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Greece
Laos / Vietnam
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May 1-14, 2015

With an optional add-on to Barcelona

Our table overlooks a gorge whose craggy sides stretch toward each other in graceful arches of a Roman-built bridge; nearby a guitar plays a solemn solea, while the heady smell of orange blossoms sweetens the piquant winds from Africa.

Spain has drawn me to return time and time again since the first, some 40 years ago, when I was captured by the contrasts, the cuisine, the music, the contemporary evidence of so many layers of history, the vivid life lived with a siesta in the middle, and the kindness and gusto of the people.

Come and experience the breathlessness of Madrid, its deep history living on through extraordinary architecture, uncompromising la moda fashion, diverse neighborhoods, museums and parks. We will find our rhythm here: Spain closes for afternoon siesta sometime after 1pm. Then business resumes and afternoons bustle about 5pm until it’s time for dinner—anywhere from 8pm to midnight. Café tables on city streets offer temptations of the fields and of the surrounding seas—pulpas, many types of lobster and fresh fish, perfect bruschettas toasted with a brushstroke of pungent garlic and tomato, diverse regional delicacies. Olives to write home about. Wine to loosen the flight of our dreams. Mmmm, tapas. Then we journey south—Andalucia—where seven centuries of Moorish rule left their mark, as did the Romans, as did the Inquisition. Equipped with our new appreciation of Spanish culture and history, we then experience the epitome of Moorish Spain, the Alhambra in Granada.

The least touristy of Andalusian cities, Jerez de la Frontera, will be our center, where we walk the old barrios, lunch with an anthropologist, learn a flamenco-based dance and fling ourselves into the experience of the Feria de la Caballo. In Jerez we find authentic gypsy flamenco, its gritty and sometimes unbeautiful origins, and see it reinterpreted as a high artform. Shopping for fresh food at the old mercado, we learn to cook regional dishes and to appreciate sherry, whose grapes can only grow in this region. From Jerez we explore wetlands where birds from Africa pause in their migration to Europe, visit an awe-inspiring Roman ruin on the beach overlooking Africa, and meet the most gorgeous horses in the world, the Andalucians. By now we are wearing our scarves “just so,” peppering our speech with Spanish phrases, celebrating our good sense in bringing those walking shoes that make nothing of cobbled streets and stone steps.

Prior to Jerez, we head for the dazzling beauty of the White Cities: whitewashed villages clinging to mountainsides, their bell-towers ringing across tile roofs, grey-green orchards of olives and shiny citrus, herds of goats roaming fields as ancient as agriculture itself. In Arcos, Grazalema and Ronda we see how Moorish, Roman and Phoenecian history is vividly evident in modern life, and in Grazalema we are the guests of a village celebration. Hiking from that village, we explore the unique Parque Natural de Grazalema, an UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit nearby caves with 25,000 year old paintings.

In the word of a gypsy street vendor impatient with my hesitation to buy a huge plastic comb to wear during feria: Vive! She used the imperative tense, but I offer only a suggestion…

 

spain

Spain

Spain

Spain

Spain

 

 

Sagrada Familia

Barcelona

Barcelona

Picasso

 


 

Itinerary

May 1: Transit

May 2: Madrid
Arrive in Madrid

Bienvenido à España; welcome to Madrid! You came just in time—get dressed, we’re going to a party!
It’s a great day to arrive. The city is buzzing with activity, it’s the Dia Comunidad de Madrid, a holiday commemorating May 2, 1808 when the citizens of Madrid rose up against the occupation of Napoleon’s troops (portrayed by Goya in two of his most memorable paintings…we’ll see them tomorrow in the Prado). It’s a public holiday so shops are mostly closed, but museums and restaurants are open and there’s bound to be a feria…Let’s have a look this afternoon, shall we?
Most of us arrive at Barajas Airport in the early morning. Barajas is modern and well-run, but it’s huge and you might organize your carry-ons with the knowledge that the gates can often be long walks from the luggage and customs. We’ll take an airport shuttle to a stop near the Prado then catch a brief taxi ride to our charming boutique hotel at the center of everything, and freshen up before venturing out to explore the neighborhood. A meandering pace is in order for a stroll around the district’s colorful streets and unique shops, stopping for snacks and people-watching at a landscaped terraza, savoring the flavors of the city. The rest of our group will join us early afternoon when our rooms will be available, so we’ll relax, perhaps some will have a brief siesta, and then make our way to celebrations of the Communidad de Madrid… we may choose insead to visit our first museum—the Thyssen and Reina Sofia museums are a stones’ throw away.

