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3 Weeks in Spain (via Japan)

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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I am just catching up, because of Internet problems for the last 2-3 days, but am also enjoying your photos. Some of those of Segovia & Salamanca could just about have been stolen from my camera. :) I agree with you about the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca - it was the best we saw. Luckily we had no pop-up shops to spoil the view and it was lit up especially for their National Day. My wife preferred the one in Madrid - but what would she know?

I agree that the Renfe trains are excellent. We had trips in both Preferente & Touristica and they were all good. In the 7 long distance trips we took the longest delay for departure/arrival was 45 seconds!
What camera did you use for the trip? Is there a TR?
 

OZDUCK

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What camera did you use for the trip? Is there a TR?
Most of the better photos were taken on a Pentax Lumix TZ90 - actually my wife's one. You will see that we took a number of photos from similar places as you in Segovia & Salamanca - but that makes sense as they were usually the best place to take photos.

Yes I did do a TR, in October last year - A Plane to Spain
 

VPS

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What camera did you use for the trip? Is there a TR?
What camera are you using or is it a phone. I really like the way you write your TR - keep it up and thanks. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Had a wonderful couple of weeks in Spain about 18 months ago
 
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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That other place I needed to be is Catedral de Sevilla. Roofs to be climbed!

Top tip: the Catedral is another one I strongly recommend booking tickets online. Queue is long and very exposed.

I booked "Assisted visit of the roof + Free visit of the Catedral, Giralda and Salvador". On that particular day the Catedral and Giralda were not open to public but we could visit the day before or after.

Due to the closure that day, there were a lot of confusions about the roof tour. One guy told me I needed to go to Puerta San Miguel on the other side of the Catedral. But quickly corrected by his colleague. Finally our guide showed up and we picked up our headphones and receivers, through a tiny door behind the tomb of Columbus, up we went!

As you can see apart from some people preparing for an event (that's why they closed the Catedral) this place was empty.
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Our guide pointed out many marks left by stonemasons on the spiral staircases, sorry no pictures, I was busy climbing ;)

As Sevilla is very hot and dry, they didn't need to build a pointed roof like most Gothic Cathedrals.
Instead there were covering over the arches filled with those pots.
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Those lines are 1:1 drawings for a stained glass window frame.
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Behind the main altarpiece.
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Up and close to the Giralda.
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This was directly on top of the nave iirc. Apparently the roof cracked during the great earthquake of Lisbon.
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The flying buttresses.
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We finished our tour in the orange garden (el patio de los naranjos sounds so much better:p )
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The roof tour ticket is €15 including general entry to the Catedral which is €9 anyways, so only
€6 extra! Excellent value if you ask me.

Another top tip: I believe there are only one or two English roof tours per day, so book early!
 
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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What camera are you using or is it a phone. I really like the way you write your TR - keep it up and thanks. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Had a wonderful couple of weeks in Spain about 18 months ago
Mine is a first gen Olympus OMD EM10, with two lenses, a Panasonic Leica 8-18mm F2.8-4.0 and an Olympus 45mm F1.8 prime.
I have other lenses of course but normally take these two when travelling.
 
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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I was dead after the roof tour, went back to my hotel room and collapsed onto the bed...
(The tour lasted about 1.5 hours, a lot of climbing - keep in mind if you want to go. Remember sunscreen and water!)

Booked Mama Bistro for dinner, so I gathered myself and reluctantly went...often I didn't take the camera bag if I was only going out to eat, so many food pictures were taken by the phone.

Entry. Forgot what it was...
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Jamon! Yumm
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Salad...
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Dessert
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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So the next day I went to the Catedral again, bumped into a girl from the roof tour, so we went together. Later I learned her name is Precilla and she's from Singapore.

Catedral de Sevilla of course is the 3rd largest church in the world and largets Gothic church. On the ground it is quite difficult to take a picture doing justice to its grandeur...

Well this one is from another time but my best effort. More pop up shops o_O
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And more scaffoldings! bah.
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As our tickets had already been scanned, we needed to find a guy who had the roof tour list to verify our entry, luckily didn't have to queue! I reckoned at least 30 mins wait.

Main altarpiece is all bling bling ;)
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Chorus
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Tomb of Columbus.
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Sacristia Mayor
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The Chapter Hall
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And treasures!
P5192954.JPG

P5192957.JPG
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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La Giralda was originally the minaret of the mosque previously on the site, together with the orange garden they were preserved. It was converted into a bell tower after the Reconquista. The statue on top "Giraldillo" was added in the 16th century.
Instead of stairs there are ramps, built so that guards could ride up on horseback. I found the ramps much easier to climb.
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Magnificent views on top!
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Part of the Giralda was closed off, if you remember the scaffoldings from an earlier picture, which made the whole situation worse...
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Most people quickly took pictures and vacated the spots for others, but then you always met some not so considerate ones //eyerolls
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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Well that's it for Sevilla.
I love this city, yes it is very touristy but that's to be expected. If you plan well and book early even the most popular sites are not so bad.
Locals are very laid back and I found them (a bit) more willing to speak English.
Def will be here again!
 

