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SEP 13-26, 2017



An ancient sun illumined the Iberian Peninsula, as many as 40,000 years ago or more, as Cro-Magnon man gradually migrated across the peninsula, colors and charcoal ready to fulfill a mission that we know today as Altamira. Crossroads of the human comedy, Spain has welcomed Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans among a long list of visitors. The catalog is long, compelling, and ringing a beckoning bell to many of outstanding names recognizable to humanity, Goya, El Greco, Picasso and Antonio Gaudi whose art and architecture of Barcelona continue to dazzle the imagination— Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia is a temple of humankind. Ceramic Artist, Patrick Crabb has created his own epical itinerary to introduce you to and to reinforce a new understanding of the art of Spain. ​ WEDNESDAY SEP 13: LOS ANGELES – MADRID Overnight flight to Spain. Dinner and movie on board. Iberia #6170 departs Los Angeles at 6:20 pm. THURSDAY SEP 14: ARRIVE MADRID 2:20pm Afternoon arrival in Madrid and transfer to the hotel, the Agumar Hotel which is very convenient for major museums, the Retiro Park, transportation and the main square. Arrival times are never exact. You will have time to rest at the hotel, or do a little exploring nearby. After checking in to our four star hotel, we will set a time for your welcome dinner in the hotel. Agumar Hotel D FRIDAY SEP 15: MADRID After your Buffet Breakfast you will have a VIP Private Early Entry Tour (9:45 am) with an art expert to visit both the Prado and the Reina Sophia Museum. We will become experts on the work of Diego Velazquez. His painting, Las Mininas, is recognized as the most widely analyzed works in the history of Western painting. We will learn about Goya, who attacked both art and life with a ferocious talent, and other significant artists, such as Hieronymus Bosch (Earthly Delights). There is time for a snack at the Prado Café before continuing to the Reina Sophia and Picasso’s world - shaking mural, The Guernica, protesting the terror of the Nazi bombing of the town, Guernica. Picasso disallowed its showing in Spain for many years when it was in the U.S.A. Other artists’ works here include those by Joan Miro and Salvador Dali. If you are still seeking the most significant things in Spain, you can be dropped at the Museum of the Americas to see one of the three existing hieroglyphic Maya books, the 112 page colorful Madrid Codex acquired by Cortez, and exquisite gold pieces taken by the conquistadors. Or you are free to explore Madrid or return to your hotel. Agumar Hotel B SATURDAY SEP 16: MADRID-BILBAO Buffet Breakfast. Today you will riding via comfortable motorcoach through villages, small towns and the city of Burgos, to Bilbao, the capital of the Basque country that straddles the border between France and Spain, with its own traditions, cuisine and language that predates the Romance languages. Michelin calls the Basque country a “foodie’s paradise “We will observe the culture, its challenges and changes throughout history on a tour of the areas of this dynamic city. After checking in we will visit the source of the dynamism that changed the city into a world art center, the jaw dropping, postmodern Guggenheim Museum. It was created by Frank Gehry, considered a genius by many. The cubist exterior consists of many forms and materials, making it spectacular at night. On the plaza Jeff Koon’s whimsical giant sculptures delight. Inside, appropriately, are galleries of Pop Art (Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg). Stop in a bar for Basque pintxos and wine. Melia Bilbao Hotel B SUNDAY SEP 17: BILBAO-SANTANDER-BILBAO A short drive along a coastal route with cliffs and beaches takes us to Santander. Today we turn back the clock, 36,000 years to the time that Cro-Magnon Man looked up at the curves and projections of the surface of the cave walls and ceilings, and,, imagining animal shapes, he had to free them. At that moment, Art and Humanity were born. We will visit the new Altamira Museum, an exact copy of the famous cave and museum to experience the first great art movement. The original cave is closed to preserve it, but the amazing copy and the museum are so well done that we appreciate the opportunity. We will see the early artist’s brushes, tools and learn about the wonder of his techniques. Many archaeologists call him a shaman. There may be time to stop at the medieval village of Santilla del Mar. Dinner at your hotel. Melia Bilbao Hotel B D MONDAY SEP 18: BILBAO-BARCELONA Buffet Breakfast and departure for Barcelona Av long but comfortable bus ride today, with interesting stops, will get us to Barcelona. A first stop will be Belchite, a Civil War Ghost Town bombed by the Nazis in 1937 as an experiment with Franco’s approval. Many famous artists and authors (ie. Hemmingway) were involved as volunteer combatants, or