In the evening we’ll gather in a regional restaurant for an introduction to the local cuisine and begin our investigation of Spanish history and culture. For those who desire it, we can venture out for a late night at one of the jazz cafes near the hotel. Duerme bien!

May 3: Madrid
Walking…walking…through centuries and continents--a walk that wakes up history!
Begin with a fulfilling breakfast at the hotel, accompanied by a cup of Spain’s deliciously ubiquitous café con leche. We’re off for a walk through narrow streets to the always grand, always lively Plaza Mayor where we can find some churros for a typical midmorning snack, and stroll onward a few blocks to admire the Palacio Real and other architectural evidence of the wealth of Spain’s colonial centuries. Among such palacios there are new buildings (and ultra de moda shops) which exemplify the design innovation for which Spain has become known in this millenium. (And just look at how Madrileños wear their trajes! This city is a fashionista’s dream!)
Turning away from the noble architecture we head for the Barrio de Oriente where the legacy of centuries of Spanish colonialism returned to its arising. This barrio is alive with dazzlingly diverse shops and restaurants from Africa, the Caribbean, Indonesia, the Americas. We meander through the neighborhood’s tiny stores selling mysterious things, a few are open, but most safely and tantalizingly closed today. Following spicy scents, we reach the streets occupied on Sundays by the Rastro, Madrid’s huge, legendary flea market. Here everything is open, everything is for sale. We linger for a while as somebody negotiates for an impractical antique we can’t carry, and the exotic aroma of food stalls makes us hungry. Circling back toward the hotel, we stop to enjoy Gallican cuisine at one of Madrid’s most colorful eateries as we formulate a plan of attack for the massive art fortress a few blocks away. Thus fortified, we spend till 7pm closing in the Museo National del Prado nearby for immersion in Goya, El Greco, Velasquez, Bosch, Durer, Caravaggio, et al, with little breaks for arttalk, wine or tea in the handsome central cafeteria. A short Metro ride or a 20 minute walk through Retriro Park earns us our Spanish-time dinner—on a boulevard of sidewalk cafes, including my favorite (mmm: pulpos!)—or we could opt to head in the other direction (and closer to the hotel) to dine and catch a performance. Of course, sitting with a glass of great wine and peoplewatching in an outdoor café is always a fine option. We’ll see how we feel.

May 4: Madrid to Granada (with a 4-hour whistlestop visit to the Mezquita of Cordoba for those who desire it*)

Our brief stay in Madrid has provided us a lively introduction to Spain—at least Imperial Spain and its legacy. Now let’s meet another facet of this fascinating country.

We take leave of our modern hosts in the old city and take a breakfast walk to Atocha Station, quite a destination all by itself, perhaps visiting some of our neighborhood’s tantalizing shops that were closed on the weekend—that antiquarian bookstore, the flamenco shoe shop, and…does that shop ONLY sell fans? Or we could speed walk to the Reina Sofia museum which opens at 10, and go directly to see Picasso’s Guernica and the galleries of the Spanish Civil War…the train station is just across the street. At 11:30 we meet our luggage and catch the train to Granada, arriving just after 4pm.

For our long ride we will be seated in groups of four, perfect for progressive conversations about what we’ve learned and what we’re about to discover. As the comfortable train passes through the plains and mountains of La Mancha, we see firsthand the fertile heart of Spain, craggy dramatic mountains punctuating fertile valleys of olive, orange and wine groves, fields of cows and goats and country homes and ranches centuries old.

Our destination is dramatically surrounded by mountains. Granada was the center of Moorish Spain and the last stronghold of the Nasrid kings in the 13th century. Here we will experience what most consider to the zenith of Moorish architecture, the Alhambra fortress with its network of astonishing palaces and gardens. Tomorrow we have a date with the fortress. Today, we make our way by taxi from the train station to an extraordinary place. We are staying for two nights in the caves of the Albaicin.

