American in Spain

Father of the Groom

December 4, 2006

Surprising no one that knows him, my father has become the first to make solid plans in regards to my upcoming wedding. I share them here to help others that are planning to attend get an idea of costs. You are all welcome to mimic his schedule. The more the merrier! (marrier?) The following are my father's words:

We (Betsy, Paul, and Joyce Rasmussen) are flying from Raleigh to Philadelphia (USAir) to Madrid (USAir) to Bilbao (Iberia Airlines). We are leaving Raleigh at 3:35 pm on October 8, and arriving in Bilbao at 11:30 am on October 9. We paid $696 each for our tickets, including all taxes, Expedia's $10 booking fee, and $20 to have the tickets shipped to me. Erik will pick us up at the airport, and we will spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Colindres, at Erik and Marga's house. I am hoping that some of Erik's American friends and relatives will find their way to Colindres during this time, and that they will stay at the Colindres hotel, about a two minute walk from Erik and Marga's house.

On Thursday, Erik will drive me the 45 minutes to Bilbao, and I will rent a car there, and drive back to Colindres. On Friday, October 12, after wishing Erik a Happy Birthday, I will drive my Mom, Betsy and me the 90 minutes to Mondragon, where we will check into the Mondragon Hotel. Erik has asked that we not book rooms at the Mondragon Hotel yet, as he is hoping to negotiate for a block of rooms once he finds out how many people will need rooms.

On the morning of the big day (Saturday, October 13), I expect to eat breakfast, put on a tie, and walk from the Mondragon Hotel to the Catholic church where the wedding will take place. After the wedding, I will board the waiting bus along with everyone else, and be driven to the fancy restaurant. When they kick us out of the restaurant, I will board the bus again, and be taken along with everyone else to Marga's parents social club in Mondragon, where I will eat and drink more until it is time for me to walk back to the Mondragon Hotel and go to bed. It should be a good day.

On Sunday, we will check out, and drive the 60 minutes to Bilbao, where we have reservations at the 3-Star Petit Palace Arana Bilbao. I have reserved two rooms there at 60€ each ($79). These rooms were booked at this rate through, but can be booked at the same rate directly through the hotel. Expedia offered me these rooms for almost twice as much! I chose the Petit Palace Arana Bilbao primarily for its location. It is only 600 yards from the Guggenheim Museum, but it is located on the East side of the river that runs through Bilbao. Equadistance in the other direction lies the "old town" of Bilbao. It is on those 600 year-old pedestrian-only streets noted for its restaurants and bars where I hope to spend most of my time in Bilbao. The Guggenheim is open on Sunday (closed on Mondays), costing 10€ admission for Betsy and Paul, and 6.50€ for my Mom. I expect we will see the Guggenheim's attractions Sunday afternoon, and walk through the old town of Bilbao Sunday evening.

We may rent our car Thursday from a downtown Bilbao location, and return it there early Sunday afternoon, paying 3 days rental, which should be about $200. Alternatively, we may rent the car at the airport and return it there on Monday. If we return our car Sunday in the city, I expect the taxi fare to the airport to cost us about $20 to $25, even though it is just 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. This fare will be partially offset by the fact that I won't have to pay the hotel's $15 parking fee.

On Monday, we fly out of Bilbao at 10:05 am, and arrive in Raleigh at 7:15 pm.

The Petit Palace Arana Bilbao advertises:

  • Business center with Internet access (DSL-2Mb).
  • CyberCenter:video game room.
  • Arana Restaurant and Coffee Shop.
  • PC with flat-panel TFT 15" display with Internet connection (DSL-2Mb) in the excel and the executive rooms.
  • Satellite television.
  • Air conditioning and heating.
  • Data line for Internet connection (DSL- 2Mb).
  • ISDN line for Internet connection.
  • Direct telephone.
  • Hairdryer.
  • Private safety box.
  • Minibar.
  • Television with music and radio channels (25" television with remote control). Canal Plus, with sports and movie channels.
  • The latest in water massage shower cabins.
  • Exercise bicycles.
  • Trouser press.
  • Medical service (outsourced).
  • Hotel agreement with a nearby parking garage in the Plaza Nueva of Bilbao.
  • All credit cards accepted.

According to the published guest reviews, the down-side to this hotel is that the glass doors to the bathrooms are not opaque enough.