The order of the 5 blogs as I visited them are: - Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Barcelona.
As part of the cultural experience, I decided to stay with families via AirBnB. As much as possible, I wanted to repeat the opportunity I've had by staying with friends in Paris and Naxos. The only exception was Cordoba. I just couldn't find anything that met the criteria and so I stayed in a wonderfully located hotel.
In Madrid, my host family was Jose and his partner, Marcello. Jose sent me directions for arriving at airport Terminal 4 (T4) to take the train to their home. Try as I may, I could not find any sign of a train. The entire plane unloaded and left with their baggage. I was all alone trying to find the blankety-blank train. I must have roused the interest of security cameras. Finally, a guard asked me what I was doing. This is how I found out that I was at T4S (S=satellite). No wonder I couldn't find the train!
By the time I arrived at their apartment, I was concerned that no one would be waiting. As it happened, Marcello greeted me and showed me to my room. It was a lovely, large bedroom and my own bathroom equipped with everything I could possibly need. Given my interest in fine art and the Moors' time in Spain, Jose put together a map of the most important places to visit in Madrid.
My plans got a big kick in the head, so to speak. You see, the trip to Spain was arduous... a train to Seattle, a flight and overnight in San Francisco and two flights the next day - first to Dallas and then on to Madrid. By the time I arrived in Madrid, I had caught a bug. Jose was so compassionate. He raced around the apartment locating a heating pad and decongestants; which helped immensely.
I couldn't imagine being in Madrid and passing on all the art museums for a dang cold. I had three museums I wanted to see. I rallied enough to take the bus to the Prado. It's a huge museum and I only managed to see a portion of it.
Most outstanding for me was a special exhibit of Valezquez's works, a stunning self-portrait by Albrecht Durer and the statue of Goya in the beautiful gardens surrounding this enormous museum. (see images below)
On the 5th day, with the cold bug passing, I headed for the high-speed train that would take me to Cordoba and what would be the most exalted and overwhelming site of my journey. Ah, but that's for next week.