By Humphrey & Lanette Conceicao
Ahhh…. once you taste Spain, it is hard not to return, so we did! Needless to say, we had gotten used to the comforts, safety and dependability of Trafalgar Travels and Tours. Hence we chose to revisit Spain and experience Portugal with them.
Located only 2 minutes from Plaza Mayor, the Mercado San Miguel is a fabulous landmark where tourists mix with locals, tasting all the delicacies in the different booths that operate there. From Jamon de bellota, Cava (dry sparkling wine), to cheese, seafood and the creamy Bacalao. Everything here is excellent. It is a must when you visit Marid. Submerge yourself in this amazing environment.
El Rastro is a colourful street market located in one of Madrid’s oldest working-class neighbourhoods, and has been operational for the last 100 years. Though it is best known as the world’s largest Flea Market, attracting thousands in a day, Rastro also has dozens of shops selling clothes, furniture, antiques, food, leather, burners, shoes and upmarket items. We bought some very cool sunglasses, scarfs and wallets.
The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art.
The Neptune Fountain is on Paseo del Prado. Under the orders of King Carlos III, sculptor Juan Pascual de Mena began to build this marble statue in 1780. In 1786 his disciple José Rodríguez finished off the project, which represents Neptune, God of the Sea, with a trident in one hand and a coiled snake in the other. The figure stands on a chariot, drawn by two sea horses and surrounded by dolphins.
Of course being an Atletico Madrid fan, we celebrated with thousands when our team won the Copa del Rey 2013!
Leaving Madrid, we travelled south, across the plains of La Mancha, and stopped at Puerto Lápice to visit the inn where legendary Don Quixote received his knighthood. We stopped here to have sandwiches and taste the wines of the region.
Continuing south into Andalucia, we then visited the UNESCO World Heritage town of Úbeda, walking around Vázquez de Molina Square, one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Spain. Exploring the town on our own free time, gave us ample opportunity to taste the local fare and shop.
Later in the afternoon, we visited a traditional hacienda to see how olive oil is produced and tasted some for ourselves! Extra Virgin Olive Oil never tasted so smooth before.
Citymar San Anton is a 4-star hotel with amazing views of the Sierra Nevada and Alhambra. The hotel offers an outdoor pool and is located close to the commercial and historical centre of Granada.
Our room afforded us the luxury of a 200 degree view of the city. In one word, ‘breathtaking’. Kudos to Trafalgar for making this selection.
Malaga’s history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make the historic center of the city an “open museum”, displaying its rich history of more than 3,000 years.
Long avenues are flanked by upmarket shops that include Prada, Hermes, Loewe, Llandro and many others. We had a delicious time shopping for perfumes amidst tasting the local delicacies. I think Lanette alone might have consumed 3-4 punnets of cherries and strawberries.
Mijas is a lovely Andalusian town on the Costa del Sol, not far from Fuengirola. With 12 kilometres of coastline, including the La Cala de Mijas beach resort with its European blue flag, it is the perfect family friendly holiday destination for a spot of Mediterranean sun.
Aside from relaxing on La Cala de Mijas or one of the other beaches along Mijas’s 12km of coastline, you can climb up to the white-washed village of Mijas Pueblo on the mountainside for stunning views across the Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, the Atlas Mountains and over to the African coastline.
Mijas Pueblo is also the place to head to take a look at the traditional bull ring or to take a donkey trip on a short tour around the area. The streets of Mijas are very tourist friendly, and are full of independent shops selling handmade local crafts and products.
Go past the souvenir shops that first greet you upon your arrival in Mijas and explore the many side streets in Mijas. You’ll find many upscale shops that sell high quality leather goods, clothing, ceramics, olive oil products and jewelry. Lanette was very pleased with my gift of a beautiful hand stitched blood red soft leather jacket. She was feeling a little cold, so I thought it would warm her up.
Read Part Two of Humphrey and Lanette’s travel tale next week…
If you enjoyed reading Part 1 of Humphrey & Lanette’s experience and would like to learn more about our ‘Impressions of Spain & Portugal’ itinerary, click here. Or for more information about Trafalgar’s guided vacations, head to our website: www.trafalgar.com