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Spain

Best of Portugal & Spain

Culture, Beauty & Joy of Living

Guaranteed Departures

June 20, 2017

July 18, 2017

Rates starting at $2760 CAD (Land/Tour only)

per person/double occupancy

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General Tours


Portugal and Spain

9-Days Lisbon to Barceolona

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Portugal and Spain

9-Days Madrid to Madrid

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CASTILE AND LEÓN: HISTORY, ART AND LANDSCAPE

8 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
For Religious Groups
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Castile and León welcomes us: one of the most extensive regions in Europe, a land rich in history and artistic legacy, contrasting landscapes of high mountains and vast plains, tilled by centuries old paths such as the Route of Santiago de Compostela and the Silver Route. We will discover three of its World Heritage sites, its people, its towns and its rich and varied gastronomy.

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WORLD HERITAGE SITES: FROM CASTILE TO EXTREMADURA

7 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
For Religious Groups
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When Alfonso VI conquered Toledo in 1085, the Christians were able to begin to organize what would be at the end of the Middle Ages the heart of a vast empire. The entire area between the Duero and Tajo Rivers would be filled with cities inhabited by proud nobles, an authoritative church and bellicose kings ever more powerful. We will see their origins, their splendor and their projection towards America. These and their excellent state of preservation allow us to find five historical districts along this route that have earned the designation of World Heritage sites.

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DISCOVER THE ORIGINS OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE

8 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
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The most relevant backdrops of the history, art and literature of Castile will guide our path down the Route of the Castilian Language: from the origins of our language in the monasteries, to its consolidation in the universities as well as its ultimate expression in Cervantes, the Golden Age and several modern authors.

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General Faith Programs


SEFARAD, A JOURNEY INTO JEWISH SPAIN

8 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
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According to legend, the arrival of the Jews -Sephardi- on the Iberian Peninsula took place during the times of Solomon; historical evidence suggests the Roman Age. The Jews, along with various other Mediterranean cultures, contributed to the formation of Hispanic culture and experienced their golden age during the Middle Ages, when they created their own neighborhoods and institutions -aljamas- in all of the major cities. The cultural symbiosis they enjoyed with the other existing religions was interrupted at the end of the 15th century.

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THE SILVER ROUTE

8 Days - Sevilla to Gijón

Group Tour
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The Silver Route is an old commercial path that joins the northwest of Spain with the Mediterranean by way of Andalusia, thus avoiding the winding Atlantic coast. The Carthaginian general Hannibal trod this route as did the Romans who left their mark in the form of bridges and other wonders of engineering. Here is where their culture had the most impact, influencing their urban design, their language, their laws and the Christian religion. The Arabs would arrive later, but throughout the Middle Ages the northern Christian kingdoms would make their way back down imposing definitively their power. During the Reconquest there emerged great Spanish noble families whose countless palaces span the cities and towns along this road.

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MYSTICISM IN CASTILE AND LEÓN

8 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
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The forging of Castile and León could not be understood without the contribution of its monasteries and convents. Even today these sites continue to offer an insightful glimpse into the evolution of monastic life, from the first Visigoth hermits to its culmination in Baroque mysticism. The entire range of religious orders still keep alive works of art that speak to us about their role in colonization and politics, their monarchical and university ties, their influence on the lives of the founders and reformers, and their involvement in rural and urban life.

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WINE AND GASTRONOMY


RIBERA DEL DUERO: WINE AND GASTRONOMY

7 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
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“Basques stew, Castilians bake and Andalusians fry”… but they all partake of wine, cheese and sausages. Due to its particular geographic location and climate, the region of Castile and León is renowned for its Iberian hams and sausages, while the Duero River serves as the source of such notable appellations as Ribera del Duero, Cigales, Rueda and Toro, extending into Portuguese territory where Port wine and Vinho Verde are produced.

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LA RIOJA: WINE AND GASTRONOMY

6 Days - Bilbao to Bilbao

Group Tour
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It was during their southbound march through La Rioja that the Christians first integrated Mediterranean agriculture: the olive grove, the vineyard and the irrigation system. For centuries this junction would be both a disputed territory between the people of Castile and Navarre, and the centre of cultural creation; for here is where the language of Spain was born, where the Route of Santiago de Compostela was consolidated, and where superior wines were nurtured.

