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Shaynanigans in Spain

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Shaynanigans in Spain

Come to Spain with me for 10 days departing from Chicago O’Hare and arriving in Madrid .

 

November 1 – 12, 2018

Granada – Ronda - Marbella – Seville – Cordoba – Madrid – Toledo

 

*Optional Tour to Tangier, Morocco 

Thursday, November 1 – CHICAGO / EN ROUTE (I)

We depart Chicago this afternoon by scheduled service of Iberia Airlines as we begin the overnight transatlantic journey to Madrid, Spain.

Friday, November 2 – MADRID / MALAGA / GRANADA (I,D)

As the sun begins to rise on the Iberian Peninsula we will arrive in city of Madrid, where we’ll change planes for the short flight to Malaga, where on arrival, we’ll meet our Tour Escort who will accompany us on vacation.  We’ll follow the Mediterranean coastline as we make our way to Granada, beautifully situated at the foot of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains in the heart of Southern Andalusia.

Saturday, November 3 – GRANADA (B)

Granada is a brilliant jewel of Moorish architecture, as we’ll see on our tour of the fabled Alhambra, a compound of palaces, a fortress and lush gardens built in the 14th century where magical use of space, light, water, and decoration characterizes the delicate craftsmanship that dazzles the eye.  We’ll also visit the nearby Generalife, the country estate of the Nasrid kings, complete with fountains, tropical gardens, and picturesque vistas high above the city.  We’ll then travel across the city to visit the Albaicin, the former Moorish town with gypsy dwellings.  Our tour will come to an end as we return to the old city center where we’ll see the Cathedral and visit the nearby Royal Chapel built to enshrine Ferdinand and Isabella.  Afterward, time at leisure will allow us to explore the labyrinth of streets in the Albaicin or to wander the Granada’s two main squares, the Plaza Bib-Rambla and the Plaza Nueva.

Sunday, November 4 – GRANADA / MARBELLA (Ronda) (B,D)

We depart Granada today, surrounded by the beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and travel through the market town of Antequera, as we make our way to Ronda, perhaps the most spectacularly located city in the Andalusian Mountains.  Sightseeing will introduce us to the Old Town where we’ll visit the church of Santa Maria la Mayor, one of the most important sacred monuments of Ronda, and Casa Don Bosco, a modernist palace built at the beginning of the 20th century belonging to the Granada family.  Then we’ll cross the Puente Nuevo over the Tajo Gorge to arrive in the New Town that is home to the pedestrian precinct where we’ll visit the Plaza de Toros, the second oldest bullring in Spain.  Due to its history, architecture, character and beauty, it is recognized as one the most monumental existing bullrings.  Afterward, you’ll love strolling along the quaint narrow streets and have ample time to browse in the stores.  Leaving Ronda, we’ll travel to the fashionable Costa del Sol to arrive in the spectacular coastal resort of Marbella. 

Monday, November 5 –  MARBELLA (B)

Thanks to an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and its varied coastline, the Costa del Sol offers a diverse landscape, climate, cultural riches and monumental wonders, and today is at leisure to enjoy the sandy beaches and browse the boutiques while stopping to sample the cafes and restaurants.  Although a modern town, Marbella is full of history.  Its origins date back to 1600 BC so it is fair to say there is a little part of history to be found in every corner of the Old Town.  Or if you prefer, an optional tour is available, taking you across the Straights of Gibraltar to the exotic land of Morocco. 

Tangier, Morocco - Optional Tour: (B,L) 

Today we travel to Morocco and experience a different world!  Morocco lies just over the Mediterranean, but this exotic North African gem feels like a different world altogether.  We will travel by high-speed ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier for a day of sightseeing with an included lunch.

Tuesday, November 6 –  MARBELLA (Mijas) (B,D)

The morning is at leisure to enjoy a relaxing walk along Marbella’s resort promenades before we set off to discover the town of Mijas, a “white village” set high in the Sierras.  Mijas is typical of rural Andalusia with narrow streets, small squares, and impeccably whitewashed houses with flower-filled gardens.  However, Mijas also offers one of the most magnificent views over the Mediterranean coast from its natural balcony.  Enjoy wandering along the village streets while exploring the quaint shops, try a ride on one of the town’s unmetered “donkey taxis,” or stop to learn about the local culture by visiting the bullring and bullfighting museum.  On our return to Marbella, sit back and enjoy the sandy beaches and browse through the trendy boutiques before dinner this evening.

Wednesday, November 7 –  MARBELLA / SEVILLE (Cadiz) (B,D)

Today we depart Marbella and journey to Cadiz where we’ll enjoy a guided tour.  As we’ll soon find out, one of the joys of visiting Cadiz is to wander along the waterfront with its well-tended gardens and open spaces before exploring the Old Town, which is full of narrow alleys bursting with market and street life.  Next we’ll travel to Jerez de la Frontera; situated between hillside and coast, Jerez’s extraordinary geographical location means that the city enjoys the very best of fresh local produce, ideal for making its world-famous Sherry, Brandy and Vinegar.  Alexander Fleming said, “If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.”  We’ll find out as we enjoy a tour and Sherry tasting!  Afterward, we’ll drive to Seville, the capital city of Andalusia that stands on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir. 

