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wondering about andalucia

los angeles
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wondering about andalucia

I am going to Barcelona for business in a couple of weeks. I'll be there for almost a week and then I have another week free.

I've never been to Spain and I was thinking of spending the second week in Andalucia.

I think I'll have to fly from Barcelona to Seville to save time. And then what I really want to see is Cadiz and the Mezquita /Cordoba, which of course are in opposite directions.

So, the first question is, can someone who is in love with Cadiz assure me that it will be amazing. I'm imagining it being both glorious and a little seedy.

And of course I think Mezquita is going to be one of the most astonishing buildings I'll ever see.

But to link the two together does it make sense to try to go counterclockwise in a loop (seville, cadiz, ronda, granada, cordoba, seville) by train and bus? or is that crazy for a single week/

Or should I really just focus on Cadiz and Cordoba and then make a dash to Tangier.

Any advice is really welcome !!

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1. Re: wondering about andalucia

Oh boy. Cordoba, Cadiz, Seville Ronda, Granada and Tangier in a week. Not including travel time that's one a day. Could you look at a map and decide your 'must dos'. You already say Cordoba and Cadiz - these can be seen easily by train as both cities linked in 2 1/2 hours - RENFE Spanish Railways has times.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

In between is Seville so you can break up this journey.

But that assumes you first go to Cordoba so what I suggest is to fly to Granada and see the Alhambra and then move to Cordoba by bus or train. Bus is www.alsa.es

OK so that is Barcelona-Granada (make sure you book your Alhambra tickets first - see Granada Forum for help) - Cordoba - Seville - Cadiz. Then ? If you can add more time then the Tangier option is available from Cadiz by bus to Tarifa to catch a ferry. But I doubt if you have any spare time so concentrate on seeing Andalucia and perhaps take a bus Cadiz-Algeciras then across the road to take a train to Ronda then on to either Malaga or all the way to Madrid by train.

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los angeles
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2. Re: wondering about andalucia

Yeah, ok. I laughed when I read your message. I agree I need to prioritize.

Flying to Grenada is brilliant. I checked out the Granada forum and the Bono pass is perfect for my date to see Alhambra.. And I like the idea of starting the Andalusia tour there , it seems so weighty and monumental that I might be too tired to at the end to really appreciate its beauty.

Can you tell me what you love about Cadiz? (since that is your nickname). And also, do you love Seville or is it more a place of transit for you?

For the last few years I have taken my annual holiday exploring Mexico, trying to get to that place where nothing ahead or behind you is familiar and you have, even briefly, lost yourself.

I'm not imagining Spain will be anything like that but I would like to lose my way somewhere, even a little.

Is it more likely to get lost in Seville or Cadiz ? Also have you any thoughts or advice on Tangier if I should happen to make it there? I think the ferry itself, looking back on Gibraltar, would be wonderful

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3. Re: wondering about andalucia

Well my love is of the Province called Cadiz which includes the sherry country and of course the largest city in this Province namely Jerez. I love its coastal beaches facing the Atlantic with some beautiful sand dunes and some wilder coastlines than found on other Andalucian coasts. I love the inland areas stretching from the town I know best being Arcos de la Frontera to the Siera de Grazalema and of course all the smaller towns dotted around including a place few tourists seem to visit : Ubrique. I love the people and especially the older generation who are gentle and kind even though I do find it almost impossible to follow their quick speech in heavy Andaluz. Mind you the smoother operators in Jerez who sport quality clothes and shoes and who ride do make another impression. I love the sunshine that does seem to shine a lot and of course Cadiz city which is at its best during the Carnaval time and during the peak summer months when a kind of relaxed and orderly procession to the playas exists as if by some pre ordained ritual. Each family with umbrella and often the full monty with table and chairs and cool box and playing cards. And of course I do not like certain aspects but then I am just human.

And Seville is a great place to get to know in fact I keep finding excuses to stay over if flying in or out of the airport here. Am gradually getting to know which is my favourite place to visit in Seville - plenty of reason to linger but stay in the 'casco antiguo' old city area with its maze of streets and always near something of interest.

Getting lost ? Well old Cadiz is quite compact and I have a good nose for directions but always worth studying a good map. Or when I first visited some years ago the tourist red bus HopOn Hopoff had started and gave a good idea instantly of the city.

