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Trip Report Madrid and London

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Hi to All, As usual, I'm starting my TR ahead of the trip (about a month) so others can gauge how much pre-planning they need.

A little background: I'm a 65+ yo widow and haven't travelled overseas solo since 1969. Starting in the 1980's, DH and I took quite a few trips to Italy, France, and one each to London and Greece. We started out with guided tours and "graduated" to DIY over the years.

We got to the point where we spent extra for non-stop flights if they were available and for vans or taxis to and from the airport. It saved so much stress for both of us. Hot-footing it from one terminal to the other to catch a connection got old (as we did!).

Seeing art was always an important part of our trips. After reading a list of the greatest art museums here on Fodor's, I decided that seeing the ones I've missed would make a reasonable bucket list.

The Tates were not opened when we were in London so that was an easy choice. Many friends have raved about the Prado in Madrid, and in Venice, I fell in love with the artist Sorolla. Reading that his home was in Madrid and is now a museum, a second city was chosen.

I started thinking about this trip in August 2013. Is 8 months too far in advance? Using kayak then Orbitz, I looked for non-stop trips flying into Madrid and out of London. DH and I have used Orbitz for San Francisco and a Nice/Lyon trip and it worked fine. We had to come home early when DH was ill and it was an easy procedure by hotel phone.

I chose two hotels by a combination of Fodor's suggestions, Orbitz offers, TripAdvisor and actually emailing hotels asking for quotes. Here are the hotels I chose:

Madrid (contacted them):
NH Paseo del Prado
Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, 4. 28014 Madrid

London (Orbitz had better price):
Strand Palace Hotel
372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ

I started my trip folder with Orbitz and hotel printouts and, on the front, a list of things to check into and musts to pack. Should I include that in the next portion?

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