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rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
**Warning - this is going to be a very long post**

I just returned from 3 weeks in Spain all by my lonesome.

I planned this trip basically to not have a plan. All I booked was the flight and a rental car. Everything else was done on the spot. Most of my hotel and AirBnB stays were booked the night before or the night of.

I had a general idea of what cities I wanted to see, but the whole idea behind this trip was to not be confined to an itinerary or by other people’s wants. I didn't want to be rushed, and I wanted to be able to do things as they came.

It was a trip like I've never experienced, and I'm so glad I did it that way.

Possibly the best part about it also was the entire trip was basically funded through credit card points. At the end of the post I'll break down my total expenses. Very doable for almost anyone.

This was my entire route, roughly 1900 miles.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4260/34942687120_bf2c1c612a_c.jpg


The main site to see in Cordoba is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, which was originally built as a mosque in the 8th century, then converted to a catholic cathedral in the 13th century. It’s one of the most interesting mixtures of moorish and catholic architecture and decor you’ll ever see.

outside on the bell tower
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original Moorish arches
[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170517_163334118_zpsw0oyv54n.jpg.html]

Catholics added their own touch after the Reconquista
[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170518_005620_zpsqsai0oi4.jpg.html]

Bridge built in the first century BC during Roman rule.
[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170518_003745_zps2goyhu8l.jpg.html]

The Old Town area of the city is the main area. Very cool little town to just wander and get lost in.
[img][URL=
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[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170517_180748_zpsagqxpybb.jpg.html]

[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170518_005444_zpscndndr4o.jpg.html]

[u]Sevilla

After Cordoba I spent 2 nights in Sevilla (or Seville). Awesome city with small town and big town aspects. I felt a very young vibe here, perhaps because of the 3 universities in the city.

I definitely had my funnest and latest night partying here
*Advice: make sure your phone is fully charged before you go out on an all nighter. Without Google maps I was a lost puppy.

A ton of history here also, and some very cool sights to see.

[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170610_115333_zps2zm6lgfx.jpg.html]

Their main Plaza
[img][URL=http://s394.photobucket.com/user/rfonto1/media/IMG_20170518_133314908_zpsqfvgioyc.jpg.html]
This post was edited on 6/15 at 4:42 pm


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
The Alcazar. Another Frankenstein of Moorish and Catholic influence. Each city seemed to have another awe inspiring sight to see. This is the must see in Seville.

Part of the huge outdoor garden and courtyard.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4204/35141055012_854cd76cc3.jpg


Pic of the city from atop the Alhambra.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4211/35178015261_f25a729383_b.jpg


Met this girl randomly on an overlook and struck up a conversation even though she knew very little English and I know very little Spanish. We ended up hanging out and having a few glasses of wine together talking as best we could with alot of help from Google translate She then took me on a scooter ride around the city. Stuff like this is why I loved traveling alone.
Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/3ohzdYHWwO93fBdhuM/giphy.gif


The Alhambra is the most visited attraction in all of Spain, and for good reason. This place is amazing. It’s a castle, a palace, a fortress, pretty much a whole city in itself. Again, a mixture of Moorish and Catholic styles, it is a must see if you go to Spain IMO.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4275/35147952562_6e8e418aaa_c.jpg


The Moorish designs and architecture is so elaborate and impressive.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4208/34471457774_3bc6a93383_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4195/34504639403_8c2c1004c7_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4237/34471460954_c466544438_c.jpg


Up the Coast

After Granada I hit the coast and just drove North towards Valencia, but I took the long scenic route. Driving along the coastline with the cliffs and beaches in view was amazing and much worth the longer drive. I stopped off at numerous different places that looked interesting to explore. Below are some of the pics of the drive.

Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4223/34922208310_3c9641f88b_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4263/34922206350_2b9e001fa4_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4234/34922204450_7229e75615_c.jpg


I stopped in this little town along the way. They had this cool castle at the top of the town. I found a bar, had few beers, ate some paella and explored the town and castle.

View from the bar
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4220/34922210280_7e46af9a95_c.jpg


Castle at the top
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4231/34922226740_71eb93ffd7_c.jpg


Delicious seafood paella
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4210/34922202690_c85cc0f7a9_c.jpg


Ibiza

I eventually made it up to Valencia and had planned on staying there a couple of nights, but I got a wild hair and decided to jump a plane to Ibiza. It was so close, and the plane ticket was fairly cheap, I just had to check it out and live my childhood dreams of all those Wild on E! episodes .