ayebee

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Jan 20, 2015
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Enjoying your report.
We were in Sevilla a couple of weeks back and enjoyed it a lot.
Seeing the normal queue at the cathedral we noted the tour group entrance was empty and played the dumb tourist, and were duly directed to a ticket window nearby and went straight in.
The cathedral is just huge and impressive.
Also noted the queue for the Alcazar Real was very long in morning when we went past, but at 4pm we just went straight in, passing some tour groups queuing. This was late May, and maybe it gets busier closer to high season.
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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Enjoying your report.
We were in Sevilla a couple of weeks back and enjoyed it a lot.
Seeing the normal queue at the cathedral we noted the tour group entrance was empty and played the dumb tourist, and were duly directed to a ticket window nearby and went straight in.
The cathedral is just huge and impressive.
Also noted the queue for the Alcazar Real was very long in morning when we went past, but at 4pm we just went straight in, passing some tour groups queuing. This was late May, and maybe it gets busier closer to high season.
Thanks!
Well yes I imagine late in the pm the queue would be much better but the trade off is of course limited visiting time.
Also, if you don't book in advance no chance to see the upper palace or the roof tour...
 

ayebee

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Must admit we didn't do much advance planning and just went with the flow.
Didn't look for the cathedral roof tour but we did see the upper floors of the Alcazar palace, and were ready to go before the 7pm closing time.

That was the Saturday of the Copa del Rey final (Valencia v Barcelona) so Sevilla was party town overrun with supporters all having a good time. There was a lot of singing, fireworks and drinking as both sides were still winners before the game. Valencia broke Barcelona's streak 2-1.
Maybe we got lucky that many tourist beds were occupied by football fans less interested in place like the Alcazar. Later the restaurants were also pleasantly less crowded as the fans headed to the stadium.

The only place our slack approach really came unstuck was the Alhambra at Granada, where the palace interior was sold out, but we got a ticket for everything else.
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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Must admit we didn't do much advance planning and just went with the flow.
Didn't look for the cathedral roof tour but we did see the upper floors of the Alcazar palace, and were ready to go before the 7pm closing time.

That was the Saturday of the Copa del Rey final (Valencia v Barcelona) so Sevilla was party town overrun with supporters all having a good time. There was a lot of singing, fireworks and drinking as both sides were still winners before the game. Valencia broke Barcelona's streak 2-1.
Maybe we got lucky that many tourist beds were occupied by football fans less interested in place like the Alcazar. Later the restaurants were also pleasantly less crowded as the fans headed to the stadium.

The only place our slack approach really came unstuck was the Alhambra at Granada, where the palace interior was sold out, but we got a ticket for everything else.
Ah the Alhambra! I can write one whole report about getting those damn tickets! (maybe I will :p )
But yeah, the girl I met in Sevilla also couldn't go to the Nasrid Palace, apparently even the Generalife/Alcazaba tickets were sold out on her day...

Obviously there are pros and cons to too much advance planning but I'm a control freak and won't be comfortable if I don't sort things out as much as possible. This approach is not for everyone of course but on balance I think in places like Sevilla/Granada it pays to be organised.
 

ayebee

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Ah the Alhambra! I can write one whole report about getting those damn tickets! (maybe I will :p )
But yeah, the girl I met in Sevilla also couldn't go to the Nasrid Palace, apparently even the Generalife/Alcazaba tickets were sold out on her day...

Obviously there are pros and cons to too much advance planning but I'm a control freak and won't be comfortable if I don't sort things out as much as possible. This approach is not for everyone of course but on balance I think in places like Sevilla/Granada it pays to be organised.
Sadly, I think you are right when it comes to the "main attractions" in the major tourist destinations that every tour group includes on the itinerary.
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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216
Ronda
After Sevilla the transport became a bit tricky as Renfe is not very useful here...Going to Ronda meant a bus ride of 2 hours, and Ronda to Granada was even more of a trouble (we'll get to that later).
Top tip: bus to Ronda departs from Prado San Sebastian (close to Plaza de Espana), not the main bus station at Plaza de Armas.
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The journey was uneventful but no taxi again at Ronda bus station! Walking to the Parador with my suitcase was not fun, sigh.

Parador de Ronda was previously the city hall I believe, perfectly positioned right next to the Puente Nuevo.
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I had given up on those fake double beds, sigh.
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At least the view was not half bad, that's Mirador de Ronda btw.
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Bathroom surely can use some updating.
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Cafe with great views.
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All the Paradores...
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I prefer this one to the Parador de Toledo, as it's right in the middle of everything.
 

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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Main attraction of Ronda is of course the Puente Nuevo.
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El Tajo Gorge
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Great views from the Mirador as well.
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Bull ring. Didn't think I can actually stomach a bullfight though...
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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On the mirador I saw some people down in the valley, so went to Tourist Info asked about how to get down there. They drew a map for me, but neglected to mention it would be an one hour long hike (one way)! o_O

Did I mention I don't do well in the heat? Oh man this was a mistake...sure the view is nice but not worth it. //sadface
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Apparently there used to be a short cut before but was blocked off during my visit, sigh.
So that afternoon was a write off afterwards...:eek:
 

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