Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 386: Three Weeks in Spain
By Shannon from California, Spring 2004
Trip Description: Shannon & Connie, daughter and mother, see six cities in Spain for tapas and touring.
Destinations: Countries - Spain; Regions/Cities - Andalusia, Barcelona, Madrid, Other Spain Region
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Art Trip; Foodie Trip; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People; Adult Children w/ Parents
Page 1 of 9: Here we go...
My mother and I decided to go to Spain together in the Fall of 2002. We got lots of advice on where to go on the Slowtalk message board, and made a rough plan. Initially, we were going to go in late April and early May to partake in the San Isidro festival in Madrid and the Spring Feria in Sevilla. But, my work interfered with that plan, so in December 2003 we moved the whole trip up a month. One benefit of moving the trip up was we got to be in Southern Spain for Holy Week, which was an incredible experience.
We both fell in love with Spain. The six cities we visited, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, and Barcelona, were very diverse, each with their own vibe and charms. The people of Spain are genuine, helpful, and generally laid-back. We never felt like we were treated any different for being a visitor rather than a Spaniard. Anti-Americanism? Pishaw.
I did the bulk of the planning (actually I did ALL the planning, mostly because I am a control-freak that way) with the use of the internet and a few guidebooks. I used the Open Road Spain Guide, DK Eyewitness Guides, and Rick Steves guide. (Rick Steves sent his for free, in exchange for "Chow! Venice," which was pretty nice.) We also had a copy of "Eating and Drinking in Spain" by Andy Herbach and Michael Dillon, a little glossary type book. The two books that I liked best, and read before I left, were "A Stranger in Spain" by H. V. Morton, and "Discovering Spain" by Penelope Casas. Both books gave me insight into Spain not found in my other guidebooks.
We got very lucky with all my internet apartment finds. I did not find ten apartments and then hem and haw about which one would be best - rather, I just booked the first ones I liked and stuck with them. All four apartments (in Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, and Barcelona) were in central areas and all worked out great. Our hotels, I believe, were listed in the Rick Steves book - definitely Las Conchas in Cordoba was. Both hotels were fine and well-priced.
Now on to my actual report. I fear that this may read like the travelogue of someone who does nothing all day, compared to some travel journals where people have the energy of six-year-olds on Red Bull and visit a thousand sights a day. I prefer, and I am happy my mother shares this with me, to not plan too much and to let the day take me. Or, to let the city take me, I should say. I am a lover of sitting in cafes drinking wine for hours more than a lover of the insides of churches. I like to fall in love and I was lucky enough to have several lovers on this trip (and I mean the cities of Spain!)
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