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Trip Report Impressions of Madrid and Andalusia

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My husband and I had our two week trip to Madrid and Andalusia in May.--4 nights Madrid, 1 Cordoba, 3 Seville, 2 Granada and 3 Puerto Banus. We took the train to Cordoba and then Seville, got a car and drove to Granada, Puerto Banus and took day trip to Ronda and Malaga from there. For us, ending up in Costa del Sol was a relaxing way to end our vacation and we liked our time there.
We love the European feel, enjoy walking through the old city, walking after dinner and getting away. Although it is more challenging than going on a tour, we love the excitement of finding a great hotel or restaurant and navigating our way through a city. Sometimes we take public transportation and experience life in a way that you might not get on a tour.
Madrid was a lively town especially because of the May activities. We saw the Prado, the Royal Palace, took a day trip to Toledo. I was surprised that there wasn't more English spoken but we definitely got by. I can speak some French, which helped to understand some words and there was usually one waiter in a restaurant that spoke English. We went to a bullfight one evening to see what this is all about--that being said, it was an amazing experience to witness the fervor of the crowd and the ceremony of the bullfight with its stages.
We went to the Casa de la Memoria in Seville to see Flamenco. The male dancer was incredible. The Alhambra was spectacular and it's amazing to see the mixture of Moorish and Christian architecture. We only had 1/2 day of pouring rain and it was when we were at the Alhambra. We were also surprised about how cool the mornings were, especially in Madrid, and that it got so much warmer as the day progressed. Cordoba was amazing in that we got to see the festival of the patios. We went from house to house and saw the patios with pots and pots of flowers. I could go on but will switch gears to report on the hotels we stayed at:
Madrid: NH Paseo del Prado--great location at a good price. The room was a decent size and the bathroom was very modern. They also let us check in when we arrived in the morning.
Cordoba: Hotel Gonzalez--bright room in a good location. Pretty basic but great for the price. Since we were only there one night, we thought it was a good choice
Seville: Casa de la Juderia--great location, big room, interesting niches in the hotel but several drawbacks for us. Internet did not work in the rooms, only the common areas. The bath did not have any attachment on the wall so it didn't double as a shower. The windows were small, rectangular and high on the walls--we couldn't see out and it was dark in the room
Granada: Casa Morisca--we had a view of the Alhambra from our room. We walked there from the hotel although it was uphill. Nice hotel
Puerto banus--we stayed at the Melia Marbella Banus. It was a modern resort but had a great complimentary buffet breakfast, nice bright rooms that were large in size. The grounds were nice and the beach was nearby.
I will stop here for now and will continue later with the restaurants. I will say, however that we loved Tricolo in Madrid. It was described as Spanish cooking with a twist. It was small, very busy and everything was excellent and original--e.g. shrimp with mango.

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