Granada questions

Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 05:07 AM
  #41  
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Kellie that is a GEM of a tip and I thank you! I will certainly do as you suggest. I know that we can rent an automatic in Seville, as we did so a few years ago (that is why Sevilla is not part of my plan for this trip). But I had NO IDEA that the cars differed on the various sites...

I am enjoying your report!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 05:19 AM
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I can't take credit for the tip. I learned of it on this site of course...
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 06:21 AM
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Thanks Maribel.
Thanks Robert
You guys are terrific.

It is because of your recommendations that we discovered Codex & hope to get back there too if possible.

Maribel we used your guides all the time. Thanks!

As for Andalucia I would love to go in 08, but 09 is more likely since there are other folks involved this time. And maybe we will be there for the Benial in Sevilla & hopefully do the the Rutas Flamencas...

Scrunchy are you going to Jerez?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:18 AM
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I just checked the AutoEurope site. If you put in US, the automatic you are offered is a Peugot at almost $1200 for 10 days in October. If you put in United Kingdom in under the "International Sites" button, you are offered the Mercedes A Class for a little over $500 for the same time period. These were both in and out of the Granada airport. Crazy.

There were warnings from some (other car brokers) that my rental would not be valid this way and I did make a back-up reservation held with no credit card just in case. But I called AutoEurope and they said that once you had your voucher you were all set. If there were any problems with the reservation then they wouldn't send you the voucher.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Incredible! So, just to understand, they sent you the voucher to a US postal address (or by e-mail, or by fax?)

You are a doll for checking this out for me!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:30 AM
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It was to my e-mail address. Even though you are checking rates under the United Kingdom website, they still give you a place to put in a United States address with state choices and everything. So you are not lying to them. You are giving them all of your correct info. If they choose to issue you a voucher then that is there choice.

They e-mail the voucher to you about a day later. I can't remember if they charge your credit card right then or when you pick up the car.

I still don't understand why they don't offer the A Class on the U.S. site. It was a very roomy little car with a lot of pep. My husband had a great time scaring the bejesus out of me in the mountains.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Yes..I love that Mercedes A-Class. We were upgraded to one at Madrid airport on our most recent trip to Spain, in spring 2006. I am pretty certain we used AutoEurope and I think we got the car from Avis..
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:29 AM
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If you put in Ireland you get a whole other set of inexpensive automatics. (Although one of them looks like it might be lime green).

And what is really weird is if you put in Canada, you get no results at all. They say there are no cars that match your request. For some reason they don't want to rent automatic cars to Canadians in Granada. What's that about?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 02:15 PM
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eks,
Just can't predict what Jan. weather will be anymore with this crazy climate change, but we spent this past Jan. on the Costa Brava and the Cerdanya with bright blue skies,temps ranging from 50-60F and no snow other than a little of the man-made variety at La Molina.
But...the Cazorla Park Parador does close annually from Dec. 17-Feb. 4, which nixes a Jan. lunch (boo-hoo, their venison rules!).

The high tariff for the Granada Parador reflects the additional star it will receive when renovations are completed in mid-May '08. It will become a 5 star property, hince the rate hike. Older wing rooms will have a new, fresh look, and there will be a new bar/solarium and reception area.

Another excursion a dedicated, highly experienced foodie like yourself might want to take would be to Trevélez, a Holy Grail of Jamón site.
While it may not reach the lofty status of the pata negra Guijuelo or Jabugo, it's pretty doggone good ham and has its own D.O. That is, if you two have any interest in exploring the laid-back Alpujarras. Josele can give you expert advice on a driving tour in that neck of the woods.

And if you drive from Jaén to Córdoba, you could take the N432 through Baena for some superb olive oil tasting/buying, with its own D.O. You could visit the Museo del Olivar
y el Aceite there.

Then take a little (20 km.) detour down the A 333 to Priego de Córdoba, one of the loveliest villages in the entire province (for me) with its totally charming Barrio de la Villa (Judería) quarter, Balcón del Adarve belvedere and beautiful Baroque churches. I just loved this place.
I'd do lunch at the Balcón del Adarve (closed Mon., 25€ p.p.)
www.balcondeladarve.com

And if you do choose the Ubeda Parador, please request a room facing the square for great atmosphere. You'll be quite impressed by this city's (and Baeza's) wonderful Renaissance architecture-many works by Andrés de Vandelvira (also its attractively rustic green and dark blue pottery by potter extraordinaire Juan Tito). They filmed scenes of El Capitán Alatriste in Ubeda.

