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Old June 16th, 2008, 08:14 PM
desta desta is offline
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I posted this on another thread... but then saw this one.

I just got back from a cruise that included Malaga and can tell you that, if you’re interested in a personalized tour of Grenada and/or some of the fascinating and picturesque villages along the Andalusia coast, I’d highly recommend Dave Riordan [davidwriordan@gmail.com]. Dave is an America transplant who has lived near Malaga for many years – so is fluent in both English and Spanish and knows the area well. (He is also recommended by travel writer Rick Steves in his book on Spain.)

I had the opportunity of being in a group hosted by Dave recently. We had seen Dave recommended in an online post by another satisfied customer and made contact by email.

Dave offered us a number of options then customized a tour to suit our interests and available time. He meticulously crafted an itinerary that maximized our time while allowing flexibility. He also coordinated the advance purchase of tickets to the key attraction, Alhambra. (Many are disappointed to discover that the number of visitors to Alhambra is carefully controlled and tickets can sell out weeks in advance – especially at the times sought by cruise passengers.)

While Dave offered us a variety of options, we chose to see Granada – including the exquisite 14th century Arab fortress of Alhambra, the Generalife gardens, the Cathedral and the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella (the Spanish Catholic monarchs who commissioned Columbus’s trans-Atlantic voyage and initiated the Inquisition). Of the several towns we saw, the highlight was Frigiliana, one of the “white villages” and Dave’s home town. In a quick, hour-long walking tour of this beautiful village, Dave imparted a tremendous amount of historical information particularly related to the Inquisition.

In retrospect, we may have tried to pack in too much, and would have enjoyed a bit more time for shopping and just enjoying the gorgeous views of the Mediterranean coast. Dave is very flexible and will adjust your itinerary to your preferences, so be sure to let him know your interests and how much time you want to allocate for various activities. And, without giving away any of Dave’s secrets, I’ll just say, be prepared for some fun surprises along the way.

Dave picked us up right at the dock and entertained us during the hour-long trips to and from Grenada with stories and information about Andalusia and the history of the area. While Dave is not a government-registered tour guide, he is a great host and offers excellent value compared to the cruise excursions – allowing you to see more in the time available and, depending on the size of the group, at a lower cost per person than the cruise excursions. He has several vehicles so is able to accommodate groups of up to eight.

We found Dave to be personable, reliable and fastidious about getting us back to the boat in good time.
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