Day 1 :
Departure from Home
- Depart from home airport:
Relax and enjoy your scheduled flight from North America.
Day 2 :
Arrive in Spain/Matute’s Barcelona
- Upon arrival:
Your 24-hour Tour Director will meet you at the airport in and remain with your group until your final airport departure. For the next two evenings, you will enjoy the convenience of a centrally located Barcelona hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
- About Barcelona:
Barcelona is the heart and soul of Cataluña and, with one of Spain's largest ports, has grown through trade and tourism. This beautiful city charms visitors at every turn with its vibrant spirit, which is characterized by the work of Antoni Gaudí. His unique worldview is responsible for some of Europe’s most distinctive architecture.
- Ana Maria Matute:
Follow a walking tour of Ana Maria Matute's Barcelona. This walk will take you past landmarks and sights that influenced Matute's writings.
- Barcelona Cathedral:
Visit Barcelona Cathedral, a celebrated example of Catalonian Gothic architecture. The three cleaned and illuminated naves feature splendid detail, and the large bell towers perfectly blend the Medieval and Renaissance styles. One of the most impressive cathedrals in Spain, the structure is highlighted by the beautiful cloister, high altar, side chapels, sculptured choir, and Gothic arches.
- Las Ramblas:
Stroll along Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most colorful and interesting street. This pedestrian mall extends almost a full mile and is lined with shops, cafés, and markets.
- Group dinner:
Enjoy your meal together in a local restaurant.
- Daily Reflection and Group Discussion:
"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
Every evening of the program, we’ll set time aside to update your Reflection Journal and share thoughts and impressions that have come up during the day.
Day 3 :
- Local expertise:
During your tour, you’ll gain the knowledge and insights of five half-day local guides in Spain.
- Quadrat d’Or:
Take a Quadrat d’Or (Golden Triangle) Walking Tour. This area has been named the world’s greatest living museum of turn-of-the-century architecture. Your tour will highlight many of the key buildings, including Casa Batlló, designed by Gaudí in 1905, and La Manzana de la Discordia, the ultimate Modernista building. Many of the buildings still serve their original purpose as luxury apartments for the city’s 19th-century nouveau riche, while others are now office buildings and even shops.
- La Sagrada Familia:
Experience the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi's incomplete masterpiece and one of the more distinctive creations in Spain.
- Parc Güell:
Spend time in Parc Güell, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, 'Works of Antoni Gaudi.'
Designed primarily by Gaudí, particularly interesting areas of the park include a mosaic pagoda, a lizard fountain spitting water, an undulating bench decorated with ceramic fragments, and an array of unique Doric columns, which are hollow and serve as part of Gaudi's drainage system.
- Explore Poble Espanyol:
This re-created Spanish village was built for the 1929 World Fair and features various regional architectural styles from the Levante to Galicia. A total of 115 life-size reproductions of buildings and monuments are combined with numerous outdoor cafés and shops, which sell crafts and souvenir items from all of the Spanish provinces.
- Group dinner:
Enjoy a group meal in a local restaurant.
- Overnight train to Granada: :
Board a private coach to the train station, where you’ll take an overnight train from Barcelona to Granada.
Day 4 :
From the Moors to Lorca
- Upon arrival in Granada:
Your group will have a private coach and driver while touring for the next three days. Your base for the night will be in Granada, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
- Granada in brief:
Granada was one of the last major strongholds of the Moors, whose influence is reflected in the design and architecture of the city. This beautiful destination sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as at the confluence of three rivers, and this important geography drew Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Moors here over its long and complex history.
Explore the Alhambra, Spain's finest display of Moorish architecture. Set high upon a hill overlooking Granada, the Moors built this city within a fortress to be a symbol of power and strength on the outside and a “paradise on earth” on the inside. Your visit will also include the Generalife, the Nasrid Kings’ country estate high above the city, where they went to relax.
- Vega de Granada tour:
Take the Vega de Granada tour, which includes Fuente Vaqueros—where Federico García Lorca was born, Valderubio, Fuente la Teja, Daimuz, Jujaira, Pinos Puente, and Moclin. This tour focuses on Lorca’s early life and aspirations.
Day 5 :
The Life and Death of Lorca
- Walking tour:
Continuing your look at Federico Garcia Lorca, you’ll enjoy a walking tour through the center of Granada, where Lorca spent his youth and adolescence. En route, you’ll see which aspects of the Granada of Lorca's youth remain.
- Huerta de San Vicente:
Visit Huerta de San Vicente, the home Lorca's father purchased in 1909, which Lorca inherited later in life, that today houses the Casa Museo Federico Lorca.
- Lorca’s Last Return to Granada:
The last part of the Lorca tour follows the poet's footsteps during the last dramatic days of his life and concludes at the Barranco de Viznar, where Lorca was one of many executed in the madness of the Spanish Civil War.
- Continue on your journey:
Your group will then travel from Granada to Castilla-La Mancha. Your base for the night will be the Castilla-La Mancha area, where dinner and breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
Day 6 :
Castilla-La Mancha—Valle de los Caidos—Madrid/The Spanish Civil War
- Continue on your journey:
Next, you’ll travel from Castilla-La Mancha to Madrid. En route, you’ll visit the Valley of the Fallen.
- Valle de los Caidos:
Visit the Valle de los Caidos, or the Valley of the Fallen, the area built by General Franco as a memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War. Your group will take a funicular to the top of the hill, where you’ll view the vast Cross, standing over 490 feet high and dominating the region’s skyline. You’ll also visit the Basilica and Tomb of General Franco.
