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Trip Report Barcelona, MAdrid, Seville & Malaga Fall 2017

Sorry this took so long, but I wanted to included details. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. It was a magical trip and I can't wait to visit Spain again.

Trip Report SPAIN: Barcelona, Madrid, Seville & Malaga

November 18 to December 3, 2017

Barcelona 18-23

We flew on TAP Portugal from Toronto Pearson Airport. Flight was good and on time. Landed in Lisbon. Headed to security to get to gate for flight to Barcelona, it was a nightmare. We were in line with at least 300-400 travelers. There was at most 3 security officers at one time. It took 3 hours 4 minutes to get through. We ran to the gate and boarded as they were closing gates. Arrived in Barcelona. Used ATM in the Airport as we needed cash to pay remainder of Apartment. We were headed to Rambla De Catalunya, 31. It was suggested best way to travel there would be to take the Aerobus. You catch it right at the airport it is 5,90 Euros. Took approximately 30 minutes and dropped us off at Plaza Catalunya. We then had about a 5-10 min walk to apt. Make sure you have maps with streets marked. It took us a couple minutes to figure out which direction as Plaza Catalunya is very busy and it was also dark outside. We did have google maps download. Arrived at apt. We had to call so they could let us in. This was a little problem as we could not get our phones to work, even though we had tried them. After fooling around we did make contact and a rep was there in about 30 minutes. We just waited outside building fortunately it was in the 50s. We rented Via Habitat Apartments.

https:/…barcelona-apartments They were great to deal with and our apt was spotless and exactly as we hoped. The rep, Natalia, let us in and went over everything giving us good recommendations for food, travel and sightseeing. We settled in and went out to get a bite to eat. This was the worst night as we were exhausted had been up 26 hours (a little sleep on the plane) and we really did not know what to expect restaurant wise. We were eating around 8PM so this is really not dinner time. We ended up in a restaurant close to apartment. We ordered a beer and some small plates. Food was good, but we were ready to settle in. We walked back to apt and unpacked and went to bed so we would be fresh in the morning.

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Day 1:
We grabbed a pastry and coffee across the street form breakfast ad headed the Cathedral. The Cathedral has free entrance from 8AM-12:45pm or 17:45PM -19:30PM daily. It was about a 20 minute walk (really only 10 but we were not yet familiar with the area) so by the time we got there we only had time to wonder around the outside and go into the Grotto. I had purchased tickets for a bike tour to start at 10:30. We then headed to Placa Reial to meet out guide for the bikes. We rented through E-Bikes. We all got motorized bikes. Our guide was Pablo and he was wonderful. We met and walked over to their shop where we were given bikes and instructions how to use. There were different power levels and it make the ride wonderful, most of us used the bikes in manual with the exception of inclines. The cost was $41.00 USD. The tour was schedule for 3 hours. There were five of us and Pablo went over sites and asked us where we wanted to go. We did a little of everything and Gothic, Born, Beach area and eixample districts. He gave us so much info and it was great fun. We biked to the Arc de Tromph and went through the park so it was not necessary for us to go back. Also went by both Casa Milia (which is very eclectic and charming) and Casa Batilo. None of us felt the need to go back and go inside seeing a street view was enough. My suggestion would be to book first day you arrive first thing in the morning as you will be riding among pedestrians and we found as the morning went on the foot traffic was much heavier and our bike riding skills were tested. However, anyone can do it it is not strenuous at all. Once done we were all starving so we head to Caelum. This was a very small tea room/bar that was pointed out to us by Pablo. This building used to be a Jewish Bathhouse so when you enter you can sit upstairs and have coffee/tea/pastries or go downstairs (and you should) It is so unique we had beer, hot chocolate & pastries. A wonderful combination, but we loved it. Then we basically just explored the Las Rambla area. Made our way to a recommended place for churros called Petritxol. I think these were our favorites. We chose a restaurant on the Las Rambla that had huge Sangria & beers for dinner. Actually ordered pizza and some small plates. Food very good and at this point we were still pretty tired and decided to head back to apartment.

