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Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 09:08 AM

Possible Spain trip - what would you do?
Okay ...

We are in the beginning stages of planning a trip with our daughter who will be 17 at time of travel. We were going to go on a cruise in July but for a variety of reasons have decided against it... we are looking at Italy (we have been once) or Spain. We are traveling on FF miles and the flights to Italy are a bit of a drag (many stops and long travel time) I can fly to Madrid direct from DFW for economy super saver miles and get all 3 tickets for a total of 150,000 miles in "economy plus" (no idea how much better that will be than regular economy have never used it). I have another thread for the Italy trip but thought I would get some ideas to propose to my daughter... she is not a hearty traveler and on both trips to Europe we ended up seeking medical attention - once in Florence and once in Paris. Yikes.
Recently, I had to leave our vacation in Cabo after a hospital stay and an early flight home to have emergency gallbladder removal. :( I am still home recovering and Vicodin is my friend so please forgive any strange sentences or typos :))

When: May 2014 May 5-19 in and out of Madrid

Where: Spain

Who: 57 year old husband, 46 year old me and 17 year old daughter

Why: a graduation present combined with her 16 year birthday "trip/gift" (It was delayed to combine the two events)

Flying on FF miles in and out of DFW to Madrid

Would like to spend May 10-17 @ - we have a Marriott time share that I have a good chance of swapping for that property.

Would LOVE to either do a day trip or over night to Morrocco during that week... (possible??)

So we arrive in Madrid on May 6 @ 10:05 am....

May 6 - 10 - Open? - Thoughts? We are not really "big" city people (Preferred Florence over Rome for example - don't hate us!) Seville looks amazing to me... Ronda as well...

May 17 - 19 (could spend the last few nights in Madrid?) flight leaves @ 1;00 pm on May 19th...

Dream a little with me so I can help our daughter have a wonderful trip that falls within our budget... I really want it to be special for her and know this might not be her "first choice" but feel it could be a wonderful experience.

suec1 Jun 27th, 2013 09:26 AM

Let's start with, will you rent a car in Marbella? We did a time share exchange in that area, so I will have more comments later BUT IMO it would be best to have a car. Most time shares are not superconvenient to public transportation, not sure I would want to plan a trip there if not renting a car. That is the one and only trip to Europe when we rented a car and then we had a minor accident but I will have some positve comments about that trip to post.

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 09:32 AM

Sue - I was thinking of taking the train from Madrid to Seville staying a night or two in Seville and and perhaps renting a car there... going to Ronda and then onto the timeshare...It looks like a 2.5 hour drive...
Having the car during our week at the timeshare and then driving back to Seville and taking the train back to Madrid.

We are in the very beginning stages of deciding... so are open to suggestions/thoughts.

sharona Jun 27th, 2013 09:37 AM

That looks like a lovely property. It's been a few years but when we stayed in Marbella we did an easy day trip to Gibraltar, which I highly recommend. We also did a day trip to Granada to tour the Alhambra. It was a long day but doable, especially since you have such nice accommodations awaiting you back in Marbella.

We looked into going to Morocco but there was some international incident and the Spanish travel agent we were booking the travel through recommended that as Americans we not go. We didn't. I've still got Morocco on my list of places to visit.

I'm hoping this trip is nicer to you than your Cabo trip!

suec1 Jun 27th, 2013 09:51 AM

Momdd - your trip plan sounds similsr to ours - we took the train to Sevilla, rented a car, stopped by Ronda and on to the time share. We returned the car to Malaga as there was an AVE train from there (this was about 10 years ago). Like Sharona, we did a day trip to Gibraltar which was great! and a bus tour to Alhambra. We also wanted to go by some other white villages - parking can be a bit of a challenge in some places, not at your timeshare, but just remember this region / villages developed long before cars and there will be limited parking and narrow streets.

