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Just back from 8 days in Madrid and Sevilla-me encanta!

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Jun 11th, 2013, 01:59 PM
  #1
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Just back from 8 days in Madrid and Sevilla-me encanta!

Ten months ago, I surprised DH for his 50th with a trip to Spain. I had rt tickets to Madrid and relied on alot of your advice on how to plan our agenda and most importantly, where to eat. . Cannot thank you all enought for your generosity and help.
We decided on the first 3 nights in Sevilla and the remaining 4 in Madrid and had a wonderful trip. I had studied for my junior year abroad in Madrid and had not visited since (over 20 years ago.) I was fluent then but more conversational now. As excited as I was, I was also nervous that I woudl not love Madrid as much as I remembered, but that proved unwarranted.
We landed in Madrid a bit before 7 am, took the airport express to Atocha for our 11 am train to Sevilla. I used Petrabax for the renfe tickets. Was
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Jun 11th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Glad your trip was all you hoped it would be.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 08:47 PM
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Hello plambers, looks like you got cut off. I definitely want to read more about your trip!
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Jun 12th, 2013, 12:32 AM
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ttt
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Jun 13th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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I agree with Leely! Can't wait to read more about your trip!
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Jun 13th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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So sorry-thought i hit preview!
We actually landed early in Madrid and Express bus was waiting for us so we sat in Atocha for about 3 1/2 hours. The renfe train (tourista plus going, turista returning) was a lovely experience. Seats super roomy and comfy. the thing i immediately noticed was how personal space was honored. I used to ride the Long Island Rail Road into NYC and was used to hearing people speaking loudly during conversations and even worse during phone calls. All the coverstations in our car were quiet and cell phone conversations taken in the next car assigned for this purpose. We dozed on and off since we got very little sleep on the plane - the scenery looked nice- and we arrived in Sevilla early.
I knew Sevilla was something special immediately. Our cab driver was very friendly and chatty (my Spanish starting flowing almost immediately!) and he responded in kind. I find it a bit offputting when I ask a question in Spanish and am responded to in English am happy to report that this happened rarely.
The cab ride to our apartment was scenic, flowers were blooming and weather was lovely (mid 70s and low humidity.
We rented the Quiros attic apartment throught Sleep in Sevilla. http://www.sleepinsevilla.com/apartamentos_quiros.html
A poster had recommended this company and the Quiros aparment was perfect. It was on a quiet street in the Arenal with elevator, bright, airy, clean, wifi, a queen bed (very comfy too), large bathroom, and private terraces (2) with views of the Cathedral. Isa was wonderful to work with and she was helpful and responsive with helping me book tours, meals etc. Unfortunately, she was off when we arrived on Fri so we worked with Marisa, equally helpful.
We quicky unpacked and walked to Azotea for lunch. It was quite crowded with a well dressed clientele (the norm for Sevilla).
A quick note about this post-I put alot of time and planning onto eating well on a trip. For Sevilla, we did not want the Michelin experience, but more good food with a blend of traditional and modern tapas in a friendly and casual environment. For all those who have helped me with my dining selections, muchisimas gracias.
http://azahar-sevilla.com/ was also a very helpful website for Sevilla dining.
I expected alot from Azotea on calle Zaragosa. It was the only restaurant that we never did get a seat at the bar. I learned alot from what to expect in a small popular crowded tapas bar here-they are not for the meek! There was a chair that became available at the bar but I did not more fast enough and it was taken. A table did open up but I did not know if we wanted the full racion (or media) or if we just wanted to acquaint ourselves with tapas. Either way, we stood at a table and we enjoyed 3 tapas portions. My receipts are still home but I remember we ordered croquetas (good but not great) and tuna. Will bring my receipts in to better keep all informed of what we liked/loved/disliked. DH had 2 canas, a habit he developed and thoroughly enjoyed in Spain. I had 2 different whites (a rueda which i really enjoyed, andn an albarino.) Azotea had a well thought out suggested wine list that made it alot of fun to order and try new ones.
I am sure we were a bit intimidated for our first tapas experience and do wish we got a seat at the bar. as i said, i learned alot from this experience and did manage to shimmy and get bar seating at almost all other tapas dinings. our second waitress was much friendlier and she helped make it a good first try.
Have to run but have way more to post...
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Jun 14th, 2013, 07:43 AM
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We had closen Sevilla for several reasons. Since we only had 8 days, did not want to rush through 2 major cities (Madrid and Barcelona), the train connection was great, but mostly because of the rave reviews Sevilla has received. I also liked that while the city itself was highly atmospheric (with great food) and it had very disinct neighborhoods, it did not have a ton of must see sights. We prefer to walk around and take in neighborhoods and meet the locals rahter than ensuring that every must see box is checked. Sevilla seemed to fit the bill and it exceeded my expectations.
It is a charming, historic, highly atmospheric city. It was so difficult to capture it in pictures because it seemed like continuous beauty. The locals were also very outgoing and helpful.
After lunch we walked around the Arenal and Santa Cruz area and stood in awe at the size of the Cathedral. I was very happy to have our apartment in the Arenal area, but did not fine the Santa Cruz neighborhood as touristy or crowded as feared. There were some Americans, but many more Spanish speaking locals and tourist. It seemed to be a big weekend for First Communions and Confirmations and there was a procession in front of the Cathedral with young girls and boys dressed in white. We decided to cross the bridge over to Triana around 7 ish. The view across the river is beautiful. There was also a major Communion procession in Triana that was charming-old ladies looking our their windows holding portraits of Mary and young children all in white. We are Cathollic and the processions reminded me of when i was young. We spoke with some locals and they were all very polite and generous with their time. I really enjoyed Triana-it was a neighborhood. It was not quite as picturesque as Santa Cruz but it was real. My husband does not have much experience with Castillian Spanish and continually commented what a lovely language it was-spoken more clearly and slowly that we are used to hearing. Do not mean to offend by that statment. Unfortunately, it was 8:30 and I was getting hungry. We planned on tapas at Golondrinas 1 and 2 and another one on the river that we were unable to find, despite asking and searchign. Finally at 9, the doors opened and we got the only table at Las Golondrinas. We ordered the garlic mushrooms, grilled squid and a few other items (need to bring in my receipts!) and a wine for me and cana for DH. Our first waiter was super nice and he told me the differences in them menus between 1 and 2. Our 2nd waiter was actually surly and we avoided him. We really enjoyed the meal at G 1. We gave our talble to a very appreciative couple and were rewarded by getting seats at the bar at Golondrinas 2, recently opened. It had a more modern decor. Throughout the trip, I found it beneficial to sit at the bar and eat.I would ask the waiter to bring me his 2 favoroite tapas and his favorite and we would go from there. It was a tactic that worked very well for us. Our waiter here was also super nice. I think the total for both Golondrinas 1 and 2 with 3 or 4 wines and 3 canas with 6 tapas came to 28 Euros. I was like a kid in a candy shop!!
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Aug 24th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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hi all - should i continue to post rest of trip?
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Aug 24th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Yes, please do!
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Aug 24th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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Oh, but if you could please double -space between your paragraphs, it would make it easier on the eyes. If you're copying from a Word doc, I don't think this site retains your paragraph breaks.