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Day 2:
I pre purchased our tickets for La Sagrada Familia. I chose the Pasion Tower and the earliest entry available on that also. Our tickets had us enter between 9:00-9:15. It was perfect we were able to walk around this amazing, amazing building in progress for about 45 minutes before it started to really get crowed. I would def. recommend you go as early as possible. This is one of my favorite all time sites it is truly amazing. I would allow 1 ½-2 hours. There is a metro stop directly in front. The rest of the day I had a let’s do whatever day so we decided to add Park Guell into the mix. We took the train that got us closest then walked the rest of the way. This is where the problem comes in we followed the signs and by the time we realized it we were following signs for auto travel, we were on foot. We went way out of our way up hill and were exhausted. When we finally arrive we were told the stairs in the front were closed and we had to walk around to the side. There was a lot of construction going on both inside and outside. This one something I was looking forward to and I must admit it did not live up to my expectations. It was different I am glad I saw it, but I would only say visit if you feel you must or you have extra time. To me not a “I have to squeeze it in” type of attraction. Ended up taking train back and headed down to the beach area and take the cable cars to Montjuic. Unfortunately they were full so we headed back to La Rambles and found a place to eat and then headed to the Barceló Raval (it is a hotel) we were told to go and have a drink on their roof top bar. I must say this should be a must. We went around 7:00 PM, it was dark out and it has a spectacular view of Barcelona and the waterfront. Cocktails were very reasonable, though they could benefit from outdoor heaters it was still a perfect end to a great day. Once done we headed out to find dessert in the Gothic area and wander around. Went to Granja M Viader for Chocolate and Churros. This was highly recommended and also was previewed on our local PBS station. It did not disappoint. It was wonderful. Then back to the apartment for the night.

Day 3:
We headed out to la Boqueria Market for breakfast and exploring. We had a wonderful breakfast that included eggs. My husband was ecstatic!!! Did a little shopping and headed back to go through the Cathedral. This time we made it through the whole thing it is, IMO, a must. It is just beautiful we all enjoyed it. After stopped at apartment dropped off our package and head out to the University Train station where we purchased ticket to head to a small town known for its Cava, Freixenet. We arrived about 2:00 and were lucky they were open. Literally you get off the train and it is right. It was in the high 70’s so we sat out on their porch and had two full tastings of cava. The time, place and cava were all amazing. We then walked into town and found one more that was open called Cava Blancher. We also enjoyed our tastings there a totally different atmosphere. We of course bought at both. Approximately 6 o’clock we boarded the train back. It was approximately a 45-minute trip. We all agree this was one of our favorite days. It was low keyed not rushed and perfect weather. That night back to the beach to eat!! Can you tell we all love the beach environment?

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Day 4: We got up early and headed back to La Boqueria to have breakfast again much to the delight of my husband. Then to the train station. We purchased tickets and went to Montserrat for the morning. It was amazing. We also ran into people we knew from back home in NY. Small world. Weather again perfect and we all enjoyed this. If possible I would consider this a not to miss sight, however it does take 3 hours round trip and you most likely need an 1.5 or a little more there. We had the afternoon so we decided to give the cable cars at Montjuic another go. We were successful. At a cost of 16 Euros I would not do it. We did not go up as far as the castle as that is another cable car company and another fee. We did stop at the restaurant on top and had a drink and took in the view. Very nice, however not a must see especially at the cost. Once we were done b/c the weather was so good we went to an outside burger place at the water. Food was good, blankets on the chairs for warmth. Relaxed and enjoyed our last night in Barcelona. Farewell Barcelona till next time you did not disappoint.