Spain's capital city lies at the heart of the country. Despite its modern and cosmopolitan culture, the city has preserved its traditional architecture and charm. Madrid is a city of great monuments and beautiful artwork complementing a rich culture and an exciting nightlife. In Madrid, the cost of public transport is included for all group sightseeing.
- Reina Sofia museum:
Explore the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. This museum emphasizes the great artists of 20th-century Spain: Juan Gris, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso. A highlight of your visit will be Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, which immortalizes the tragic blanket bombing of the Basque town by the German Luftwaffe, who was fighting for Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
- Plaza Mayor:
Spend time in the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s most famous square. Over its long history, the square has hosted markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and the Spanish Inquisition. It is now ringed by shops and cafés and often filled with artists and musicians.
- Puerta del Sol:
Explore the Puerta del Sol, one of Madrid's busiest and most historic squares. While here you’ll view the Kilometre Zero marker, from which all distances in Spain are measured, and Madrid’s symbol, the Madrono.
- Group dinner:
Enjoy a meal together in a local restaurant.
Your centrally located Madrid hotel will be home for the next three nights. Your group will have breakfast at the hotel daily.
Day 7 :
Madrid/Royalty and Genius
- Plaza de España:
Walk through the Plaza de España. In the center of the square, you’ll see the monument to Cervantes, which depicts characters from his most famous work, Don Quixote. You’ll also see a monument to Christopher Columbus, Plaza de Colón.
- Palacio Real:
Visit the Palacio Real, a huge palace begun in 1738 on the site of the Madrid Alcázar, which burned to the ground in 1734. Your tour will travel through some of the palace’s 2,000 rooms that the “enlightened despot” Charles III called home. Although the palace is no longer a royal residence, it’s still full of artistic treasures and antiques, including the Tiepolo ceilings and paintings by Francisco Goya. Highlights of your visit will include the Reception Room and State Apartments; the Throne Room; the Banquet Room, where receptions for heads of state are still held; and the Royal Chapel.
- Puerta de Alcalá:
Walk by the Puerta de Alcalá, the ceremonial gateway to Madrid commissioned by Carlos III. The Neoclassical structure is located in the Plaza de Independencia and is named for the old path leading from Madrid to nearby Alcalá de Henares.
- Plaza de Cibeles:
Pass by the Plaza de Cibeles, featuring a magnificent 18th-century fountain with a statue of the Roman goddess Cybele riding in a chariot pulled by two lions.
- The Prado:
Explore the Prado, one of the world's finest art museums, featuring European art from the 12th through the 19th centuries, based on the Spanish Royal Collection. Your specialist guided tour will focus on the Spanish masters, such as Velazquez, Goya, and El Greco, but you’ll also see works by Raphael, van der Weyden, Bosch, Rubens, Titian, and Caravaggio.
- Parque del Retiro:
Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere in the Parque del Retiro, once the grounds of Felipe IV’s royal palace complex. Your visit will offer the opportunity to interact with locals, visit the vendors here, or listen to the musicians that always seem to be present. Another is option is to rent rowboats and paddle around the park’s shallow lake.
- Group dinner:
This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.
Day 8 :
Salamanca/In the Footsteps of Unamuno
- Rise and shine:
This morning, you’ll have an early start as your group journeys north of Madrid to visit Salamanca. Today, your exploration will be focused on one of Salamanca's greatest citizens, the author and professor, Miguel de Unamuno.
The university city of Salamanca is one of the friendliest cities in Spain. It’s known as the heart of the Castilian language, the purest form of Spanish, and visitors can enjoy practicing their skills while exploring the city’s unique architecture.
- Walking tour:
Take a walking tour through the city center, beginning at the Convento de Santa Ursula. Your walk will travel past the Monument to Unamuno and the Casa de las Conchas, before continuing into the Plaza Mayor, one of Spain's largest and grandest squares.
- Universidad de Salamanca:
Visit Salamanca University, founded in 1218 by Alfonso IX. Enter the Patio de las Escuelas Menores to admire the Plateresque architectural style of the buildings, before continuing to the Escuelas Menores Building to view the huge zodiac fresco, The Salamanca Sky. Your tour will also include the Library, the Old Library, and the old University Hospital.
- Catedral Vieja and the Catedral Nueva:
Explore the Catedral Vieja and the Catedral Nueva. Unusually, the two cathedrals are built side-by-side and offer contrasting styles, ranging from Baroque to Romanesque to Renaissance. In the Old Cathedral, a 53-panel altarpiece painted by Nicolas Florentino frames the statue of Salamanca’s patron saint of the 12th century, Virgen de la Vega. After departing the cathedrals, your walk will continue through Salamanca's old quarter to the 1st-century Puente Romano, the Convento de las Duenas, the Iglesia-Convento de San Esteban, and the magnificent Torre del Clavero.
Return to Madrid for your group’s final evening, where you’ll enjoy a paella dinner.
- Final Reflection and Discussion Session:
This evening, you’ll make the final entries in your Reflection Journal and share some of the most significant observations and perspectives that have taken shape throughout your Spanish literary tour. We’ll also discuss how these experiences may be most relevant for us all as we return home.
Day 9 :
Departure from Madrid
- Adiós! :
Your rewarding and enjoyable 20th-Century Spanish Literature tour comes to an end as your Tour Director accompanies your group to the airport on your final day.