Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wine week continues - Priorat's old-school Harvestfest

As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, the harvest season has arrived in Spain. And Barcelona is a great place to be to really get in touch with some of the more than 10 DOs within driving distance of the Catalan capital. For those looking for a unique and personal Spanish tour, this weekend's festivities include a real treat for enophiles and history buffs alike: on September 3-4 in the small town of Poboleda in the Priorat wine region is the 12th annual "Festa del Vi i de la verema l'antiga", or Old-fashioned Wine and Harvest Festival.

The show begins on Friday night with a presentation of the wines and a tasting. But the real fun begins Saturday morning. For those early risers or those looking for a unique opportunity to get their hands dirty and get into the roots of the Spanish wine culture, the party begins at 7:00 with a trip to help hand-pick the grapes! This is followed by an open breakfast for everyone and then the wine fair begins. The wine will flow and the fire dances will run, and most of all, you will get an authentic cultural experience that will last you a lifetime.

For more information on this or on how to plan your private tour of Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The harvest is upon us! Let the Spanish wines (and festivals) flow

As we exit the heat of August and enter into the late summer, it can mean only one thing for the people in Spain's more than 60 wine-growing regions: harvest time. And the Spanish take their harvest seriously. There is work to be done...and festivals to be held! This weekend in the Barcelona region there great wine experiences in Penedes, Alella and Emporda feature among them:

Today I want to mention the Wine Harvest Festival in Figueres, popularly known as the birthplace of Salvador Dali, and home to his inspirational Theater-Museum. Figueres is also in the heart of the increasingly renowned Emporda region, and the DO is doing a great job at spreading the word. If you get the chance, take a trip up on Sunday to watch the opening in the main square. It promises to be a great festival with wonderful wines!

For more information about the wine festivals or for helping planning your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacation time: a time for planning at The Spanish Touch

Every year around this time I take a few days of vacation to reflect and plan ahead for the next season, and once again it's shaping up to be a world of fun. With private tours around Spain, wine festival experiences, treks through the pre-Pyrenees and our new cooking course in Barcelona, the upcoming fall season promises to be a great time to be in Spain.

We are opening our doors to a wider range of activities, but that doesn't mean we will be trimming anything from our service. As the world slowly recovers from the crisis, we at the Spanish Touch know how important value is for our clients. That's why we are committed to providing the highest value for your vacation: we know that you have a choice, and we want you to get the most for your money. And as a custom tour operation, we go that extra mile to make sure you get the best experience!

For more information or for help planning your next excursion into the fascinating opportunities that await, contact The Spanish Touch.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weddings in Spain

More and more people are coming to Spain for the weddings. Not just for honeymoons, but as a place to get married. Recently it has become popular, especially among Asian countries, to share their vows in smaller towns rather than the big cities. In the smaller towns, churches frequently date back to the 17th century and add a touch of authenticity and a classic Spanish feeling that so many come looking for.

For more information or to include a visit to one of the smaller towns contact The Spanish Touch.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Best of Spain - The Best for You

Whether your ideal private vacation in Spain involves days spent lounging on a beautiful beach, sipping an ice cold sangria, hiking through the Pyrenees and stopping to visit thousand-year old churches and friendly, small-town inns, or boutique hotels with internationally acclaimed restaurants and spas, The Spanish Touch can help you with every detail. We believe that our job is to help you have the absolute best vacation possible. No two groups are the same, and so no two vacations should be. Our goal is to bring you the best of Spain by tailoring your visit, offering private guided tours and top value for the money, and our greatest reward is a satisfied client.

So for your next vacation, why not treat yourself and let us take care of you with all the best of Spain!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Frigiliana - Festival of the Three Cultures

Andalusia is well known for its white villages. Dotting the hillsides and tucked between olive groves, these towns are wonderful to explore and ramble through the streets. And if you're really lucky, you can find one that's having its own fair, and then you can see the Andalusian culture in all its colors. Frigiliana is one of the best known white villages on Malaga's lesser-known East side. Just north of the beach town of Nerja, Frigiliana boasts the only remaining molasses factory in Spain, and a history that is equal to that of some of the best and most famous cities in Spain.

The fact that Frigiliana is known as "the town of 3 cultures" indicates a great deal about its past. In this small town of just a few thousand people, Jews, Christians and Moors all lived in relative harmony. And the Fifth Annual Festival of 3 Cultures is a great way to see first hand how this history played out. From August 26 to the 29, concerts, street performances, gastronomic events, and much more will all make your visit to this classic white village a memorable one.