I'd suggest a stop or daytrip to Cordoba and the Mezquita / mosque there. Also I thought the Alcazar in Seville was an excellent example of the moorish architecture and if you see that, the Alhambra could be skipped (this will generate some controversy, I'm sure, but I've seen both and IMO they are quite a bit alike.)

I enjoyed Marbella - yes it is quite commercialized and there are as many signs for "bangers and mash" in the area as paella BUT for a 17 year old, it will be a good mix of "not too strange" and exposre to Spain (esp. if you add Seville, Cordoba, and Madrid). I'd pass on Morocco though, again my opinion, or go with a tour, but it would just be too crowded with too many voices vying for my attention and money.

Christina Jun 27th, 2013 09:54 AM

I think that's a great deal on the FF tickets for RT Madrid, I'd definitely go for that if nonstop. Two weeks is a good time to do a lot. I think it will be getting pretty hot in Seville by that time, but bearable. I like the idea of just going to Seville to start, as you will have to end up in Madrid, anyway for the flight home. I didn't do that much when down in Seville as I didn't have a car, just spent some time there and went to Cordoba one day (great place) by train, and another day to Jerez de Frontera by bus. They have a famous equestrian school there, which has a public show around noon, as I recall. So none of those places are that big, if you rent a car, I think you have plenty to do down there for at least 9 days. I'd head back to Madrid by AVE and spend at least 3 days there, probably.

This is the info on the equestrian school in Jerez de Frontera

go into Calendar of Events to see everything they have.

Haven't been to Morocco, not sure if you have the time for that, but of course, anything is possible, depends what you want to do down there. I didn't realize it's only about 3.5 hrs from Seville by bus, although not to Casablanca, of course:

here is a tour company

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 09:58 AM

Sue - what time share did you stay at? I am hoping we can land the Marriott - we have "preference" since we are swapping a Marriott property but always good to have other alternatives!

Good to know about the AVE train from Malaga as well. I am only at the very start of planning and hoping to excite dd about Spain over Italy... I think it would be fabulous and the easier travel will make for a more enjoyable time... the flights to Italy on miles are a bit hellish... 19 plus hours of travel time... vs. the 9 and 11 hours... a massive difference...

Alcazar in Seville is on the list -

Dd loves to cook and is interested in a cooking class in Italy so I am searching for an alternative in Spain to get her excited about.

Good tips about the parking...yikes.

Will have to check out Gibraltar -

Sharona - I hope our trip is better too :)) Would not be hard to beat a 4 hour enjoyable time in Cabo followed by days in bed and then the hospital there - oh my!

Morroco is of interest for the cultural experience but I will have to look more into it - we would have to go with a tour from what I have read... for a few different reasons.

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 10:10 AM

Christina - we were posting at the same time - thank you for the information and the link to the equestrian school! I will also check out the tour to Morocco.

hetismij2 Jun 27th, 2013 10:16 AM

I have no advice for you, but if it were me I'd do the Spanish trip, simply to avoid the horrible trip you have to take to get to Italy.
It sounds like a great holiday, with some relaxation time built in too.

Hope you are feeling better, at least all the planning is keeping you occupied :).

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 10:22 AM

Hetismij1 - no kidding.... I am a wuss when it comes to airtravel and am just having serious reservations about that much travel time for a 2 week trip :(

The non-stop flight to Madrid earns huge bonus points... and I think we will have an amazing time in Spain in May and yes, it is nice to be planning... better than the hours of Netflix :))

jaja Jun 27th, 2013 10:44 AM

On our recent trip via United/Canada Air the seats labeled "economy plus" were what used to be called "exit row." Looks to me like they have begun charging a premium for what we used to get for free if we booked far enough in advance.

suec1 Jun 27th, 2013 10:45 AM

Momdd - I don't remember the name of the time share, I don't think it was a Marriott but I think there was one nearby. There are many in that area, some in the hills and some nearer the coast - I would expect the Marriott to be very nice! Ours was about a two block walk from the beach - which was great, very broad, nice sand, boardwalk and alot of beachside restaurants that I just loved.

