Spain

Trip Start Jun 07, 2009
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8
Trip End Jun 21, 2009


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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our adventure begins as our chauffeur is waiting at the airport to escort us to our hotel. Our introduction to Spain will be simple accommodations in the 15th Century center of Old Madrid. We will enjoy the warmth and hospitality of a simple, charming, family owned hosteria located in the heart of Madrid's most historic area of ancient plazas, narrow stone streets and colorful restaurants. We will explore Madrid's sunny flea markets, plazas, sidewalk cafés and delightful shops.





Our hotel is located near Plaza Santa Ana, famous for its endless variety of bars, cafés and restaurants where every style of culinary thrill can be found, from delicious simple budget meals to Spain's most exciting regional dishes. (Click on any photo for a larger view)




From our hotel it is a short walk to three of the world's most famous art museums, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and El Prado.


Our hotel is at the center of the most ideal location in all of Old Madrid. From our hotel it is only a few steps to Madrid's most historic plazas and restaurants. Spain's most famous flamenco bars, Cardamomo and Los Gabrieles are right outside our front door. Madrid's most picturesque bistros are around the corner.



We will take a special bus tour of the historic sites in Madrid with English speaking commentary. Our visit to Madrid would not be complete without a visit to one of the world's most opulent royal palaces, the Palacio Real.

Our adventure continues as we arrive in the colorful town of Toledo. Toledo is Spain's most timeless city. The entire town is preserved as a Spanish National Monument, an eternal treasure virtually unchanged since the 13th Century. Our hotel is a charming, family-owned "hosteria" conveniently located in the heart of Toledo. We'll spend two days and two nights in this ancient Medieval town of historic churches, mosques, synagogues, monasteries, noble houses, plazas, shops, cafes, narrow stone streets and humble homes.



We'll visit the 16th century home of Spain's most celebrated painter, El Greco, followed by a visit to the Church of Santo Tomé to stand in awe before Spain's most valued artistic treasure, El Entierro del Conde de Orgáz, considered one of the three "must see" paintings in the world. We will explore the Cathedral of Toledo, one of the most opulent, jaw-dropping wonders in the entire world. For almost 300 years Europe's finest craftsmen, architects and artists devoted their life and genius to the creation of this most astonishing masterpiece in the Catholic world.


An exquisite 8-course feast at Toledo's finest Castilian restaurant, Catavinos ("Wine Taster") where the 24 Euro "Tasting Menu" is much too large a meal for two. Plan on sharing this festive banquet among three or four hungry friends.

You might sample partridge salad, Valencia peppers stuffed with wild rabbit, venison and veal meatballs, suckling lamb, baked fruit toledana, stewed goat andalúz, grilled Mediterranean prawns in corvina sauce, sautéed vegetables, Manchego sheep cheese, Iberian ham, endless servings of home-baked Andalucian breads, Tiramisu ice cream fried in Cognac among the many dessert choices.

Plan on spending at least two hours savoring the many flavors of this culinary masterpiece. Your meal includes all the finest Spanish wine you can drink.



Our adventure into the soul of Spain continues as our chauffeur welcomes us aboard our private "Ventana Larga" (Big Window) bus







to take us over rolling roads through hills, and windmills to the 8th Century Islamic city of Córdoba, home of the Medieval world's largest and holiest mosque.


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