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Andalucia Trip: Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada

Andalucia Trip: Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada

Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 08:05 AM
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Andalucia Trip: Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada

From Sevilla with love!
Thank Maribel and all of the other Fodorites ekscrunchy whose names I can’t remember , for all your help and tips.
How to begin?! After all the planning, reading, researching, dreaming… here at last!

4 nights in Sevilla, after a pleasant airplane ride on Iberia, business class, courtesy of a great Amex Platinum offer which is the whole reason why I booked this trip to begin with! Thank you Amex!

So Day 1: Tuesday.
We arrived before the official check in time at Hotel GRAVINA 51 in El Arenal neighborhood after a speedy taxi ride from the airport. Welcome to Spain. Our “preferential” room was not ready, so our kind host Eugenio held our bags and we ventured out to get to know the neighborhood. Lovely! We took a nice walk around and ended up at Caztigo for tapas (recommended by Eugenio, very close to the hotel) and scored a great spot at the bar. Ahh! Had a delightful glass of a Verdejo mix, chiparones a la parrilla (grilled squid) y croquetas, which were soft, round and delicious. We also had a tartar of fish and meat on a brioche, which was just ok!
- Checked in to the hotel at 3 pm. Great room. Welcome bottle of cava was special. Took a nice 2 hour nap.
- Walked toward Isabella II bridge toward Triana, and then along the river, with all of the Sevillanos, who were out strolling as well. I love this about Spain! Stroll, talk, enjoy life and the company that you are with.
- Dinner at Petit Comité for 8 pm reservation. Delicious. We had: anchoas (raw, and they were quite pungent), boquerones fritos (yum), all of the olives, and croquetas. I had the bacalao (cod in a pea veloute) and Tom had the “pluma ibérica” a la brasa, with a nice bottle of Habla del Silencio from Extremadura which was a beautiful mix of Syrah, Cab Sauv and Tempranillo. (Ibérico Pluma is taken from the neck end of the pork loin from special Iberian Black Pigs, making it very lightweight, and it looks like a feather. ). It was amazing!

Wednesday:
- Slept till 9:25 am and had to rush to breakfast in order to make it to the Plaza Nueva by 10:30 for our Sevilla Walking Tour with our host Marina. It was fantastic!! Learned about the history and architecture, walked the shopping district streets of Sierpes and Tetuan, walked thru el Barrio de Santa Cruz, saw the ruins at the bottom of Las Setas, admired the Catedral de Sevilla and the Giralda from outside, and ended right by the Alcazar.
- It was a national holiday that day (Día de Andalucia) so the streets were full with people!
- We then walked back to Bodega Santa Cruz (Las Columnas), which was bustling with locals, and I ventured into the bar to order 2 montaditos and 2 cañas, for Tom and me. Montaditos are little sandwiches filled with a little meat and grilled. Yum. It hit the spot.
- Went back to the hotel for a much needed nap.
- Walked around our barrio of El Arenal and found a spot at the bar at Bar El Favorito, where we had a small ración of tortilla española, patatas bravas, espinacas con garbanzos and a beer. It hit the spot and was a nice surprise!
- Went to Casa de la Memoria for a outstanding Flamenco show, “Bravo!” It was exhilarating!
- Finished the day at La Azotea, where we had more tapas and spoke with a lovely couple next to our table, after we both finished our dinners.

Thursday:
-Slept till 9:30, had another great breakfast at hotel
-Walked to the Plaza de España- saw the Puerta de Jerez, the Hotel Alfonso XII, all that “other part of town” including the Melia Hotel, etc etc., and the beautiful building at the Plaza. Took the other way back into the Monuments area, thru Puerta de Roma, and went straight to the Alcazar. I’m so glad that our hotel was in El Arenal.
-Met Concepcion for the Alcazar tour, together w/ 2 other fun couples. FANTASTIC. 1 pm to 3 pm…. I loved her! And I enjoyed all of the additional historical facts that she shared… not to mention the beauty of El Alcazar.
-Opted to skip the Eslava reservation and ate at Bar Las Teresas. Good, not great. 7.5. Server was tired and seemed cranky! Sat outside, nice breeze. Ate costillitas, mushroom caps (great!), and fried calamari for Tom. A couple of beers were refreshing.
-Went to Casa de Palacios (because the Cathedral was closing early at 4 pm). A nice long walk to another part of town…. Super interesting, and easy self tour.
-Back into el centro….. stopped at Bar Comercio for churros y chocolate. OMG!
-Tired! Walked back to hotel for a little rest, great shower, and a regroup.
-Dinner at DisParate! Delicious, and the best meal that we had in Sevilla. Tom had the lomo de puerco and I had the fish. Starter was a selection of croqueta, fish fritter and anchoa on a little bread puff. Y los huevos estrallados. Oh my!