In the Albaicin and Sacramonte districts of Granada we burrow through winding narrow streets built to follow topography, not the snap-line of a city planner. Our precipitous side of the ravine has been home to successive refugees, beginning with Muslims and gypsies during the Christian reconquest of Moorish Spain and later Jews and gypsies during the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th Century. Natural caves there have been occupied for a millennium.

Throughout our new neighborhood, narrow houses lean over the lanes or hide behind centuries-old stone walls. A few Moorish dwellings remain. There are little museums, many quite interesting churches, craft and food shops, outdoor restaurants and a morning market, plenty of taverns, many offering flamenco performances, including a few authentic ones…and, always, there is a breathtaking view of the Alhambra across the gorge, its remarkable architecture bathed in floodlights. Our cave residences sit atop a steep lane. They’re whitewashed, cute, comfortable, have windows and little kitchens and the hotel offers a lovely balcony for taking in the memorable view, it’s an unique experience. After exploring, though the neighborhood offers plentiful dining and entertainment choices, a good one for tonight might be a shared bottle of wine on the balcony and a simple meal under the stars.

May 5: Granada
The Alhambra

We may linger over the hotel’s basic breakfast or find a chair at a nearby bakery for fresh-squeezed orange and coffees. There’s plenty still to see on our side of the ravine, but we’ll hop on one of the frequent buses to the bottom of our hill and explore the vivid Trinidad district—a joyful take on modern commerce within 18th Century architecture: world trade goods, high fashion, street vendors, an impressive herb and spice market, and outdoor cafés galore.

Let’s at least gather a few bocadillos for a picnic and hop another shuttle: We have afternoon (2-8pm) reservations at La Alhambra y el Generlife, the Medieval Islamic palace and fortress of the Nasrid kings, the ultimate expression of Spain’s Moorish heritage, the last outpost of Arab Spain and now an UNESCO world heritage site. The Alhambra was a fortress—a perfectly efficient self-contained city. Within its walls: breathtaking palaces, exquisite gardens, extraordinary craftsmanship and design..

Everything we learn today will enrich our experience as we travel deeper and deeper into history and culture over the coming days.
In the evening we exit the monument and take a shuttle into the center of the city, or retire to our caves (who imagined we’d say that and mean it literally) to decide on our evening’s adventure—together or apart. Granada is up late. Some may wish to return to experience the Alhambra at night.

May 6: Granada to Ronda

We return to the train station just after noon for a scenic 3-hour train ride (our last until our final weekend’s return to Madrid) to one of the most beloved of the “white cities” of Andalucia, Ronda.

The white cities hug ridges and hilltops or hide between mountains throughout this Andalucian countryside, situated for defense against tumultuous centuries of conquest and reconquest. Ronda’s two halves peer at each other across a plunging gorge crossed by a centuries-old bridge. Narrow arched buildings in narrow cobbled streets represent many centuries of history built atop each other. We’ll settle into our charming historic (built in 1736) hotel in the oldest part of town. Next door is a treasure of a small museum, Museo Juaquìn Peinado, dedicated to the work of this lesser-known friend of Picasso. The streets around us span centuries and cultures. Arab Bridge, Arab Baths, Arab Arches, Medieval churches, streets cobbling radically down a hill to arrive at a field of goats, beautiful doorways, stones worn smooth by centuries of hands. On our side of the bridge, we find dozens of artisan shops selling exquisite leatherwork, lace, linens, antiques, handicrafts, and quirky museums (a bandit museum is one I remember) and tourist wares galore. Across the bridge is the civic center and the largest Plaza de Toros in Spain. Ronda is a destination for bullfight aficionados; its storied bullring offers tours when there is no fight. If there is a bullfight, some of us may choose to experience the drama, lore and gore of Spain’s traditional blood sport. The evening is free to continue shopping and grazing.