For more information or to include a visit to Frigiliana on your next visit to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Festes de Gràcia - The heart of Barcelona beats loudly

For many people, the Gràcia district of Barcelona represents so much of what Barcelona is: small streets packed with local shops, plazas filled with history and people, a very small-town culture in the heart of the big city... Throw in a couple of Modernista monuments (Casa Fuster, Park Guell, Casa Calvet) and you have one of Barcelona's most unforgettable barrios. And when August rolls around, the neighborhood really turns on the charm. For the next week, the Gràcia district will be host to innumerable concerts, plays, workshops, craft fairs and an incomparable fair atmosphere: Welcome to the Festa Major de Gracia.

The celebration, moved from May to August for reasons historians are still unable to determine, dates back to the 19th century, when Gràcia was still an outlying village and not a part of the city of Barcelona. Whatever the reasons for its inception and subsequent date change, the Festa Major de Gràcia is one of the most important and spectacular festivals in the city of Barcelona.

For more information about this or other festivals, or for help planning your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peñafiel - Where wine and history meet

Long recognized as the heart of the Ribera del Duero region, the town of Peñafiel, is a thousand-year-old a meeting point for the history and gastronomy of Spain. Dating back to prehistoric cultures, it was in the 10th-century that the city became a focus point for the reconquest of Spain.

Undoubtedly one of the feature attractions of the town is the 15th-century castle, built on the remains of a 9th-century fortress, and regarded as one of the best and most picturesque in all of Spain. Also worth visiting is the old Bell Tower and Church/Convent of Saint Paul. Of course, being so closely linked to the Ribera del Duero region, there is never a lack for great food and wine!

For more information or to include a visit to Peñafiel on your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Going down the river on a raft in the Pyrenees

I've written before about small town Spain and the enormous satisfaction I get introducing people to some of these quaint festivals, where you really feel at one with the history, culture and people of the region. This Saturday is the "Baixada de Rais", or "Going down the river in a Raft". Dating back to the times when rafts were the most efficient and best mode of transportation on some of the rivers of Catalonia, several towns such as Coll de Nargó, which lies along the Segre River, have upheld the tradition of making wooden rafts and then heading down the river just as their countrymen did in ages past.

Starting at noon, and captained by locals who still hold to the traditions of raft-steering, the boats and men head down a tricky bit of water, dodging rocks and rapids and showcasing their talents. The people of the town are immensely proud of their heritage, and are always welcoming to visitors who come to see this show. In the evening, fireworks light up the river and old city as you enjoy a glass of wine and some tapas with the locals.

For more information about this festival or for help in arranging your next visit to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Feria de Malaga - The Costa del Sol's biggest summertime party

August is traditionally the month for vacation in Spain, and what better way for the locals to enjoy their vacations then with some of the best festivals of the year! Malaga, capital of the Costa del Sol, holds one of the biggest and best known city-wide celebrations every year: the Feria de Malaga. The fair, which is held in honor of the Catholic Monarchs reconquest of the city in 1487, shows Malaga in all its tradition and splendor.

This year, from the 13 to the 22 of August the city of Malaga will once more throw open its arms and doors to all with traditional Andalusian hospitality. There is always something for everyone during  lively daytime stalls featuring impromptu flamenco shows and Andalusian bead making to the copious amounts of Malaga sweet wine available in all styles and sizes. The nighttime festival, on the outskirts of the city at the fair grounds, is a world unto itself, and is for those who want to enjoy the more nocturnal pursuits of eating, drinking and dancing.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Olive Oil Route - Southern Spain's gastronomic wonders

Imagine spending a few days surrounded by nothing but rolling hills, quaint small towns and truly magnificent people. Then add a collection of 16th and 17th century buildings, ancient medicinal springs and an exceedingly generous taste of the fruits of the land and you have a wonderful route called "La Ruta del Aceite" - The route of Olive Oil. 

Many people don't realize that Spain is the leading olive oil producer in Europe, and Andalusia is the heart of olive country. The olive oil route takes through some of the smaller towns that are particularly well known for producing outstanding olive oil, as well as other fruits like peaches, raisins and avocados. 

And it's in these small towns where you really feel like you connect with the local people, they welcome you into their towns and their culture like long lost friends. It's a truly authentic and wonderfully unique way to visit Spain. 

For more information about this or other routes, please contact The Spanish Touch.