Spain for miniterm!

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the itinerary: what really happened
update through Thursday, April 5 in Madrid

photos from spain:

day 1 in Toledo.... Saturday, March 31
(ok, it's really day 3, but it was the first day we saw anything but airports and roads)

day 2: from Toledo through Consuegra to Granada.... Sunday, April 1

day 3:  from Granada through Mijas to Ronda.... Monday, April 2

day 4: from Ronda through Arcos de la Frontera to Sevilla....  Tuesday, April 3

day 5: a full (sunny!) day in Sevilla....  Wednesday, April 4

day 6: Sevilla to Cordoba to Madrid.... Thursday, April 5

shortcuts to sections below
pre-trip planning
trip itinerary

Toledo          Consuegra          Granada          Ronda
Cordoba          Sevilla          Madrid

download Spanish lessons to your MP3 and other good stuff
(thanks to librarian Melissa Beck Cox)

NY Times travel articles
Madrid  (1/26/07)  Sevilla  (8/27/06)  Cordoba (11/12/06)  Toledo (1/15/06)   Granada (9/11/05)  Ronda (5/27/01)

Madrid: the place         Madrid eating & drinking         Madrid shopping and fashion          (3/25/07)

basic Spanish History 101

pre-trip planning

USA (Transport Security Admin) guidelines for liquids in carry-on baggage

Heathrow airport (London) guidelines for liquids in carry-on baggage

NCSSM guidelines for miniterm travel 2007

personal check list for overseas travel

British Airways overseas luggage rules: 

"Passengers departing from or transferring through the UK, may only take ONE piece of hand baggage max dimensions 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 18in x 10in).

Passenger MAY NOT take an additional briefcase or laptop."

Monday January 8 meeting presentations
Melissa  Fender
Brittney Ross

Monday February 5 presentations (11:45 am Beall 7)
bring the following:
a) photocopy of passport
b) parent-signed NCSSM school-sponsored activity form
c) student/parent-signed contract for miniterm travel behavior
Valyce Davis
Natalie Singleton
Spanish Culture
Jeremy Steinman Ronda

Monday March 19 presentations: 11:45 am, Beall 7

what EVERYONE MUST bring:
1) $54 for tips; checks should me payable to
2) your parents' emergency contact numbers (home and cell) and email address

Brenton Vasconcellos Granada
Adam Stegall
Lauren Iannotte

trip itinerary

Day Date Description City

March 29, 2007

British Airways
Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
6:50 pm
New York  (JFK)
8:25 pm
British Airways
New York (JFK)
10:30 pm
London (Heathrow)
8:25 am
British Airways
London (Heathrow)
12:10 pm
3:30 pm

Departure for Madrid

Overnight Flight


March 30, 2007

Arrival in Madrid.  Bus to Toledo.  Arrival brefing.
Afternoon and evening activities organized by group leader.  Dinner.

what really happened....

the route to spain was pretty eventful and exhausting
(mentally and physically!),
but we did make it.... if you want the long version,
it's here

having finally arrived in Madrid, we met our helpful and friendly guide Ruth
and the other two groups that are touring with us
(a group of 7 from Whittier, California and
a group of 16 from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) hopped on to a bus,
and arrived in Toledo about an hour later....
By then it was nearly 9 pm and we tired but hungry and ready for dinner...
(and no one asked to stay up late!)

Hotel Casona de la Reyna
Carreras de San Sebastian, 226
Toledo 45002 Spain

Telephone (local) 925 282052
Telephone (from USA):
011-34-925 224900

hotel location map

interactive Michelin map


March 31, 2007

Morning sightseeing with a local guide. 
Optional afternoon excursion to Aranjuez.
Dinner and overnight in Toledo.

the whole story:

The morning was spent with the excellent local guide in Toledo....
We arrived first at an artisan sword- and damascene-making establishment,
(Toledo is the sword and knife capital of Spain),
had a whirlwind tour of Toledo's immense cathedral,
(the chapel has 20 El Grecos plus works by Velazquez, Goya, Caravaggio
visited the small chapel of St. Iledefonso (patron saint of Toledo) --
which houses El Greco's Burial of Count Orgaz,
and also saw El Greco's house/museum (unfortunately closed),
and the former synagogue of Santa Maria.

