Questions, Existential and Otherwise

Why do I have so many questions about this Spain and Morocco trip? Do you have answers?

What neighborhood should I stay in in Madrid? Are they all really as cool as they seem? Which is the nicest and most convenient without being crazy expensive, because even though I have some money I do not yet have all of the money, especially when I’m budgeting for a two-week trip?

Do I rent a bike in Seville? I should give it another try, right? If I crash my bike again in a foreign city, will the nice people come to my rescue like last time? Or will I die on the side of the road, my legs bent the wrong way and my brains smashed out on the pavement, and no one will ever know what happened to me and they’ll assume that I ran away with the French foreign legion?

Do I skip the Feria de Abril or see it? It’ll be crowded and expensive, but that’s got to be for a good reason, right? Do other people know that they’re getting their money’s worth or do they all just go because the books say you should go? Have you been to the Feria? Was it worth it?

Should I check out Alhama de Granada? Is it worth spending an extra day in Granada to do a day trip? If I’m already going to hammams in Marrakech (probably both fancy and regular-lady), would it be redundant?

Can I take the train from Granada to Algeciras, ferry from Algeciras to Tangier Med, bus from Tangier Med to Tangier station, in time to catch the night train to Marrakech, all in one day? If I try, will I spend that day completely exhausted and stressed out that one or more legs of this trip will be delayed?

Alternatively, do I get over the fear of Tangier that I picked up somewhere along the way and just spend a day there on my way to Marrakech? Is Tangier really as sketchy and dodgy as I picture it?

Can Marrakech ever live up to the picture I’ve been painting of it in my mind for the past decade-plus?

When am I going to stop planning this thing and just book it?


12 thoughts on “Questions, Existential and Otherwise

  1. I haven’t been to Tangier, but my daughter (who lived in Morocco for a year) says that it is indeed a bit sketchy. Do you have time to add Fez on the way to Marrakech? It’s really incredible.

    • You’re the second person to recommend Fez to me. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll have time for it this trip. Unless you’d say Fez is a better destination than Marrakech?

  2. Definitely rent a bike in Seville. The government has put nice, wide bike paths on most of the main roads, and it is definitely the easiest way to get around the city. Plus Sevillanos are very nice, so I’m sure someone would come to your rescue if you fall!

    • Thanks for the advice! I’ve been scared of biking around cars since I got into a scary crash in Amsterdam, but it’s long past time for me to get over that. Have you spent much time in Seville? Any other tips on where to stay or what to eat?

      • I live here! Here the bike paths are on the sidewalks, so if you do crash, you wouldn’t be around any cars, really! It’s a very bike friendly city. I live on the outskirts of the city, so I’m not sure about hotels or hostels in the center, but I know there is quite a selection. As for food, you have to try tapas (of course), I recommend the obvious ones, tortilla/croquetas/patatas bravas, but also carrillada, stewed pig cheek, pulpo, and tortillitas de camarones if they are available. Oh! And jamón, its the best 🙂

  3. Cool, thanks for the advice! I love pulpo so much, but I wouldn’t have thought to try it in a non-coastal city. If you’ve got any particular favorite restaurants, let me know. I’m excited to check out Seville!

  4. In Madrid stay in Chueca for great cafes and restaurants without all the tourism. If you really want edge stay in Malasana or Lavapies. Best chow? Head to Los Remedios (spelled backwards on their sign in Lavapies). Fav small venue for music? Sirocco in Malasana. Need more? I’ve got it!

    • Thanks for the tips, Rachel! Chueca sounds about right for me–I don’t want overly touristy, but I don’t necessarily want “edgey” when I’m staying alone in a strange city where I’ve got poor language skills.

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