A nice spot for lunch in Baeza is the legendary Juanito on the highway. Chef is a Eurotoque and sports a sol in the Campsa guide.
www.juanitobaeza.com

Ana María,
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your detailed trip report (I printed it out)-love your writing style and so glad you chose the Hospedería and dined at Codex. We have to get back there soon.

kelliebellie,
What a fine tip about Auto Europe. We do 5-6 rentals with them every year, and I never thought of that money saving trick.

Kenderina,
Thanks so much for the warm welcome back! Missed you all!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 04:40 PM
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Thanks Maribel, the report is in two parts & I know it's tedious & not for everyone. My own husband said he'd prefer to wait for the video. Ha what a comedian.
Just for that he gets to sit through another looong flamenco concert or better student dance recital.

I agree that it's time to return.
I loved the Segovia area & I now have a thing for storks. I did not get to meet the owner of Codex in person but have e mailed him several times about this & that (about Mario & Gweneth doing the Spain food road trip ) & he is such a charmer.

My DH (Mr. Don) wants to try to the "butcher place" (Meson Gonzlez in Sacremenia) We did not make it there.

Please consider us your loyal fans! XXOO ><

Scunchita, have you decided yet on a a final itinerary yet? I am dying to hear in DETAIL to live vicariously.

ams



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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Hi Maribel!!!!! It' so nice to see your name and you posting again.

I was just in Granada, just for the day as I was in a cruise that stopped in Malaga. I noticed that the Parador is going through renovations. Our tour guide told us that it will be then considered a 5 stars Parador.

It was sad not to have time to see anything else in Granada other that the Alhambra. Good excuse to go back!
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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eks,
A way to enjoy both the Alhambra hill and the Albaycín:
splurge for the newly renovated 5 star Parador (or the more reasonable Alhambra Palace or even the more modest but still fine América or even the Guadalupe) and treat yourselves to dinner at El Huerto de Juan Ramos at the Mirador de San Nicolás-best views in the city of the mightly "red fortress".
www.restaurantejuanramos.com (enjoy the music!)

Or the Mirador de Moraya

On the N 432 drive from Granada to Córdoba through Priego, you might want to visit Alcalá la Real for its views from the castle-fortress. (They have a project to build a Parador there).

I'm sure you know the Núñez de Prado olive oil comes from Baena (as well as Duque de Baena), and you can visit their almazara. The route from Baena to Córdoba is one of the official "Rutas del Aceite". You can see them all at
cerespain.com/rutas_del_aceite.html

nunezdepradousa.com

We just lugged back a 5 liter can of oil from Navarra (making an outstanding product in this new DO).

Speaking of more aceites...

In the '08 Best of Spanish Gastronomy that the Galgón 99 from Villanueva de la Reina in Jaén gets a 9.25/10 rating-worth seeking out.
Also we picked up a nice Castillo de Canena (arbequina) and Hacienda La Laguna from a shop in Baeza, and Ubeda makes nice oil too (Los Cerros de Ubeda) which you probably can't find easily in the US, unlike the N de P.

About Córdoba, tourism & gastronomy:

Andy Ferren did a fairly good piece in the NY Times, "Córdoba Adds to its Allure" that goes beyond the usual sightseeing in the Judería.
And I've been reading a lot in the Spain gourmet press about the very innovative cooking of the young and upcoming chef, Kisko García, of El Choco who trained at Ronda's Tragabuches. His place is off the beaten path in the Fuensanta district. His brother acts as the sommelier and has produced an interesting wine list with reasonable prices. The degustation menu goes for an affordable 38€
Address:
Compositor Serrano Lucena
Phone:
957 264 863

Dedicated gastronomes like Scrunchita need to know about these things...

cruiseluv,
We just came back from Santander (and the Mesón Rampalay), and I thought of you! Thanks, too, for the welcome!
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Santander!! I love it and love the Meson Rampalay. My son and I still talk about their croquetas!
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Old Dec 6th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Me again eks,
I just couldn't help myself. Your mere mention of Granada made me book 3 nights in early Feb. We haven't been in awhile, and I need to write a little guide...