Friday
- Up early for breakfast at the hotel
- Pick up at 5 pm by Roger of A Question of Taste tours, for our tour to Jerez de la Frontera, a comfortable 75 minute ride with this nice chap from Wales who was a great host.
- Visited Listau and learned all about Sherry. Tasted Manzanilla, Fino, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and Pedro Jimenez, as well as 2 sherry vinegars which we purchased!
- Then visited Fernandez de Castilla Bodega, where we tasted some Oloroso from the barrels, and then had a lovely aperitif with the owner, Jan Pettersen. Together with Roger, we engaged in great conversation and covered various topics of interest. Talked too much and were late for our lunch at Amar.
- Fantastic meal with Roger: ensalada de patata, con atún y huevo, ensalada de roquet con queso de oveja, caracolitos of some sort in wine sauce, and an egg dish, scrambled with other goodies.
- Returned to the hotel, and regrettably, we were too full to eat at Restaurante Amara, where we had reservations at 8:30 pm. It was a busy Friday, so we decided against Amara and instead had a few croquetas and wine late, at the bar area of Hotel Colon, which was down the street from our hotel.
… on to Cordoba tomorrow.

What I liked the most about Sevilla: the flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria, the great tour with Concepcion of the Alcazar, all of the croquetas that Tom wanted to try (and we confirmed that the Miami croquetas pale in comparison), walking the lively streets among the talkative, friendly Sevillanos, and our hotel GRAVINA 51 , its location and great staff. And I’m so glad we did not go to Ronda as originally planned but stayed there the 4 nights… we really could have been there a week. And, we will have to return since we did not even make it to the Giralda and the Cathedral (gasp!) nor to the top of the Setas!!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 08:17 AM
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Hi patty travels,
I've loved your TR thus far! Following along with delight.

"I love this about Spain! Stroll, talk, enjoy life and the company that you are with."
That is so very true and why I love it so much!

We'll be staying near El Disparate in a few weeks and look forward to some great meals there and also at La Azotea.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed your tour with Roger to Jerez. He took you to my two favorite sherry bodegas. He's very well regarded at both.

Concepción Delgado is a gem of a tour guide!

Looking forward to Part II!

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Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 08:17 AM
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I enjoyed reading about your visit to Seville! You are so enthusiastic! Great job! I always recommend spending at least 4 nights in Seville, which is what we did, and I wish we had more time, too. La Azotea was our favorite restaurant in Seville. We ate there twice. Looking forward to Cordoba!
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 04:44 AM
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Andalucia: Cordoba, day 1 of 2

