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Trip Report Minivan in Andalucia - a mutigenerational trip

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Hi all, before too much time passes I wanted to give you a very quick report on a not-so-quick trip we took in mid-March. We (my husband and two sons ages 13 and 15) took my parents (both 78) on an 11-night trip through Andalucia.

Our itinerary was: fly into Malaga, rent minivan (!), drive to Cordoba for 3 nights staying at Alberca Apartments, drive to Cadiz for 4 nights (stopping in Sevilla on the way) staying at Patio del Panadero, drive to Ronda for 2 nights staying at Hotel San Gabriel, then Granada for 2 nights at the Parador, return to Malaga airport for flight home.

It was a great trip, very memorable, and I feel super lucky to have had the chance to travel to this magical area with my parents.

What did not go well: the weather. I don't know how, but we managed to have 8 straight days of rain in Andalucia. Our horse show was cancelled. We had many tours in the rain. We all wore the same clothes, in many layers, over and over again. I wanted to burn my rain jacket at the end (why did I bring two pair of sunglasses when I should have brought two rain coats??). We did the drive through the mountains to Ronda but saw practically nothing. At every mirador, I insisted on stopping to see the placard explaining what we should be able to see (the ocean! Africa!). We saw none of that. Only ghostly shadows of trees and white villages (I think). It was kind of a bummer because we had suffered through such a terrible winter in NYC and desperately needed warmth and sun. We mostly got 50 degrees and rain. Oh well.

What went well: everyone survived! plus we had a great time! Could be because the wine was inexpensive and delicious. Also the dollar was very strong against the Euro, making us feel giddy every time the check was delivered to our table. Driving was fairly easy and our accommodations, though varied, were all excellent in their own way. We loved each of the cities we visited. We saw flamenco at Arte y Sabores in Cordoba - we were all entranced, a lovely show in an intimate space.

Cadiz was a surprise star - it is much less touristic than the other spots in Andalucia but still very beautiful (and impossible to navigate the minivan through the centro - we had to abandon it in a parking garage and walk to our hotel). The restaurants were fantastic and inexpensive, and we ate incredibly well. The Mercado Central is mind boggling. And I took many lovely (rainy) runs along the waterfront. We also had a wonderful cooking class one day through A Taste of Spain.

Another great choice - staying at the Parador in Granada. What a treat! When we last visited Granada, I rejected the parador because many people found it disappointing. It was amazing and I highly recommend staying there, it's well worth the expense (and it is expensive). The Alhambra was just as brilliant and stunning and overwhelming as the first time we visited, and it was really wonderful to spend the night in that beautiful space (also made our night visit to the palaces very convenient).

We ate a lot and ate very well everywhere. No one tired of Spanish food or jamon, which was sort of amazing. The only let down was El Faro in Cadiz - it was expensive and overly fussy. Don't do it!

Cordoba - Taberna Salinas, Bodegas Mezquita, Regadera (we also gorged ourselves several times at the Mercado Victoria - loved that place!!)

Sevilla - Bar la Catredal (we had a reservation somewhere else, but it was POURING rain, so we tucked into this place which is very convenient to the Cathedral)

Cadiz - Balandro (delicious! sit at the bar), La Candela, El Faro, Freiduria Las Flores, Meson Cumbres Mayores (our favorite meal of the entire trip - wonderful tapas). We also had some lovely tapas in the market.

Ronda - Carmen la de Ronda, Meson el Sacristan (both of these places were convenient to our hotel, a blessing for my exhausted parents - I worried they would be overly touristic, but we had two fabulous dinners). Sadly we never made it to Locos Tapas.

Granada - El Deseo (great wine selection), Cunini (had a wonderful lunch here) (I must say we ran out of gas in Granada and ended up eating two meals at the Parador bar - food was adequate but not great, location near our rooms unbeatable!)

By the way, the sun finally came out on our drive back to the airport. We cursed it the entire drive.

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