Traveling allows me to see the world through my eyes

TRIP PLANNNIG

Diverse, World Famous Art Museums, Vibrant Nightlife, Flamenco Rhythms, Moorish Influences, Tapas Bars (I can’t wait to try this!), Zest for Living, Spanish Guitars, Solemn Easter Processions and a Rich History . . . these are all ways in which Spain has been described in many guide books! And now I’m “hooked!” From the Pyrenees to the Southern Coast just a stone’s throw away from North Africa, Spain will provide me with a fun and wonderful adventure! 

I was considering doing a Northern Spain/Portugal combination but somehow Southern Spain was calling out to me in a big way. And how could I be so close to the African Continent and not hop a ferry over to see it! If you know me at all, you had to have known that I would attempt such a day trip.

 So, this is the plan! I have a fairly lose itinerary and it goes something like this: Fly into Madrid, do a day trip to Toledo then take the high speed (AVE) train to Sevilla. I’ll rent an apartment (I loved the experience of staying in a vacation rental and want to continue this travel style), figure out some day tripping options (like Cordoba & see one of the famous white villages), then move on to Granada (to see the Alhambra and hopefully try to find a Famous Alhambra Guitar making store-this will probably be my one big souvenir treat on this trip!) and then my big leap over to Africa! This could be the precursor to a bigger trip there in 2010! This is exciting! So stay tuned folks! Adios’
MADRID
My first stop in Spain will be the beautiful city of Madrid! I found this really terrific YouTube with wonderful photos and a beautiful rendition of “Spanish Eyes” playing in the background! Anyone else love that song . . . ?  I can’t wait to visit the beautiful city of Madrid!   

 

MADRID MUST SEE LIST:

 ALMUDENA CATHEDRAL – Sacred Destinations Travel Guide

Address: Calle Bailen 10, Madrid Spain
Phone: 034-9105422299
Nearest Metro:  Opera
Bus:  3, 39, r 148
Hours:  Daily 10 am-2pm and 5-9 pm
cost:  Free
The site of this Cathedral was originally occupied by Madrid’s first Mosque.  It is a church that is dediated to one of Madrid’s patron saints,, Sant Maria de la Alumdena.  Relatively considered new and more modern by European standards.

PRADO MUSEUMWebsite Link (English) 

Museo nacional del Prado
Calle Ruiz de Alarcon 23
Madrid 28014
Telephone: +34 91 330 2800
Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m (Saturdays open to 2:00 pm)
How to Purchase on-line: HERE
Or Phone:  0034 902 10 70 77
Notes:  The Prado Museum is one of Madrid’s premier attractions.  Paintings of these famous Spanish Artists are included:  El Greco, Velazquez, Goya In fact, the Prado is one of the very few museums that allow flash photography.   What collections to view:  HERE

THYSEEN-BORNEMISZA MUSEUM – Marta from Slow Travel recommended this museum during my stay in Madrid.  They are closed on Mondays, so I think I may see it on the day of my arrival.  Address

MUSEO THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA, Madrid
Palacio de Villahermosa
Paseo del Prado, 8. 28014 MADRID (SPAIN)
Tel.: (+34) 91 369 01 51 Fax: (+34) 91 420 27 80
E-mail: mtb@museothyssen.org

Underground: Banco de España. www.metromadrid.es
Buses: 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15, 20, 27, 34, 37, 45, 51, 52, 53, 74, 146 and 150. www.emtmadrid.es
Trains: Atocha and Recoletos railway stations. www.renfe.es
Public car park in Plaza de las Cortes.

ROYAL PALACE – WIKIPEDIATOURIST GUIDE MADRID TRAVELING IN SPAIN – CYBER SPAIN – A VIEW ON CITIES OFFICIAL ROYAL PALACE WEBSITE 

Address: Palacio Real – 28071 Madrid – Espana
Telephone: 34 914-548-700
Metro Station:  Opera (5 minute walk from there)
Hours:  9:30 am – 5:00 pm (Sundays 9:30 to 2:00 pm)
Cosst:  8 Eur w/o Guide and 10 Eur w/guide
PLAZAS

PLAZA DE ESPAÑATraveling in Spain –  A View on Cities

Plaza de España   (Google Map)
Here a visitor will find the monument to Miguel de Cervantes, writer of the world famous story of Don Quixote de la Mancha and his trusty squire, Sancho Panza. Note:  According to an ST trip report that I read, there is apparently a cable car ride on the Teleferico that has spectacular views of the Madrid skyline. If I have time I’ll have to see if I can take this 20 minute ride for some city photo opps! Cool . . .

