Just back from Spain

Oct 31st, 2003, 08:27 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 74
Just back from Spain

Just returned from 2-week visit to Madrid and Andalucia. Did time on own and 8-day Brendan Tour (which turned out to be run by Globus). Other than tour, was only able to do day-trip to Segovia, which I loved, because of the rain. Thank you Maribel for the great info re bus to Segovia. It was perfect! Also, thanks to all for Candido restaurant recommendation. The lamb was the best I've ever tasted. Did climb up the tower of Alcazar for great view while the sun shined, and the armor was impressive. Couldn't figure out why every part of the body, including fingers and toes, was shielded, except the groin area. Any body know why? The aqueduct and the town are worth a day trip, and I could have happily spent the night.
Tour started from Holiday Inn in Madrid (lovely room, but I preferred Carlos V location, where I stayed before and after tour). We did mini-tour of Madrid and got dropped at Prado, where I stayed for 4 hours, rather than optional trip to Escorial. The Prado is amazing! I did Reina Sofia on own after the tour, and used Maribel's guide to specific rooms. Guernica is the focus, but the Dali exhibit was also impressive. Twice went to see Royal Palace, but it was closed to the public due to various functions, so I did a walking tour based on several recommendations.
After Madrid, tour headed to Seville, with a visit to Cordoba on the way. Wished we had more time in Cordoba. Loved Santa Cruz area of Seville, and found my way from cathedral to Modesto for the Maribel-recommended coquinas. Yum. Then trekked back to Alcazar, carrying a handful of tiles for grandkids, which I had to tote while walking around Alcazar (no lockers/storage). Pretty city.
On to Jerez, for 9:30 a.m. bodega visit/tasting followed by visit to Andalusian Riding School (gorgeous horses), then to Ronda for afternoon. Loved walking the old part of the city. That day ended in Torremolinos, at the Melia Hotel, the best of all provided in tour. I found the Quintapenas for a tapa lunch and enjoyed the one full day of sun lounging by the Mediterranean. I wanted to get to Cueva de la Pileta, but never could get the details together. (Next time.)
Granada was next, with most of day at Alhambra (exhausting). I enjoyed walking the streets between the shopping areas, and found an alley where fresh fruit and veges were being hawked from wobbly stands, and a small store had some very inexpensive pottery. Fun find.
Last day of tour took us to Toledo for a few hours before heading back to Madrid. (On way to Toledo we stopped for lunch at the Inn associated with knighting of Don Quixote!) I would have preferred to have stayed on in Toledo, rather than rush through it. The Cathedral was quite a sight, as was the history. And the winding, narrow, cobblestone streets are my favorite. I planned to return, but the rain got in the way. . . this time. And I did get to spend some time in Corte Ingles, tracking down bubblewrap. What a store!
The trip included my first large group tour, which enabled me to see much in short time with someone else making travel and hotel arrangements, but someone else determining the pace. I was glad to have had some free time, but also enjoyed the information, especially the historical pieces, shared by the tour guides.
Couple of notes: camera bag is better than large purse to carry camera and extra lens (purse strap broke, so I had to buy a camera bag in Seville); jeans and colored tennies are fine (I broke down and bought some comfy tennies at a shop in Metro station); a jacket rather than raincoat would have been easier; farmacias, which are plentiful, carry Ibupropen; the history is worth learning; the one-time (under the Moors) coexistence and cooperation of the various religions in the region was probably a model that, sadly, got crushed.

Thank you all, especially Maribel, for all the info that helped guide me.
sillygranma is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,721
I'm very, very happy to hear about your trip. I was wondering how it had gone, and I'm delighted to know that you had a great time despite the rain! I've really enjoyed reading your trip report, full of great appreciation for and understanding of the sights you visited. Your report made me smile.
Maribel is online now  
Nov 1st, 2003, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
Thank you for the terrific trip report. Glad you had a great time--we leave in 5 days!!! Could you tell me more about Cordoba? What you did? How you liked it? Thank you.

P.S. If you like rain, you should be where I am now (Seattle).
artlover is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
Hi ARTLOVER: We just returned from Spain. We did a day trip from Seville to Cordoba. We found it to be very interesting and unique. We were spending 3 nights in Seville. I wouldn't take the time to go to Cordoba if you had less than 3 nights in Seville.
We took the slower train. It took 1 1/2 hours each way. 11.50 euros RT It was very clean and comfortable w/ non smoking cars available. The AVE speed train was going to be 30 euros for a 1 hour trip. There are many trains available. We just showed up and bought our RT tickets. They do make you decide on your return time. Allow extra time for shopping or eating. There is plenty of opportunity for both. We walked an easy 30 minutes to the Mezquita (pronounced meh-SKEET-ah) from the rail stationl. We just kept asking folks and were pointed the way. It is a 3 euro cab ride. We like walking.
KWP is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 07:07 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 74
An afternoon in Cordoba was part of tour, on way to Seville. The main attraction is the Mosque, as KWP notes. I happen to like small towns, and enjoy exploring the narrow streets. . . and would return for more time to walk around. The history is another attractive feature for me.
Have a great trip!
sillygranma is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 09:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
Thank you, sillygranma. We're leaving tomorrow! Will report back when we return.
artlover is offline  
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