Saturday March 2
- arrived in Cordoba via train before noon, and checked into the bustling Hotel Hospes Palacio de Bailío. It was bustling because it was Sunday and people were checking out and checking in. Great bellboy service by Christian and the other guy with the pretty blue eyes (forgot his name!). Our room wasn’t ready and we didn’t get the Amex FH&R upgrade, but they gave us a lovely room with plenty of space, a bottle of cava, and the little piece of chocolate cake (which everyone seems to get, @Studenttobe !!).
- “killed time” by walking around the hotel, which was initially unimpressive, esp. after coming in from Seville, and ventured into Palacio de Viana for a peak (Tom didn’t want to go in and I was fine with this as well).
- I put “Casa Pepe de la Judería” on my apple map app, (@maribel) and it took us straight there, thru a nice and fun walk, winding the narrow streets. It had us arriving at 1 PM sharp, opening time! As we got in, there were 4 middle aged Spaniards (older than us) jovially taking pics of themselves in the corner of the bar… the wall behind them had all sorts of black & white and discolored framed photos of bullfighters, and these 2 couples were laughing and enjoying themselves in the moment; in fact, I almost asked them if they wanted me to take their pic (but I didn’t). They moved down the small and narrow bar area, and we scooted in next to them. So close that we were almost on top of each other, but no matter! They ordered cañas and a mix of Fino and Pedro Ximenez for one of the women. I ordered 2 cañas and a small portion of croquetas (this time, de Jamón, yeah!! Mami would have been happy!). They ordered a bunch of food, including the Ox tail (which was really cow). At some point, I said something to them, because they were so jovial and lively, and that was it!!… the conversation and camaraderie began! We talked about my grandparents from Asturias, about retirement, about Marbella and Malaga (which they poo-pooed), and, about Sevilla!! (they were from Sevilla and were there for the weekend). I translated for Tom.
- They ordered more food, more beers and wine. I ordered the berenjena con miel, which they had ordered as well, and another caña, and then, when their salmorejo came out, one of the gentlemen offered us the first spoonful!!!! I can’t express how great this moment was! They reminded me of Sarina and Pepe, our cousins once removed from Oviedo; I remembered my roots, and felt so happy in the moment!
- I know I’m now going overboard with this experience, but by this time, I also started talking to the other neighbors; the woman was from Alicante and she was celebrating her birthday with her husband, her sister and her brother in law. I asked if they could take our picture with the other friends, and then we took pictures with them, our new friends!! (Tom thought I was crazy)
- Hard to top that experience!
- After checking into our room, we rested a bit, and prepared for dinner at El Bar de Paco Morales. It was drizzling (and I was very thankful for my hat! For once, I packed well for this trip!)
- We were one of the early tables and got great service there. The food was amazing! I had Paco’s inventive Salmorejo de Naranja con bacalao ahumado y nube de mozzarela, we had the gamba de cristal frita y pimiento asado a la brasa, as well as the flamenquin, which was so delicious that Tom ordered a second (and we ate the whole thing)! Flamenquin is a traditional dish from Cordoba made w slices of jamón serrano wrapped in pieces of pork loin, coated breadcrumb batter and deep fried.
Oh my.
What a day! Ready for the Mezquita on Sunday …
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 07:12 AM
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pattytravel,
It´s neat that your grandparents were from Asturias, one of my very favorite regions. Which village or which city?

Sounds like very nice experiences, both at Casa Pepe and at El Bar de Paco Morales. It's also on our dining list, and I'll make sure to order the flamenquín.
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 08:38 AM
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Maribel My grandfather was from Navia (this was also his last name). He was one of 13, and several of his brothers went to Cuba in the late 20’s. He did as well, and met my grandmother in Habana, where they got married and raised 2 girls. My grandmother was from Avilés.
We still have relatives in Navia and in Oviedo; a few remaining cousins of my mom, and various second cousins. Asturias is wonderful, I agree!
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 08:44 AM
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I know Navia! So many, many asturianos emigrated to Cuba then. I found the Fundación Archivo de Indianos-Museo de la Emigración in Colombres really fascinating, the stories, the memorabilia from the ships that took them to Cuba and to South America, all of it. How wonderful that you still have relatives there!
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 10:31 AM
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What a great report! We stayed at Gravina 51 last year in a preferential room and agree, it's a fantastic place. Great rooms, location, and especially staff.
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 10:09 AM
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Cordoba, Day 2

