Old Jul 25, 16, 5:43 pm
  #1  
shgroamer
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP (probably nothing w/ AA next year :)), Delta Platinum, Marriott Titanium, Hilton Gold
Posts: 404
New Years in Spain: A Gaudí engagement, rainy Madrid, Tapas, Zambra, and Cochinillo

Intro
I've been wanting to write this one for awhile.

A little over a year ago, I started the planning process of proposing to my girlfriend. We met back in college (almost 6 years ago) and started dating the semester before she decided to study abroad in Madrid.

I'll try not to get too sappy in this trip report. Long story short, while neither of us would typically do a long distance relationship in the peak of our college years...there was something about the relationship that clearly kept us together, despite the frustrating 5 months of being separated.

When she came back, she told me we had to visit Spain together. After graduating and becoming gainfully employed, we took a trip to France, Portugal and Lebanon, then another to Ireland, and many more throughout the US. It was time to go to Spain, and what better than to propose to her at her favorite Cathedral, La Sagrada Familia.

I also wanted to make it a point to spend time in the Prado checking out their incredible collection of Spanish art, along with the wonderful and unique architecture (heavily in southern Spain) with Moorish and Gothic influences, often piled on top of each other.

My "booze money" job in college was working at Meadows Museum on SMU's beautiful campus in Dallas (attended SMU); I was constantly surrounded by the largest collection of Spanish art outside of Spain, and combine that with my focused studies on Western Europe for my second major, it all really fell together.

We also like food and wine, so that works.

Here was the plan, including how I managed to get us there:

December 30
Day 1: DFW-MIA, AA1462, A32B, F
Day 1: MIA-MAD, IB6124, A333, J, +1 day
Day 2: MAD-BCN, IB2704, A320, F
Day 2: Barcelona, dinner and celebrate NYE
Day 3: Barcelona, Sagrada familia, marriage proposal
Day 4: Barcelona , then Barcelona-Madrid on Renfe high speed train in Preferente.
Day 5: Madrid
Day 6: Madrid
Day 7: Drive to Granada
Day 8: Granada, drive to Cordoba
Day 9: Cordoba, drive to Toledo
Day 10: Toledo, drive to Segovia, drive to Madrid
Day 11: MAD-ORD, IB6275, A333, Y
Day 11: ORD-DFW, AA2375, A319, Y

I used AA miles both ways, snagged J for the trip there, and routed through Miami because I wanted to try Iberia's "newer" J. Couldn't find J award availability on a reasonable route for the way back, even T-1 week out...I could have routed through LHR but those fees are silly.




Amateur TATL award booking advice for AA (seasoned travelers can skip):

My advice for anyone looking to use TATL AA miles: 1. Avoid LHR. 2. If you find something that works, book it, if you have a preferred route/airline/aircraft, keep looking after booking. Changing is painless; my itinerary changed several times after I booked and I ultimately got what I wanted, including getting into BCN in the AM. 3. Focus on your TATL leg...AA will open award space if there is any space on flights to make your connection domestically, at least they have done so for me numerous times.

Feel free to PM me with questions. FT provided me with tons of info and I would love to return the favor to someone.


Three more quick notes before I start this TR:

First, I'm taking my mom to Spain in November (she has always wanted to go and never takes the plunge, so I did it for her). I may not do an in depth TR for that, but we will be on the new AA 789, possibly in J. If so, I'll at least post the flight here.

Also, I am planning the honeymoon now, it'll include the new SQ A350 J SFO-SIN, stops in SFO, SIN, then onto a couple weeks in Thailand, then back thru Dubai via QR F and EY F. That trip report is a little under a year away, but man I am excited for it. Any Thailand suggestions are appreciated, but plenty of resources on FT so far

Lastly, shameless plug for a previous TR I did, I'll try to make this one better. Still trying to figure out a "style" that's easy for everyone to read. DFW-AUH, DXB-LHR-DFW with a diversion to Iceland: EY F, BA F

Ok, now onto the trip report!

Last edited by shgroamer; Jul 25, 16 at 6:00 pm
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