PLAZA MAYOR : A View on Cities Traveling in Spain – Index of Historical Art Images

PUERTO DEL SOLTraveling in SpainF

FIESTA DE LA ALMUDENA: 

 The capital of Spain, Madrid is one of the most famous tourist destinations. It is noted for the huge amount of cultural festivals and events that is held in the city which in itself is a great attraction for people. The Fiesta de la Almudena, Madrid is one such event that spreads color and joy in the air.   

Madrid commemorates their female patron saint, the Virgin of the Almudena or the Holy Virgin as Fiesta de la Almudena on the 9th of November annually. The celebration is held at Plaza de la Almudena. The festival begins at 11 o clock in morning with a Mass that is held at the Plaza Mayor. A street procession follows thereafter at the Puerta de Sol, the Plaza Oriente and the Plaza Isabel II. Throughout the day at the Plaza de la Almudena flowers are proffered. The flowers bring hue and aroma to the streets. The festival gets over almost around 9 in the evening. Participation in the festival is not chargeable and everyone is invited to share the fun and excitement of the celebration. There is a legend associated to the Holy Virgin. It is said that the image of the Virgin of La Almudena was purportedly brought to Spain by the Apostle Santiago (St. James). The image of the Almudena was hid in the city wall by the Christians when the Moors had encroached upon Madrid in the year 783. Later after two centuries when Madrid was liberated, but nobody remembered the place where the image was hidden, the wall fell away and exposed the image. The most unusual thing in it was that the image was found along with the two same wax candles that she had been hidden with and was still kindled. –Asian Room.com

FOOD, WINE AND CHURROS:

TIME:  Most people don’t head out for lunch before 2:00, and dinner may not be until 22:00 or 23:00 at night.

Madrid is also home to the legendary ‘churro’ which is a donut like strip that should be dunked in gloopy hot chocolate. To try churros at their sticky best you must visit the famous San Gines Churreria in the centre.  I wonder if my hotel is anywhere near this famous Madrid Churreria!  No matter they are open 6:00 pm to 7:00 am Mon thru Sunday!  Ha, Ha!

Pasadizo de San Gines
Madrid 28013 Spain
+34 91 365 6546
Open Hours6p-7a M-Su
TAPAS:  The best tapas bars are to be found on the trendy Cava Baja street not far from the Plaza Mayor. The great thing is that you can eat tapas at any time until about 1am! I would also recommend trying every bar around the Plaza Santa Ana, although when you reach the bustling Vinoteca.

WEBSITE LINKS ON MADRID:

A VIEW ON CITIES – Website with Information on Madrid

EUROPE FOR VISITORS – Website on Madrid

MADRIDMAN – Website on Madrid

CHURCHES IN MADRID – Spain Travel Guide Website

MARIBEL’S GUIDES – Website on Madrid (Pdf File)

SLOW TRAVEL – Website

TOURIST GUIDE – Madrid Website

TRAVELING IN SPAIN  – Website on Madrid

INDEX OF HISTORICAL ART IMAGES Website on Historical Images To See

MADRID – CITY TRANSPORTATION: 

 

 MADRIDMETROMAP.jpg

MADRIDMAN WEBSITE – Metro Transportation Explanation

TRAVELING IN SPAIN – Website on Transportation

TOLEDO

The historic city of Toledo dominated by the grand and mighty Alcazar fortress and is a beautiful  city.  The historic city of Toledo dominated by the grand and mighty Alcazar fortress and is a beautiful city that is on the UNSCO World Heritage Site.   It is a city that sits on a rock and is bounded on three sides by the Rio Tajo.  It is a former capital of the Spanish Empire and is also well known as a place in the world’s where Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures coexists.  In fact, it is considered one of a few cities in the world where you can view Renaissance Cathedrals, Synagogues and Mosques.  Hence, the speculation of the expression “Holy Toledo.”  
 
