Our travel advisor at this travel company did a marvelous job of collaborating with us to plan our trip itinerary. We corresponded by email, but also engaged in several long-distance phone conversations while planning our tour. During our visit, our travel planners checked with us regularly to make sure we were enjoying everything, and were prompt and helpful in making some hotel adjustments we requested. We appreciated the loan of a local smartphone that enabled us to keep in regular contact, and to view local maps and online guides along the way. A smartphone app let us check our itinerary, see the names and phone numbers of all of our drivers, and receive alerts about schedule changes. This travel company also arranged a private car and driver for each point-to-point transfer; the drivers were very pleasant and obliging, and the vehicles large and roomy, with plenty of baggage capacity. The local guides they engaged at every location on our itinerary were well-chosen for their knowledge of subjects we were interested in learning more about. We would certainly engage the travel company again when planning another visit!
We discussed with our travel planner the possibility of visiting local producers of typical Andalucian food products (wine, olive oil, ham). The unexpected highlight of our Andalucia tour was our personal tour of a free-range farm and processing plant in Huelva Province, where they produce the highest-quality Iberian ham and other pork products. The owner was incredibly generous with his time while leading us through his operation, including the farmlands, baby pig nursery, and the curing and processing facility. The tasting which capped off the tour was memorable, featuring several wines and a generous sampling of ham and pork delicacies better than any we encountered in the best restaurants.A second highlight was a flamenco and tapas tour in Sevilla. Unlike the rest of our trip, this was done in a small group, but it proved delightful. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about flamenco, and prepared us with insights that greatly helped us to better appreciate subtleties of the artistry. The performance was of high quality and thoroughly authentic (we have some prior experience with flamenco). The pre-show and post-show tapas tastings were at two very dissimilar but interesting spots, one very historic and traditional, the other more contemporary and eclectic, thus encompassing a nice overview of the range of tapas possibilities.
The only thing we might do differently if we were to take our trip again would be to allow even more time, in order to dive deeper into local culture and gastronomy.
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