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WishIwasthere Apr 28th, 2003 01:43 AM

Short Spain Trip Report
My husband, I and 3 kids spent the last two weeks in southern Spain. It rained quite a bit and was cooler than much of the rest of Europe, but we had a great time anyway. We spent the first week at La Manga Club in Murcia province. From there we visited Murcia city and Cartagena. Cartagena is a very cute old Roman/Carthaginain seaport. La Manga is terrific if you enjoy golf or tennis. The Mar Menor was beautiful but too cold to swim in. From there we drove to the Parador in Granada. We thoroughly enjoyed staying in this old convent. The grounds were inviting and peaceful. The food and service were outstanding. Some of the rooms are renovated, so if that is important to you ask to see one first.

WishIwasthere Apr 28th, 2003 01:47 AM

We did not find the Alhambra hill to be difficult to walk up and down. However the bus in extremely convenient as an option. Lower Granada did appear a bit seedy to us, although we still enjoyed ourselves. From there we visited the Nerja caves, watched an Easter Sunday procession in charming little Frigiliana, stopped into Nerja itself, and El Torcal. We also wanted to climb to the castle top in Solobrena but the rain was too strong. When driving through the mountain passes the temperature sometimes dropped from 15 to 2 degrees in a matter of minutes! Our last stop was Sevilla (Villa de la Palmera). This was our favorite city. We found Sevilla to be beautiful with excellent food and kind people. We took the local bus frequently and had no problems. We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation and I would be happy to answer any questions.

WishIwasthere Apr 28th, 2003 01:55 AM

One more thing I forgot. Thanks very much to Maribel and Olga who both helped to make this trip "work" for my family. Also, we thought the Alcazar and Casa Pilatos in Sevilla were more spectacular than the Alhambra. There is more decoration, there is color left (the Alhambra has no color left), and much of the original is intact. The Alhambra is almost 100% restored. We only saw 2 columns from the 13th century. Gardens were beautiful all over and the scent of orange blossoms was heavenly! I even purchased some Agua de Sevilla for home. Adios.

aj Apr 28th, 2003 06:16 AM


My husband and I leave May 8th for Seville and I really enjoyed your post. I was not going to go to Casa Pilatos but now I will put it on the list. I would love to hear more about Seville. Where did you eat? Did you feel safe in the streets after dark? We will be staying at the Hotel Amadeus.

WishIwasthere Apr 28th, 2003 08:26 AM

Hi AJ,
Glad to hear of your upcoming trip. Sevilla is truly bonita. The Plaza Espana is amazing. The city is clean, people are well-dressed, no real street gypsies or beggers seen. We felt extremely safe. Our tour guide said that Sevilla doesn't have any crime. I think it must have petty thievery, but no violent attacks. Hotel Amadeus looks very nice. I considered it but opted instead for Villa de la Palmera on the outskirts of town. We took the local bus in (15 min) and had no problems with any type of transport. Signs, routes, streets, etc. all are clearly marked. If you know even a little Spanish, you can get around fine. We ate frequently at Casa Paco near our hotel. It will not be convenient for you. The tapas are best off the beaten path. Try not to eat in the main shopping district (SIERPES) or near the Cathedral/Alcazar. Eat in some of the other neighborhoods like Santa Cruz, Triana, or Macarena. You will love Casa Pilatos. They have Greek and Roman statuary from 2BC! The house can now be rented out for weddings and such, so hopefully it will be open when you are there. It is really beautiful because there are floor to ceiling Moorish decorations, along with Renaissance and Classical architecture too. The bouganvilla (sp) were completely in bloom and the total effect was stunning. The entire time I wished I had a bathroom or kitchen to redo at home, so I could purchase some of the beautiful ceramic tile and put it to use. As I said, I was greatly impressed with the food. We didn't find too many vegetables offered though, so I do hope you aren't vegetarian. We even ordered some type of fried fish one day (just pointed at the menu) and wound up eating entire fish - head to tail! Delicioso! Enjoy your trip.

artlover Apr 28th, 2003 05:42 PM

Thank you for your terrific trip report. My husband and I were in Spain last year and loved Seville and it's obvious you did too. Glad you had a great trip.

