Group Trip to Spain, October 2023

The anticipation of an upcoming trip always fills me with delight and excitement. This trip in October, however, is unusual. For the first time since I was in my twenties and thirties, I am taking a group of friends and family on a 14 day trip to Spain. Many of you don’t know that I am a proficient Spanish speaker, lived in Spain, did two years of university there, and visit every couple of years as I still have friends in Madrid. It is always a delight to spend time with them, eat at new and different restaurants, attend the theater or concerts, go to flea markets and craft fairs, exhibits and more, all the while keeping my Spanish in good form.Why did I decide to do this now? Well, for many years, several people have said they would visit Spain “when I took them”. Finally, the time was right for the trip!

At the end of October, we begin our tour in Madrid where we will stay at the beautiful hotel Villa Real. Although I will be handling the touring portion of the trip and curating visits to local restaurants and activities, Luca from Rome will be our own private tour guide. Scott and I had the privilege of touring with Luca one day last year when we spent the day in Rome visiting places that had newly opened or that had changed since our previous visits. Luca is awesome; he is an art historian with fabulous English who is able to invite people who are not art people, to explore art in ways that connect it to ancient and modern historical events.

We will visit the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen and also have a chance to eat at some great restaurants. We will enjoy a ham and wine-tasting (there are many more types of ham in Spain than just ibérico, and we will try them all, paired with some delicious “blancos” (which is what Spaniards call white wine) And, of course, no visit to Madrid is complete without a stop for chocolate and churros. Not at the famous and touristy San Ginés, but at my favorite place, Valor Chocolate. The chocolate is rich and delicious and the churros hot and freshly fried. No cinnamon or powdered sugar here; these are Spanish churros, eaten plain and designed for dipping.

In my next installment, I’ll write about our plans for Sevilla and then Barcelona.

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