Sunday, Day 2 in Cordoba
- was fantastic! We had a terrific breakfast at the hotel and took our time in the AM. There was a marathon going on that morning, which we got to watch.
- Then walked over to La Plaza de las Tendillas for a “GuruWalk” tour in English of the Heritage / Cultural sites. We had never done a Guru Walk tour before and this was great, and a last minute plan which I almost cancelled. Our tour guide was a young woman, Ashley, who had roots in both Cordoba and Arizona, and she spoke perfect English. We learned about San Rafael (and all of the men named Rafael in the area), visited the Jewish quarter, the Calleja de las Flores, saw the outside of the Alcazar and La Mezquita and had great interaction with our group of 8.
- The tour went way beyond the 2 hours and we were somewhat hungry so we ended up backtracking to a Moorish tea house, Teteria Petra, which Ashley had recommended. We wanted to check it out b/c we had dinner reservations at Casa Mazal and she wasn’t as fond of this restaurant as Petra, and Tom thought that maybe we would change our plans. I said, why don’t we just grab a bite here, and come back to Mazal for dinner?
It was great! We had tea and a nice selection of salad, hummus, and falafel, then had couscous with chicken. Lots of food to consume in less than an hour, and it was just great!
- We rushed over to La Mezquita for our 4 pm ticket appointment of the entry… and WOW! What a spectacular sight!!!
- La Mezquita was breathtaking! It was so beautiful! And it was so nice that Tom and I could you stroll together on our own and be wowed by this magnificent building (without a tour guide, for once!)
- Back to the hotel for a great shower, and then on to Casa Mazal, which was good, not great, but hit the spot. We had great service there and enjoyed the meal, and were happy that by this time we knew the city enough that we could get back to the hotel with some sort of familiarity, which is a wonderful feeling after one spends enough time in a place. (Not long enough, but it will suffice!!)
Granada the next day!
​​​​​​​
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 10:13 AM
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Good to know about Guru Walks. I had seen them recommended on another travel forum and knew nothing about them.
Have fun in Granada!
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 10:19 AM
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Thank you for your TR. Absolutely interested in reading more. I'm thinking about Spain for 2025.

Would it be possible for you to put your entire TR under one thread so we get the full picture? You can ask the mods to combine them and change the title.

Sounds like you're having a fantastic time!
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 12:09 PM
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Pictures cannot do the Mezquita justice. It begs to surround you. Jaw-dropping. I'm glad you had the opportunity to experience it.
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 02:24 PM
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Please don't start a new thread for every day. Each new episode can be tacked on to the original TR. It would be a good idea to ask the moderators to merge your three threads (so far) into yo one Trip Report.


edit: oops -- didn't see Travel_Nerd's post. Ditto
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Please don't start a new thread for every day. Each new episode can be tacked on to the original TR. It would be a good idea to ask the moderators to merge your three threads (so far) into yo one Trip Report.


edit: oops -- didn't see Travel_Nerd's post. Ditto
Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
Thank you for your TR. Absolutely interested in reading more. I'm thinking about Spain for 2025.

Would it be possible for you to put your entire TR under one thread so we get the full picture? You can ask the mods to combine them and change the title.

Sounds like you're having a fantastic time!
Originally Posted by shelemm
Pictures cannot do the Mezquita justice. It begs to surround you. Jaw-dropping. I'm glad you had the opportunity to experience it.
thank you!!! YES!
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 03:41 PM
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Wonderful report! Sevilla is a beautiful city! We really enjoyed La Azotea -- isn't it great!? I agree about Bar Las Teresas. Fun but not a good place for dinner. We loved Concepción Delgado too!

Looking forward to more of your travels!
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 05:36 AM
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Patty that is a coincidence! I, too, checked in early, about 11am, and had to wait for my room be readied, despite the Amex and Viruoso plans. They told me that the hotel had been full the night before. So you may have noticed a lone female huddled up in a white Terry robe (provided by the hotel since I was so freezing! My suitcase with warmer clothing had gotten lost so I was down to a think t-shirt and jeans, hence the white robe lent to me out of the kindness of the staff, while I waited on one of those cozy black sofas in the hallways ringing the breakfast area inside the courtyard!!

I liked the hotel, and my room (#12) although I did find the they were not too up on the closing days of restaurants, which caused me a little stumble in my plans, but all worked out well!
I'll be at Bar de Paco Morales tonight, if I can manage eating anything after my extravaganza last night at his sister place, NOOR!! Sad that I may have no time to sample Chef Morles' parents take-away place, but I'm still hoping to get to one of those snail stands!! Its still pouring here on Thursday!!
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 11:32 AM
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Oh my goodness, ekscrunchy , that's crazy! We were almost there at the same time!!
We had a fabulous time in Cordoba, and the city really grew on me as we stayed there.
I really really enjoyed el Bar de Paco Morales. I would have liked to eat at la Taberna San Miguel , but it was closed on Sunday. And we never made it to Garum 2.1 due to my overscheduling of the tour (which was really good). I will look for your TR!
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 11:33 AM
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Maribel thank you for that insight on the Fundacion Archivo... will need to go to Columbres now!!
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