One of the things I am liking about blogging our upcoming trip is that the posts are being quickly indexed into the main search engines. This is producing an increase in random visits to baldheretic.com from people all over the world searching terms related to travel to Spain. Besides the helpful and much appreciated comments from my friends and other known readers of this blog, I’ve also received some random e-mails and comments with suggestions about what to see and what to expect on our upcoming vacation from total strangers who seem eager to share their own experience, strength and hope.
It’s also resulting in people being able to benefit from our experience and efforts which is pretty cool.
After a marathon planning session that lasted from 11:00 am Saturday morning till 5:30 pm that afternoon, we’ve pretty much nailed down our itinerary and are in the process of booking hotels in all the cities we will be staying in.
We have been using a fantastic web site called Trip Advisor. The feature most helpful has been the hotel reviews. Trip Advisor allows visitors to the web site to post their own experience with any given hotel directly to the site along with pictures.
This type of site can be subject to some fraud. I’ve heard of companies sending their employees or appointed P.R. folks to sites like this to write canned positive reviews and I am sure it happens here with some of the bigger hotel chains, but it’s easy to spot. Plus, we’re focusing on smaller hotels that are privately owned and don’t seem to have the where-with-all, much less the budget, for such chicanery.
On the site you have the ability to sort the reviews by best and worst. You filter through about a dozen or so of these and you end up with a good feel for the potential of the establishment.
Even if a hotel has several negative reviews you can often eliminate a good percentage of those when you read things like “hotel staff did not speak English” or “Inadequate parking” or any of a host of other so-called problems that just won’t apply to us or can be overcome with a little common sense.
The site is very user friendly and we have located most of the hotels we are interested in. Now it’s just a matter of getting up early and making some overseas calls. Fortunately Cynthia’s Spanish has gotten so good we should be able to negotiate our reservations without any trouble at all.
We’ve believe we have found a suitable hotel for the Madrid leg and even our one night hit-and-run whirlwind visit to La Linea/Gibraltar. Barcelona is a challenge as it seems to be the most expensive leg of the trip with the most options. We’ll finalize those in the coming weeks along with a few others.