Day 5: Up at 5:00 AM grabbed a couple of taxis and off to the train station. Where we boarded the 6:40 AM AVE for our next adventure in Madrid. I purchased these tickets months in advance. It was approx. $60 USD per person. I was unable to purchase on Renef site so I ended up on LoCo. We arrive in Madrid approximately 10:00 AM. Our check in was for after 3:00, however I had contacted Spain Select prior to arrival and we were able to take a Taxi to Apt and a Representative, Javier, met us and we were all moved in by noon. We could have taken the cercanias as with your Ave ticket you can get a free cercanias ticket at the station. You have to buy from a machine or agent. However we decided to go via cab. We needed cabs we paid 8 Euro and the other group paid 13 Euro. We went via a tunnel they did not all about how you get there. We laughed it off and moved on. The apartment was as pictured. It was spotless and everything we hoped for. The location was on Calle Mayor. Our balcony opened completely. We were about a 3-minute walk to the Placa Mayor. We hit Madrid running. We headed across the street to a very small restaurant called La Ideal supposedly it servers the best calamari sandwich. We agreed. Javier recommended it and it was wonderful. We walked to the Royal Palace which we thought had free admittance from 4-6. We waited in line once entering found out that it was only for Spain citizens and UK citizens. So we left. There were many in line that translated the hours as we did. The cost to enter was 9 Euros, but we had decided that we did not want to pay as there were many sites we would be visiting. The cathedral was there and one of our members went through it and enjoyed I believe it was 3 Euros to go through. While she went in the 4 of us went to the café across the street and sat outside and people watch, ate tapas and enjoy beer and Cava. This was a favorite location and prices were very very good. We stayed quite a while it was cool out but the warmers were on. With each drink ordered a new Tapas was brought to us. We decided to walk back to the apartment drop off things purchased and head out for dinner and to go to the Reina Sofia. We walked over to Placa Mayor where they were setting up a holiday bazar. For me this is where my phone was pick pocketed. I had it in my hand took a photo put in my right pocket to look at a scarf and gone. I consider myself a very smart savvy traveler. I was not careless and wear my $$ and passport under my clothes around my neck. It just happened. Went to the Apple store they really were not help as even though it was an IPhone the carrier I use is in US. Fortunately for me each night I uploaded all of my photos to Shutterfly so my only loss was possibly the ones taken that day and I was hopeful I had gone into WIFI and they would have gone to the Cloud.

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Day 5 continued
Fortunately for me each night I uploaded all of my photos to Shutterfly so my only loss was possibly the ones taken that day and I was hopeful I had gone into WIFI and they would have gone to the Cloud. So after a frustrating evening I decided not to let it ruin a moment more of my trip. We head to the Reina Sofia to see the Gurciana (Picasso) painting as my nephew who was traveling with us recently did a project about it while working on his Masters. It was great to see, but we are not museum people so taking advantage of the free entrance was a great way to go. No problem getting it. The line was along and I believe the free hours are 7pm-9pm. After leaving the Reina we walked to the train station we were only about a 10 minute walk away and we were planning on going to Segovia the next day so we thought we would get our tickets. After than we headed back. It was a lovely night we headed to a restaurant Laterl that was recommended to us by Javier, from Spain Select that had amazing Bulls Tail (Ox Tails). None of us had ever tried it and we were all game. So we ordered bulls tail, croquettes, patatas bravas (they were amazing), short ribs & roasted asparagus. All was great. Short Ribs just ok, but good. We absolutely loved the bulls tail and the patatas bravas could not wait to have again. On our way back to the apartment we went to San Grimes Chocolateria. Fortunately, it was about a 2-minute walk from our apt. The line was intimidating but it moved fast. We ordered chocolate and churros. They were wonderful. We did sit down inside to enjoy. This place is open 24 hours and I think it is continually busy the whole time.

