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For the first mid-term break of my Postgraduate year, I went home to get my snow tires but for this one – my last one – my friends and I decided to go travel, as it was most likely to be our last trip together, at least for a while.
After hours of discussing the destination – Iceland, Portugal, even Cuba was mentioned – we settled on Spain, since it is closer and way cheaper.
For as long as I can remember, I never really liked Spain. I had been there twice before: once on a school trip in Madrid and Andalusia and another time in Barcelona with some friends six years ago. I had really bad memory of it: I remember Barcelona was good for nightlife but other than that I hated the city.
So my expectations were not high and I was not really sure how the group got me into this, but still I was happy to travel with two of my best friends, while two more would meet us half way after a detour to Paris.
The plan was a trip across the country: Starting in Barcelona, then on to Sevilla, Granada and finally Madrid.
Everybody seems to be in love with this city and I still do not understand why, especially now that I have gotten to know the rest of Spain. If you have never been there I guess you should go, at least to see some of these:
After two and a half days in Barcelona we took a RyanAir flight to Sevilla for around 20 Euros each.
Sevilla is amazing and all of us fell in love with this city! We were staying in an apartment two minutes away from the cathedral and the location was absolutely perfect.
What to do in Sevilla?
On the streets of the Old Town, in the gardens, to Plaza de España (absolutely amazing), on the riverside, just walk around to get the feeling of the city.
The Alcazar with its wonderful gardens, the Arena and the Cathedral.
WATCH (and listen)
Flamenco, with a jarra (or two) of sangria at the Carbonneria, Calle Levíes 18.
The best food I had in Spain was in Sevilla because we took the time to research select the places where we wanted to eat.
After three magical days, and united with our friends along the way, we left for Granada which is a three hour bus ride away (Alsa bus, around 7€ each).
The main issue was that we have been told a lot about Granada and everybody was telling us how amazed we will be, since it was supposedly even more beautiful than Sevilla. Arriving with high expectations, we were a little disappointed. I liked the city, but just not as much as Sevilla.
Though you will find plenty of things to keep you busy:
We were staying at Lemon Rock Hostal in a private room for four and paid 162 Euros for two nights. It was great value in a super location and the hostel is really, really nice and cozy: industrial style, good restaurant, quite large and spacious rooms. The only problem was the noise; the hostel is really crowded from 9 until… late.
After two and a half days, we took another Alsa bus (21,35€) for the six hour trip to Madrid. We reached without trouble and the landscape on the way was beautiful. I did not for a second regret having chosen the bus over another plane.
For me, Madrid was the highlight of the trip. I reminded me a little of Paris, a little of London but with the sun and joy from Spain, making the city absolutely perfect. I would have loved to stay longer!
Our flat found on booking.com was again really well located with everything within walking distance:
Two good addresses for any meal, and brunch on weekends:
Last tip: Bring your student card, to benefit from a lot of discounts (E.g. 9,50 Euros to visit the Alcazar instead of 25 Euros), and a Spanish dictionary, especially in Andalusia, since some people may not speak any English.
In the end I was so glad that I came back to Spain. It is a wonderful country, where everybody –except maybe waiters – is really nice and helphul, where the food is delightful, the cities lovely and the weather absolutely perfect.
I could not have dreamt of a better farewell trip for my PGD!
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