Note on Shopping:  Some of the best Toledo Spain Shopping is on the Called Del Comercio near the Plaza de Zocodover. This animated thoroughfare is lined with bars and some of the best Toledo Spain shopping opportunities.  
 
The city is only a 30 minute train ride (AVE High Speed) away from Madrid and so I will visit it as a day trip.  And who knows, if I really like it I just may spend the night. Even if the Alcazar may be closed it would be awesome to photograph it at night 

MUST SEE LIST – TOLEDO:

A Walk on Toledo RampartsTraveling in Spain

ALCAZAR (CASTLE)Index of Historical Art Images Traveling in Spain – Wikipedia – Destination 360

Address: Cuesta  de Carlos V, 2 45001   Toledo (Toledo)  Telephone:  +34 925221673

CATEDRAL DE TOLEDO (CATHEDRAL IN TOLEDO): – Wikipedia –Spain Information

13th Century Renaissance architecture with works of El Greco located in the main Sacristy for viewing. 
Address:
Plaza  del Ayuntamiento, 45002   Toledo (Toledo)
Telephone:  +34 925222241

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10.00 am-6.30 pm. Sundays and public holidays, 2-6pm.
General admission fee: €7

 

PUERTA DE BISAGRA –Index of Historical Art Images – Travel Guide

 San Martin’s Bridge (Puente de San Martín) – Index of Historical Art ImagesSinagoga de Santa María la Blanca – Index of Historical Art ImagesWEBSITE LINKS ON TOLEDO:TOLEDO WikepediaTraveling in Spain –  Index of Art Historical Images SOL – Website information on Toledo (and all of Spain)  

SEVILLA

       

 

Until I watched this video I really had no conception that Sevilla was so large.  But then again it is the capital city of Andalucia so why wouldn’t it be a big city.  It looks really pretty and the cathedral is huge!  Going through it may take me an entire day!  It’s funny how the architecture is so different than Venice and Italy.  But I remember feeling the same way when I first saw Prague!  I’m looking forward to experiencing something new and different! MY MUST SEE LIST  & LINKS: Barrio de Santa CruzTraveling in SpainMacarena Basilique – SOL.com 

Address: (Located in the neighborhood of La Macarena)
Becquer, 1 Seville, AN 41002 Spain
Telephone:  +34 954370195
Hours:  9 am – 1 pm, 5 pm – 9 pm
 
This is a baroque style church desgined by architect Aurelio Gomez Millan in 1949.  It houses the city’s famous statue of Holy Mary (with tears made of glass).  Duirng holy week (Semana Santa), the statue is featured through the streets of the City. 

CATHEDRALAndalucia .comIndex of Historical Art Images – SevilleSpain Information Traveling in SpainWikipediaAddress:Avenida de la Constitucion 

s/n 41001
Seville (Seville)
Telephone: +34 954214971
Hours:  Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sundays 2:30 am – 6:00 pm
Entry Fee:  Admission Cathedral & Giralda only.  7 Euros

 

 La Giralda – La Giralda Tower – Spain Information

16 Century Arabic Bell Tower.  Decorated with bricks is this magnificent Bell Tower is the work of Architect Ali de Gomara.  Possible to Climb tower to enjoy beautiful views of the town. 

Address:
Calle Alemanes, s/n 41001  Seville (Seville)
Telephone:  +34 954214471
Hours:  Joint visit with the Cathedral.  Same Hours.  Fee is combined with fee to the Cathedral at 7.50 Euros.

Royal Alcazar (los Reales Alcácares) – Traveling in Spain – Spain On Line (SOL) –  Wikipedia – Index of Art Historical ImagesChurches in SevilleSol.comPlaza de EspanaTraveling in Spain – Wikipedia – Adalucia.com – Seville.comPlaza NuevaTraveling in Spain  Located near the Cathedral – should swing by for a look see after my visit to the Cathedral. Plaza VirgenTraveling in SpainFOOD, WINE, DESERTS: 

Sevilla Tapas Blog – Found this great blog on the  Slow Travel Spain-Portugal Forum and I love it!