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Day6- We were up early and headed a couple building down from our apartment to have breakfast. One of the hardest things for my husband to adjust to was not having a big breakfast of eggs, toast & meat along with a large coffee. This little dinner/bar had a very good breakfast that he was happy with while the rest of us ate the European way and had Jambon on croissant or something similar. After that we headed to the train station to travel to Segovia for the day. This was a cloudy threat of rain type of day so we packed our rain gear and headed off. We were advised to buy both our outbound and return ticket at the same time because trains sell out. It took about an hour give or take to get there. We left on the 11:20 AM train and returned on the 17:20 return. Once you arrive at the train station you need to either take a taxi or bus to get into Segovia. We took the bus it was 4 Euros I believe. The bus was about a 15-20-minute drive. Once there it dropped you off right in front of the aqueducts. We were instantly in awe. The aqueducts are absolutely amazing. We wondered the area climbing and taking in the views. In true form we found an outside table on a quaint street and had a beer and some tapas. It was so good we stayed for two! We headed to the center and one of us toured the Cathedral and the other 4 stayed true to form and found another local establishment to have a local brew. (really this is not only what we do) We found an outdoor restaurant and had lunch right in town. We did not order the suckling pig. I was game the rest of the group was not. The town is beautiful and I would totally recommend going. Definitely buy your return ticket at the time you purchase your outbound as the trains were pretty full when we headed back. I would suggest that you allow anywhere between 3.5-4.5 hours to visit. All dependent on how much time you will spend exploring. When we returned to Madrid the train arrived and we went up to street level to a crazy mob of people. It was Madrid’s annual Christmas Tree lighting. I cannot even explain the amount of adults and children in such a small area. We decided to head out and go get dinner as this whole trip to tried to avoid this type situation all based on things that have happened globally. It is unfortunate, but being a smart traveler and being aware of surroundings makes for a safe trip hopefully with only few limitations. We ended up eating outside again that night. We order Tapas and pizzas in a small square then. It was chilly but we still dined outside. Then headed back to the apartment and now most of the streets were lit up for the Christmas Season.

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Day 7: We decided that because we only had 3 full days in Madrid that we would spend our last day just exploring. We had originally thought we would do a day trip to Toledo, but decided against as there was just so much more we wanted to see. We started by heading off to get breakfast. This little breakfast spot got great reviews on trip advisor. So thought we would try. Well they do not serve eggs at all. It was called Martina Cocina, Plaza de Cascorro, 11. It was a very simple and delicious coffee house. This one did not please my husband with the exception they served extra-large café! The rest of us loved it. It was quaint and frequented by locals. Food was limited but delicious. After eating we decided to just wander and see the area. Then in the afternoon we planned to spend some of the day on Cava Baja investigating and trying the street full of restaurants. As we wandered out the of quaint old area we ended up in a bit of a hub. There was a pretty large flee market going on and many locals haggling over goods. Then headed back towards Calle Cava Baja. On our way we stopped at an outside patio to have a drink and enjoy the area. We were near the university.

Finally, we arrived on Calle Cava Baja. What an experience. Before stopping to eat and drink we wandered the entire street perusing and enjoying the sights and craziness of the street. If you are in Madrid do not miss this. We ended heading back to a restaurant that really caught our eye. It was La Taberna Calle Cava Baja 34. There was a gentlemen slicing the Jambon in front of the bar under a spotlight. My daughter even had her picture taken appearing to be slicing. All in good fun. This was one of the only meals we had indoors but the place was perfect. We ordered local beer & local cava, of course. For eats we had croquettes, patatas brava, olives, tomatoes. All were delicious. As we were getting ready to leave there were 2 gentlemen that had a plate of Jambon delivered. We decided to stay and indulge. So glad we did this was the best we had. This was a great place to relax. Our time in Madrid was beginning to wind down. We headed out to The Gran Via Avenue. This area is a bit upscale with many of what appear to be government buildings, apartments and museums. We ended up go to the Circulo de Bellas Artes roof top bar. We were told it would be 3 Euro to go up, however it was 4. Do not let that stop you from going. It was a beautifully warm day and the view, which was almost 360 was amazing of the area. You were at the level with many of the roof top building statues and seeing them up close was great. After that we headed home making sure to stop at San Grines Chocolatier for one last Churro. They are open 24 hours a day and always a crowd
On our way we noticed what seemed to be a huge amount of women carrying signs, however we could not read all were in Spanish. We were able to figure out it was going to be some type of protest. Well we got to San Grines and the line had to be at least 100 deep. We waited in the take out line as we were taking back to apartment. Also needed to buy hot chocolate to take home. It was at this time we realized that the protest was beginning and going right past our apartment. I have no idea how many participated, but I would guess thousands. Mostly women. We were told they were protesting the upcoming trial of a man that committed a crime against a woman. Not understanding the issue due to language barrier I cannot say anything more other that it was peaceful and non-threatening and lasted a couple hours. We headed back to the apt and packed up as we were leaving early in the morning to head on the AVE out of Atocha Station to Seville.

