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Trip Report Trip Report (Summary)--Madrid, Seville, Barcelona

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Just returned from Spain and wanted to post a quick report, will follow with more details later to provide any helpful hints I can.

Arrived early Saturday morning after overnight flight from JFK (Delta, no problems, and actually arrived in Madrid an hour ahead of schedule). Stayed at the Westin Palace, great location, very nice hotel, room was great. Also a great location, right in the museum triangle.
Since it was early and room was not ready, headed out for a walk and some breakfast--Chocolateria San Gines for churros and chocolate. It deserves its reputation, was fabulous. After breakfast, back to hotel (around 9:30 or so) and room was ready. Dumped our stuff and headed to hop on hop off bus to see some of the city and try to stay awake. Then to Retiro Park.

Next days in Madrid included the Rastro, the Royal Palace (were going to do guided tour but did not want to wait over an hour for the next one so just did audio guide, was pretty good) and museum tours of the Reina Sofia and Prado (with Madrid Museum Tours).
Took the hop on hop off bus so we could try to keep ourselves awake, saw some of the city.

Meals in Madrid at Lateral tapas bar, Mercado de San Miguel, La Barraca for paella.

Then train to Seville on the Renfe AVE. Flamenco show at Los Gallos, then tour of Seville (Alcazar, Cathedral and Barrio Santa Cruz. Used Luis of reallydiscover.com, was excellent. Stayed at the Alma Seville hotel, was very nice. Short stay in Seville, then a flight to Barcelona on Vueling, again all went smoothly with the travel.

Meals in Seville--Bar Giralda. I must say that this place is living on its reputation. Easily the worst meal we had in Spain all week. Also ate at Bodega Santa Cruz, and that was excellent, both atmosphere and food.

Barcelona--stayed at the El Palace Hotel, and really liked it. Beautiful hotel, great room, great location. Had a Gaudi tour (used OkaiBarcelona (Nestor), and really do not recommend them. We enjoyed everything we saw but as a tour guide he was no good. Could just have well done it on our own (and most of it we did). But loved all the Gaudi sites we saw--Casa Mila, Caso Batllo, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, Palau Guell. Did a walking tour of Montjuic--that was ok, interesting to see the olympic stadium, saw the magic fountain, not sure if I'd do the walking tour again. Next day walked La Rambla, absorbed the atmosphere, picked up some souvenirs. Columbus Monument. Next day we did a segway tour with Barcelona Segway Glides, and really enjoyed that. Learned some things, but just a fun way to see some of the city. Did a Picasso walking tour, that was not bad, ended up in the Picasso museum. Tour through the gothic quarter was ok, museum was best part. Then went to the FC Barcelona soccer game, and that was fantastic. Really recommend that experience if you have the opportunity.

Meals included Taller de Tapas (enjoyed that--I know it is a chain, but food was very good, did that our first night when we arrived as it was very close to hotel); a couple of meals at the Bocqueria on the Rambla, and that is just a wonderful place. Wanted to eat at Pinoxto there, but was just too crowded and could not get a seat. Got some food at many different stalls, and tried some of the great juices they had as well; also tapas at Ciudad Cuando (recommended by one of our guides) and it was very good--excellent patatas bravas; Quimet & Quimet, a good experience, great atmosphere and enjoyed the tapas.

Hope some of this can help others planning their trips. I'll be happy to answer any questions anyone has about any of the details.

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