Page 7 of Steve Corin Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 23rd 2016

Full day in Madrid. First we have an optional tour to Toledo to look at another old town. There are only about 30 on this trip so lots of room to move in the bus if people wanted windows, etc. Takes about an hour to get there and on the way, we see a huge pall of black smoke in the distance. Eventually we pass close by what looks like a huge factory fire. Hard to see as the smoke is so dark. Everyone shuts down their vents until,we are well past. Bit of excitement. As we have a bit of time, I decide to book our flights to Paris. Cheaper than the train and a lot quicker. All done and dusted, email confirmations and boarding passes before we get to Toledo. Gotta love wifi on ... read more

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 22nd 2016

Early start this morning as we have a big day on the bus to Madrid. Put the bags out on time and the porter takes them from my hands. Breakfast done and dusted - they are quite good here. Then away towards Madrid. We have a stop on the way at Córdoba to visit a "special" cathedral. Arrive and find our local tour guide who 3 weeks ago was the tour guide for Harrison Ford when he visited this city.. And now she has us - hmmm. This cathedral is actually built inside a mosque which was built in the 8th century. When the Catholics kicked the Muslims out in 1236 they kept the mosque and just added the altars and changed the entry doors a bit. There are stil the original Muslim writings of the ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville July 21st 2016

Full day in Seville today. We don't have our driver today, he has to have a rest day so we are on a chartered bus which is a tad cramped in comparison to our usual roomy seats. Only a short trips to our first get off. Plaza de Espana. This place was built in 1928 for an exposition. From the outside it looks like any European stately type of building. Plain with flourishes. Walk inside and wow... This place is amazing. Huge forecourt with a fountain and moat type of water structure running around the inside edges. The building is in a horseshoe shape and is ornately decorated with ceramic tiles everywhere. Then on the ground level, there are booth like structures that represent every province of Spain. Each on is effectively a 3 sided booth ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia July 20th 2016

Morning tour of Granada which starts at the top of the hill over the city. We walk down through the tiny streets and look at all the white houses. They have legislated that all the houses must remain the same color - White.... This place is a real maze and would be so easy to get lost. Eventually we get to a square where we look back over the place we were at yesterday - Alhambra. Good to put into persepecrive the size of the place and how far we walked around it yesterday. Down we go until we get to the main streets of Granada again. Then ABC. The cathedral here is quite amazing and has the tombs of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, two of Spain's major rulers back in the old times. We ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada July 19th 2016

A long day in the coach. 6 hours driving broken into 3 x 2 hour stints. No really interesting sites to report, just the tour director talking most of the time pouring out Spanish history. His knowledge is amazing, quoting kings by number and dates, way too much and he stands and refers to nothing. We start off with orange groves everywhere, then almonds and finally some really arid country which he says is where a lot of the old "spaghetti westerns" were filmed. Just like a real desert scene with lots of hills everywhere. He tells us about a city that we pass that was built expressly to attract tourists. Looks and sounds very much like the Gold Coast. Lots of high rise buildings, even an amusement park. All in the middle of nowhere. He ... read more

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Valencia July 18th 2016

First bags out this morning. We are leaving Barcelona and heading towards Valencia. Make our set time and on the bus 2 minutes early so that is good. Drive out of town and away down south. We stop for a break and chat with a kiwi couple. Oh dear, 6 degrees comes to play again. Their son lives in a little country town in Victoria called Mildura. Hmm. Comparisons, turns out he is a consultant to the almond industry and the daughter in law used to work in a little boutique in town, Fine and Sunny. This is one of Chris's favourite shops when in Mildura. Hmm, interesting. Our lunch stop is at a beach resort called Peniscola. Official population 7000 but in summer this swells to well over 70000. Lots of holiday homes here. A ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona July 17th 2016

Up at sparrows apart this morning. On tour again..... Wake up call at 0600, 0602, and 0604. Finally hung up the phone to kill the wake up calls. Then alarm goes off at 0620 so up and at em...... Today we have an early start to go to Monteresso, a rocky outcrop about 30 km out of Barcelona. Nice drive out of town and into the hills. Lots of normal tour guide stuff about the countryside, etc. but then we hit the hills. Winding roads with sheer drop offs out my window, luckily I trust our driver. Get to the top and park the bus with not too many around. Tour guide is happy. Wander up to the cathedral and check it out. Very impressive with lots of gold dressing around the church. Wander out and ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona July 16th 2016

Ahh, a new city to explore. Up and do the streets earlyish, then back to arrange if we have to move our room. After a few queries, a manager comes out and says he has spoke tomthe tour director and all is organised. We stay in the same room. Bonus..... Arrange new cards which last for the 3 days and all is good, just a reminds tpompaybthis bill for the first night when we check out. Easy. Do chats with Stephanie and Jessica, Chris and the kids to find out how the move went. All good by the sounds of things and Stephanie is happy so that is the main thing. She sounded tired, and we just got the kids after their showers and ready for bed so timing was good. All happy there which makes ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona July 15th 2016

Wake up and finalise packing. Make a call to the lady of the house to ask if we can stay till 1200. No problems. This is good, as our train doesn't leave till 1610. Read the news of the Nice terror attacks and feel sad for the people of Nice having spent 3 days there only 3 weeks ago. Worked out where the carnage took place and we really didn't spend much time at that end of town, but hey, a bit close for comfort. Packed the bags and slowly got ourselves on the road at 1130. We still had a few bus trips on the tourist card we had bought so decided to catch the bus to the beach cafes that we passed each day on our way in or out of town. Good decision ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 14th 2016

Today is a guided tour of the city and its culinary features. Into the old town by bus. This is an easy place to get around. To the information bureau to book the tickets. People everywhere. They have an automated ticket machine which asks language, is it for information or to book tours. Get booking ticket, and fast tracked, much to some other people's dismay. The dude at the counter tells them to back off and we get our tickets. €20 each, includes a guided tour of the food dries, 3 Pintxos and 3 different drinks. We hadn't had anything to eat so thought it wise to line our tummies with something. Walked around the corner and saw the fresh fruit and veggie market, looked, but not a lot of fruit, then around the next corner ... read more

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