Guild Trip: Spain

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY GUILD Presents…

GREAT WINES, GREAT ART, AND GRAND CATHEDRALS OF NORTHERN SPAIN
From Barcelona to the Camino de Santiago

May 16-28, 2015

A twelve night itinerary designed exclusively for ASG, including 3 nights each in Barcelona, famous for its Gaudi architecture; Bilbao, with the Guggenheim Museum; and Santiago de Compostela, the culmination of one of the world’s most famous pilgrimage routes. Along the way, we’ll visit some of the world’s greatest cathedrals and monuments.

 

Our tour includes visits to three of Spain’s most famous wine regions—Penedès (sparkling), Rioja (red), and Albariño (white). We’ll experience the Spanish way of life, with leisurely multi-course mid-day meals and learn about the Spanish custom of tapas with a special tour inBarcelona. This is a unique itinerary especially designed for our private group.

 

ITINERARY

May 16: Barcelona

Our trip begins in Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s autonomous com- munity of Catalunya. Our hotel is on a side street in the Gothic Quar- ter, yet only 3 blocks from the fa- mous Ramblas, Barcelona’s busy pedestrian boulevard. We’ll have a few hours to relax bef

ore our adven- ture begins. In the early evening, we will visit La Boqueria market, where we’ll see the amazing variety of food products available in its stalls. From there, we’ll visit several typical bars for tapas and drinks. Catalans, like most residents of Spain, usually take their main meal at midday. The evening is all about tapas—and socializing with friends.

May 17: Barcelona

This morning enjoy an escorted tour of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. We’ll see the old Gothic Quarter and its magnificent cathe- dral, then stop to admire the exteri- or of Gaudi’s masterwork, the Sa- grada Familia Basilica. We’ll contin- ue to Montjuich Hill (site of the Olympic Stadium), to enjoy a spectacular view of Barcelona and its port area. Our tour will conclude with a guided tour of the Palau de la Musica Catalana, one of the most beautiful performance venues in the world. (At this time, performance schedules are not yet available, but if possible, we will try to offer an op- tional performance). The afternoon is free, perhaps for lunch in the Olympic Port area; fans of Gaudi may wish to visit Casa Batllo or Parc Guell; or just experience the relaxed atmosphere of a Sunday afternoon in Spain.

May 18: Barcelona, Montserrat, Penedès

 

After breakfast, we travel to Montser- rat, a Benedictine abbey in a spectacular mountain setting. Then it’s on to the Cordoniu winery (founded in 1551) for a tour and cava tasting, with our midday meal at the winery. We’ll return to Barcelona later in the afternoon, in time for some shopping. Most shops in Spain close for several hours midday, and reo- pen from about 5 until 8 or 9 pm.

May 19: Barcelona, Zaragoza, Bilbao

Today we travel into old Aragon and the proud city of Zaragoza. We’ll visit the impressive Basilica of El Pilar and have our midday meal at a local restau- rant. We then continue into Basque country arriving in the prosperous city of Bilbao on Spain’s north coast.

May 20: Bilbao

This morning, we’ll tour the fabulous Guggenheim Museum with a local guide. Theinteriorofthisastounding building is as amazing as the exterior. Those who wish can spend more time in the museum, which has a cutting edge restaurant. For more classic art, Bilbao also has an excellent Fine Arts Muse- um—or wander across the river to the old part of the city for pinxtos, the Basque version of tapas.

May 21: Bilbao/La Rioja

Today we travel south toward Logroño for a full day tour of Spain’s most fa- mous wine region, La Rioja. Although production includes white wines, the region is best know for its bold reds. We’ll visit a cultural museum and wine cellar with tastings, and have a midday meal paired with wines of the area.

May 22: Bilbao/Burgos/Leon

Our journey continues into Castile, the kingdom ruled by Isabella I before she married Ferdinand II of Aragon and unit- ed Spain. We’ll visit the medieval city of Burgos and its cathedral, one of the most famous along the Camino de Santiago. After our midday meal, we’ll continue the Camino route to Leon, where we will spend the night.

May 23: Leon/Ponferrada/Santiago

We’ll have some free time this morning before our departure. Leon’s gothic cathedral is a short distance from our hotel and has some magnificent stained glass—or just relax a bit before we con- tinue along the Camino. Our first stop will be Ponferrada, where we’ll visit a castle of the Knights Templar, one of the most powerful military orders during the Crusades. After our midday meal, we’ll continue to the mystical city of Santiago de Compostela. Those who wish may walk the last section of the Camino into the city .

