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Watering the Flowers thru Spain and Portugal

Watering the Flowers thru Spain and Portugal

May 17th, 2008, 07:57 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,072
Watering the Flowers thru Spain and Portugal

This is my post of an escorted tour(not advertising any company) of 20 travelers on an unforgettable trip. April 24- May 8. I have traveled independently thru France, Italy, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Costa Rica.
As one ages and with a knee replacement this was a better choice for me as an appetizer to Spain and Portugal.

Many have the idea an escorted tour is being herded from place to place,but there are many choices you can make even on an escorted tour. It is helpful to be transported from place to place and even nicer to have your luggage at your door. On this trip I learned so much I would have never learned on my own. When you have an experienced tour director(like Alex Bazzaco) as well as local guides in each place it is an educational as well as a fun experience. Very little waiting in line as your tickets are waiting.

I flew FF miles on US Air out of MYB,thru CLT,PHIL, and landing in Madrid. No problems with US Air this year as on my trip to Rome last year with a flight late leaving MYR missing my CLT connection.

Madrid, a lovely city with its red and yellow tulips in bloom, welcoming us with its statues lit at night.
Visits to The Prado, Royal Palace, and Plaza Mayor,
L'Opera-find dining where I got to know my fellow travelers
El Septimo-introduced to me by a Fodorite-walking distance from our Hotel Vergara in the Salamanca area.
Every hotel we stayed in had the most varied and delicious choice of breakfast items.
Seems there are marches in cities thru the world. This year in Madrid, the march was against "Thievery by the Government" was our tour guide's explanation.

Leaving Madrid on our 3rd day for a stop in Toledo to visit San Tomas with an explanation of El Greco's painting of "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz". Always a walking tour with some beautiful views of the city.

Arriving later in the day to Cordoba to beautiful floral surrounding to the Occidental Hotel and awaiting us a nice buffet dinner. In the morning a walk by the Roman Bridge to the Jewish quarter of the city and on to the Mesquita with its stunning 800 plus columns.

On to Granada for the night to the Alamar Hotel in the city. Having passed many olive trees,which I had never seen before, was a visit to an olive mill where the making of olive oil was explained and a taste of it on bread. We joined with the locals at the village square for our home hosted lunch. A real treat of hospitality and food!!
In the afternoon a visit to The Alhambra which is spectacular,but hard on the knee. A visit to the Generalife with beautiful roses in bloom, and then the palace where alot of history was explained.
There is a monastery in Granada, La Cartuja that was most enjoyable for me. Not many tourist.
We were taken through the streets of the old Moorish area where there is a view of the Alhambra that is spectular.
Also a visit to the cathedral where Isabella and Ferninand are buried. They definitely influnced Spain's History.

On for 3 night to the Costa Del Sol to the Hotel Melia, Torrelimos, where we were ready to relax. This area reminds me more of the area where I live. How great they have not built those condos so close to the water!

A day by bus and ferry to Tetouan, Morocco, with its camels, wandering animals, storks on rooftops in their nest, and the modern world of building. A visit to the Casbah to roam its winding streets completed by a Moroccan feast complete with music and a belly dancer.

Next morning we chose an optional trip to Malaga-birthplace of Picasso. Viewing the bay where there is a small museum at the top, old Roman ruins, and a stop for a taste of sherry.
My daughter and I missed the group dinner to Mijas,but found a Lebanese restaurant around the corner from the hotel that was very good.

On the way to Seville we stopped for a visit to the Rock of Gibraltar. Who can forget the apes who live at the top of the rock? Very naughty stealing a plastic bag from one of our group and enjoying the candy bar inside. Walked thru Michael's Cave.
First fast food in the town at Burger King.

A funny experience at the Lebreros Hotel in Seville. Very modern hotel,but uncomfortable beds in our room. After the first night we mentioned this to the front desk. They would send up a table to help the comfort. Exactly what does this mean? We waited and waited. No one came. Finally we looked and there was a board. Somehow with record speed they had put a board next to the mattress. The bed is always the first thing my daughter and I check out in any hotel.

