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Author: klgchicago

Joined: 6/19/2011
Posts: 2
Traveler Since: 2011

June 19, 2011

 I just returned from the Costa Del Sol trip two weeks ago and it was wonderful.  I would strongly suggest to those planning to go on this trip to sign up for all the optional tours if you have never traveled to this region before.  Doing that does not allow much in the way of free time but what you experience instead is so worthwhile.  My favorite towns on this tour were Ronda and Mijas. In fact, I enjoyed Mijas so much, that on our final day in Spain, I took the public bus back to Mijas and in exploring on my own, discovered a beautiful path that took you along a cliff edge (it was paved and had a wall along the edge for safety) where there were gorgeous views overlooking the charming whitewashed homes and of the Mediterranean Sea beyond.  Along side the path was a wonderful linear garden. I was so glad I went back to do more exploring as I would have never seen that lovely section of the town otherwise.  

My least favorite part of the trip was Gibraltar.  It was fun seeing the apes but beyond that, it was way too crowded, the traffic was nuts, and there really wasn't enough time to explore the cave and scenic vistas while on the taxi tour.  I'm glad I went to see it but my feeling about it is, "been there, done that, don't need to see it again".

My suggestion for hostess gifts for the home hosted meals is to bring something that represents the area where you live.

The Dine Around program was great.  The food was delicious in every restaurant my friend and I tried.  We especially liked Guadalupe's, where i had the best Sangria I have ever tasted,  and Don Canape.

The location of the Bajondillo Apartments was great.  We were right across the street from the beach with lots of shops and restaurants nearby.  The room was clean.  The bed seemed to be narrower than a normal twin bed but I found the mattress to be fine.  The room was very plain.  Word of warning - soap is not provided and neither are wash cloths.  Grounds were pretty and well kept and staff was friendly.  However, my one complaint, and for me it was a big one, the bar remains open until 1 a.m. and after the bar closes, people took their partying out to the outdoor patio.  Even prior to closing, there were many people on that patio and the sound just echoes up to the rooms.  Three times I complained about all the noise....laughing, singing, shouting, etc. that was going on as late as 2:30 a.m.  While it was taken care of, each time I complained,  I did not appreciate having my sleep disturbed, almost on a nightly basis, especially when we had early wake up calls for our touring the next day.  I really think that GCT needs to look into other accommodations in Torremolinos.  For me, I would not want to stay there again.

Our tour director, Antonio, was wonderful.  I would say he was the best tour guide I have ever had.

This was my first GST trip and based on my Costa Del Sol experience, I would definitely travel with them again.

Author: sdelussa

Joined: 7/26/2011
Posts: 4
Traveler Since: 2009

July 26, 2011

Would you please tell me about your flight experience.  Did you fly Iberia from the US to Madrid or Malaga?  My husband and I are scheduled for this trip in March 2012 and I have read horrible reviews about Iberia Airlines - both their domestic fiights and international flights.


S DeLussa

Ocean City, NJ

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

July 27, 2011

Costa del Sol: I went a couple of years ago and flew either Delta or Air France from Atlanta to Paris and an Air France regional airline from Paris to Malaga.

However, OAT/GCT changes airlines, so even one used in 2011 may not be the one used in 2012. Next year you will have the option of selecting a different routing or airline but it might cost more than whatever airline GCT is using. It might be worth it though. The best information for you trip in March will be through GCT -- call and ask what airline they plan to use and what your options are.

Author: klgchicago

Joined: 6/19/2011
Posts: 2
Traveler Since: 2011

August 28, 2011

 I would have preferrred flying Iberia to Madrid,then on to Malaga.  Much shorter connection to Malaga which would have been appreciated after having spent all night on an airplane.  Instead, I was routed through Paris on Air France.  Charles De Gaulle airport is HUGE!!!  If you are routed through there, pray you have a couple of hours until your next flight.  The connection time was fine for me on the way there, but coming home was a nightmare. Five of us were going to Chicago and we were given only one hour and 5 minutes to make the connection to Chicago, a nearly impossible time frame in which to make a connection at Charles de Gaulle.  Even if you are just one terminal over from where you land to where your connection is, as I was,  (which I heard over and over again in my attempt to be placed as close to the front of the plane  as possible on the Malaga flight.... I ended up in row 24)  the terminals are so huge,it takes forever to get from one terminal to the next, once you FINALLY get inside one. The plane does not pull up to a terminal.  You go to a parking spot on the field, and busses take you to the terminal.  This is, of course, after you have lost about 10  minutes while the plane taxis to the parking area after landing and then you have to wait for the stairs to be brought over and attached to the plane.  The further back you are seated in the plane, the longer it takes to get off, all the while the clock is ticking, and if you are refused entry on the first bus as I was...I missed being allowed on by only one then have to wait for the secind bus and even if it is already there, once you load, it sits and goes nowhere for about 5 - 10 minutes.  I won't go into all the details of my mad dash to catch my flight, but between it taking a good 10 - 15 minutes to even get to the terminal I needed to be at, customs, security, missing a people mover tram and an incident that had French army personel armed with machine guns blocking the hallway I needed to get to in order to go through security, it was a god-awful nightmare.  Only because an official at security called ahead for me and asked that they hold the plane, I did make it and in the final stretch run to my gate (gate numer 65 which will give you a clue how large this airport is) I heard them calling my name with the announcement it was the final call.  All 5 of us did make the flight....the other 4 had been lucky enough to get on the first bus to the terminal...but my experience did not make me a very happy camper.  So, again, if you are routed through Paris, make sure you check and double check your connection times and if you have less than 2 hours to catch a flight, I'd insist on another flight or airport connection.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