SEVILLA INFORMATION – WEBSITES:Maribel’s GuidesSeville.comTraveling in SpainWikipedia on SevillaFLAMENCO SHOW:Los Gallos – Tablao Famenco 

Plaza de Santa Cruz 11

 41004-Sevilla

 Reservations by Telephone:  0034 954 216981

 Reservations by E-mail:  reservas@tablaolosgallos.com

 At the recommendation of  my Slow Travel buddy, Maria, I will have the great pleasure of watching an authentic Flamenco show at the Los Gallos Theatre House.  It is a two hour show (8:00 pm and 10:30 pm) and I will need to make advanced reservations. 

The most amazing thing about this recommendation is that Maria actually saw this show with her two year old son and husband in 1981.  The quality of the performance can be summed up in the complete and utter expression of joy in her son’s face.  Her then two year old son was so captivated that he stood and clapped and smiled throughout the performance.  Is that not the cutest story!  Just based on that story alone I will definitely plan to see a show at Los Gallos. 

Thanks again Maria!

 

CORDOBA

Guess what I have just added to my itinerary?  As a day trip from Seville, I think I will plan a day trip to Cordoba, with its magnificent mosque is northern Andalusia’s start attraction. 

I just have to see the Mezquita . . . Cordoba’s great mosque, which dates back 12 centuries, embodied the power of Islam on the Iberian peninsula. 

MUST SEE LIST – CORDOBA:MEZQUITATraveling in SpainHours of operations:  Mon-Sat, 10:00 am – 5:30 pmWEBSITE LINKS ON CORDOBA:CORDOBA WikepediaTraveling in Spain

 CADIZ 

  

 

The City of Cadiz is 3,000 years old and is considered to be “the” oldest city in all of Europe.  When intrigued me about Cadiz was the golden domed Cathedral and the historical background that Columbus (the famous explorer and adventurer) actually took off on his expeditions from the ports of Cadiz.  There are so many beautiful and famous “White Villages” in Andalucia to choose from but the charm and history of Cadiz seemed to call out to me the most.  But you only have to watch the YouTube that I posted to understand the draw to this wonderful City.  I’m so happy to have decided to visit Cadiz! MUST SEE LIST – CADIZ: Cathedral Nueva – by Spain On Line (SOL).  Interesting that it took 116 years to build.  A great eye catcher is the golden gilded tile dome which stands out over this mass of white buildings that make up the Old City Center and most of the town. Puerta Tierra  – Originally built in the 18 Century the Puerta Tierra was the Gateway into Cadiz’s old town.  Only a few sections of the walls remain. Cadiz Tours (Hop-On / Hop-Off) – eThis double decker Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus tour has nine stops throughout the City and will give me a great overview of the sights around Cadiz. The cost is only $17.95 Euros and has the benefit of a 24-HOUR UNLIMITED USE ticket!  

This narrated tour will cover the major sights of Cadiz in an approximate 75 minute circle or choose to utilize your hop on and off flexibility at any of the nine stops to create your own customized tour. Here are the Hop-On/Hop-Off Stops:~~ Plaza San Juan de Dios
~~ Plaza de Sevilla
~~ C.C.El Corte Ingles
~~ Puerta de Tierra
~~ Playa de la Victoria
~~ Cathedral
~~ Playa de la Caleta
~~ Parador Hotel Atlantico
~~ Plaza de la Hispanidad
Cool!
 