We are planning to go back to Spain in Nov. and I have a few questions--mostly concerning La Manga Club. Was this an II timeshare? If so, could you tell me more about it and how it compared to other II timeshares (if you have stayed at others). Also, did you get to Allicante at all? Did you explore Murcia and the area around it? Are there any "must-sees" you'd recommend?

WishIwasthere Apr 29th, 2003 02:09 AM

Hi Artlover,
We stayed in the Hyatt Hotel at La Manga. There are also many time shares and privates homes/apartments available. Hyatt rooms were inexpensive and we also had points permitting us some free days. Their Las Lomas area is even cheaper, with nice condos and their own area of restaurants and pool. Accommodations were quite nice, but this really is a gold/tennis resort. If you don't engage in either of those activities you might be bored. There are few walking paths, and only one simple pool per area (no slides, lush gardens, etc.). There were many good restaurants to choose from and even a supermarket for picnics. We did not go as far as Alicante but did spend time in Murcia and Cartagena. Both cities were lovely although we enjoyed the ruins and seaport of Cartagena more. This is probably due to the torrential downpour we experienced while walking through Murcia. Highways in Spain are very well signposted. You will have no problems driving wherever you want. We did visit San Pedro del Pinatar (salt flats) and a local nature park called Cablanque (or something like that). They were nice excursions but we were looking for something to do as the weather was not fine for much of the stay.

artlover Apr 29th, 2003 12:30 PM

Thank you for the information. Sorry you had bad weather, but it sounds as if you had a great trip despite that.

antonio Apr 30th, 2003 02:24 AM

Hi Artlover, My parents are living in Lypagan, 2 km away from San Pedro del Pinatar, in the "Comunidad autynoma de Murcia ". We are going every summer to my parentys home on holidays and every year we discover something new.
Cartagena is a very nice small city with the most important harbour for spanish army and it was "Cartago Nova" the capital of Cataginenses, last people who lost the war against romans empire. Cartagena has a very old roman theater and it was a man born in this place, Isaac Peral, who invent the submarine. There is a reproduction near the big walls. The central street has many "bares" whith nice tapas; try mussels with hot sauce, youyll love it.
If you like to dive donyt doubt to try here.The undersea is the best in mainland Spain ( although Baleares Islands and Canary Islands is the paradise for divers in our country )
Alicante is a peaceful city with + or - 400.000 people with a beautiful sport-harbour and a impresive arabic castle plenty of legends.
And if you want to know the area where "Don Quijote de la Mancha" lived you will find it just 150 Km. away from Murcia. La Mancha county has a unforgotable cheese and good wine.
In Murcia, near San Pedro del Pinatar there is a natural reserve next to the seas Menor and Mediterryneo; walking or by bike youyll see to differents seas and many diferent kinds of birds.
Hope youyll enjoy it

artlover Apr 30th, 2003 11:26 AM

Dear Toyo,

Thank you so much for the information. Do you have any suggestions for special restaurants in the area.

I'm so excited about going back to Spain and exploring an area where I haven't been before--have been studying Spanish and hope to be able to communicate somewhat by time we go.


antonio Apr 30th, 2003 04:42 PM

Hola de nuevo Paula !

Nice to know somebody interested in my language.
Iym sure youyll love Murcia and surroindings. You have to know that is very warm in summer and a litle bit cold in winter.
More info about Murcia in:
If you want to visit me do it:, I made the web one year ago and I would like to know your impressions ... if you donyt mind.

Saludos desde las Islas Canarias

artlover May 1st, 2003 02:19 PM

Gracia Toyo, your information is muy bueno. The website es tambien muy bueno--especially for those interested in going to the Canary Islands (which we're not going to next time...but maybe someday.)

Was it difficult to park in Cartagena and/or Murcia? Any favorite restaurants you can recall going to in either place?

WishIwasthere May 2nd, 2003 10:48 AM

Hi Artlover,
It wasn't difficult to park in either city. There are well marked (on maps too) underground lots. You pay as you leave via a machine. Then you hand your stamped ticket to a man as you drive up the steep ramp. I did not see much available street parking so I would consider this your best bet. Sorry, no great restaurant recommendations. You know what everyone says, "follow the locals and eat where there is no English menu." Enjoy.

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