I made a leap of faith today. After reading dozens of reviews, consulting three good friends whom I trust, and my parents, and praying about it last night and this morning, I made the leap:
Within the last hour, I booked both my flights and a bed at the hostel so I will be in Sevilla from May 18th through June 4th. (I'll actually start the trip on May 17th, but you know - over-night flights and such.) I got to pick my own seats, since the flights are fairly empty right now, so I picked seats near the front of the planes and either on window or aisle seats (depending on whether I want to be able to lean against the wall or stretch into the aisle). For $597, I have a flight cross-country to Atlanta and on to Madrid, and back again in June. When it gets closer, I'll book passage on the AVE high-speed train from Madrid to Sevilla - you can't book more than 60 days ahead of time, which is perfectly understandable. Round trip, the train will cost around $180, which will still make this plan cheaper than flying directly into Sevilla!
So I'll get into Madrid in the morning, in the 9-o'clock hour. Then I'll have to figure out how best to get down to Atocha to get the train. [Just looked at the metro maps - it looks to be a 40-minute, 3-train ride. Not too bad, really. My trips to the AHN were about as long last time I was there.] Hopefully I can find one of the little sandwich shops I used to pass each day down there and grab a little something to eat. Or I think I can eat at the train station, if all else fails.
I'll stay at the hostel from the 18th through June 1st, and then I'll splurge and get a hotel for two nights in Sevilla. I'm considering taking the train back up to Madrid on the 3rd, staying at a hotel near a metro station and taking the metro to the airport the morning of my flight. So three nights in a hotel as reward for working for two weeks and putting up with other people. Not bad, right? And since I don't eat a ton, I figure if I cook/make my evening meals at the hostel (simple things - sandwiches, pasta & veggies, rice & veggies, etc.) I probably could get away with using only half of my grant money on lodgings and travel... which would be awesome!
I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself. I can't believe that, including the travel insurance I got with the plane tickets (for a whopping $32), my grand total for both lodging and transportation for two weeks so far to Spain have come out to all of $990. !!!!!!!!!!!
* * * * *
Now ask me if I'm getting any work done here in my office? Um, yeah. Right. :-p