PLACES TO EAT, DRINK & ENJOY MUSIC:Travel Guide:  What Cadiz.com – Website provides some places to eat tapas, drink and enjoy music.  Beach side cafes, bars and restaurants where locals and tourist hang out!  Cool! Cadiz Travel Guide Suggestions on places to dine and drink are:   El Quinto Pina – Located in Plaza San Juan De Dios. drink with the local’s in this small, intimate bar/cafe.Pasaja Andaluz – In Plaza San Juan De Dios -a typical Spanish bar with cheap booze and reasonably priced tapas.El Faro – In Plaza San Felix 15. A bonus here, the bar also serves excellent tapas. Situated in the atmospheric old fishing quarter. WEBSITE ABOUT CADIZ:  Adalucian.com Cadiz Travel Guide Spain On Line (SOL) Wikipedia  
GRANADA

  

 

Wow, the Alhambra looks so awesome! MUST SEE LIST IN GRANADA: Alhambra:  Traveling in Spain Virtual Tour by Granada Tourism Office – Wikipedia Book & Reserve Alhambra Tickets:  ServiCAixa   PLACES TO EAT, DRINK & ENJOY MUSIC: Top 10 Tapas Bars In Granada – Another great article find on the Spain-Portugal Forums.  Numbers # 7 and #8 sounds pretty good! WEBSITE LINKS ON GRANADA: Office of Tourism – GranadaAndalucia.com  Traveling in Spain Website   Wikipedia about Granada

RONDA

 

MUST SEE LIST IN RONDA: Puente Nuevo “New Bridge” – 18th Century bridge that spans the El Tajo gorge – Andalucia.com BARS, CAFES, RESTAURANTS:  Andalucia.com – A selection of places to eat while in Ronda.

 Traga Tapas opened in November 2006 and its the very latest addition to Ronda’s hip hideouts. Situated on Calle Nueva no 4 this fashionable bar opens Tuesday till Sunday. 12-4pm and 8pm till midnight. 
La Leyenda, calle Los Remedios (closed Tues)
The smartest bar in Ronda, and where the latter-day señoritos and their mujeres gather for a sherry after mass on Sundays.
 
La Farola, Plaza Carmen Abela (off La Bola, where the taxi stand is). A great local favourite for a lunchtime or evening drink.
 
Limbo, Plaza Carmen Abela. Next door to La Farola.
 
Faustino, calle Santa Cecilia (off Carmen Abela) – Without question the funkiest bar in the whole of Ronda
 
Siete Copas, Paseo Ernest Hemingway (back of the Parador).  Once a month live gigs, and a small constellation of Ronda’s hip and cool lounging louchely around to a recorded jazz soundtrack. It’s open late, and also at lunchtimes,
 
Villa Paz, Plaza Mondragon (next to the Palacio in the old town).  Open erratically, but has a lovely garden with stunning views west towards the mountains.


 WEBSITE LINKS ON RONDA: RONDA Spain On Line (SOL)  Wikipedia on Ronda

  
MALAGA
  
 
MUST SEE LIST:

 Picasso MuseumOfficial Picasso Museum Website

 Palacio de Buenavista
c/ San Agustín, 8
29015 Málaga, España

Tel: (34) 952 127600
Fax: (34) 952 127607
info@museopicassomalaga.org
Opening hours:
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10 am to 8 pm
Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am to 9 pm
Sundays and public holidays, 10 am to 8 pm

Fee:  6 Euros


 Malaga Tour – Hop On-Hop Off Bus Tour – Good for 24 hours.  15 Euros and Good for 24 hours I will be able to get a good overvview of the City of Malaga.  I can get off and get back on at 14 different spots.  Here are some of the sights I will be passing: 

ROUTE 1:
Estación de Autobuses
Edif. Correos / Museo Arte Contemporáneo
Puerto
Paseo del Parque
Paseo de la Farola
Playa de la Malagueta
Plaza de toros
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Santuario de la Victoria
Plaza de la Merced / Casa Picasso
Alcazaba / Teatro Romano
Catedral
Avd. Andalucía / El Corte Inglés
 
Gibralfaro – Traveling in Spain

 WEBSITE LINKS ON MALAGA: Traveling in Spain Wikipedia

LOGISTICS:  USEFUL LINKS

 Logistical Planning (ie., booking lodging, airfares, planning ground transportation, etc) is probably my most least liked part of trip planning.  I enjoy learning about the country, culture, foods/wine, sightseeing options, etc.