May 7: Grazalema
On the Road to Grazalema

We depart early to travel by small coach only a few kilometers to the tiny town of Benaojan where we climb up to the Cueva de la Pileta, to see some of the oldest—perhaps THE oldest-- cave paintings in Europe. The paintings are of two periods, one about 4,000, the other about 27,000 years old. Discovered by a farmer in his fields in 1905, the Bullòn family are still caretakers; one of the family will be our guide.
Our coach then takes us on the narrow winding highway through cherry farms and up breathtaking craggy outcroppings and its own species of mountain pine to enter the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema–a stunning environment and a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the top of the craggy mountains, nestled between peaks, is tiny Grazalema which has been a human settlement for over 2,000 years. Near the unspeakably picturesque central plaza, we find our little hotel and settle in. It’s such a delight to wander, this tiny village packed with beauty and history: drink from the Roman fountain that’s been in constant use for two millennia or stroll to the waterfalls or the abandoned hermitage on the surrounding hillsides for a contemplative view of the rooftops or maybe follow a medieval road. We’ve been invited to walk down the block to tour the local blanket factory—Grazalema woolen blankets and ponchos are treasured heirlooms in Spain—we’ll see how they have been made for centuries. We may also visit the artisans who make the coveted local cheeses, just a little way away. In the evening we have a private dinner arranged in a fine local restaurant. They’re cooking up a feast of regional cuisine including distinctive local cheeses and wines, followed by a performance of a rising flamenco star.

May 8: Grazalema
In search of rare beauty

This is the workout part of the program: Today we hike with a local guide through forests of Spanish pine only found here, perhaps we will take the orchid trail, or visit Roman springs. We can hope to see rare birds and animals, as this protected ecosystem is unique. Hikers and birders and botanists come from all over Europe to spend weeks here, but we will enjoy our little slice of this beautiful life over a vigorous half day. Upon our return: we’ve been invited to a party! There’s an adventurous contemporary art gallery here. They’re scheduling the opening of their May exhibition to coincide with our visit. We join our hosts for a chance to meet and mix with local artists and members of the cultural community, our discussions fueled by some good wine and snacks. This promises to be a deep experience.

May 9: Jerez:
Yea Grazalema; neigh caballos!

I bet we won’t want to leave Grazalema, but we bid an early morning farewell to our new friends and board our private coach to take us through the other side of those breathtaking mountains to arrive at the Yeguada de la Cartuja stud farm by late morning for a tour of the official headquarters of the Carthusian breed of horses. With charming English-speaking guides we meet some handsome stallions, gorgeous fillies and irresistible frolicking foals and learn about their origins—Even with horses, we find the usual Spanish story of conquest and religion. The finale of our tour is a grandstand view of a performance of extraordinary equine beauty and equestrian precision.

High on beautiful horseflesh, we finish our coach journey in a short ride to Jerez de la Frontera, the center of flamenco dance, the showplace for Andalusian horses, the birthplace of sherry and the site of a marvelous festival, the Feria del Caballo which celebrates all three. Here we will be staying for five nights in a pleasant apartment building in the Barrio San Mateo, the old quarter of this old city.

Let’s settle in--it’s siesta time anyway. A little later we’ll gather around a map and a glass of wine then walk our neighborhood to get the lay of the land, strolling to the bustling center of town where we can pick up some bread, wine and provisions at the supermercado and notice the location of important sites such as the most delicious tapas restaurants, outdoor cafes, vendors of fine comestibles.

We’ll also notice a buzz in the air. It’s the day before feria opens, and there are still people shopping for what to wear. We’ll find a few shops selling this year’s feria fashions—extraordinary women’s clothing that leave no curve unemphasized, no polka undotted, no ruffle unfluttered, ranging from the tawdry to the exquisite. At night—a performance—we can find the best one! Or you might treat yourself to a soak and massage in the Hammam-Andalusì, the restored Roman Baths in Calle Santiago just around the corner.

For those who wish it, we can gather for an introduction to Sevillanas dance—so that when we have a real lesson tomorrow, we are prepared.