We split up for lunch (in order to try authentic Spanish food),
and different groups spent the rest of the afternoon shopping,
(instead of 42-Euro visit to the palace at Aranjuez)
visiting the Santa Cruz museum (which had an excellent
exhibit onthe Reign of Visigoths in Spain plus 10 more El Grecos
and a medieval zodiac tapestry),
or just exploring the manageably small town of Toledo.

Dinner was at the same place the previous night,
and not particularlly exciting, but this time
(thanks to Diane) we at least had flan.

Toledo as above


April 01, 2007

Morning drive to Consuegra to see the windmills.  Continue to Granada.
Afternoon and evening activiites organized by group leader.  Dinner.

the whole story:

We left Toledo at about 9 am to drive by bus to Consuegra and the windmills.
The weather was cloudy and at times rainy, but not when we were at the windmills.
After a roadside stop (think turnpike food) for lunch,
we spent another 90 minutes on the bus

until arriving at Granada before 3 pm.
We are staying adjacent to the Alhambra (which we tour tomorrow morning),
and which is higher than the rest of the city....
There was time before supper for a tour of the city which included
more shopping and a visit by some to the Granada cathedral,
the burial place of Fernando and Isabella,
the Catholic Monarchs who funded Columbus's trip to America...
a buffet dinner, at the hotel, was unimpressive....
some students and jk walked back down to the town later that night....

unfortunately, damp weather caused the Holy Week processions scheduled
for Granada on Sunday night to be canceled.
Hotel Alixares
Alixares Del Generalife
Avenida Alixares del Generalife, Granada E-18009, Spain

hotel location map

Telephone (local) (95) 822 5575
Telephone (from USA):
011-34-95-822 55 75

April 02, 2007

Morning sightseeing of Granada with a local guide,
including the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens.

Continue to Mijas for a visit.  Drive to Ronda where you visit the bullring. 
Dinner and overnight in Ronda.

the whole story:

We did tour the Alhambra, unfortunately mostly in the cold rain....
the rain stopped, of course, just after we finished the tour,
but we were on to Ronda....

The route took us to the southern coast of Spain (the Costa del Sol),
filled with more high-rises than Miami Beach or Waikiki....
for lunch out tour guide to us up to Mijas, one the "white towns" that sits on a cliff
overlooking the Mediterranean

after lunch it was on to Ronda, another of the white towns,
which has one of the oldest active bullfighting rings in Spain....
we saw the ring and the associated museum and then Ruth led us to
two of the bridges for which Ronda is famous (see the photos)

tomorrow morning we leave for Sevilla....

Hotel Reina Victoria
Calle Jerez, 25 Ronda Spain

hotel location map

Telephone (local) (95)  287 1240
Telephone (from USA):
011-34-95-287 1240


April 03, 2007

Morning drive to Seville for a visit and free time.

the whole story:

we left Ronda at 9 am and set out for Sevilla....
on the way, we stopped at Arcos de la Frontera, still another of the white towns...
we hiked up to the Plaza Cabilda, where San Pedro & Santa Maria churches are, and
which looks down over the countryside and the town....
in truth, there wasn't too much to do there, but it was a pleasant day so far

we arrived at Sevilla around 2 pm,
and the rain arrived with us....
we got relatively soaked visitng the Place de Espana,
and got further rained on when we had to walk about 10 minutes
to get to our hotel (because of exceedingly narrow streets)

there was some mix-up at the techno-hotel (where some never did figure out how to turn on the shower), so that caused further delays,
and by the time everyone had a room and we were guided to the
Sevilla cathedral
& Giralda for city orientation
, it was past 4 pm
when we were turned loose for lunch.... a blessing in disguise (see below)