journalists. The second stop will be for a meal and a break in Zaragoza. Early evening arrival to the seaside city, Barcelona, an exciting cosmopolitan capital, and place of the world famous site of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and so many famous works of Antoni Gaudi. Here you may walk on various tile streets designed by Gaudi or Miro. Tryp Barcelona Hotel B TUESDAY SEP 19: BARCELONA Buffet Breakfast. Prepare for a full day city tour of Barcelona. The main highlight of the works of Antoni Gaudi is the exciting Sagrada Familia temple, which was started in 1882. Gaudi took over the design and construction in 1883. It is a most unique, other worldly, personal expression of what was to be a Gothic church, but includes so many styles. It is about half finished. His Park Guell shows his love of the forms of Nature and his love of color. After lunch we can buck the lines at the unique Picasso Museum to learn about his Blue period and other high points in his career. An optional visit with a ceramic artist is being arranged for the evening. Check out one of the places that offer free tapas with a drink. Overnight in Barcelona. B WEDNESDAY SEP 20 BARCELONA Buffet Breakfast Our Gaudi tour continues at the Casa Mila with its art nouveau sinuous lines. We will see more of the works of Gaudi. After your tapas lunch, you will be ready for a change of pace at the delightful Miro Foundation to see his marvelous ceramic sculptures and paintings. In the evening, we will enjoy a Sunset Cruise with jazz musicians and drinks. Our last night in Barcelona we will have dinner at our hotel. B D THURSDAY SEP 21: BARCELONA-VALENCIA Buffet Breakfast and departure for Valencia, known as the city of Art and Science, or the home of the traditional paella, or the home of the Holy Grail. A pleasant drive passing beaches and fishing villages takes us to Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast. After dropping our luggage we will depart for a tour of the Gonzales Marti National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts, devoted to traditional ceramics and displayed in reconstructions of kitchens of past times. We suggest a group photo by the fantastic entrance to the museum. Afterwards, we will visit the factories and shops of the Association of Ceramics. NH Valencia Center Hotel B FRIDAY SEP 22: VALENCIA A walk down a Roman road and the examination of the stone remains of houses, baths and other structures, the result of a very neat archaeological excavation, will be your experience at the Byzantine style La Almoina Archaeological Museum included in your tour of a wide variety of historical architectural styles and the markets of Valencia. English labels and videos will explain the structures and their use. The museum also has some Visigoth artifacts. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own. You can go to a traditional paella restaurant, take a carriage ride, or like Indiana Jones, go in search of the Holy Grail. It is in a chapel of the cathedral. Overnight Valencia. B D SATURDAY Sept 23 VALENCIA-GRANADA Buffet Breakfast and departure for a drive to Granada with interesting stops along the way. Granada has been variously described as “elegant but edgy”, “monumental but marked with stirring graffiti “. One of the ex-pats describes it as enigmatic. Close to our arrival city, Granada, is a tile factory in Fajalauzza that should prove interesting. The ceramics of Fajalauzza in the town of Viznar are legendary. Evening tour of the gypsy Albaicin neighborhood to watch the wild side of authentic Gypsy flamenco dancing and singing at La Zamba cave with a drink. Overnight in Granada at the Moorish style Melia Granada B SUNDAY SEP 24: GRANADA Buffet Breakfast and departure for perhaps your favorite highlight of the trip, the sprawling Moorish hilltop Alcazaba (fortress) and Palace, the stunning Alhambra, 14th century home of the Nasrid kings with its sparkling mosaics, magical pool and wandering Gardens. It is, as intended, Paradise. Three different sectors make up the Alhambra: the Alhambra itself, the palaces and landscaped gardens of the Partal and the Secano Gardens and Towers. Have comfortable shoes and perhaps an umbrella for the sun. Do not rush away after your tour. You will want to spend time here, planting images in your memory. The afternoon is free, but you might want to visit the El Banuelo Arab Bath, one of the 11th century baths left intact. B MONDAY SEP 25 Free day for exploring or shopping and last night Farewell Dinner, celebrating your trip together and trading addresses and pictures. B D TUESDAY SEP 26 Breakfast. Transfer to the airport to board tour flight back home, departing Iberia #547 at 1:25 pm, flying via Madrid and JFK, and arriving 12 minutes after midnight on the 27th. B Cost per person double $4,495.00. Single supplement, $999.00 Call for other departure cities.
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