May 10: Jerez:

Sunday in Jerez is a great day to explore our neighborhood more deeply, beginning by walking up the hill beside the old Cathedral San Salvador to the Alcazar. On Sundays, the extensive grounds surrounding this historic site are occupied by a Rastro-like flea market where you might find some components for your own feria costume. It’s also the place to find artisan cheese, baked goods, organic produce and fabulous olives you can’t find in the shops. We’ll visit the Alcazar which is a ruin and in direct contrast to the splendor of Granada, BUT here we see the workings of the walled city, the baths, cistern systems, turrets, gardens and of course the water pools and meditation areas in a fascinating skeletal view.. From here we can walk another hillside of our barrio to reach the Church of San Mateo at the top, where the Museo Arquaologico will provide us the answers to so many questions.

This evening we learn or polish our Sevillanas, a social dance based in flamenco and practiced by Spaniards of all ages, backgrounds and geographies. If we are lucky in our timing, we will have a private lesson in the Peña de Bulerias, the oldest flamenco peña in Jerez. But because of the feria this week, this may not be possible, so just in case, we have located a teacher, a guitarist and a studio in an old palacio not far away. We aim to learn enough to propel us onto the dance floor when we attend feria.

May 11: Jerez
Savoring cocina española:
Did you bring your cleaver?
We convene at 11am at Bodega Diez for a sherry bodega tour, then join a local chef for an adventure in Spanish cuisine, beginning with shopping the mercado for ingredients then repairing to a nearby restaurant kitchen where each participant prepares several tapas and a main course with dessert--all paired with the bodega’s wines & sherry. Then we feast. Afterwards--you might need your siesta. Or we might visit the Zocco, an interesting handicraft market nearby. Here we might convince a resident cultural anthropologist to discuss with us his theory of the origins and diaspora of flamenco, while we peruse his collection of rare music and books.

In the evening we can attend one of several authentic (not for tourists only) flamenco performances in the town—we’ll find the best one! (Daytime alternative for those who do not get close to kitchens: Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art tour with a beautifully-presented Equestrian Museum and, most exciting of all, a chance to watch the training sessions for the stallions).

Sevillanas, some time today, we have a little dance review..

May 12: Jerez
Marismas, mirages and the smells of Africa

Leave early by coach to Sanlucar de Barrameda, a charming little coastal town whose church is a destination for one of Spain’s most important pilgrimages, the Romería de El Rocío. On the beach adjacent to the tiny church we catch a ferry ride across the Guadalquivir River to del Parque Naçional de Doñana for a tour by jeep through the protected ecosystems of this extraordinary wetland.

Return to Sanlucar for a waterside seafood lunch, then drive past Cadiz through the marismas—the wetlands where birds from Africa stop on migrations north—down the coast to Bolonia, a tiny rural village at the very bottom of Spain, where Africa looms 9 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar, and the ruins of Roman Baelo Claudia stand graciously above the beach along with a fine Archaelogical Museum. Smell Africa from here, tour the ruins and trek the hillsides for the last hours of the day.
Homeward, we will take a detour to the haunting hillside village of Vejer de la Frontera for an evening supper. Then home to Jerez.

May 13: Jerez
Horses and sherry and flamenco, dio mio!

Let’s all look un poco flamenco! Time to share a taxi, a horse-drawn carriage or, believe it or not—more fun—a bus, and arrive at a party in progress:, the Feria del Caballo.
First, the caballos in question: Adjacent to the massive feria grounds there is a covered arena where we enter to witness extraordinary animals performing in spectacular equestrian events. Andalusian stallions of the Royal Spanish Riding School and their equally trained riders exhibit the kind of skill that made their ancestors the most fearsome and nimble warriors. Later, in the pavilion, we can look through booths of finely-made riding gear and horse paraphernalia, and visit the horses in the stables.
Then it’s time for a spectacle in which we can participate: On the gold-colored sands of the fairgrounds next door, hundreds of temporary casetas create mini-streetscapes above which dazzling baroque filigrees of lights excite the senses. A parade of people and horses is what’s happening. We join it.

Here are muscular, tasseled, pedigreed caballos ridden by amazones horsewomen; caballeros, clad in trajes cortes and flat-brimmed hats and chaps—some are accompanied by flower-haired and feria-ruffled senoritas sidesaddle behind them. Elaborate carriages circle the grounds, drawn by matched teams of horses with heads and tails held high; women in extraordinary dresses flutter and flirt; men look dashing in their clothing with a little flair; music comes from everywhere—there are incidents of spontaneous hilarity and dancing; sherry is poured liberally along with other libations and comestibles.
When we begin to hallucinate in polka dots, we’ll meander to the most festive caseta, sip the local sherry, eat tapas and fling ourselves on to the dance floor for a while, then we might wander to another caseta…sherry…dance…repeat…. Perhaps we’ll find ourselves part of a juerga, a flamenco party. A shared taxi home might be a good plan.