we were told to be back at the hotel by 6:15 pm
because one of the Santa Semana processions (St. Nicholas of the Candles) started from the church
directly across from the hotel & it might well be impossible to get back afterwards...
of course, all the students made it back, but the adults didn't quite,
although both successfully waded through the wall-to-wall crowds and
were back by 6:30 pm..... the procession started about 7 pm and everyone
(except JK) had front window seats overlooking the procession
(the Candelaria) from the second or third floor of the hotel
(JK was at street level.... see pictures)

unfortunately we were scheduled to have dinner at 8 pm and then
go to a disco (boat !) at 9:30 pm, and although we left for dinner at 7:45 pm,
the procession crowds prevented us from getting to the restaurant until 9:30 pm
(despite tireless attempts at procession circumlocution by our guide)....
needless to say, we missed the disco boat to the disappointment of (nearly) all....

even the trip back from the restaurant to the hotel was interrupted by the (same!) procession,
and those of us still awake at 1 am heard the trumpets
of the procession's return to the church even later

new hotel!

Hotel Petit Palace Santa Cruz
18 Munoz y Pabon
Seville 41001 Spain

hotel location map

Telephone (local) (954)  22 1812
Telephone (from USA):
011-34-954 221 032


April 04, 2007

Morning sightseeing of Seville  with a local guide,
including entrance to the Cathedral and Alcazar.

Afternoon and evening activiites organized by group leader. 
Dinner and evening flamenco show.

the whole story:

a perfectly blue cloudless sky greeted us in the morning...
we were guided through the Alcazar
(the Moorish palace and gardens later appropriated by the Christian kings)
and the Sevilla cathedral (3rd largest in the world after the Vatican and St. Paul's in London),
which everyone climbed to the top

afterwards was free time ...
after window shopping along Sierpes and dinner at Boreas,
a few of us visited the Museum of Fine Arts,
which had a special exhibit of     ,
in addition to the permanent collection of many Zuburans, Murillos, El Grecos, and Velazquezs,

a post-dinner rousing flamenco performance ended the evening
(well, actually a 40 minute walk back to the hotel around midnight did)

Seville, as above


April 05, 2007

Morning drive to Cordoba for sightseeing with a local guide,
including the Mezquita.

Fast train to Madrid for dinner and overnight.

the whole story:

we left a partly sunny Sevilla at 9 am
(and we didn't have to drag our baggage back to the bus!)
on our way to a supposedly sunny Cordoba

unfortunately the rain met us there, although most of our visit to the Mezquita
was a relatively dry one, since it was "inside"....
the free time preceding and succeeding the Mezquita tour was a bit wet, though

at 3 pm we left for the high-speed train that would take us from Cordoba

boarding the train was an adventure that had to be meticulously planned
(we had 4 minutes to load 80 pieces of baggage and 38 people onto a train through 1 door)
but it was successful

Madrid was not rainy (!) although cloudy and chilly....
after an unusually excellent dinner
(which included lamb as the main course and baked alaska for dessert),
we were treated to another dessert of churros and chocolate in a corner of the Plaza de Mayor
in partial recompense for tuesday's ordeals

of course, our route to and from churros had to circumnavigate a procession....

Puerta de Toledo
Glorieta Puerta de Toledo 4
Madrid 28005 Spain

hotel location map

Telephone (local) (91)  474 71 00
Telephone (from USA):
011-34-91- 474 71 00


April 06, 2007

Morning drive to Madrid for sightseeing with a local guide,
including entrance to the Prado.

Afternoon and evening activiites organized by group leader. 

the whole story:

after a quick trip to the Reina Sofia (Guernica and much other good stuff),
we met back at the hotel for a stop at the Bullfighting Ring followed by a tour of the Royal Palace....

