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Review: Andalucia

Escorted Tour - Rail

Spain

Andalusia

  • By SilverTraveller annette-hall

    21 reviews

    Ribbon

  • May 2011
  • Husband

58 people found this review helpful

The holiday to Andalucia went smoothly, but was a bit too energetic. We started on Friday 12th May by motoring down to Gatwick. Philip was keen to start after breakfast as he was worried about the traffic, so we were there far too early to book in at our hotel, even with stops to swap driver and have coffee and snack. Once checked in, we spent the rest of the day with feet up reading the newspaper and watching TV. The hotel was expensive, so walked to a nearby McDonalds for something to eat. Up early on Saturday, which was a good thing as the hotel car park wouldn’t let us out, we got a bit lost looking for the airport car park, which was reluctant to let us in! Bus and monorail to correct terminal, and met up with our group. Flight left at 11am and arrived in Mallaga 2 ½ hours later. A rather long, but picturesque coach transfer to the hotel on Ronda. Checked in, and went for a walk before our meal. Hot!! The town is built on the sides of a spectacular deep gorge, with a bridge across. Coughs, Crag martins and swifts flying around. Nice meal, free wine and friendly group, of 30 people, led by our tour guide Linda.



Sunday, and a fresher morning. Woke to the chirping of sparrows and the screeching of swifts. Boiled our travel kettle for tea, then breakfast. Went on an organised walk round town and bull ring. 3 ½ hours with no sit down or coffee break, a real killer which rather finished us off for the rest of the day, which was a pity as it was an interesting place. Went another short walk along edge of gorge and saw an alpine swift. Took the motor land train for a trip round the town, and had a rather expensive meal out at a local restaurant.

Monday, was a chilly start, waiting at the station for the train to Cordoba. First class, so we had second breakfast!. Very hot by the time we got there. Walked across a shade less bridge on a walking tour and looked round a very interesting and cool Mosque/cathedral then round the town – narrow streets and souvenir shops. Settled for an ice cream and an orange juice in a cool bar, but couldn’t find anywhere to sit in the shade. Watched a night heron and an egret fishing in the river. Train to Seville and bus to hotel – saw a white stork nesting on top of a chimney. Meal in hotel – and air conditioning.

Tuesday was our day in Seville. Walking tour yet again, to the Alcaza. A royal Moorish palace with fantastic architecture and cool gardens with fountains and tall jacaranda trees laden with mauve blossom. A very hot day though, so left the tour and found ice cream then a cool Starbooks . Had a good rest and a late lunch at a local restaurant which had a fine spray of water coming from it’s outdoor canopy to keep the diners and waiters cool! Went on a city tour bus to sight see without moving. Had dinner in the local Burger King, skulking at the back in case anyone from the group saw us! Went a short walk in the cool of the evening. Hundreds of swifts, swirling, swooping and screeching round the tall buildings. They must have been a feature of the place, as the dining room had large mobiles of flying swifts.

Wednesday had a leisurely start with breakfast, a coach to the station and train to Granada. 2nd class this time, crowded and no breakfast. A long journey with miles of olive tree fields. Saw more white storks on nests and a watery place with a flamingo, avocets and black winged stilts. Hotel in centre of Granada, walked round before meal in hotel. Sky news is the only English TV channel, which is a bit repetitive.

Thursday had a guided walk found the Albayzin, and ancient Moorish quarter. Narrow streets and a bit run down, but interesting squares, one with a market. Had a stop for sit down and coffee! Unfortunately it started to rain, a real downpour , so we were all soaked by the time we got to look round the cathedral. Went for a tapas style lunch, which was rather filling, many platters to share courses. Spent rest of day drying out and reading, didn’t go out again to eat.

Friday was our trip to the Alhamra, a fortress, palace and small town rolled into one on high ground overlooking Granada. Got a coach up and back, so not too much walking. Very crowded, even on a timed ticket. Went round the gardens first, then the building – once more some great Moorish architecture. Lunch was from a local supermarket, then rest, a bit of a walk later. A final meal all together in the hotel.

Back on Saturday. Had a bit of free time, so went walk to local touristy shops and bought a few souvenirs. Coach from Granada to Malaga airport, along a motorway this time. Plane on time, but took ages to get out of Gatwick and collect the car.

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