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Old 05-02-2005, 08:15 AM   #1
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Whew! The spouse and I just got back from a 4 week vacation to Spain and Morocco.*

We hopped a military Space-A flight so airfare was free, and once there we used a combination of rental car (for one week) and trains to explore the southern part of the country - Seville, Cordoba, Granada, plus smaller towns and villages.* We also enjoyed a 5 day side trip to Morocco and a week in Madrid where my mother-in-law joined us for part of the time.*

Previously Spain was not high on my "must see" list, but the Andalusia region is absolutely gorgeous and had exactly the right mix of historical stuff, good food, and natural attractions (beaches and hiking trails) to meet my criteria for a great destination.* It compared favorably with our trip to Italy 2 years ago and was quite a bit cheaper.* We had no problem finding charming hotels that offered doubles w/attached bath at around 40 Euros/night.* Eating out was also generally a good deal, and the wine was both good and cheap.

Unfortunately the husband is now back at work (at least its a "fun"* two month training class), and I'm preparing for our big move overseas at the end of summer.* It was tough ending the vacation though, and we're both looking forward to future ER when we travel for longer periods of time.* At the same time, we're also grateful that we get more than the standard two weeks vacation a year, and have the money to put it to good use.* Definitely an unforgettable trip and one that we won't regret having spent money on in the years to come.*

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Re: Spain
Old 05-02-2005, 10:38 AM   #2
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Re: Spain

Thanks very much for the note on your vacation, FlowGirl!* Glad you had such a good time!* My one regret about not staying in the Navy until retirement is that Space-A benefit.* But then, who knew I'd find travel so enjoyable 25 years later?

Spain has been on my list now for a while so this was timely.* I've got Corsica teed up for the spring and I'd bet I could get from A to B without a great deal of trouble.* If it compares in ANY way with Italy, I'm there!

(Where did you go in Italy, btw?)*

Any "must sees' or "must hikes" stand out for you and given nature of this board, any cheap lodgings / eats you'd recommend?*

Muchas gracias!

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Re: Spain
Old 05-02-2005, 12:07 PM   #3
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Re: Spain

Went to Spain in 2001 and loved it. Have a daughter who lives in Barcelona. But I had a hard time adjusting to the late nights. Everybody seems to eat about 10-11pm, then start to party. We actually flew into Madrid (it was cheaper) and than took a train to Barcelona. We partyed on the rooftop of my kid's apt bldg. Must return.

BTW I was pickpocketed while there. All they got was sunglasses. The trick was done while going up the escalator in the Metro. Guy in front of me dropped a coin or something and I just kept bumping into him. There was an escalator going opposite direction real close or it could have been somebody behind me. Thank goodness for money belts, as my loot and passports were secured in my pants. Hate to think what would have happened had he gotten my credit cards and/or passports. I thought I had heard of all the pickpocket tricks, like throwing a baby at you and you reach to save the kid and they take your stuff or spilling something on you. Just wasn't ready for the escalator trick. The sunglasses were old prescription ones, so the thief didn't get much from them either.

No matter,I will go back. I'm gonna go Space A, probably later this year. Probably fly into Rota. Glad you liked the trip, and space A is still best airline.
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Re: Spain
Old 05-02-2005, 03:06 PM   #4
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Re: Spain

The big "must see" for me was The Alhambra walled fortress in Granada. They only let in a certain number of tourists per day so if you don't make reservations then be prepared to get up early and stand in line (well worth it).* The cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada are relatively close and make a nice loop if you're in that region.

The small town of Ronda which straddles an enormous picturesque gorge was perhaps our favorite place - really great hiking, impressive momuments, and a very laid back and pleasant town to walk around in.* Other places we liked included the village of Zuheros and the beach town of San Jose on the Cabo de Gata.

For food we ate a lot of tapas and paella, and took advantage of "set menus" which are a pretty good deal most of the time.* The roast suckling pig in Segovia ( a regional specialty) was more expensive but blew me away.

Madrid is definitely a cheap place to start if you're paying for a flight to Europe.* The ticket we bought for my mother-in-law with only 7 days notice was $350 round trip from the east coast.* We might have done even better but we were shopping online at the last minute from Marrakech. BTW, bringing the MIL out was actually a win-win proposition for everyone.* We paid for her ticket and hotel - we found a two room suite that was pretty reasonable, and she picked up the dining out tab for the week.* Best of all we didn't have to take time out of our vacation or shell out extra plane tickets to go and see her (she lives on the east coast and we live on the west).* I love it when things work out like that.
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