Driving in Spain

It pays to know how to drive a manual car because in Europe it is much cheaper to rent one than an automatic. We don’t have our own vehicle in Madrid so we rent from Europcar. Zipcar hasn’t added Madrid to the map yet but they are in Barcelona. If you only want to rent a car for a couple hours every now and then in Madrid then you should check out Bluemove Carsharing. I haven’t tried it myself but I know a few friends who really like it.
There are a lot of car rental agencies out there with tempting cheap prices online but we always stick to Europcar. For a while there was a glitch in their websites between their US and Europe sites where you could rent a car with unlimited miles from the US site much cheaper than the Spain site but unfortunately they figured it out and corrected the glitch. Tip: always shop around. Also, renting from the airport and train stations usually adds on an additional cost.
When we rent we always use an American Express card. They have an auto insurance plan that costs $25 per use and covers more than the “packaged Europcar insurance”. Once we even had an accident where the frame was damaged, it would have cost us a lot without insurance (I can’t remember but it was over $400). But American Express covered it all, it just took a long time and some communication on our part to connect the 2 companies to settle the issue.
If you do rent a car, it doesn’t hurt to get your international driver’s license from AAA; It only cost $15. I’ve rented cars without one but you can never be too sure what to expect if you get pulled over.
Driving in European cities can be really annoying, there are a lot of roundabouts but don’t be intimidated. The roads and highways are fairly easy to navigate and it is worth the cost because you have more freedom to travel and can explore all the hidden places off the beaten path that Spain has to offer.

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I left my heart in Cordoba

After living in Madrid for a year and only seeing a few reknowned cities here and there, we felt it was time to explore some more of Andalus.

On our way to the coast we stopped in Cordoba.  We arrived  by night and it was beautiful.  i can’t really express the feeling of this place but by night it was beautiful and by day there was so much to explore.  I have found that the people of Andalucia are some of Spain’s friendliest and positive, happy people.  I always feel welcome and not so much an outsider when in Andalucia.  One thing I must admit is that the accent or way of speaking can add a new level of diffuculty to a newb like me, but most people here are patient with you or will shake off misunderstandings with humor.  I wish I could spend more time in Andalucia.

Cordoba  Cordoba CordobamesquitaMesquita Cordoba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cordoba must see’s etc:

La Mesquita

-Los Puentes Romanos (preferably by night/sunset)

-La Torre Marmuerta (by the bridge)

Los Reales Alcazares

-Las Caballerizas Reales

-Los Banos Arabes

-Enjoy a good meal anywhere or head to Las Tendillas or La Corredera plazas.  I heard La Taberna Salinas in La Corredera (Cordoba’s Plaza Mayor) is a good place to eat.

– Explore all the winding streets and discover the beautiful patios overflowing with flowers.

Tip: If your hotel doesn’t provide parking then it may still be possible to park your car at the Aparcamientos Renfe without having to pay a daily fee.