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We had a 7:00 AM train t Seville. All of us looking forward to the train ride as it would be time to relax. I must say I absolutely love Madrid. We rented an apartment on VRBO and arranged for a noon check in. It was amazing and in a great area. We ended up walking to it as it appeared close. Well it would have been close without luggage. We met our contact and she showed us around. We were eager to head out and explore. Our apt was located right at the end of the Metropol Parasol (world’s largest wooden structure). It is amazing to see. We were also in a pedestrian only area with so much going on we loved it. We immediately headed out and wander. Frist stop a pub to have a beer and tapas. Seville is quaint and old world. Very busy foot traffic. Our first quest was to find El-Rinconillo. One of the oldest bars in the world. Found it loved it ate and drank there. They serve small plates in the bar and upstairs they have a Michlin 5 star restaurant. We ate there on night 3 and it was delicious and not very expensive. We wandered across the river and down to the Bull Ring to explore. Did not do the tour just wandered on the grounds. The walk along the river on both sides is lovely. We walked over to the Alcazar and cathedral. Had an early meal and headed back to the apartment to recharge.

Day 9 This was one of my favorite days. We took the train to Cordoba. It is about 1.5 hours to get there but it was so worth it. We actually stayed about 5 hours. It was a damp day on and off sprinkles, but no complaining as it was very warm. We went to the Mezquita. I believe the fee to enter was 8 Euro. It was well worth it. The grounds are amazing. We chose this instead of heading to Granada and the Alhambra and I am so glad we did. Though I cannot compare doing the Mezquita fit right into our schedule and we did not lose much in travel time. Walking the streets of Cordoba is just beautiful. We went do Cava Flores, it is known as one of the most beautiful streets in the world. I must agree. I would love to see in spring and summer when all the flowers would be in bloom. The streets are pedestrian and very narrow. Most buildings are white. We found a hidden restaurant to sit and enjoy a good meal of ox tail, patastas Brava etc. Of course a nice Cava. Make sure you go across the river. It will seem kind of industrial but walk along the river and the view of Cordoba and the walk are just awesome. Walked back to the train station and Flaminco Dancing was on the agenda for tonight. A friend of my daughters studied in Seville and she told us to find the RED door for true Flaminco Dancing. I did a lot of research before I went and we found it. It his hidden the name is La Carboneria it is a local bar with local talent You sit on picnic style tables. You can order some small plates and really cheap sangria. There is a women and two men. They were terrific. Very very passionate about what they were doing. Well worth searching it out as we did not want to do a typical “show”.

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Day 9 This was our last day in Seville. We did a lot of walking. We started with a great breakfast and headed out. We first went to the Metropol Parasol, largest wooded structure. There was a fee of I believe 3 Euro to go to the top. We thought it was worth it. Goes towards the maintenance. Once on top we wandered around and stopped in the café for a beer, coffee and Sangria. This made it worth it. They actually served a very good Large cup of coffee and the Sangria was delicious. Priced very reasonable. We went back to El-Rinconillo for one last drink and look around. Ended up at the Cathedral and Alcazar again. Unfortunately, we could not get in either. It was a free day for the Alcazar but you still needed to register on line and get a number. My fault for not doing that research and the cathedral had closed off their line. Enjoyed dinner and drinks by the apartment and then headed back to get ready to travel for the last leg of our trip.