Thu, May 14: Madrid
Goodbye Andalusia, return to Madrid

We board a midday train at the old Jerez station for a four-hour ride to the Capital where we return to our comfortable digs of ten days ago. Arriving about 4pm, we have the opportunity to visit or revisit one of the great museums…OR look collectively or individually for those bookstores, cookware, flamenco, industrial design, food or fashion destinations we’ve formed a desire to visit.

Now that we know each other quite well, we’ll choose an appropriate final evening with which to celebrate our journey together.

Fri, May 15: Madrid
A fond farewell

Savoring our last Spanish breakfast, we depart for the airport by coach and say goodbye to our adventure.

Other situations may arise that we can take advantage of. In case any activity must be canceled, another similar activity will be substituted. There will be no refunds for any activities participants do not attend, and anyone who leaves the tour itinerary at any time FOR ANY REASON is on their own.

Trip Package Includes:
  • Airport Express shuttle to hotel (San Francisco departures only)
  • 3 Nights Madrid Hotel Roommate Alicia
  • 5 nights apartment living in the historic center of Jerez
  • 1 night Hotel San Gabriel Rondo
  • 2 nights hotel Penon Grande in Grazalema
  • 2 nights Cuevas el Abanico in Grenada
  • Talks with local people
  • Entrance fee: Museo National del Prado
  • Admission Museo Nacional Centro de Arts
  • Train to Jerez
  • Taxi to Hotel in Jerez
  • Taxi to Feria grounds
  • Bodega tour and cooking class
  • Entrance fee: Jerez Alcazar and the Cathedral , the Alhambra in Genada
  • Meeting with a local anthropologist and expert on flamenco
  • Entrance fee Museo Arquaologico
  • Bus ticket to Rondo
  • Entrance fee: Museo Juaquin Peinado
  • Return train to Madrid, and taxi to hotel.
  • Cuevas in Grazalema
  • Party in Grazalema with music, dance and dinner.
  • Breakfast in all hotels except Jerez & Grenada apartments

Not Included:
• Laundry, tips, airport transfers, except for SFO/Madrid/SFO ticket (extra)
• Meals not mentioned in itinerary.

Detail
Cost: $3755.00 includes all items listed in itinerary. Airfare from SFO to Madrid currently estimates at $1300.00. Ground only does not include hotel transfer.Based on two people sharing a twin or double bedded room. Price may rise with fluctuation of US dollar against the Euro. Present rate 1.27$=E1.00. Maximum 16, minimum 10 participants.
Passport and Visa: A passport, valid six months from date of entry to Spain. Visa is not required for citizens of the USA. No health requirements.

Roommates: Single people may choose to have a single room, or sign up for accommodations desired on a share basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit. If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single supplement:$1009.00

Deposit: A $500.00 check deposit made out to Danu Enterprises, is required to make a booking. Deposit, minus $100.00 cancellation fee until Dec. 1 2014, when a $350.00 penalty fee will become attached to all cancellations received in writing. Final payments are due March 2, 2015. after which cancellations will be charged 50% of final payments. There will be no refunds one month before departure. Changes in exchange rate or rise of petrol taxes may affect the tour price. Trip is limited to 16 people with a minimum of 10.

Accommodations: Generally rooms have two single beds with modern facilities. All accommodations are clean and comfortable.

Weather: May is a beautiful month to visit Spain. Some wild flowers are still in bloom, and it's warm but not yet hot.

Tour Organizers: Judy Slattum MFA and Made Surya are professional tour organizers and leading study tours to internationally since 1985. They will both accompany this trip.

