Thanks for the update, dood.
I went to Madrid in 1980. I would like to go now.
The whole city smells like piss. Or at least it did in like, 1993.
My wife and I were in Madrid in 2008 and it was great. Had a great dinner wandering into a Jazz Bar. Avila was probably the most joy, or Salamanca.
Last year I was in Bilbao, and I went to Barcelona, Toledo, Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla, back in, umm, the late 90s sometime, or maybe 2000, I forget.
Barcelona – Gaudi is nice, pleasant setting, but you’d better like seafood. because the only other alternative is McDonalds. Tourist traps galore. Trabaixes!
Madrid – Generic European city.
Toledo – Oh my god. It’s one gigantic interconnected souvenir shop, all with the same crappy made-in-India swords and cheap leatherwork. Milling mobs of tour-bus tourists. Avoid.
Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla – Beautiful cities, lovely Moorish cultural sites, superb food. Two of the best meals in my life, actually. Sevilla may be the best of the three Andalusian cities because of the gardens, but the other two are very worthwhile indeed. Muy clasico y cultural.
Bilbao – nice town, good food, surprisingly good art – not at the Guggenheim, which is mediocre, but at the Museo de Bellas Artes, which had better modern art by far than the Guggenheim, not to mention many other things of interest.
I keep working on my wife trying to talk her into going to Southern Spain for a vacation. Southern Spain, some Portugal (I have been to Lisbon and Lagos) and then maybe a bit of Italy.
I was in Barcelona in 1980 as well. I liked it much better than Madrid. We sat on the beach, drank cheap wine and ate seafood at night.
I imagine the Olympics ruined the cheap wine shops that were along the beach there.