribune

"Teeming with maps and loaded with addresses, phone numbers, and directions." -- Newsday

Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over.  Updated each year and containing a full-color foldout Rand McNally map, a Fodor's Gold Guide is an essential tool for any kind of traveler.  If you only have room for one guide, this is the guide for you.

New for 2000! Full-color sections let you experience Spain before you get there. With region-by-region virtual tours and cross-referencing to the main text, Fodor's color sections are a great way to begin planning your trip.

Let the world's smartest guide enrich your trip

Full-color images evoke what makes Spain unique - Local experts show you the special places - Thorough updating keeps you on track - Practical information gives you the tools to explore - Easy-to-use format puts it all at your fingertips

Choose among many hotels and restaurants in all price categories

Stay in historic paradors, mountain retreats, cozy hostales, modern high-rises, and seaside resorts - Dine in chic urban restaurants, rustic taverns, classic cafés, waterfront fish houses, and festive tapas bars - Check out hundreds of detailed reviews and learn what's distinctive about each place

Mix and match our itineraries and discover the unexpected

Savvy descriptions help you decide where to go and when - Driving and walking tours guide you around the countryside and through each city on the way - Find great sources for antiques, leather, lace, ceramics, and the latest fashions

Go straight to the facts you need and find all that's new

Useful maps and background information - How to get there and get around - When to go - What to pack - Costs, hours, and tips by the thousands - History, culture, and the latest on food and wine - Spanish vocabulary

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679003342
Publisher:
Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
11/02/1999
Series:
Fodor's Travel Guides Series
Pages:
656
Product dimensions:
5.03(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.28(d)

Read an Excerpt

Destination Spain

The Spanish, wrote V. S. Pritchett, "have preserved personality." It's a heady claim, but once you're here, it's hard not to feel that Spain knows something you don't about enjoying life, expressing moods, keeping everything in perspective. You can see it in the regional cultures, each with its own language, cuisine, and distinct ways of dancing in the streets on Saturday night. You can see it in the landscapes and architecture, which change so completely as you move across the country that the land seems to speak for itself.  Most of all, you can see it in the people, whose sophisticated knack for leisure ensures you a rich and rousing experience.

Madrid

Madrid's bright skies and boundless energy make every sight and sound seem larger than life.  Though you expect royal palaces to be grand, for instance, Madrid's Palacio Real has 2,800 rooms.  The Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums pack 9,000 Spanish and other European masterworks into an art-saturated half-mile. Sunday's flea market in El Rastro is as thick with overpriced oddities as with human activity.  The landmark Fuente de la Cibeles -- with the goddess Cybele on her chariot -- seems to symbolize the vigor and joy with which Madrileños embrace everyday pleasures.  Both tapa-tasting and dining, the foremost among these, are fired by animated conversation.  The cafés in the Plaza Mayor, one of Europe's grandest squares, are perpetually abuzz, and nightlife stretches into the wee hours near Plaza Santa Ana. Indeed, late-night social diversions are the heartbeat of Madrid, distracting locals from sleep even as the rest of the Western world prepares for another day at the grindstone. Short of dancing 'til dawn, the best way to catch the spirit of the place is to walk through its compact center, where modern life swirls around Mudéjar and medieval remnants on streets like Calle Mayor. Or pay a visit to Parque del Retiro, another venue for the local brand of socializing and, true to its name, a retreat from urban stress.

Old and New Castile

Despite what you may have heard about the rain in Spain falling mainly on the plain, the country's largest such expanse is an arid reach of windy skies and wide vistas.  Cut with rocky gorges and fringed with gaunt mountains, this vast plateau is severe, melancholic, and mysterious -- and has inspired more than its share of colorful thoughts.  It was here that Don Quixote tilted at windmills, and somber Ávila, ringed by its original 11th-century wall, gave rise to the mystical ecstasies of St. Teresa, who spent 30 years in the Convento de la Encarnación.  Medieval towns rise from the landscape like mirages. Austere Toledo, sitting calmly on a battlement-topped granite cliff, inspired El Greco's moody canvases; golden Segovia, following the crest of a rocky ridge, forms postcard views in every direction.  The first sight of Cuenca startles: how do 500-year-old houses cling to the sides of a precipice?

Salamanca overwhelms with Renaissance architecture, including one of Spain's largest and most graceful public squares.  Valladolid's National Museum of Sculpture, housed in  a 15th-century friars' college, has the largest and finest collection of polychrome wood pieces in the world. Medieval Burgos has long been a center of both religious and military activity -- symbolized, perhaps, in the person of native son El Cid, the Christian Reconquest's legendary hero.  Prosperous León hums with student activity but is best known for its cathedral, with a whopping 125 stained-glass windows.  Perhaps most enticing are the smallest Castilian towns: in a place like Sigüenza, it's entirely possible to feel that you are the first traveler ever to explore these mellow stone streets.

Barcelona and Northern Catalonia

The poet Federico García Lorca called Barcelona's Rambla the only street in the world he wished would never end. A vivid mass of strollers, marketgoers, artists, and vendors, it gets you in the mood for Barcelona's motley and sometimes mesmerizing landmarks.  The expansive Boqueria market breathes new life into the notion of grocery shopping.  Antoni Gaudí's sinuous Casa Milà and emphatically unique Sagrada Família church exemplify the early 20th century's Moderniste movement, and the exuberant, Art Nouveau Palau de la Música takes aesthetic whimsy that much farther.  The Gothic Quarter hides the exquisite 14th-century church of Santa Maria del Mar, the small but striking Plaça del Rei, and the cathedral. Linger in the Plaça de la Seu or Plaça Sant Jaume and you may catch a celebration of Catalan culture, like sardana dancing or castellers (human castles).  Outside Barcelona are less-explored Catalan towns like medieval Girona, with its Christian-Moorish-Jewish heritage, and the whitewashed village of Cadaqués on the Costa Brava, a rocky shore shaded with pines and lapped by a lustrous sea.

Granada, Córdoba, and Eastern Andalusia

The Moors made an important mark on this corner of their caliphate.  Granada's Alhambra is a marvel of patios, arches, and intricate carvings, with the lush Generalife palace gardens next door.  Across a gorge is the Moors' old neighborhood, the Albaicín, an array of ancient white houses tumbling down a hillside.  Córdoba's sublime Mezquita -- a mosque with a cathedral in the middle -- is awesome, its 850 columns topped with red-and-white-striped arches.  Near the mosque, the thick-walled homes in Córdoba's medieval Jewish quarter, the Judería, all but hide their spectacularly tiled interior courtyards. Around the two cities, Andalusia's olive groves seem to stretch forever in provinces like Jaén, interrupted by gems like Úbeda, with perfectly preserved Renaissance mansions and churches. The historic mining town of Guadix makes a good base for trips to Andalusia's many caves, scooped out of the sandstone mountains and often still inhabited.  South of Granada, on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, lie the villages of the Alpujarras, where descendants of transplanted Galicians craft rugs, blankets, baskets, and pottery.

Fodor's Spain 2000 contains other sections not included in this excerpt.

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