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ART AND MUSIC



ANDALUSIA: ART, LANDSCAPE AND PEOPLE

8 Days - Málaga to Málaga

Group Tour
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Many are the peoples, religions and cultures that since prehistoric times have arrived from the Mediterranean to the south of Spain. Important reminders of the Carthaginians, the Romans, and the Hebrews still remain, but what will most draw our attention are the remnants of the Arab civilization, its great capitals, magnificent monuments and the respect they enjoyed during more than five centuries, as well as the influence they bore on the Christian culture. Only in this way can we explain the villages, the art, the society and the landscape of modern day Andalusia.

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ART AND MUSEUMS IN MADRID

7 Days - Madrid to Madrid

Group Tour
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When Phillip II named Madrid as the capital city of his kingdom, it was just one more city among many. Churches, convents and palaces were soon added, and slowly a more definitive urbanism resulted in creations that appear from the Plaza Mayor to the great Bourbon walkways. But the most singular attractiveness of Madrid is having been the center of Spanish culture since the Golden Age, which has resulted in the city boasting the best museums in all of Spain and among the best in Europe. But Madrid is also one of the most dynamic metropolises of the continent. One of the reasons the royalty decided to settle down here was its location, situated on a vast plain with no orographical borders.

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OPERA: MADRID AND BARCELONA

5 Days - Madrid to Barcelona

Group Tour
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Music is probably the greatest product of the longstanding rivalry that has existed between these two great Spanish metropolitan cities. Each city has its own particular history. The younger capital city may regret its lack of a medieval past, but has largely compensated for this with its Bourbon style palaces, its legacy of museums and its grandiose Baroque and Neoclassical urbanism. The Catalan city, in turn, maintains the essence of medieval, commercial and proud Mediterranean cities. To this it has added, since the 19th century, the opulence of the Catalan industrial bourgeoisie and its daring urban plans. Even today it is interesting to observe how each city attempts to respond the challenges of the future in its own way.

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ARCHITECTURE


MODERNISM IN CATALONIA

7 Days - Barcelona to Barcelona

Group Tour
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With the industrialization of Catalonia in the 19th century, Barcelona was quick to assess its urban needs. City walls were torn down and the city itself widened, resulting in an urban landscape still in evidence today. By means of exhibits and direct communication with Europe, the most recent artistic tendencies were applied. Around 1900 three great Catalan creators, Gaudí, Domenech, and Puig, expanded “modernism” far beyond a mere import of an artistic style or translation of an artistic term. Their style extended to other city centers of Catalonia.

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AVANTGARDE ARCHITECTURE IN VALENCIA

5 Days - Valencia to Valencia

Group Tour
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Valencia was one of the great Mediterranean capitals during the Middle Ages, producing such notable historical figures as the Cid and the Borgia family. A communications hub that stirred many secular controversies between Moors and Christians, Valencia is still today one of the most fertile agricultural lands in all of Europe. Since its foundation and throughout its development, the city has always remained a continual challenge for the Valencians as it is threatened by sea, by swampland and rising rivers. That is why the conquest of land is still being waged today, giving rise to an important avantgarde architecture.

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SCENIC PROGRAMS


GREEN SPAIN

9 Days - Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela

Group Tour
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A narrow passage between the mountain and the Cantabrian Sea offers spectacular landscapes and many maritime ports, but also a very different Spain from the rest of the country. A humid climate and an orographical boundary have kept its occupants, already feared in Latin literature, safe from the larger Mediterranean cultures, allowing them to maintain not only their pre-Roman names but the particular characteristics of each town. The Basques preserve their millenarian language, different from all others, the Galicians cater to their Celtic heritage, Asturians and Cantabrians their pastoral culture and traditional architecture. In ancient times, only Christianity was allowed to permeate their culture, making them, for better or worse, the cradle and protagonists of the Reconquest, from the Covadonga Sanctuary, passing through the gravesite of the Apostle James, to the birth home of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

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THE RIVER DUERO: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

8 Days - Madrid to Porto

Group Tour
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The Duero, or the Douro River, depending on which country we happen to be in, represents both a border and union of these two Iberian countries. On the shores of the river we find historical sites such as Zamora in Spain and Lamego in Portugal, where this country’s independence was recognized in the 12th century. Crossing the border into Portugal, we soon recognize that this land no longer resembles Castile. From Miranda do Douro to Porto, the river provides spectacular landscapes: the bare granite walls from the Arribes give way to the terrace vineyards further inland, and finally the old neighborhoods of Porto built on slopes and held together by daring steel bridges.

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