Just back from SPAIN! I really did not have much of a plan for this trip other than plane tickets and train tickets which are a MUST before travelling to this country (meaning the train tickets!). Please make sure your passport is valid 6 months PAST your travel dates of you will be turned away at the airport. Each country has different rules but all of Europe is the same.
So, I started in Barcelona and took the hop on hop off bus tour, I don’t really recommend this, seemed overpriced and not as informative as others I have taken in England and Hong Kong. Familia Sagrada is a gothic basilica semi built in 1882 by Gaudi and truly something to see! Reminds me of a sand castle where the sand dripped down on the towers. Still under construction if you can believe that!
Las Ramblas is the place to be! We had wonderful Tapas, Paella and SANGRIA in an outside cafe, truly wonderful experience. Don’t miss the magnificent statue of Christopher Columbus near the waterfront!
Then we headed to Cordoba in the Andalusia region, all I can say is WOW! This was a 4 hour train ride through the most beautiful countryside I have seen in a long while. Visiting the medieval town and walking around the square and visiting Mezquita de Cordoba, amazing structure built 786 AD.
Next stop, Cadiz and the beaches of Spain had to check them out to compare and contrast with the Caribbean and Mexico! Of course, water is dark blue vs. Caribbean Blue, but still beautiful. White sandy beaches but with no shade, you have to rent umbrellas and chairs or bring your own. Also gorgeous architecture to explore in this coastal town.
Vejer de la Frontera – The white village up high in the mountainside. A MUST if you find yourself in the Andalusia area of Spain. There are 15 white villages in Spain and this one seems to be the most beautiful with rich history. We did rent a car for 2 days while in this area to just drive around and explore. I did make reservations (highly recommend) at El Jardin del Califa and was not disappointed. Housed in an ancient Mosque from the 12th century serving Moroccan cuisine. Seems untouched as if someone from that time era would have no problem finding his way around this quaint village in the 21st century.
Final stop, Madrid, LOVED this city! So alive, vibrant and YOUNG! So, I am in my 50’s, average age out at night is around 20-30 something, but still so much fun. What really amazed me was Retiro Park in the center of the city, so unexpected. Boating lake with row boats or paddle boats (5.80 euros for 45 minutes) statues galore, flowers, benches and romantic spots all around. We walked around this park for at least one hour and still did not see it all. Pedestrian safe, only maintenance and police vehicles allowed. Of course Madrid is known for the MANY museums of fine art, so much to see!