Subject: Re: Spain also! Andalucia buses

Last year I did a similar trip to the one you outline, comprising Madrid, Zaragoza, Tarragona (had been to Barca previously), Valencia, Alicante (don't bother), Granada, Seville, Cordoba and finishing up in Madrid again.

However, I did manage to get around without using the buses at all - as a general rule I prefer trains. In my experience, Spanish trains are comfortable and (reasonably) punctual - but then I am used to Swiss punctuality!!

What I can tell you is the AVE from Seville to Madrid which stops at Cordoba is quick and comfortable. I am informed that if the AVE is more than five minutes late you are entitled to a refund - I am also informed that this rarely happens and my trips on the AVE arrived at the destination early. A statistical ploy perhaps or just good service? Either way, it's worth the money and I suspect it would be a whole heap quicker than taking the bus - but you would have to check this as I don't know.

With regards to Granda, I assume you will be visiting the UNESCO-listed Al-Hambra ( For the Al-Hambra visit, I strongly recomend that you purchase your entry ticket in advance, which can be done either online or in person at any BBVA bank nationwide in Spain. Number of tickets for entry each day are limited (7,000 at the time of my visit) with around 1,500 on sale at the door each day. The wait to get your ticket on the door can be a painful three or four hours (as I know from personal experience) with some people queuing from as early as six or six-thirty in the morning.

With regards to location of train stations the main train stations in Madrid are centrally located and connected to the underground (metro) train system so you shouldn't have a problem getting around. The station at Cordoba is somewhat out of the way for the main attractions, and I would recomend staying closer to the centre for the conveniance of your feet - a taxi to my hotel cost around 15E/20E, iirc. Ditto Seville, although the cab was more expensive as I was staying some distance from the station, but quite centrally.

I don't know if you would be interested in bullfights at all but as you are visiting Andalucia, a bull-fighting heartland, there was quite a discussion about this during last year so you might want to check the archives. If you do decide to go, I would recomend that you do so in Seville.

When in Madrid, I strongly suggest that you take a tour of the Royal Palace, which is an absolute gem and, when in Madrid, utterly unmissable. If you are into a bit of Art the three museums of Museo Nacional del Prado ( and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia ( and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza ( are world class.

The Spanish Tourist Board is at

Mark Sukhija, in Zuerich