Lovely Sevilla with its beautiful architecture and flowers. The Jacaranda in bloom with its lilac color.
Gorgeous tiles for an expo of the Americas to promote trade. A stop here for souvenirs-a fan for a friend and a bull t-shirt for my son. Viewed the tiles in the Alfonso XIII Hotel.
Walking tour of the cathedral where some part of Columbus remains. As a schoolteacher how many times did I talk about Columbus!! Beautiful golden altar. Then a carriage ride thru the park for 4 of us ladies. In the afternoon my daughter and I decided to visit the Alcazar where we rented audios and walked thru the lovely gardens. We enjoyed this as much as the Alhambra.
Flemenco performance-El Paso Sevilanno. Outstanding. Wish I had known more of what the dance meant.

Leaving Seville for Lisbon.
A few things I learned along the way.
1. Portugal largest producer of cork in the world. My first time to see a cork tree.
2. Producer of granite and marble
3. Salaries lower than Spain.
4. Eat alot of fish.
5. Alot of English TV with with Portuguese subtitle.

Coming into Lisbon it reminded me of a smaller San Francisco with its hills and its bridge modeled after the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Also the stature of Christ the women donated as the city was spare from World war II. Many Jews were taken in as they fled the war torn countries.
Our Hotel Tiara Park Atlantic, very modern-one of our favorites.
Stopped on our way in to visit the Hieronymie Monastery.
The next morning a walk through the Alfama area, the older part of the city where many of the older residents live. These cobblestone streets must be very hard on these people To the Tower of Belem and the Monument of Discoveries. In the afternoon an optional visit to Casais and Sintra. What a beautiful, rugged coastline once again some reminder of California.
Dinner at the Frag das Marces restaurant. A taste of octopus-not bad,but think I prefer the fish. a ride thru the city lit up with its statues at night.

Next morning a stop to the Shrine of Fatima where mass was being held.

Back into Spain to a favorite town of Salamanca-a university town with many young people wandering the streets. A walk with our guide thru thr Plaza Mayor which he deems the most beautiful plaza in Spain and on to the Cathedral.
Hotel Alamada for the night with its antique furniture,but the hotel is up to modern standards. I would like to visit here again.
A nice dinner in its beautiful dining room.
On the road to Segovia. Took a solo guided trip to the cathedral Amazing aqueduct built by those clever Romans.
Saw the walled city of Avila on our way back to Madrid and those rolling green hills of grain. A man in the middle of it in his wheelchair enjoying his day as I can say I enjoyed everyday of this trip.

Back to Madrid to say goodby to a great group of friends by this time after this shared trip. A thanks for a great bus driver getting us to places safely.
A last dinner(near one of the soccer stadiums with traffic bumper to bumper) of paella and Baked Alaska with much fun.

I was not prepared for the beauty and diversity of the places I saw.
Weather was perfect everyday except the morning we left a shower.

What does Watering the Flowers mean? Our cue along our way for a bathroom break and stop.

Thanks for your help on Fodors. I read many of your post,comments, and viewed your pictures before I left,but they can never take the place of your own experiences.
No Pics as I use throwaway Kodak cameras and collect postcards,
Would I go back to Spain and Portugal?
Definitely!! Next time I wqould like to visit Barcelona and some of what I missed this time.
maryanne1 is offline  
May 17th, 2008, 08:01 AM
  #2  
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Just hoping I got this posted.
maryanne1 is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Thanks for the report.

I am debating right now between a trip to Portugal/Spain or Greece next year.

I think I would love Portugal (I already love Spain, but my mother LOVES Greece.....)
CarolA is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 02:25 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,944
Nice report. It's good to know that when a tour is the best way to go, there are good ones out there and that you enjoyed the one you went on.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 02:35 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,041
Thanks for the nice report about some cities I have enjoyed.

(CarolA, I think you have to plan two trips.)
Nikki is online now  
May 28th, 2008, 05:25 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Actually I think the plan will be made next month. Thats 330 days before I want to go.

Step 1 Call DL and see what we can do on FF ticket.

Step 2. Plan trip based on results of step 1.

LOL!
CarolA is offline  
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