That being said, if I had to do it again I probably wouldn’t have gone. I’m sure Ibiza can be awesome if you do it right, but I just didn’t experience it and didn’t have enough time. I probably spent as much money on these 2 nights as I did my entire week and a half prior. Although I partied hard, saw some beautiful sights, and went to some crazy clubs, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I had just as much, if not more fun in Madrid, Seville, and Granada for a fraction of the price.

Amazing sunset though
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4208/35324070535_58be85eb49_c.jpg


Barcelona

Upon returning to Valencia I continued my trek up North towards Barcelona, again stopping along the way. Barcelona is everything it is claimed to be. It's really a city with everything that can accommodate anyone’s needs and wants.

The architecture here is some of the most unique you’ll ever see due to Gaudi and his influence.

The Gothic Quarter is the main area of the city to see and is like no other. You can spend days or weeks just in this area and stay busy.

Gothic Cathedral
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4195/35199938191_7f84d9811a_c.jpg


La Sagrada Familia - the most visited attraction in Barcelona
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4204/35289866596_4845cb5567_c.jpg


Basically how I ate the whole trip. Tapas everyday.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4210/34486232114_15026afdc0_c.jpg


One bummer about my time here was I didn’t make it inside La Sagrada Familia, but it was for good reason. You need to buy tickets ahead of time because they sell out. I bought mine the Friday I arrived for Sunday, but Sunday I decided to get out of the city and drive an hour and a half North to a place called Costa Brava, to go hiking and cliff jumping. It turned out to be one of my funnest days of the trip.

I wanted to book an AirBnB excursion to go hiking and cliff jumping outside of Barca, but I waited too long and none were available, so basically I just Googled places with cliffs along the coastline and went on my own adventure. It was an awesome all around day, with some of the most beautiful coastlines and beautiful water I’ve ever seen, and I did it all for free which made it even better.

Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4238/35143118862_5638a51746_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4278/35143120382_a3444159f0_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4202/34922199690_400b7d38aa_c.jpg


My first jump. It was literally a leap of faith. Although I tried to check it out beforehand as best I could, with nobody around I couldn't know for sure if it was safe. Quite the adrenaline rush.
Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/3o7btLV9Yy9SI54hJC/giphy.gif


Another jump. I saw some other guys doing it before me, so I knew it was safe. Probably wouldn't have tried it otherwise. If you could hear the sound you'd hear me scream "Hooooooly Shiiiiiiiiiit" the whole way down.
Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/3oKIPrq8CDGdb0dpWo/giphy.gif

This post was edited on 6/15 at 4:46 pm


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
The Road Home

After Barcelona it was time to head back to Madrid to fly home. It’s a long drive, about 6-7 hours, so I broke it up into 2 days and stopped for a night in a city called Zaragoza. It was a cool little city, and pretty much exactly in the middle between Barca and Madrid making it the perfect place to stop if you make this drive. There really isn’t much else between those 2 cities unless you detour to the North to see the main wine region in Spain, which I would’ve liked to do but just ran out of time.

Zaragoza
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4211/35284211056_ed06780273_c.jpg


Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4208/35157555492_7ce671520d_c.jpg


Aljafería Palace built in the 11th century and still used by Parliament today.
Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4237/35194501851_3765a20b22_c.jpg

This post was edited on 6/15 at 4:40 pm


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Cost Breakdown

As I said above, I'm gonna break down my costs to show how affordable this trip was for those who think trips like this are out of their budget. Of course I traveled by myself which I understand isn't suitable for most, and I also used some credit card strategies to make the trip even cheaper.

First things first, I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and got the 100,000 point bonus. Couple that with the 20,000 or so points I accumulated up to the trip and I had 120,000 points to use on this trip, which is roughly $1800 worth of points if booked through Chase' Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

That alone payed for most of my hotel bookings, my flights, and my rental car.

Flight - Boston to Madrid round trip - $360 (found from Scott's Cheap Flights email list) I used my $300 travel credit from my Reserve card for that, and used Southwest miles from my Southwest Visa Card to get me from Nola to Boston for free. Total cost - $60 (CSR users yes I understand the card has a $450 annual fee, that's another argument for another day)

Rental Car - I found some ridiculous priced car on Chase' Ultimate Rewards sight with some company called Firefly. Like $60 for 3 weeks ridiculous. I used my points, but thought it was too good to be true and I'd be charged for bull shite charges afterwards, but after I turned the car in I was only charged a total of $40. It was a nice Fiat 500 with navigation and bluetooth. Total cost - $40

Room & Board - I booked almost every night, again, through Chase' Ultimate Rewards. The only tricky thing was you had to book the room by midnight the night before. A couple of nights I got too drunk and forgot , so I ended up renting AirBnb's 3 of the nights. Total cost - $161

After checking my credit and debit card statements it looks like I spent roughly $3,000 throughout the trip.That includes everything below:

Gas, Tolls, & Parking - The one drawback of having a car are the car expenses that come with it. This was probably my biggest expense besides eating and drinking.

