My first time in the capital of Spain was during my first year as an assistante last year. Although I have since gone back and revisited just this past December during the winter holidays (which you can read about in parts 1 and 2 here), and even though I essentially went to the same places as I’d done the first time around, I thought that I would recap my adventures traveling solo from last year’s visit, as means of offering a comparison with my second visit, which was with my family.
Although I was in Barcelona for only three nights during last year’s vacances d’hiver, so much had happened in terms of what I saw, what I did, and what I ate that it merits a second post just to cover them all!
Towards the end of my first week of vacances d’hiver last year as an assistante, I headed over to warmer climates as means of escaping the Normandy cold. After a few days in the southwest of France (namely, Bordeaux, Pau, and Toulouse), I hopped over the France-Spain border to make my way to the latter country, for even more pleasant weather.
Our one night in Granada was done, and so my family and I left the city with our tour group to the next and final destination in the Andalusia region of Spain. We would be visiting Toledo, which is actually not in Andalusia, but rather in the Castilla-La Mancha, otherwise located about 45 minutes to an hour from Madrid.
Wrapping up a pleasant stay in Ronda and Marbella, our next destination in the Andalusian region of Spain was Granada, a city located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (not the same as those in California). Besides being a university town, it is also home to the Alhambra, which is both a citadel and a palace situated on top of the city’s hills and is considered the go-to place for visiting whilst in town.
Once our two nights in Seville were up, my family and I packed our bags once more and headed out of the city with our tour group to our next destination in the Andalusian region. We were heading even more south, down to the Spanish coast to see the towns of Ronda and Marbella.
Having just finished up an afternoon in Córdoba, our tour group left for the next city on our itinerary: Seville (or “Sevilla,” in Spanish). The capital of the Andalusia region, Seville is the fourth-largest city in Spain and is both a historical and metropolitan place in which the flamenco dance is claimed to have originated, along with having some of the best tapas around. That, and plenty of UNESO World Heritage Sites to call its own!
Once our two nights in Madrid were over, my family and I took a five-day, four-night guided tour around the Andalusia region, located in the south of Spain close to the Iberian Peninsula and home to rich diversity of culture and history, especially having belonged to the Moors back when the region was under Islamic rule. From places like Seville to Toledo, our few days in the Andalusia region were very different to what I’d been accustomed to in the other places that I’d been to in Spain, namely Barcelona and Madrid. Nonetheless, it was all enriching.
After our first night in Madrid, my family and I woke up the following morning to start our second day visiting the capital city of Spain. We headed out around 9h00 along Calle Mayor (literally, the “main street” of Madrid) to get some breakfast, specifically at the San Ginés Chocolateria, located right besides the church of the same name and is famous for serving the iconic churros con chocolate, or “churros with hot chocolate.”