Looking forward to reading more. Thanks!
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Aug 24th, 2013, 05:29 PM
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More, please!
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Aug 24th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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I'm so happy you enjoyed your trip and glad he apartment worked well. You sure did a
It on your first day! Can't wait to hear more!
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Aug 24th, 2013, 10:11 PM
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Looking forward to reading about the Madrid portion of your trip as I will be going there in the spring. Thanks for posting.
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Aug 25th, 2013, 04:08 AM
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Eager for more!

Yo tambien estoy encantada de Sevilla! (or is it "con" Sevilla, jeLopez??) In any case, I can't wait to hear more..please continue to be generous with the food descriptions!
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Aug 25th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Ekscrunchy:
Nice to hear from you!
"Con Sevilla". Or Me encanta Sevilla!
Next september we are going to Moscow and S Petersburg, then, Madrid, Malaga, Madrid, some 7 days in Madrid with day trips and 5 in Malaga with day trips, we already know Cordoba, Granada and Sevilla but may be we will go again to Sevilla or Granada.
Let us know ifyou have sometihing un mind! Italy? Spain?
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Aug 25th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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I'm enjoying this. I also love Sevilla. I stayed in the Triana district in 2011 and liked it.

I second the request for double spacing between paragraphs.
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Aug 25th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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Me encanta Sevilla!!! Gracias, JELopez! Next trip will be South Africa, and then, hopefully, I can think about a return to Italy or Spain. Someday I hope to travel south, though, to sample some of that great steak in your neck of the woods, as we say in these parts! My neighbors have been twice to your country and estan encantados con Uruguay! (Les encanta Uruguay??) I will be really happy to read your report on your upcoming trip!

EAger for more, Plambers!
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Aug 25th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Ekscrunchy: you can say estan encantados con uruguay. Or les encanta uruguay, both are perfectly correct.
When you visit uruguay, I insist you let us know, Mercado del Puerto is waiting for you!
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Aug 26th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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CathyDM, I believe you suggested that I run, don't walk to make sure I got to Brunilda and Azotea our first day for lunch and we only made it to Azotea so I did not do that much!! Even if we did want to slow down, Sevilla was such an inviting city and we we hungry and had to wait until 9 to eat-so alot can get done in a day!!

Thanks for the spacing suggestions.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Waiting for more...
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