Parking can be a bitch in many of these cities. Gas is pretty expensive and they have a shite load of toll roads. I probably spent 150 Euros on toll roads and I think I filled up 5 times for about 35 Euros a pop. Parking averaged 15-20 Euros a night, but I got free parking a few nights also.

Eating, Drinking, Bars & Clubs - I probably averaged about 30-40 euros a day eating and drinking. Honestly some days I barely ate at all because I was on the move so much. I did drink alot though . The 2 nights in Ibiza alone, with the ridiculous club fees and drink prices probably set me back a good $500.

Also included in that total are museum tickets, Real Madrid tickets (which cost about $150), my flight to Ibiza ($160), and gifts for my family and friends.

Considering that, if I would've skipped Ibiza and was stingy and didn't buy gifts for people (my family never buys me shit), I could've easily gotten away spending less than $2500.

So all in all I spent about $3,300 total on this trip. I could've definitely done it cheaper, but I really didn't hold back on my spending.

Not bad I think.
This post was edited on 6/15 at 7:43 pm


Aubie Spr96
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re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Nice.


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TigerAlum1982
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re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Beautiful pictures! Sounded like a great trip.


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Teddy Ruxpin
LSU Fan
TX
Member since Oct 2006
33693 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Very cool. Looks like dumping your GF worked out


Parallax
Pacific Fan
Member since Feb 2016
1274 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
quote:

I planned this trip basically to not have a plan. All I booked was the flight and a rental car. Everything else was done on the spot. Most of my hotel and AirBnB stays were booked the night before or the night of.

This is my favorite way to travel, I hate planning in advance.

Looks like a great trip!


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AlceeFortier
Member since Dec 2016
1741 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
wow. we did almost same itinerary last year. the alhambra was the highlight. i didnt jump off any cliffs though!!!!!'. u are right about the tapas. just drink and eat for free.


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CharlesLSU
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2007
25424 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Wow


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drockw1
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Jun 2006
7294 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Great trip!


CapperVin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Apr 2013
9505 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Awesome! So what happened between you and the random girl you met?


dallastiger55
LSU Fan
Jennings, LA
Member since Jan 2010
19141 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
You're my hero

What do you do for a living?


Teddy Ruxpin
LSU Fan
TX
Member since Oct 2006
33693 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
I assume you meant that for the OP?


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rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
quote:

Very cool. Looks like dumping your GF worked out


What's funny is I bought the flight probably 2-3 weeks after the breakup. I guess you can call it a rebound trip.

But Spain has always been at the top of my list, so no better time than now.


Dam Guide
New Orleans Saints Fan
Nooga
Member since Sep 2005
12500 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Amazing trip, made me very jealous, miss my adventures by myself.


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vilma4prez
New Orleans Saints Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Jan 2009
5313 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Well done. These are the trips I recommend for everyone. Same some money. Pick a spot. Do some loose studying of the area. And enjoy.
Set plans stifle the excitement. You did this trip fantastically.
Is that a word?
Pictures look great as well.
And I also hope you got yourself a Spanish lover on the way..
Cheers


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Teddy Ruxpin
LSU Fan
TX
Member since Oct 2006
33693 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
Ya, I wish we had more time but could only manage Barcelona and Seville.

Great post though


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rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
Life is Life
Member since Nov 2008
14543 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
quote:

So what happened between you and the random girl you met?


Unfortunately she had to go eat dinner with her family and I was leaving the next morning. I kinda regret not getting her WhatsApp number. I definitely could've stayed another night there if I wanted.

It's alright though, I met plenty of people and messed around a taaaaad out there, but I had a little chickadee at home waiting on me. I would've felt kinda bad, as "beta" as that makes me sound, but we've been dating a little while now.
This post was edited on 6/15 at 8:46 pm


dallastiger55
LSU Fan
Jennings, LA
Member since Jan 2010
19141 posts

re: 3 Weeks solo in Spain - A recount of my journey
For the OP


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