Our lodging choice:

Booked the 7-room Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol, on the Alhambra hill, near the Alhambra Palace, which hadn't even registered to me until I checked Trip Advisor.

Selling points for us:

romantic location, understated elegance, well-stocked library, rooms with patios and pretty views of the city below, walk down to the Campo de Príncipe for evening tapas (have a favorite spot there), owner is a local history expert, and the fact that it was immortalized by my favorite Spanish impressionist, Joaquín Sorolla!
No need for an in-house restaurant. We’ll do tapas one evening, dinner at the Parador another and an Albayzín “carmen” on our last night.
Rates range from 120-140€, which fits our bill perfectly for a charming Alhambra hill inn.
www.alcubilladelcaracol.com

Since we have 10-12 weeks of European hotel stays coming up next yr., we definitely have to watch our wallet!

Now just hoping it’s almost as delightful as Pedraza’s Hospedería.

Considered the Parador-hubby qualifies for that Golden Age discount, but it forces us into the 17€ p.p. buffet brk, which doesn't represent that much of a savings, totaling 227€. It was even available for our Feb. dates!

Our favorite 4 star alternative, Alhambra Palace, was available for 175€.

As for downtown, the 5 star Hospes Palacio de los Patos didn't make the cut, even with a special Feb. 219€ rate including buffet brk., massage for 2, dinner at Sensone, given its uninspiring location. Even with spa and indoor pool, I wasn't quite convinced after reading through all the reviews.

The Albayzín:

Just not ready to try it again because of my silly fixation with the Alhambra hill, but I intend to visit each and every one of those boutique hotels there!

Could have booked Casa Morisca's special Mirador room (Alhambra views) for 198€, Rusticae’s Ladrón del Agua superior double for 134€ or the Room Mate Migueletes for 99-110€

I love the Rusticaes and like the Room Mate concept for good price/quality ratio. (The Room Mate Alicia in the Barrio de las Letras of Old Madrid is a particularly good buy).

There are 2 more Room Mates coming to Granada in Dec.-the Leo, downtown just south of Plaza Bib-Rambla, and the Shalma, also downtown, near the Campo del Príncipe.

Hope this helps you a bit with your hotel choice next year.


Didn't mean to give such short shrift to Nerja. On the coastal drive from Salobreña to Málaga, we stop at the caves, then make a stop in Nerja for the views from the Balcón de Europa (parking lot easy to find and just steps away) and another photo-op stop in blindingly white, Moorish Frigiliana. Hope it hasn't now gone the way of Disney-fied Mijas! It did have considerable charm, but there appeared to be a condo building frenzy the last time we stopped. Cómpeta, another perched white village in the Axarquía, might also be worth a 20 km. drive up into the Sierras, but josele is the expert in that neck of the woods.

Have fun planningˇ
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 03:32 AM
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Maribel you are a true marvel. You have contributed so very much to our enjoyment during the last 2 trips we made to Spain! And now my questions have prompted you to book another Granada trip!

I have to chuckle to think of you lugging that Nunez de Prado oil! We can actually find it here in NYC (at a MUCH higher price, I am certain!) but I must to check to see if the date is the newest harvest..

So far there has been no word fro the TP (travel partner) regarding the baseball playoff dates. What do you think of traveling in this region in January? On another post, someone wrote about snow and high winds in Granada....would January travel be a mistake? I see now that the winter anciano discount at the parador will not do us much good due to the exclusion of the breakfasts, so that is no longer an issue..
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Hi again eks,

Been "catching up" from my yr long absence, reading all my Fodor buddies' trip reports, and I'm so glad you loved the pintxos gems at La Cuchara de San Telmo in Donostia (I found 2 new stars, "Zeruko" on Pescadería 10 and "Mil Catas" on Zabaleta 55 in the Gros quarter for your next trip).

I actually brought back the 5 liters from Bodegas Aristu in Lumbier, Navarra-an aceite ecológico, small production, that I can't get stateside.

The Spanish Table here in Seattle (I just temporarily moved) sells the pricey Núñez de Prado too along with the Castillo de Canena (Jaén) and Parque de Oliva (Priego).
But they don't have that jamón ibérico yet (I should have stayed on the east coast where I could hop down to the D.C. José Andrés empire!)

