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Madrid, etc./Andalucia--the usual ?s: where to, how long, 2 weeks or more?

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I am planning my first trip to Spain. (Speak enough Spanish to get by pretty well in Mexico incidentally. Of course, castellano is quite different.) I have read dozens of other people's itineraries where they are very tightly scheduled and planned down to what to do at 1:30 p.m. on day 4--that's not me--much more of a slow traveler. Have not booked airfare yet so dates are flexible after October 9 but thinking two weeks--Madrid/Andalucia. I am retired 60-something female going solo (have traveled solo before in Mexico, Italy, Paris). Not sure how many times I'll go back to Spain but don't want to overload, so reluctantly have eliminated San Sebastian/Bilbao for another trip.

First week already booked in Barcelona (first week in October) with a friend. (Will be flying over on Vueling from Venice after a week there.) Then friend will go home and I will go progressively more south for the next two weeks (by train or bus--don't want to fly or drive). Prefer cooler weather in daytime. Will it still be hot in Andalucia?

Right now thinking AVE from Barcelona to Madrid. Four days just in Madrid (Prado/Thyssen-Bornemisza, what else?) Is day trip to Toledo enough or should I stay overnight? Segovia as day trip from Madrid? So that's one week.

Andalucia--How many days in each place (Granada/Seville mainly) is the main question natch. Thinking AVE Madrid to Sevilla--third week in October. Will it be reasonably cool in daytime by then? How many days? Someone suggested going by train from Madrid to Granada BEFORE going to Seville (slow train or bus?) and staying 4 nights (3 days) in Granada. Granada sounds beautiful but do I need 3 or 4 days there? I have a feeling I will prefer Seville (since I love colonial Mexico). True? I will book the Alhambra in advance of course. Should I stay as near a possible to Alhambra? Favorite B& B Granada? Best area to stay in Seville? Favorite B&B/hotel? I will definitely see flamenco since I have loved flamenco since my teenage years. Is Cordoba a must? Can I do Cordoba as a day trip from Seville? What am I leaving out that I will regret, oh wise Fodorites?

AVE Seville to Madrid. Apparently Barajas is rather far from the center. For an 11 a.m. flight should I stay in a hotel near the airport?

Thanks in advance to everybody!

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