Planning for a 5-week trip that covered most of Spain and some of Portugal was very daunting. What I feared the most was to finish the trip and find myself regretting that I did not see something that I would later find as important and meaningful. This fear was not to be founded. Our agent was extraordinary in breadth and depth of details creating a trip that covered the cultural, to the academic, to the arts, to the foods, to the topography, to the industry, to history, to politics, and to religion. He brought the countries to life with fantastic guides who managed the interests of the parents and the whimsies and lack of focus of our 3 children (14, 12 and 8 yo.).
He was able to book incredible, impossible reservations and private tours. The way we travel allowed us to compare and contrast the North of Spain, to the South of Spain and to the islands. As examples, we were able to see Las Meninas at the Prado in Madrid and then see how Picasso interpreted this piece in 20+ other ways in Barcelona. We were able to see and learn about the city of Guernica and the impact it had on WW2. We learned the process of creating Iberian Ham and had a fabulous tasting. We learned about Spain’s winery industry, its process and sampled much along the way.
We had conversations with chefs and had the most incredible meals with pintxos, tapas, and 1, 2 and 3 Michelin star restaurants all the while comparing and contrasting the differences of each region. We got the literally only table they have at Bar Nestor, which I understand needs to be booked 9th months in advance - lucky us! One thing that is consistent, dinner really starts at 8:30 to 9pm.
We were able to understand architecture through the history and politics and also by waterways. We saw where Christopher Columbus rests. I got to see where Ernest Hemingway lived and dined in one of his favorite cities and is the setting of The Sun also Rises. Do you know what the Inquisition really was and how it is ingrained into Spanish culture? Do you know that Toledo was the Jerusalem of the West at one point? And Franco, do you really know what he did to Spain? And how was Portugal spared? And how does it all relate to us? I can’t mention it all.
If you love to learn and love to live, I would just tell you to go and use this itinerary if you can.
We had great hotels. I asked for 4 and 5-star hotels, which are walking distance from food, shopping and sights and are local to Spain and Portugal. They were great. Giving us a flavor of life locally.
We are also big on nightlife and which is one of the things Spain is known for and also one of the best ways to speak with people. Though I couldn’t bring myself to drink one of their favorite drinks: coke with red wine - ummm, not for me.
Our agent also was incredibly diligent in managing our logistics. Our nanny had to travel back to NYC from Lisbon while my husband joined us in Seville. We needed to be in constant contact with my husband and my husband with his work so our agent made sure we had our own portable wi-fi. He managed one of my big travel needs, 10 large pieces of luggage, through all transfers and transition easily.
He also was super flexible about the needs of my children. We needed a water day in Madrid. It was hot and the children were tired of touring. He arranged everything: driver, tickets, private cabana. One our daughter’s most memorable moments on our trip is when we realized that Spain’s view on waterpark safety versus the US’s is very different. He also booked us a consistent driver who was fabulous, nice and interesting.
And while there are so many other things to mention like our time on the beautiful island of Mallorca…. what I need to say about our agent is that you know when an agent is worth his weight in gold when an emergency happens. Two things: my son and his dental emergency; managed beautifully and with an instantaneous appointment to have his tooth fixed, never impacting our travels and also a lost significant piece of jewelry that was not only recovered quickly but privately transported to the next city where we were. Thank you!
We recommend our agent without hesitation to family and friends and to you. We plan on booking another trip with him.
What a fabulous trip with great memories! Thank you so very much!!!
Too many to consider. Truly each and every part was incredible.
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