We made it home. We left for the Airport in Madrid about 6:20 am Madrid time on Monday and finally arrived home 36 hours later. There was a long line to check in at the airport in Madrid but it moved fairly quickly.
Our flight from Madrid to Miami was quite good. It was only about half full. Getting through health screening, customs and immigration and rechecking our bags in Miami took less than an hour. In Madrid airport they were making regular announcements to keep a one meter distance between people. In Miami that didn’t seem to be a concern.
Our flight from Miami to San Francisco was almost full. My middle seat made for a long flight.
My daughter and her family left our truck for us at the airport in San Francisco. About 1am Tuesday morning we were on the road home to Reno.
There was very little traffic. We stopped to nap a couple of times. Interstate 80 was closed through the mountains so we sat in a parking lot in the town of Colfax for several hours.
It feels surreal to have been in the middle of a two month trip one day and be home the next. Duke is busy working on trying to get refunds. We are doing laundry and going through the mail. I will update our itinerary and the final videos of the trip on my YouTube channel in the next couple of days.
We woke up this morning to the news that all hotels in Spain will close tomorrow. We were able to get a plane ticket home for Monday. In Córdoba we went to the bus station. Almost everything was closed up but luckily the rental car office was open and we were able to rent a car.
We drove the four hours to a hotel next to the airport in Madrid where we are now.
Our flight leaves early Monday morning. We have a connection in Miami and if the U.S. entry process isn’t too slow we will be in San Francisco by midnight. We have our fingers crossed.
The Cathedral is very near our hotel so about 10:30 we walked over and stood in line to go in. The Sevilla Cathedral is the biggest Gothic Cathedral in the world and the third largest Cathedral after St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London.
This afternoon we had our last beers with Rick and Elaine while sitting in a street cafe people watching.
Eventually we headed back to our hotel. The hotel called a taxi for us and we all went to the airport and Duke and I saw them off on their trip home. We took the bus back into town and walked through the park back to our hotel.
We had a wonderful dinner in a nearby cafe then walked by the museum we want to visit tomorrow to check their hours. Unfortunately this sign greated us. It says they are closed for 15 days because of the rules from the ministry of health.
We returned our rental car in Sevilla this morning. The final few streets to the hotel were very narrow and quite nerve racking. After dropping off our friends and the luggage Duke and I took the car to the train stain to turn it in then walked back to our hotel.
Our room wasn’t ready so we took a horse and buggy ride around the old town.
Sevilla’s center is a wonderful place to walk or sit and have a snack.
Our friends are cutting their trip short and heading home tomorrow. We of course are not going to do the Italian part of our trip. Duke spent the afternoon cancelling reservations.
After dinner we walked around the Cathedral and enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful setting.
Tonight we are staying in the Parador de Carmona a little east of Sevilla. Before we left Arcos de la Frontera this morning we walked around the town. We checked out a view point and a church.
The drive from Arcos to Carmona was over relatively flat farm country. The crops we could identify included carrots, wheat, olives and grapes. There were also many crops we couldn’t identify.
In Carmona we are staying at a Parador on the sight of the former city wall and castle.
After enjoying our welcome drinks we went out exploring. We checked out the Carmona city museum. This area has been inhabited for six thousand years. The museum had exhibits about the people who have lived here over those years.
Today we drove west again (about 60 mile) to Arcos de la Frontera, another one of the white hill towns.
Before we left Ronda we went for a walk.
About half way to Arcos de la Frontera We stopped at an artisanal olive oil mill in Zahara de la Sierra. Of course there is nothing much going on right now but it was fascinating to see all the equipment and ask questions. After the thousands of olive trees we have seen over the last few days we had lots of questions. The man behind the counter was very knowledgeable. He said his grandfather was a bull breeder for bull fighting. He had lots of very cool pictures.
Next we climbed up to the Castillo de Zahara de la Sierra.
A little bit farther down the road we stopped for a picnic lunch.
The road to the Parador in Arcos de la Frontera is very narrow. Duke pulled in the mirrors on the car and we made it to the Parador with no scrapes. We ate dinner at a wonderful little restaurant called La Carcél. We shared six plates including goat cheese and marmalade, stuffed mushrooms, prawns, and octopus.
This morning we found a place for coffee near our hotel.
About 10 AM we went up to the Alhambra. It sits with a commanding view of the surrounding city and country. We have been there a few times so we did not take the tour. Our friends did take the tour and took some fantastic pictures.
We explored the parts of the Alhambra that don’t require a ticket.
In the Carlos V palace they currently have a temporary exhibition – Zirid Granada and the Berber Universe. It was fascinating. The introduction to the exhibition says:
The Berber (or Imazighen, as they prefer to be known) are the group of peoples who since ancient times occupied almost all of North Africa, from the Siwa oasis (west of Egypt) to the Atlantic Ocean
The Carlos V palace also houses the equally interesting Alhambra Museum. After Spending quite a bit of time in each Museum we explored a bit more then went to the terrace bar of the Alhambra Parador and had coffee. The terrace is in a beautiful peaceful spot in the middle of the Alhambra.
After we left the Alhambra we had lunch.
We needed to buy playing cards. I learned something new. There are two kinds of playing cards sold here, Spanish cards and poker cards. It took us a while to find a place that had poker cards for sale. After a bit of rest we played cards on our hotel room balcony.
When We were in Granada in February of 2018 we had a wonderful steak dinner at Negro Carbón restaurant. We enjoyed it so much that Duke made a reservation in advance so that we could go there to night. It was as good as last time.
Here is the link to my video with a few of the sites we saw in Barcelona and Valencia.
This morning we picked up a rental car in Valencia and drove 210 miles west to Almagro in the Spanish region of La Mancha. One of the highlights of our day was when we stopped at a grocery store in a small town to buy some picnic food for tomorrow. The staff behind the meat and deli counter were super friendly. They gave us cheese and ham to sample and showed us a few of the many things they stock.
The young woman behind the counter is a expert ham carver. She has competed in competitions and won many awards. She showed us her album.
The Parador we are staying at in Almagro is a former Franciscan convent that was originally built in 1603. It was expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries but was in ruins when in 1977 they began the work to make it a Parador. The reconstruction took seven years.
We spent quite a bit of time exploring after we arrived. We had our welcome drinks in the former wine cellar.
We had a delicious dinner in the Parador restaurant. We had steak for our main course and various yummy deserts.