 That said, I’m starting the logistics part of my planning now that I have a vague idea of where to go and what I “sort” of want to see and do!  But I have to deal with part of the planning in order to get to where I want to go, so here goes:

 AIR TRANSPORTATION: LAX TO MADRID/MALAGA TO LAX And so begins . . . . the nail biting hunt for a decent airfare using from Los Angeles to Madrid and returning from Malaga to Los Angeles.  I’ll keep a close eye on the prices using the search engine, KAYAK!

 *With the help of a fellow Slow Traveler (Thanks Maria!), I purchased my tickets for a great price!  Spain Here I come!

 GROUND TRANSPORTATION:

 RENFE is the Train provider in Spain!
 
There is a great high speed (AVE) train route from Mardrid to Sevilla!  Cool!
 
There is also an AVE route from Sevilla to Cordoba (for my possible day trip there).
 
I’ll catch the AVE train at the Atocha Train Station in Madrid to Sevilla.
 
Here’s a really good explaination I found on the Train System in Spain

 GROUND TRANSPORTATION: MADRID TO SEVILLA Est. Time:  2.5 hours              Est. Cost:  $74.60 Euros (Tourist Class) SAMPLE RENFE AVE TRAIN SCHEDULE – MADRID TO SEVILLA  GROUND TRANSPORTATION: MADRID TO TOLEDO: Est. Time:  1.5 hours              Est. Cost:  $9 Euros (Tourist Class) SAMPLE RENFE TRAIN SCHEDULE-MADRID TO TOLEDO 

RESOURCES USED TO PLAN MY TRIP
These are resources that I used in my trip planning for this year’s trip to Spain:

 GUIDE BOOKS: DK Eyewitness Travel Spain, by Dorling Kindersley Limited, London, 2007 Rick Steves’ Spain 2008, Avalon Travel Publishing (www.ricksteves.com) TRAVEL WEBSITES: Slow Travel  – Awesome Travel Webiste Resource Slow Travel – Spain  Madridman – This is a good comprehensive website on Madrid filled with great practical information that will help me navigate around Madrid.  Maribel’s Guides – A great website that Maria shared with me.  Excellent resource on anything and everything about traveling to Spain! Thanks so much Maria! Traveling in Spain – This website is pretty comprehensive and provides a very good explanation in each of the cities.  Great overivew information.  MAJOR SIGHTS: USEFUL &  INTERESTING LINKS: INDEX OF ART HISTORICAL IMAGES – Great link passed on by Slow Traveler AnnieNC.  It has some great images of churches in Spain!  Thanks so much Annie! SACRED DESTINATIONS TRAVEL GUIDE – Great Resource for locating great sacred sights all over the world. TRIP REPORTS/TRAVEL NOTES/BLOGS:  Slow Travel Trip Report:  The Romance of Moorish Spain by Jamie&Geoff Slow Travel Report:  Madrid and Rome – One Week Apartment Stays by Love2Plan Slow Travel Report:  Three Weeks in Spain by Doru Slow Travel Article: A Spectacular Sojourn in Sunny Seville by Staci Bilko Slow Travel Trip Report:  Three Weeks in Spain by Shannon BLOG:  Madridman POCKETMOD:

 There was an excellent post by Marta on Slow Travel about these PocketMods.  Christine from Australia did a sample that she did on Restaurant recommendations in Paris.  I thought this was an excellent idea.  I always do something similar on Excel but I have to cut and paste to make it look like a book.  This will be great to create all my itinerary information. 
 
Here’s what you have to do:
 
– Type eight pages either on Word or Excel
– Use at least a 20 font size text
– Convert to Pdf file
– Download and save the Pocket Mod Converter
– Convert your pdf File to PocketMod
 Below is an example of one that I did:

 FOOD TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS  I really like the PocketMod idea and will definitely create one for my itinerary, account numbers and all my hotels and important contact information to keep with me at all times. 

 However, a recent post by Roz on Slow Travel has convinced me that I need something more easier to transfer and maintain my information to use. There is a new software that is available to use with an iTouch so I can drag and transfer all my travel notes (without converting them to a pocketmod) onto my iTouch.  I think this will be much easier to handle the loads of information that I need to have access to (without carrying so much paper work) on my trip! 


 

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