Tour Leader: Maureen Davidson MA: Scottish-born Maureen Davidson first fell in love with Spain in the early 70’s while living and working in London and enjoying frequent journeys to Europe and North Africa. Raised in Scotland, U.S. and Iran, she had earned a BA in art and enjoyed some success as a sculptor before moving to London. In London she worked as a magazine and book editor/writer for almost a decade before returning to the US, earning an MA in Arts Administration, directing arts nonprofits and establishing and curating art galleries in three cities. Interwoven with her arts career, she has also served as Public Information Officer for large government agencies, creating publications, websites and events and communicating with and through broadcast media. During the last decade she has been published internationally as an arts critic and essayist and has served as an independent curator. This will be her first tour of her favorite country, she has designed it for adventurous adults.

 

An Excursion to Barcelona

A bold, brainy beauty, during the last quarter-century this city of 1.5 million has once again sparked a renaissance, at least as turbo-charged as a century ago when it was the capitol of Spain’s industrial and artistic revolutions, churning out a few names you might recognize: Antonin Gaudi, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, and Monseratt Caballe. In many ways its profile is higher than that of Madrid—even snagging the 1992 world Olympics.

It is the country’s most magical metropolis, with its mix of Romanesque and Gothic in the Old Town, flirting with cutting-edginess from undulating art deco fantasies and some of the hottest modern architecture on earth. Add groovy shopping and tasty cuisine, and this place rocks!

Itinerary

Monday April 27:
Depart SFO (or airport of your choice)

Tues. April 28:
Arrive Barcelona Spain and transfer to our hotel, located in the historic district.

Wed. April 29:
8:00AM
 depart for a four hour city tour, with a focus on art and architecture, that will include the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece, Park Guell—Gaudi’s park with beautiful city views, La Pedrera /Casa Milia famous Gaudi works, Casa Batilio—Gaudi’s astounding contribution to modernism, the National Palace—an impressive site with great views, the plaza Espana—the most impressive in Barcelona, and the “Apple of Discord”—a street noted for controversial buildings by four different modern architects. And finally Montjuic castle with fabulous views of the city.

Lunch and down-time.

Late afternoon we return to Sagrada Familia for a guided tour of the interior and towers, awash with shimmering color, with a local expert.
Evening on your own or we will join forces to explore Barcelona’s famous eateries.

Thur. April 30:
Beginning at 9:00AM we will explore the byways of Barcelon’s atmospheric Medieval Quarter with our local guide who will explain the layers of history embedded in its walls and crevices, and depart after recommending one of the best cafes in the area.

El Gòtic is the centre of the old city of Barcelona and perhaps the most charming area, retaining a labyrinthine street plan, with many small streets opening out into squares. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic although open to service vehicles and taxis. Despite several changes undergone in the 19th and early 20th century, many of the buildings date from Medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is located within this area too.
>In the afternoon explore some of the many other sites Barcelona: the National Museum of Catalon art, the Miro Museum, The Picasso Museum, or the interiors of other works by Gaudi.

Fri. May 1:
Our final day in Barcelona. You might choose to spend it on your own—or alternatively take a day-trip by train to Bilbao in order not to miss Frank Gehry’s world landmark Guggenheim museum—a wonder both inside and out, with giant epic works by Richard Serva, Andy Worhol, and Jell Koons famed topiary of a giant puppy. Also of note in Bilbao are the Museum Belles Artes with an older collection, and the Teatro Acriaga. We can also organize a wine tasting tour outside the city center.

Sat. May 2:
Transfer (included) to train station for our 2 hour 43 minute high speed AVE train to Madrid. Transfer to our hotel and our next adventure begins!

Trip Package Includes:

  • 4 nights at 4 star Hotel:
  • Buffet breakfast every day
  • Private city bus tour to most important sites
  • Guided tour of the Sagrada Familia interior, including the towers
  • Half-day guided walking tour of the Medieval historic town.
  • Transfer to train station
  • AVE fast train ticket to Madrid and hotel transfer

Not Included:
Meals
Tips

Extras:
Airfare (SFO—into Barcelona, out of Madrid) $1300.
Transfer to hotel:
Price: $910.00. Based on minimum of 10 people based on shared room. Single supplement: $180.00



Call toll free 888-476-0543 or email for further information.
Contact Danu Enterprises today and escape the ordinary!


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All photos on this page copyright Maureen Davidson

 
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