To start our Spanish Escape Tour with Globus, we flew out Atlanta Georgia Friday 26 November, we flew to JFK International Airport in NYC and then on the Madrid, Spain.
DAY 1 – Madrid
We arrived to Madrid Saturday 27 November in the morning, a little late, after a delay in NYC. We arrived to the hotel about 10:30 and were able to check in right away. We were staying at Novotel Madrid Center from Nov 27, 2021 – Nov 29, 2021.
We dropped off our luggage, freshened up and hit the ground running. This was all on our own as our tour didn’t officially start until 6:00 pm. Our first stop was for pan chocolate and coffee. Then we visited El Retiro Park, Puerto de Alcala and Plaza de Cibeles.
El Retiro Park Covers over 125 hectares and comprises more than 15,000 trees. El Retiro Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. In it you’ll find all kinds of interesting monuments and gardens.
The Puerta de Alcalá is a Neo-classical gate in the Plaza de la Independecia in Madrid Spain.
The Plaza de Cibeles is a square with a neo-classical complex of marble sculptures with fountains that has become a symbol for the city of Madrid. It sits at the intersection of Calle de Alcala (running from east to west), Paseo de Recoletos (to the North) and Paseo de Prado (to the south).
There were some protests starting and quite a bit of police out, so we decided to call our site-seeing short and we headed back to the hotel for showers and a nap.
At 6:00 pm it was our Welcome to Madrid meeting and dinner! We got to meet our tour director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at our hotel. Dinner was included. After dinner we went to Goya to look at shops and Christmas lights.
DAY 2 Madrid and Toledo
On Sunday 28 November we woke up for breakfast at the hotel. It was very tasty and had a lot of options.
We spent the morning in Madrid on a guided sightseeing tour that included the Prado Museum and a bus ride by Puerta del Sol, Cibeles Fountain, and Calle Alcala. Photos below were taken through the window of the moving bus. The windows have a weird blue tint, so the photos do too.
We parked near a beautiful synagogue and then went inside the Prado.
Inside the Prado there were no photographs allowed.
For our excursion we went to Toledo, the city of Three Cultures. The majestic Toledo is an incredible melting pot of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian influence over the centuries, making it one of Europe’s most interesting and unique walled medieval cities.
We toured a 13th Century Gothic Cathedral – Toledo Cathedral, Church of Sante Tome, Santa Maria La Blanca – an antique synagogue, and a Damascene Steel Workshop.
The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, in the opinion of some authorities, to be the magnum opus of the Gothic style in Spain.
Church of Sante Tome has a Mudéjar tower dating from the 14th century. It houses El Greco’s famous painting “The Burial of Count Orgaz”.
Santa Maria La Blanca was erected in 1180, according to an inscription on a beam, it is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church.
Its stylistic and cultural classification is unique among surviving buildings as it was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castle by Islamic architects for Jewish use. It is considered a symbol of the cooperation that existed among the three cultures that populated the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages.
We got back to the hotel and got recommendations for dinner. We decided on Restaurante Triana. It will definitely make my list of must eats in Madrid. I had Acorn Fed Pork that was so tender and delicious!!
DAY 3 Madrid to Cordoba to Sevilla
We started the day with another great breakfast at the hotel in Madrid and then headed off to Cordoba. We made a few pit-stops for restroom and lunch breaks. We arrived in Cordoba around 2:00 pm. We got to walk across the Roman Bridge.
Then we found out that the Mezquita – Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba was closed until 4:00 pm. We had free time for shopping, drinks and tapas. At 4:00 pm we went into Mezquita. It was exquisite; I have never seen such a thing in all my life. It is literally a Mosque built on a Christian church and then a catholic synagogue built in the middle of the mosque. It is a true architectural wonder!
At 5:00 pm we started to make the rest of the way to Sevilla.
We arrived to our hotel at about 7:15 pm. We are staying at Sevilla Center Hotel while in Sevilla.
We had dinner scheduled for 7:30 pm in the hotel. This proved to be very convenient for our tired feet! Food was just ok though.
Be sure to check out the next days of our trip.