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Just returned from 2 glorious weeks in Spain.

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Oct 11th, 2004, 07:22 AM
  #1
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Just returned from 2 glorious weeks in Spain.

Here?s some info to share. We were two couples traveling together. Rented a car the second week only.

Flew to Barcelona and spent 3 nights in a 3 bed. Apt. that we rented thru Apartments Apart. Great location on Placa Urquinaona. Large apt.-if anyone wants more info. on this let me know.
Barcelona restaurants-
La Doca Herminia?just down the street from our apartment. It opened at 8pm and by 7:45pm there was a lineup to get in. Very nice restaurant and excellent food?very reasonable. We had a great meal for four people with a litre of house wine for 75 euros.
Txapela (on P. de Gracia) and Cerveseria Catalana on Mallorca St. ? great tapas!
Went on the Tourist Bus for one day ? found we skipped a lot of the stops but still worth to get an overview of the City.
Loved Barcelona ? could have spent more time here.

Flew to Seville and spent 4 nights at Hotel Amadeus ? very charming, great location.
Small bedrooms but not a problem. Lovely owners, definitely would stay again. Had breakfast first morning on rooftop-good experience but expensive for the bread-filled breakfast-a nice little bar around the corner for better breakfast.
Restaurants-first night at Modesto and although highly recommended here, we were underwhelmed. Pricy and when we ordered the fried cod and fried calamari ? that?s all we got ? no salad, fries or anything else. (But check out the ?potato chip? lady right next door ? she makes her own potato chips and we wish we could have come back there the next day when she was making another of her specialities ? fried calamari ?bet it would have been delicious.
Bar Estrella ? fabulous tapas ? probably the best of our whole trip and inexpensive. Bring your menu translator here ? no English menus nor English speaking waiters.
Hosteria del Laurel ? very good dinner here ? all had the paella and it was excellent.
El 3 de Or ? paella again and the best of our trip?highly recommend.
Robles Tapas ? near Cathedral square ? excellent food.
Downtown- Blanco Cerillo on Calle Jose Velilla (off Calle Tetuan), a unpretentious place for very good tapas ? especially the marinated (in vinegar) and deep fried sardines.
Bar Patanchon?didn?t realize until we got there that Maribel had recommended this place ? excellent tapas and we had her recommendation ? deep fried camembert with raspberry sauce?mmmm!
Seville highlights ? (Do not pack white clothing to wear in Seville! There was so much construction going on and my white t-shirt was grey after one day!)
- Flamenco at Casa de Memoria ? just around the corner from Hotel Amadeus ? a small venue (perhaps 100 people?)?but absolutely fantastic. Bought our tickets in the afternoon ? it was sold out when we arrived 30 mins. Ahead of show. Should have arrived earlier as there was a lineup and it would have been great to have a front row. However we sat in front of the window at the back and it had a ledge so when the dancer was on stage we stood on the wide window ledge for a great view.
- The bullring ? (went on the tour ? although would have absolutely no interest in a bullfight-the description of the ?kill? was gruesome),
- Real Alcazar
- Shopping on Calle Sierpes
- Casa de Pilatos (spend the extra for the upstairs tour)
- The Cathedral ? stunning. The climb is 34 ramps?not too bad a climb and the view from the top is awesome. One night we were returning home from dinner and heard music. There was a beautiful (free) concert being held in front of the Cathedral. What a wonderful surprise.

cont. in part 2
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Oct 11th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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Picked up rental car at Santa Justa Station and drove to Jaen to the Parador.
On our way, stopped in Baena to check out the olive oil factory and delighted that there was a flamenco festival/judging taking place in the town. It was incredible to see all the women, children, babies dressed in their finest flamenco dresses. The streets were jammed with people, tented restaurants and the flamenco judging tent.

Arrived at the Parador - stunningly beautiful views from here?a wonderful experience. Wish I could say the same about the meal there. It was very disappointing. We had a starter of ravioli that was awash in gummy white sauce. The sea bass was just ok and our friend had a steak that was almost raw. One of the few food disappointments of our trip.
Granada and the Alhambra for the day. Took us approx. 5 hours to tour it and we felt we did not rush through. Of course, it is incredible.

Drove to Calahondra (between Marbella and Fuengirola) to timeshare for a week and took day trips.
One of our day trips was to Nerja (what a jewel-we got info to come back and stay here for a longer time someday) and Frigiliana just 6 km away. Dinner here at Cafeteria La Biznaga (it was good).
Ronda ? a fabulous city but the second food disappointment. Awful meal at Don Miguel restaurant..go for a drink and the view but do not go for a meal. We just had lunch there but it was not good at all. A ?tropical? salad was smothered in a bottled thousand island-type dressing, husband?s sardines were bleeding inside. Chicken was grizzly. Yuck.
Day trip to Casares, Gaucin and Zahara de la Sierra-drove the very scary Puerto de las Palomas mountain pass ? heart-stopping but unbelievable views. Wonderful white villages.
Day trip to Ojen (lovely, pretty village), Coin (not so pretty) and a stop at the old hunting lodge of Refugio de Juanar which was very nice.
Our friends went into Gibralter for the day on a bus tour and enjoyed it. We went to Mijas Peublo and loved it. Had lunch on the terrace of the lovely restaurant El Capricho ? the best salad of the trip and we had an early lunch so had the whole terrace to ourselves.
Last night in Marbella - love this town ? had lunch earlier in the week here at La Pesquedera ? more great paella and our last night for dinner at El Balcon de la Virgen on Calle Remedios. Excellent choice although more expensive than most of our meals.

Weather was fantastic..not a drop of rain. Every day was sunny and 80 degrees. Definitely bring good running shoes. We walked so much and everyone was wearing them. Also bring lots of t-shirts ? so much construction everywhere that you felt grimy by day?s end.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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Sorry for all the ?? - not sure how that happened!
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Oct 11th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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So glad you had a great trip! I always recommend La Doca Herminia in Barcelona and you see why. Really appreciate your recommendation for flamenco in Sevilla--I plan to go back and will go there (as well as Los Gallos again).

I like Marbella too--at least the old city and the promenade by the sea, though it is expensive.

Thanks for posting. (I had all those question marks in my trip report too--I guess that happens when you cut and past from Word...)
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Oct 11th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Hi canuck,

Enjoyed your report very much. I recall when you were planning your trip & I'm glad to hear you had such a great time.

Jim
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