Thursday, November 8 – SEVILLE (B)

This morning we’ll enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of the wonders of Seville.  Among the treasures that we’ll see are the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a warren of white alleyways and patios that have long been the most picturesque corner of the city.  Here we’ll visit one of the largest and richest gothic Cathedrals in Christendom, unmatched in its abundance of artistic treasures, not to mention its great   Giralda Tower, Seville’s most prominent landmark.  We’ll also visit the 14th century Alcazar with its Moorish Palace and lovely gardens and see the Archives of the Indies, the building that houses all of the famous drawings of the New World including letters by Columbus and Queen Isabella.  Then we’ll travel to El Arenal where we’ll see the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, Seville’s 18th century bullring, and the riverfront dominated by the Moorish Torre del Oro.  The afternoon is free, and this is an ideal location for a leisurely afternoon spent along the tree-lined promenade beside the Paseo de Cristobal Colon. 

Friday, November 9 – SEVILLE / MADRID (Cordoba) (B,D)

This morning we’ll visit an Andalusian horse farm to observe a normal day of training and learn about the breeding and taming of these amazing horses.  Then we’ll depart Seville and travel to the charming city of Cordoba, the halfway point of the Guadalquivir, where the wheat lands and olive groves of the southern Campina plains meet the ranches and farmland of the Sierra de Cordoba plateau to the north.  The heart of Cordoba is the old Jewish quarter and a morning walk through this area provides the sensation that little has changed since the 10th century when Cordoba was one of the greatest cities in the Western World.  Afterwards we will visit the Mezquita that dates back 12 centuries, and where the walls of the Great Mosque hide more than 850 arches and pillars of granite, jasper, and marble that support the roof, creating a dazzling visual effect.  We’ll also see the Mihrab, a richly ornamented prayer niche that once held a gilt copy of the Koran, the Cathedral featuring an Italianate dome and the Torre del Alminar bell tower that offers a fine view of the city.  Next we’re headed to Madrid, the capital of Spain since 1561, where we’ll find that a cosmopolitan air reigns in this fun-loving city. 

Saturday, November 10 – MADRID (B)

This morning we’ll enjoy an introduction to the city that will take us through Old Madrid featuring the courtesan district of the Hapsburgs, characterized by Phillip II and his Renaissance and Baroque style buildings including the Puerta del Sol, the wonderful Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa.  Next, we’ll take in Bourbon Madrid and the complex town planning schemes of Charles III, as we travel past the Royal Palace where the Spanish Kings have resided since the middle of the 18th century.  Afterward, we’ll see Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains, the Puerta de Alcalá as well as the elegant Plaza de Oriente, and discover contemporary Madrid as we travel along the Gran Vía, one of the most fashionable avenues in the world.  The afternoon is free to begin exploring Madrid on your own.  Enjoy shopping around the Puerta Del Sol, an area where craftsmen can still be found, or in the fashionable shops along the Gran Via.  Life in Madrid is extremely pleasant, relaxed and unhurried, so you may prefer to simply enjoy an afternoon at one of the outdoor cafes on the Plaza Mayor.

Sunday, November 11 – MADRID (Toledo) (B,D)

Today a short drive takes us 45 miles south of Madrid to the Imperial City of Toledo, one of the oldest cities in Europe.  Built on a hill and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, the whole city is a National Monument reflecting various styles of architecture ranging from the Moorish and Gothic to the Renaissance, dating from the 15th and early 16th centuries.  Steeped in history and incorporating all the elements of Spanish civilization, Toledo is the religious center of Spain.  Here, we will see the splendid Alcazar and visit the lavish Cathedral.  We’ll also visit the St. Thomas Church that has on display the most famous of El Greco’s paintings, “The Count de Orgaz”, Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue and St. John of the Kings Monastery.  Standing against the often luminously blue Castillian sky, this golden city is as spectacular as it is rich in history.  On our return to Madrid, the afternoon is free for exploring and last-minute shopping.

Tonight, we’ll enjoy an evening of dinner and entertainment featuring a superb selection of Flamenco and regional dancing.  More than just a dance, Flamenco is a forceful artistic expression of the sorrows and joys of life.  Although Andalusia may be the home of Flamenco, beginning with the native Seguidilla in the 15th century and greatly enriched by the Bolero, Madrid is where the stars of Flamenco now make their home.

Monday, November 12 – MADRID / CHICAGO (B)

All too soon, our Shaynanigans in Spain come to an end as we return to Madrid’s Barajas Airport for the non-stop transatlantic journey home.  No better time to reflect on memories that will last a lifetime and new friendships made along the way!

To make your reservations go to https://grouptripsandtravel.com/shaynanigans-in-spain/ or call Mary at 1-800-624-8338

 

 

 

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