May 24: Santiago de Compostela

Although masses are held every day, this is Sunday, a special day to attend worship in one of the world’s most famous pil- grimagedestinations. ThePilgrimsMass at noon is a moving experience even for those of other faiths. We will also have a half day tour of the city’s many pilgrim- age monuments with a local guide.

May 25: Santiago/Cambados

Today we’ll see the Atlantic coast of Spain’s Galicia province. Our first stop will be Cambados, the center of the Al- bariño wine region, where some of Spain’s finest white wines are produced. We’ll have a guided vineyard tour and tasting and a midday meal with local wines. We then travel to Cabo Finis- terre, literally the end of the earth. Its existence as the end of the Camino is thought to be pre-Christian, but it has become a modern tradition for pilgrims to burn their clothes or boots at the end of the journey.

May 26: Santiago/Salamanca

This morning, we travel to Salamanca, home to the oldest university in Spain, called the golden city because of the sandstone used in many of its buildings. It attracts thousands of international students. After a midday meal at a local restaurant, we’ll have a walking tour of the university with a local guide. The evening will be free to experience the lively atmosphere of this lovely city.

May 27: Salamanca/El Escorial/ Madrid

Today we travel to El Escorial, the his- toric residence and burial site for kings of Spain. We’ll have a tour with a local guide, then our final meal together be- fore travelling to Madrid. Our hotel will be near the airport.

May 28: Madrid/Barajas

Transfer to Barajas Airport.

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

• 12 Nights Accommodations

Hotels (or similar):
Barcelona: NH Barcelona Centro
Bilbao: Meliá Bilbao
Leon: NH Plaza Mayor
Santiago: Hotel Compostela Salamanca: NH Puerta de la Catedral
Madrid: Meliá Barajas

• 21 Meals

12 Buffet Breakfasts
8 Spanish-style Midday Meals including wine, bottled water, and coffee
An evening tapas dinner/tour in Barcelona

• Airport transfers for international flights arriving in Barcelona and departing from Madrid

• Sightseeing tours with local guides in Barcelona, Bilbao, Santiago, Salamanca, and El Escorial

• Visits and tastings at wineries in Penedès (Cordoniu), Rioja, and Albariño

• Entrance to Montserrat, Basili- ca of Zaragoza, Cathedral of Burgos, Ponferrada Castle, and Santiago Cathedral

• Luggage handling for one standard suitcase

 

Price: $3829 dbl occupancy

Single supplement: $999

 

Terms and Conditions

Land Cost: $3829 per person double occupancy

Single Supplement: $999

Deposit: $300 per person

 

Price Includes:

• 12 nights accommodation with buffet breakfast daily

• Transfers for international flights arriv- ing in Barcelona and departing from Madrid

• Motorcoach transportation and ser- vices of a Tour Director, as described in the itinerary

• Sightseeing and entry fees as described in the itinerary

• Winery visits, tastings, and multi- course meals, as described

• Five additional multi-course midday meals

• Tapas tour with drinks in Barcelona Baggage handling for one standard suit- case

 

Price Does Not Inlcude:

• International flights (we can provide assistance with booking)

• Passport fees

• Excess baggage

• Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, etc.

• Meals or beverages not specifically included in the itinerary

• Optional performances at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona or Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao (schedules and prices are not yet available)

• Trip Insurance (will be offered sepa- rately)

• Tips—In Spanish culture, tips are nei- ther required nor expected, but are considered a gift from the recipient of a service to the individual providing it. Credit card receipts in restaurants do not include a line for a tip. It is typical to leave small change and far less than in the US. Appropriate amounts for our tour would be:

– Tour Director 35-45 euros pp

– Bus Driver 20-30 euros pp

– Local Guides A euro or 2 pp

 

Final Payment:

Will be due January 15, 2015
Credit card payments will be accepted, but there will be an additional fee of 3.5%

Cancellation Penalties:

Prior to Jan 15, 2015 $50
1/16/15-2/15/15 25%
2/16/15-3/15/15 50%
3/16/15-4/15/15 75%
After April 15, 2015 100%

Penalties may be waived if there is a wait list.

 

Trip Application is available for download HERE. 

For additional information, please contact:

Linda Sokalski

l.sokalski@att.net

828 989-8618