August 29, 2011

In January 2009 we flew Iberia from Washington Dulles to Madrid, connecting to Malaga. The flight was tolerable and the connection time (scheduled) was adequate in Madrid. However, Madrid airport was hit by a blizzard just as we landed. Our flight to Malaga was delayed and finally cancelled. We were rebooked on a flight later that day, but had some difficulty finding the appropriate departure gate. There were no boarding announcements, in any language, so we just got in line when we saw people being processed at our departure gate. We got to Malaga about three hours late, but safely. There were probably twenty GCT people on the flight so the bus and the GCT reps were there to transport us to Torremolinos. The return flight, Malaga to Madrid to Dulles, was uneventful.

Our friends and traveling companions flew from Philadelphia to Paris to Malaga, all on Air France. Paris was experiencing the same blizzzard as Madrid, and they had an even longer delay for the last leg. They also had great difficulty finding their way around CDG Airport. On the return they flew from Malaga to Paris, but that flight was delayed some three hours. So they missed the connection to Philadelphia. The only rescheduled flight that was at all reasonable was on Delta and took them from Paris to Atlanta and thence to Philadelphia. Their elapsed time from Malaga to Philadelphia was nearly twenty hours as opposed to the thirteen hours originally scheduled.

My evaluation of the situation is that it is a "crap shoot". Iberia is not my favorite airline, but it is not terrible. Madrid is not my favorite airport, but it is not terrible.

Incidentally, the same friends earlier this month flew from Philadelphia to Copenhagen via Paris on Air France. They were delayed at all nodes and arrived at the ship in Copenhagen about five hours late. Norwegian Cruise Lines knew of the delays and postponed sailing about an hour to await the twenty or so passengers who were arriving late. Our friends luggage did not arrive with them but caught them the next day in Warnemunde, Germany. We flew Lufthansa from Washington Dulles to Munich and then to Copenhagen, We had no problems. Lufthansa is one of my favorite airlines and Munich is my new favorite airport.

Our return flights were all on Delta. Ours was Copenhagen to New York JFK and then to Dulles. Our friends were Copenhagen to Atlanta and then to Philadelphia. We had a two and one-half hour delay in JFK and arrived just that much late at Dulles. Our friends flights were all on time. My evaluation of Delta is at best mediocre and probably slightly below the norm.

Author: margotd

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 2
Countries Visited:

Mexico, Nova Scotia, Alaska, England, Paris, Northern Italy, Amsterdam, Brussels, Scandinavia on my own. Southern Spain with Elderhostel. With GCT, Eastern Europe, Costa del Sol, Russian River Cruise, Egypt and the Nile, Alpine Villages, Thailand and Christmas Markets on the Rhine.

Traveler Since: 2004

September 03, 2011

I have been to Torremolinos with GCT twice, and may very possibly go again.  But let me recommend going  mid-January through March, before the European tourist season gets going.  The water is wadeably warm, the air is comfortable, and  I had no problem with crowds in the restaurants or late-night revelers as you reported.  I met several people from cold parts of the world, not just Americans, who make it their winter home -- some arriving in November and staying until April.

I, too, have had trouble with Grand Circle's scheduling flights through Paris-DeGaule, you need at least two hours to get from one gate to the next.  An hour seems like long enough, but actually it takes at least 15 minutes just getting off the plane, another 10 minutes on the bus across the tarmac, and then you have to run, pulling your carryon luggage, for what seems like miles through the airport.


Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 959
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

September 03, 2011

Well, now I know not to take any itinerary that will have me change at Charles deGaulle.  I was at the airport only once, nearly 30 years ago, and my recollection was that it was very big.  But we weren't changing there; Paris was our destination.

When I planned my trip to Russia in 2010, I was given three choices.  Standard would have me change in Heathrow, Terminal 5 both ways.  Slightly more expensive was changing in Frankfurt, but then you have the tram going between terminals and that has broken down on me.  Even more expensive was changing in Amsterdam, and that would always be my preference all other things being equal.

My next trip isn't until June, and that's England, Scotland and Wales.  British Air both ways, Boston to London and back, with a flight from Aberdeen connecting in London.  The one I have planned after that, if my health holds up, wil be Romance of the Rhine and Moselle.  I've heard such good things about that, and I do love the river trips!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

September 04, 2011

I wouldn't avoid making connecting flights in CDG, sometimes it works fine and could be the best connection, just don't accept anything less than two hours because you'll need more time if your plane parks on the tarmac and the passengers are bused to the terminal.   

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