Day 10 picked up the rental car. Well this was interesting. Used Euro car. Luck for us we went to take a cab to train station to pick up car and were told that all cabs were on strike! So we walked a pretty long walk with luggage but it was not new to us. Then went in to get car lines out the door b/c of the strike. They took us immediately as we had a reservation, however we were informed that the vehicle we rented would not accommodate our luggage and us. Euro car was amazing they took us to the lot and let us find a suitable sized vehicle (I did not want a Mercedes as CC insurance will not always cover) so we found a Peugot. We had the car 5 days and basically only increased our cost by 7 Euro a day. We loaded up and headed out. Had a little problem getting out of the city and also a near crash with a bus that was pretty scary. It appeared to be our fault however to this day do not know what we did wrong. We studied traffic signs and road signs before leaving, but we obviously made a huge mistake. Fortunately, we are all ok. Got to the highway and head south to Malaga via Rhonda. Today was the only day we had actual rain consistent rain. Driving was slow and we saw cars rolled over in ditches as there were mudslides in some of the areas. Arrived in Rhonda and easily found parking. I had done a lot of research as parking is tough to find. We got out and walk along the park and the views, even raining, were amazing. Ended up deciding to grab a bite to eat on the main road. I think this was the first time we dined indoors the whole trip. By the time we were done the rained basically stopped so we walked through the town and it is truly a site not to be missed. We only stayed until the rain started again as we still had a while to drive to get to Malaga, but Rhonda is absolutely beautiful. Typically rain would not stop us, but at this point in the trip we figured we’d been very lucky weather wise so just to move on to next stop beach front Malaga.

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Malaga last stop on a fabulous trip. We had a bit of an issue navigating the streets. They were very tight and crazy traffic. We finally found our apartment, however there was nowhere to park and call to contact owners. We finally pulled up by a café and went in and he helped me hook into his Wi-Fi and we were good to go. He met us outside the parking garage. This is where to problems began. The vehicle a 5 passenger (small Van) was bigger and the garage basically. We did get in into the parking spot and only hit the mirror and wheel area. Well not to worry today we must enjoy. The real issue will be when we leave, lol. So all us were a little unimpressed with this area. Yet this was the most looked forward to. Well we went up the elevator to the 9th floor and all thoughts were off the table. This rental was by far any photos could show. It was amazing. We rented it via Solange and I believe it was called Magalutta. It had 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. The entire front where glass doors that opened totally up to a majestic view of the Harbor with cruise ships coming and going. There was an amusement park in the distance so the ferris wheel was lit at night. The Alcazar was to the right and incredible. I cannot say enough about this location. We got settled then just went out and explored. Decided to just grab beer and pizzas and go back and eat out on the patio. The Temp was chilly but that did not stop us.

Day 11 We got up early started exploring. We found a great little outdoor restaurant that was on the Mediterranean. They served a nice breakfast and found ourselves there 3 out of 4 mornings. One done we explored the beach and the Mediterranean, though too cold to swim we did put our toes in. We walked all day. There was a roof top bar along the harbor that we seemed to enjoy daily too. We all really loved just sitting back relaxing with a cava and enjoying the sites and people watching. We headed to the cathedral and wondered around the bull fighting arena. We did a little shopping and enjoyed our meals outside. Before heading back to the apt we had roof top drinks on top of the Marriott overlooking the Mediterranean. Also looked over the old town business area of Malaga. The Christmas lights were on and it was beautiful at night. You can walk right in and take the elevator up. There is not charge during the week but on Saturday they charge 8 Euros to go up to the bar but that will get you one drink. My advice is definitely go to the top and enjoy the view. They have blankets outside and heaters and a pool for the hearty. Go on a week night. Drinks on average were less than 5 Euros so why spend 8 when that would get you two drinks any other night. Headed back to the house to enjoy the patio and play a few games of upwards!