Seville old city is a maze and you can lose yourself especially when trying to locate Carboneria bar in Barrio Santa Cruz but its usually easier to follow an American student ! Locals will always try to help with directions even if their directions are actually going to hinder. Again a map is essential.

the ferry from Algeciras goes to Tanger-Med or Ceuta and both routes will pass the rock. You can of course see the rock itself from Algeciras although the port installations have made this more difficult. Or you can ride a bus to La Linea on the border and walk over for a visit.

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4. Re: wondering about andalucia

with just 7 days I would do the following (knowing your interest in Cadiz and Cordoba)

- Train or flight from Barcelona to Sevilla (AVE train is 5h and you'll experience high speed trains)

- 4/5 nights in Seville: from there you can daytrip to Cordoba, see the Mezquita (45 mins by train) and to Cadiz (1h15 by train). Stay in Seville the rest of the time because it deserves at least 3 days.

- 2 nights in Granada: take a train from Seville to Granada, spend 2 nights in there. Go to the Alhambra. From there you can fly back to Barcelona.

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los angeles
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5. Re: wondering about andalucia

Cadiz Lover, thank you. I love the image of the elaborate processions to the beach in summer. And you and MyScreen have made me much more enthusiastic about Seville.

One question about Flamenco. I haven’t been crazy about Flamenco but that’s possibly because I’ve only seen it as part of some kind of festival and it seems more like a museum piece and therefore a little boring.

Do either of you have recommendations in Granada, Cordoba or Seville for bars where I can see Flamenco? Both in LA and in travel I tend to end up in dive bars and back streets for food, drink and amusement, so, anything off track is definitely of interest to me.

Also, are there any authentic hammams in any of those cities or just the usual overpriced spas kitted out like hammams. Does Seville, for example, have a Moroccan quartier? That would make it easier to give up on Tangier !!

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Cadiz
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Seville
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Tangier-Tetouan Region, Morocco
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6. Re: wondering about andalucia

Just a comment on myscreens' ideas.

The high speed train (AVE) from Barcelona to Seville also stops at Cordoba before Seville so if you wanted to experience this train then maybe Cordoba first ?

Train to Cadiz is still not AVE although when it or rather if it does become AVE the journey may be closer to 1 hr 15 mins but now it is about 1 hour 50 mins .

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Barcelona
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Province of Barcelona, Spain
Seville
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Province of Seville, Spain
Cordoba
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Province of Cordoba, Spain
Cadiz
Cadiz
Costa de la Luz, Spain
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7. Re: wondering about andalucia

Granada has a sort of quasi Moroccan quarter where you can imagine being in a 'medina' but it is touristic. You can find flaemco without going to the shows 'tablaos' but this needs some kind of local help becasue they are usually club type establishments which cater for a regular local clientale and are called Peña flamenca . I have a nice one in Arcos where every Friday night usually after 11pm there is some performance put on and you can have a bite and a drink . Whilst not exactly a dive bar it certainly has the atmosphere. But for more local knowledge you need to post in individual Forums or ask locally. In my experience the Tourism offices are not much help.

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Granada
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Province of Granada, Spain
Olvera, Spain
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8. Re: wondering about andalucia

Hi, I am another of those who loves the Province of Cádiz although my particular favourites are Chiclana de la Frontera, south of Cádiz city and Olvera which is one of the pueblos blancos inland.

My friend is currently in Chiclana with her partner and just the other day they went to a flamenco show at Damajuana which is at C/- Francos 18, Jerez de la Frontera she said it was fabulous. They also went to the Hamman Andalusi Baños Ärabes at C/- Salvador 6 also in Jerez de la Frontera which they enjoyed.

Hope this helps out a little. My next trip to Olvera is only nine sleeps away and I already have my instructions from "My Screen" as where best to leave the car in order to visit el casco antiguo en Sevilla.

Saludos. Lindsay

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9. Re: wondering about andalucia

ljm:

For train travel, read Buying Renfe Tickets Online.

A good flamenco place in Seville is Los Gallos.

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RENFE
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los angeles
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10. Re: wondering about andalucia

Campsie and Benny thanks for advice. And CadizLover, okay, you''ve got me. Small, unadvertised flamenco clubs sound fantastic. I've put peña flamenca right in my notebook and will beg to find one. Which leads me to another question. I can't really drink enough alcohol to make it really social. Is there something else I can order in bars, to go with tapas (or flamenco) ? And regarding drink and food, is there anything served in seville that is truly regional or especial ?