Diane and John visited the Thyssen (modern art) and then searched unsuccessfully for an Escher exhibit (closed, of course, for Good Friday, as was the promised Prado) in the rain...
back to the Puerta del Sol for a paella dinner at a nearby restaurant

as above


April 07, 2007

British Airways 7056 Madrid, Spain
1:15 pm
London (Heathrow)
2:35 pm
British Airways 115
London (Heathrow)
4:10 pm
New York  (JFK)
6:45 pm
British Airways 5301
New York  (JFK)
9:30 pm
Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
11:10 pm
return travel

ACIS Andalusian Fiesta    

spanish social customs

spanish food

spanish language for beginners

Spain info     


a UNESCO World Heritage site, Toledo was founded by the Romans and served as the capital for the Visigoths

we spend 1 night here, with a visit to the Cathedral, Sao Tome, the Synagogue the following morning

  • it took 250 years to bulid (1226 -1495), and incorporates Roman, Baroque, and Gothic architecture

    bland exterior, stunning interior

    free, open daily 8 am - noon, 4 - 6 pm

    but the art (choir, sacristy, treasury, charter house)
    costs EU 5.50; open from 10:30 am - 6 pm
  • constructed by the Romans,
      rebuilt by the Christians...
      a former imperial residence,
      closed for renovation ? as a military museum


  • Santa Cruz Museum

  • divided into 3 parts:
    archaeology of the Romans, Visigoths, Moors, & Mujedars
    fine arts, including 15 El Grecos
    industrial arts, including contemporary crafts

    Monday to Saturday, 10am-6.30pm. Sundays and public holidays, 10am-2pm.  Free admission.


a stop on the way from Toledo to Granada

  • in the heart of La Mancha, it's the least touristy
    town that we visit


first occupied by the Moors in the 8th century, it flourished from 1238 to 1492 under the Nasrid dynasty.....
it fell to (Columbus's) Fernando and Isabella in 1492 when the Moors were expelled

we spend 1 night here, with a visit to the Alhambra the following morning

  • the burial place of Ferdinand V and Isabella,
    the Catholic monarchs

more culture in Granada


one of the last towns to fall to the Christians during the Reconquista,
and where modern bullfighting began

we spend 1 night here


the capital of Andalusia and the 4th largest city of Spain

founded by the Tertessians in the 9th century BC, it was occupied by the Romans and the Moors

morning sightseeing includes the Cathedral, the Giralda Tower and the Alcázar.
afternoon is for exploring Santa Cruz, the old section of the city....
 in the evening

  • the largest cathedral in the world
  • a part-time royal residence

more culture in Sevilla


a UNESCO World Heritage site

founded by the Romans in 169 BC,
conquered by Muslim invaders in 711 AD....
it became the greatest city in the western world 1000 years ago under the Moors....
but descended into anarchy 100 years later

morning trip to Cordoba with visit to Mezquita included
AVE train to Madrid from here

  • the great Mosque of Cordoba, the largest in Spain,
    built more than 1200 years ago, it symbolized the
    power of the Moors

  • the summer Palace of the Christian kings and queens....
    In 1489 Columbus met here with Fernado and Isabel
    before sailing off to find a new route to the Indie
    s -- and accidentally discovering the Americas

    the 2nd greatest palace (after Versailles) in Europe

more culture in Cordoba

  • Roman mosaics and pottery, Moorish carvings and tiles


the capital city of Spain  

the art of Spain

  • the greatest repository of Spanish painting
    (particularly by Velazquez and Goya)

  • the first major Tintoretto exhibit in 70 years,
    30 January - 13 May 2007
    NYT review

  • art of the 20th century,
    particularly strong in works by Miro and Picasso
    (including Guernica,
    the most famous painting in the world?)
  • masterpieces by Titian, Goya, van Gogh, Picasso,
    and  others

  • Portaiture in the Age of Picasso special exhibit
    6 Feb - 20 May 2007

  • the Royal Palace is the largest in Europe... the royal family lived here until 1931 when Alfonso XIII adbidcated....
    it took 26 years to build its 2800 rooms

additional Madrid culture