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Day 12 we got up early and ate at our favorite spot on the Mediterranean. Then the hard part had to get the car out of the garage as we were heading to Nerja and the Caves. Well I chose not to get in the car I just lingered outside waiting. Then I heard a terrible screeching noise. Well a couple minor fender benders’. Husband could not make the turn, very narrow and wet. So the vehicle just slides. Unfortunately bagged up the entire passenger side. But moto was can’t do anything about it so carry on. We headed to Nerja we arrived to buy tickets for the Caves. They have timed entrance I believe every 25 minutes. We were on the 2nd one of the day. The caves were cool in Temp so a light sweater would be smart. I think we were inside for about 45 minutes. You walk with a guide but it really is something to see and hear about. After we were done we went in the restaurant and had a drink then headed out to explore Nerja, one of the white villages. It sits along the sea and is beautiful. We found public parking and we went into town and found ourselves at what is called the Balcony of Europe. What a beautiful area with shops and gorgeous views. We walked along the water. Did a little shopping took a lot of pictures. It was very warm and sunny so the perfect day. Then I needed to have Paella on Burriana Beach. We saw it on the food network and I wanted to have it since we were in trip planning stages. So we walked to Burianna so that we could have paella at El Chiringuito de Ayo. Well let me tell you it was quite a walk or hike. Balcony of Europe is up high beach is low if that tells you anything. When we got there and watched them make the paella all of us ordered it and it was delicious. It was worth our walk. Afterwards we headed to the car we wanted to get back to Malaga to before the rush time traffic. The roads were in great shape and very easy to drive. Looked for street parking this time but no luck. Most spots are color coded and either are for permit parking or no parking so we did the parking garage again. This time just scrapping the side mirror.. LOL. We then wandered into town and grabbed a great dinner and headed back to play upwards and enjoy the apartment view and balcony.

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Day 13. Well this is it. Did our typical breakfast then just did whatever came about. We headed into town to visit the cathedral. Then then purchased tickets and headed up the Alcazar. We did go inside and really felt this was not worth it, but walking up to the top having a beverage and enjoying the view is so worth it. It is a long steep walk but we took it slow and did many photo opts along the way. It was very warm so stopping at midway and having a drink was really enjoyed. This took a good part of our day. One of the sites that is amazing from the top is the view to the Mediterranean. It looked blue and just like glass crazy beauty. Also we had a great view looking into the bull ring which was really cool seeing we were unable to actually get inside. Reality set in and this was it. So we stopped at a few of our favorite spots and one last outdoor dinner and strolled the main street with all of the Christmas lights. It was a Saturday and we were actually glad we were leaving as the crowds were like none other this vacation. I think all the locals gather to celebrate the holidays in that area. There were holiday booths set up all over and street vendors like crazy. So back to the apt to pack and play one last game of upwards on the patio…..Malaga until we meet again.

We got up and headed to the airport at 7:00 AM. Had to return the car. This should be interesting. So went to the rental return parked the car. They inspected it and said we were good to go. No charges no damage issues. It still runs and that is all that mattered. I will tell you that I used my CC insurance via my Visa with Chase Bank. I had called them and told them what happened they told me I was totally covered as we followed the guides lines for booking, but they would not open a claim until the rental company inspected car as in Spain there are not many claims filed. Well we were shocked but to our amazement we probably had $800 or more in damage and it was not an issue. However, the whole car rental was more an event. All in all it was an amazing adventure that I hope to do again one day. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I asked for a lot of advice when I was in the planning stage. I hope I did not leave to many details out and I am sorry this has taken 5 months to put together……

Am amazing adventure. The next will be Iceland & Ireland Spring of 2018

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My daughter's phone was pick pocketed in Barcelona too. She had hers in her right coat pocket as well. Typically, she carries her phone and her camera in a zippered cross body purse, but we were sitting on some steps and she had just taken a few pictures. We were so careful, too. These people are very clever and I'm pretty sure we were watched. My daughter felt like a fool. Many people told her that they had similar experiences, and she shouldn't feel bad. Even her brother (brothers can be brutal!) told her that it just happens. I tell people to plan to be pickpocketed. By that I mean, have copies of ID and credit cards, split up money and credit cards into different places and back up any photos that aren't stored in a cloud, every night. We laugh now, it was an old model iphone with just a small amount of storage with a cracked screen.

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Cheryl, thank you for your wonderful trip report! We are heading there soon and I especially focused on your Barcelona section. We only have a few days there so your comments will really help guide us. I’m glad you had such a great trip. Sorry to hear about the pickpocketed phone… That is one of my biggest concerns for our family so I will give them a heads up!

Thanks for taking the time to share,
Laurie