Spain in Autumn—A Traveler’s Feast: Barcelona, The Sea, Flamenco and Granada
When you’re touring Spain, it helps to be an unapologetic romanticist. So it follows that the most lyrical introduction to this country of irresistible landscapes and the timeless broth of its cultures is to listen to the voice of Placido Domingo, celebrating the allure of a city engraved in Spain’s history:
“Granada, land of my dreams, mine becomes a gypsy song when I sing to you…”
We are probably not going to mingle with gypsies when we travel from Madrid to Granada on our tour of Spain from Oct. 3 to 14 this year. We are going to see Granada’s Alhambra, which for hundreds of years has been a centerpiece of the Spanish experience.
You begin with the admission that you are not going to see all of Spain in two weeks, nor would you in two years. What you can see and feel is the sweep of 2,000 years of history in the grace of the Alhambra, Barcelona’s cathedrals and striking modern architecture, the antiquity of Toledo, the outdoor markets of Valencia, the surf of the great Mediterranean shorelines of Costa del Sol and the near-desert beaches of the Cabo de Gato.You can visit the places that bred the genius of Picasso, Dali and Miro, Segovia, Sarasate, Ibanez and the Cervantes of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza; and at night gape at the electrifying skills of the flamenco dancer. You can walk down the main business street of Barcelona and wage an internal struggle to remind yourself that you can’t walk past ALL of the shops because you are not going to come this way very often. And then you walk to the vast esplanade that opens to the Barcelona harbor, surmounted by a towering monument to Christopher Columbus. Seeing it, you tardily make the connection—between the history of Columbus’ world of 500 years ago, and ours of today.
The Alhambra, Picasso and the Harbor of Barcelona
You’re invited. The airfare by Delta, Minneapolis-St. Paul to Madrid, returning via Barcelona, is currently $1,100. Some choose to use frequent flyer miles, which reduces the overall cost by almost a third. The land costs, including the use of a private bus and city guides, hotel accommodations, all breakfasts and five dinners, will be $3,350. This per person cost is based on 10 participants and two-to-a-room occupancy. Please indicate if you want a single room and we will advise you of the additional cost. Also indicate if you wish to share accommodations and would like to be paired with another single traveler.A deposit of $750, payable by May 30, is required to assure space on the trip. All bookings are being handled by Suzanne Zapolski, a longtime partner of Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures in the organization of overseas travel. Checks should be made out to Borton Overseas Travel, 5412 Lyndale Ave.S., Minneapolis 55419, marked attention Suzanne.
Jim will be the tour escort. Suzanne will be able to assist you in flight arrangements, travel insurance, additional hotel bookings and in planning potential trip extensions.Suzanne can be reached at 612-661-4624 direct, or (cell) (612) 644-6404 or (800) 843- 0602. Fax (612) 822-4755. email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim is at (763) 258-1371 and email@example.com.
Here is my (our) registration deposit of $750 for Spain in Autumn with Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures Oct. 3-14 in 2010, due by May 30. I (we) understand Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures and Borton Overseas cannot be held responsible for illness or injuries incurred during the trip. Because the deposit is non refundable, purchasing trip insurance is recommended.
We’ll be traveling in early autumn, an ideal time because the temperatures are moderate, the height of the touring season is past and the skies as you may have heard are gloriously sunny. And there are times when that marvelous oceanfront of the Costa del Sol is practically private for great stretches of the road.We’ll fly to Madrid and spend two nights there, embracing the color and spectacle of the animated street life in the heart of the city. There the antiquity of the centuries and museums co-exist without clashing with the 21st Century’s bustle and futuristic architecture, not far from the bull rings and the street singers. You’re never far from the music of Spain, or music of any description. It is a city remindful of the power struggles that grew out of Europe’s Dark Ages and into the Renaissance. But its vast and immaculately-kept parks and cypresses present a stroller’s paradise.And yet that unique amalgam of passion, art, struggle and grace that seem to define Spain for the traveler as well as the historian are dramatically just ahead. From Madrid we travel little more than an hour south to Toledo, where the Gothic towers of The Cathedral leap above the cobbled streets. It’s where El Greco painted his masterworks and where some 1,500 years ago Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together more or less amicably in what we now call the Dark Ages, until the religious wars convulsed this part of Europe. It is the city of the famed fortress Alcazar, of shops, museums, homes, churches and restaurants with international menus jammed into a architectural potpourri that defies order. But it vividly reflects the ages of its history.
And after we spend the night in the town of Ebeda we travel south toward the snow-ridges of the Sierra Nevada mountains to Granada, where centuries ago the Moors built a fortress and palace and spectacular gardens. They called it The Alhambra, where you need almost a full day to draw some conception of the immensity and nobility of it, and above all its timeless loveliness.
Where the Gladiators Fought
We’ll tour in a comfortable private bus that allows us plenty of time to admire the seaside beyond Granada, stopping where it makes sense and heading toward our overnight in the city of Nerja near spectacular caves. From there it’s on to Valencia, the site of a huge and celebrated open market (they grow a lot more than oranges in Valencia’s environs). As much as any other sizeable city in Spain, Valencia presents a striking contrast of ancient Spain with modernity. It’s a place of robust business, but also a place to explore at leisure. We’ll spend a night there and then head back toward the sea for Tarragona and its stunning harbor. Here once more is the imprint of the Romans amid the ruins of the chariot stadium, the Circ Romans and the Amphitheater, where gladiators fought. You’ll find little fighting, however, on the somewhat naughty beach of Sitges.And from there we spend three climactic days in one of the great cities of the world, Barcelona. Millions met Barcelona for the first time in its memorable presentation of the Olympic Games in 1992. Yet older generations will remember Barcelona’s brave resistance during the Spanish Civil War, won eventually by the Fascist leader Francisco Franco. But the country eventually cast off the dictatorship, and in the years since, Barcelona has emerged as a magnet in international travel. It’s an energetic and creative player in world trade and business, embracing modernism in architecture and the arts, but hardly shy about preserving its Catalan heritage. Our three nights in Barcelona, culminating in a farewell dinner, will give us ample time to follow our own interests. There is no better way to explore Barcelona than to walk down the city’s main drag of La Rambla toward the spruced-up waterfront, window shopping, snacking, mixing with the shopkeepers, sipping, gawking and having a bundle of fun.Day by Day in Spain
Oct. 3 Depart USA.
Oct. 4 Arrive Madrid 9:35 a.m. Transfer to hotel. Afternoon city tour. Welcome Tapas Dinner. Overnight Madrid (D).
Oct. 5 Day at Leisure in Madrid. Overnight Madrid. (B).
Oct. 6 Drive to Toledo by motorcoach for city tour. Continue to town of Ubeda for overnight.(B,D).
Oct. 7 Drive to Granada for tour of Alhambra and Gerenalife Gardens. Overnight Granada (B).
Oct. 8 After breakfast depart to town of Nerja and it’s remarkable cave complex near Malaga. Overnight in Nerja. (B).
Oct. 9 Drive along seacoast to Valencia along renowned Costa del Sol Overnight Valencia. (B,D).
Oct. 10 After a morning tour of Valencia, drive to seacoast city of Tarragona. Overnight Tarragona. (B,D),
Oct. 11 Tour of Tarragona and Sitges with lunch in Sitges. Drive to Barcelona for overnight.(B,L).
Oct. 12 Morning city tour of Barcelona. Overnight Barcelona (B).
Oct. 13 Barcelona at leisure (B,D). Farewell dinner.. Overnight Barcelona.
Oct. 14 Depart Barcelona at 11:20 a.m. Adios,Espana,Gracias.