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Just returned from Spain - Andalucia and Madrid

Just returned from Spain - Andalucia and Madrid

May 28th, 2003, 04:36 PM
  #1  
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Just returned from Spain - Andalucia and Madrid

I just returned from two glorious weeks in Spain and I don't know if I could even put into words how overwhelmed I was - by the beauty, the music, the art, the architecture, the food, the history, etc., etc., etc. - but I will try. My itinerary included 6 nights in Seville (day trips to Sanlucar and Cordoba), 1 night in Granada, an overnight bus to Madrid (amusing story which I will have to recount later), and 5 nights in Madrid (day trip to Toledo). I used the Let's Go Guide for Spain and the Time Out Guide for Andalucia. All of my accommodations were recommedations from the Let's Go Guide which I have found to be pretty reliable for clean but modest budget accommodations. In Seville, I stayed at the Hostal Goya on Mateos Gago near the Cathedral. In Granada, at the Hostal Venecia on Cuesta de Gomérez down the hill from the Alhambra. In Madrid, I stayed at the Hostal Gonzalo on Calle de Cervantes near the museums. Hostals Goya and Gonzalo exceeded my expectations. The staff in all three were wonderful, helpful and friendly. There was a bit of a misunderstanding at the Hostal Venecia (part of the amusing story), but it all worked out. A note though that if you make reservations there, you might want to have someone do it who speaks fluent Spanish.
Vita is offline  
May 28th, 2003, 04:49 PM
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Oops was going to switch topics but then I realized that I wanted to mention my choices of location. The Cathedral location in Seville was perfect - it was centrally located, in a very charming area, and near a lot of great tapas bars. Also, since my stay in Granada was short and the primary objective was the Alhambra, the location of Hostal Venecia was ideal. It was also located close Plaza Nueva and Calle Elvira (off Plaza Nueva) has some great restaurants. In Madrid, I picked Hostal Gonzalo because I thought I would spend most of my time in the museums. However, it turned out that, although I spent a lot of my time in museums, most of it was spent around the Puerta del Sol or farther north. I don't regret picking that hostal since I loved to walk Madrid anyway and my room was by far the largest that I've ever had for a European hotel room in that price range (38 euros/night for a single). Still, if you want to be more centrally located and close to a metro stop, the Puerta del Sol area might be a better location.
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May 28th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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In Seville, I fell in love with Flamenco. I went to a tablao performance my first night there (Los Gallos on the Plaza de Santa Cruz). My initial fascination was with the look of intensity of the dancers' and singers' faces and I had to see more. I had read that tablao flamenco isn't authentic flamenco so I experimented with different venues throughout my stay in Spain. Although I don't know for sure if I ever saw true flamenco, I saw several different interpretations of it and I could eventually understand the crticism of tablao flamenco. There didn't seem to be as much attitide or soul (?) in it. In Seville, my recommendation would be the Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus Calle Ximénez de Enciso, 28 (Barrio de Sta. Cruz). It's a cultural center with different flamenco performances each night. It's cheaper than tablao. There's no food or drink with the show but it's located in a pretty courtyard with ivy streaming down the wall as a back drop, flowers, and burning incense. Also, worth visiting is Carboneria, a bar on Calle Levies. It has free flamenco at midnight, although both times I went the show was only about half an hour. I saw tablao performances at Los Gallos and El Arenal (near the bullring), if you do want to see a tablao performance, I think that both had their good and bad points but they were both good shows. El Arenal also has a dinner option but I didn't opt for it nor did anyone else at the performance that I attended (I went to the later show so that might have been why).
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May 28th, 2003, 08:59 PM
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Thank you for your wonderful trip report. I too am intriged by flameco and went to the show at Los Gallos. Interestingly, my Spanish teacher here is from Seville and she thinks highly of Los Gallos. At the hotel we stayed at, they told us that the best time to come to see geniune flamenco is in June when there are festivals on the street, but I don't know that I could take the weather in June (am from Seattle).

Do you know of any flamenco places in Cordoba that you'd recommend? Anyone?

Am looking forward to your overnight bus story!
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Jun 5th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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Hi Vita.. thanks for trip report. A couple of questions-if you only had time for one day trip from Sevilla, would it be to Sanlucar or Cordoba and why? Also could you tell me more about Hostal Goya in Seville..the room size, amenities, location etc. Thanks.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 10:06 AM
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forgot to mention..we will be without a car.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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Hostal Goya was about a two minute walk from the Cathedral - very central and a charming area in Santa Cruz with lots of tapas bars. I'm not sure what I can tell you about room size other than that I had more than I needed (I had a single room). I had AC and my own bathroom. It was very clean. The staff was friendly and helpful. No complaints at all.

After the crappy winter weather that I've experienced in DC all winter and continuing into Spring, I was so in awe of the weather in Seville that I really wanted to go to the beach. I enjoyed my day trip to Sanlucar immensely although I didn't do as much there as I could have. There was actually a national park nearby that I didn't even visit. I basically lied out in the sun, got a tan, and had a great lunch. If you like manzanilla, you'll be in heaven. One thing though - if you'll have a car you might have access to better beaches. I took the bus there from Seville.

Cordoba was nice but not the highlight of my trip. The main site there was the Mezquita, but you'll see so many examples of Moorish architecture in Seville and Granada. My favorite part of Cordoba was the garden behind the alcazar. Many people absolutely love Cordoba though but I'd choose the beach.
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Jun 5th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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Sorry. Just saw your last comment. Cordoba is a little easier to get to by public transportation - about 45 minutes by train. I think Sanlucar was maybe about 2 hours by bus.
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