But I digress..back to GRANADA!

Winter weather:

Our dates are Feb. 3-6, so I'll let you know how we've fared.
If you're lucky in Jan. it *could* be in the 50s to low 60s during the day (13-17C) but maybe in the mid 30s to lower 40s at night (1-6C).
But then again, who knows??

We'll plan for the worst and bundle up!

I don't expect snow in the city itself, but I reckon you'd find snow in the high Alpujarras if you venture as far up as Trevélez (the ham town) and of course, on the Sierra Nevada slopes.

We'll be car-less and aren't planning those day trips.

And since we'll be there Sun.-Wed., we'll miss out on an Alhambra night visit (you're right-just on Fri/Sat from Nov-Feb.)

Hope we don't regret not splurging on the Parador, but if I'm going to shell out 227€, I'd rather do it when they get their 5th star and ALL the rooms has been completely renovated (they've finished the ones in the older wing, the rest should be done by mid-May) and then request one of the 3 brand new rooms they'll have added.

eks, just a clarification about that "ancianos", Golden Age discount:

In '08 it's a 30% discount, but it does require bed AND breakfast-you MUST take the buffet brk. at the additional charge of 17€ p.p.

(Parador buffet brks. in '08 range from 14-18€ p.p.)

And if you book the Parador for OCT. '08 the discount isn't available.
Only in Jan./Feb. '08, and only Sun.-Thurs.

If your TP is an oldster (like my TP) and you book for Jan. '09 from Sun.-Thurs., and you want DAILY brk. you should book the discount.

I see their '09 rack rates at will go up to 297€

For fun, I just tried to book it online for Jan. 8, '09.
Showed plenty of availability!! but no Golden Age rate (they probably haven't set their '09 discounts calendar yet).

Now, eks, I just hope to God I haven't thoroughly confused you!!!

Have fun planning your other adventures next year as well!
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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eks,
Almost forgot...in my new winter Amigos bulletin I see the Córdoba Parador offers an Amigos rate of only 80€ Sun-Thurs in January and also a "2 nights for 1" special.

Jaén entices with a DAILY "2 nights for 1" in Jan. Also an 80€ DAILY special from Jan. 15-30.

These yearly Jan.-March and Oct.-Dec. Parador specials have been huge money savers for us since we joined Amigos.

A discount here, a discount there=an occasional splurge at a 5 star!
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 04:53 AM
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Maribel did I already tell you that you are a marvel? Well, I am telling you one more time!

I will wait to hear your "weather report" but from what you write, it does not sound like too much of a problem since we are not planning to ski. On the other hand, it does sound like weather might impede meandering about..(how can I miss Trevelez if I am so close??)

As you know I am an incessant planner and would like to firm everything up, even at this early date. But I do have a big trip coming up (to SE Asia) so I suppose I will wait until I return at the end of January and then get busy on this one. By then the oldster (yes, it is the TP) will know the dates of his sacred games. As I wrote, he is firmly tied to the (big screen) tv for most of October, but I am hoping to sneak the trip in somehow..

Good inside information about the upcoming renovation of the Granada parador..for those prices I would expect a nice room! It really is pricey with the US exchange rate but it sounds like a once-in-a lifetime so we will deal with that.

...which brings me to my next question..is there an Andalucia Maribel Guide looming on the horizon?

Maribel, l I cannot begin to tell you how much your advice, both here and in the guide, helped us in San Sebastian. Cuchara de San Telmo now turns up whenever people ask me about my best lifetime eating experiences (unfortunately I wish more people would ask...I do not get to discuss my favorite subject nearly as often as I would like...) I do wish I would have been able to explore Gros..one of the issues when traveling with friends less fanatical about certain subjects is that said friends are often loathe to trek for miles to sample, for example, Chipiron en Equilibria del Mar... Well, yet another reason to return someday.

Well, off to my own kitchen to sample something a lot less enticing....
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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I want to second what ekscrunchy said, Maribel, you are such a terrific contributor and help to all of us! Of course, now I am also itching to plan a trip to Spain and pack up and go!
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Old Dec 8th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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I too want to reiterate how much help Maribel has been & how apreciated she is (and of course the guides which I had with me in their handy dandy (softbound) plastic covers from Staples.

Also I too am raring 2 go.
Cruislover add me to the list.

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