I would suggest doing a little research on Spanish food (if you are not familiar with it, not the same as Mexican). My first visit to Spain was with a 17 year old daughter and she was a bit put off at first by the food, but really, there is ALOT of delicious food in Spain. Again, as I mentioned we ate at the beachside restuarants and the seafood there - gamba al ojillo (shrimp in olive oil with garlic) and we had a delicious whole fish baked in a salt crust that is one of the best bites I've ever had! Another dish that I just love is roast suckling pig or lamb, but these would probably be better in Madrid. May should be just a great time to go - some lovely flowers and probably very nice beach weather. IMO Italy and Spain are both amazing countries for art, food and culture - enjoy Spain in May and God-willling you'll get to Italy on another trip.

HappyTrvlr Jun 27th, 2013 11:29 AM

I highly recommend that you go to and print out her very helpful fuides to places you'll visit such as Sevilla, Madrid. We planned most of a month long trip to Spain using them. Send an email to her with questions such as cooking classes.

joannyc Jun 27th, 2013 11:31 AM

The Marriott in Marbella is very nice. Stayed there for 2 nights. Right on the beach.

In Ronda, there is a great 3-hour sunrise horseback ride down in the gorge. Beautiful views of the bridge and town from below. Worth an overnight stay! (There are probably shorter rides available later in the day.)

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 11:34 AM

On our recent trip via United/Canada Air the seats labeled "economy plus" were what used to be called "exit row.">

Jaja - I suspected as much...there is an exit row though on the plane that is not listed as economy is actually called "Main cabin" extra - and it appears they have retrofitted some planes. DH is gold and they are letting gold members have access till the end of 2013 (Usually reserved for platinum or paying passengers)


It appears to be about 6' inches more leg room...we will take it... :)

As I am recovering at home from the gallbladder surgery I am trying to take care of some long over due home projects (that I need to outsource) I am having the carpets cleaned and the man is from Madrid - has been living in Texas for 3 years - and has a rottie (we have a year old rottie) ... perhaps Spain is fate :)

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 11:36 AM

Sue - thanks for the input! I was wondering about the Spanish food... we were underwhelmed (gasp!) with the food in Paris (I know... don't hate on us!) so I was wondering about the Spanish tapas etc...

<In Ronda, there is a great 3-hour sunrise horseback ride down in the gorge. Beautiful views of the bridge and town from below. Worth an overnight stay! (There are probably shorter rides available later in the day.)>

This sounds truly amazing!!! I will google and see if I can find it... I LOVE to horse back ride & so does dd.

Glad the resort was nice - I have put my request in and we shall see :)

Happy I will check out that link! Thank you!

joannyc Jun 27th, 2013 12:25 PM

Well, not sure they are still in business. The link in this thread doesn't work for me:

You could try emailing the Ronda tourist bureau.

Momddtravel2 Jun 27th, 2013 01:20 PM

thanks Joan - I did a search and saw that as well - I will keep searching - pershaps there is something similar...

DD came home and we talked - while Italy was her first choice, she was gracious and understanding and thankful for any trip... and will get excited now the fun of planning :)

So many amazing hotels in Spain - wow!

Christina Jun 27th, 2013 01:51 PM

The food in Seville is a lot better than Madrid, but I still wasn't crazy about either. Too much heavy stuff, like fried fish. I went to some famous fish place in Seville and I could barely eat the fried fish, it was disgusting to me. And a lot of stuff was really salty.

The stuff I did like in Seville was a lot of spinach with pine nuts so I could get some veggies, and great gazpacho. Okay coffee, also.

sharona Jun 27th, 2013 01:58 PM

There are so many British tourists to the Costa del Sol that there are tons of pubs in the area. You'll be able to find something familiar if you don't care for the local food.

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