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Trip Report Summer in the South of Spain - trip report

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I've seen a lot of inquiries about Spain so thought it might be a good idea to go over the trip I took there last summer with my parents (in their '70s) and two kids (6 and 8). It was a whirlwind, but fantastic nonetheless. Of course, it helped that my dad is from Spain. Having a gregarious built in translator and guide, especially someone who lived through a very turbulent time in it's history, made the trip that much better. I wish everyone had access to my dad on their trips!

Here's the itinerary - I'll come back to fill in some of the blanks later. Think of this as an tiny tapa.

May 29th, 1014 - Arrived Madrid at 7:10am from the USA. We were met by my cousin and his son - nothing better than an airport reunion! We got our luggage and picked up a Mercedes Sprinter Van. Off we went to my aunt's apartment to settle in and have a bite to eat. We walked to the local El Corte Ingles to shop and have a snack. My son fell asleep in my arms at a table full of tapas. Too bad he missed those divine croquettas. After a nap, we grabbed my high school aged nephew (my cousin's son is my nephew, right? Work with me here) for a fun tourist bus tour of Madrid. It was an easy way to see the sights with my two jet-lagged kids. Plus, for the rest of us who either were currently living in Madrid or had been there many times, it was fun to play tourist.

May 30th - The five of us and my aunt piled into the van to begin our first journey up to Guadarrama to visit the graves of my grandparents and have lunch. I was amazed at how quickly my Spanish skills (as pitiful as they are) came back once I needed them. After lunch we made our way to El Escorial. The scent of the pine trees is something I was looking forward to as I have a distinct memory of their intoxicating scent from being there as a child. El Escorial was pretty empty seeing as this was off-season. Amazing to have such a majestic place all to yourself. We walked around the monastery for a bit before heading into the church under the giant cross. My poor daughter, having never been in a church before, was scared out of her wits at the dim light, the smell of incense, and the chanting monks. I took her outside for a bit, grateful I had my parents and aunt there to show my son around further. After a while we tumbled back into the van and drove over to the Seat of Philip II. They say that from here Philip II watched over the building of the monastery. There were a few student groups already there which made things a bit tight, but the view from the small stone seat is amazing. After this we got back on the road towards Madrid, had dinner with my aunt and went to bed happy and tired.

Speaking of tired - I am very much so. With out further ado, this is the rest of the itin - I'll fill it in more later. Thanks for reading!

5/31 - Talavera, Caceres, Trujillo
6/1 - Merida, Sevilla
6/2 - Sevilla, Cordoba
6/3 - Cordoba, Granada
6/4 - Granada, Almeria
6/5 - Almeria, Cabo de Palos
6/6 - Cabo de Palos, Madrid
6/6 - Madrid and arrival of my eldest brother and his girlfriend
6/7 - Madrid, Chinchon, San Martin de la Vega (family reunion)
6/8 - Madrid, Toledo
6/9 - Madrid, Segovia
6/10 - Madrid
6/11 - Fly home.

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