Monday, February 28, 2011

Cordoba Patio Festival Tour 2011

For all lovers of Spain, flowers and fun get ready: The Spanish Touch will be offering a Andalusian Cultural Tour from May 7 to 14, including a visit to the Cordoba Patio Festival and a chance to see the most spectacular flowered patios and to dive into the heart of Andalusian culture and festivals. Tour details will be available this week on our website.

For more information or to plan your own private guided tour to Spain, let us know!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Dia de Andalucia - A celebration of culture

February 28 is the Dia de Andalucia, celebrating Spain's largest autonomous region's history culture and people. And in true Andalucian style, the party goes on all weekend ll over the region. In Seville, the capital, the celebration will take place in the streets and parks of the city. Take a peek into the Flamenco and Sevillana Schools as they revel in their heritage. Check out the Royal Equestrian School in Jerez as it offers a rare Saturday performance of its horses. Or simply take in the wonderful hospitality of the people and enjoy some local delicacies on what promises to be another gorgeous weekend (looking at 70+ degrees on Saturday)!

Feel free to contact The Spanish Touch for more information or to plan your private guided tour of Spain.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dolmens of Montnegre i el Corredor - Walking in Barcelona

The things you find while walking in the hills of Montnegre include this Neolthic era burial ground. Add it to the list of thousands of things to do in and around Barcelona with The Spanish Touch!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Truffle experience - and what happenned to the pig?

Last weekend was the 4th annual Trufa-Te Truffle Festival in the charming medieval city of Ainsa. After making the 4 hour drive out there we had the opportunity to witness how these gastronomic wonders can be used in tapas and full meals. Even though the rain picked up an hour after it started, the people still came out in force for the chance to sample tapas and buy truffles direct from the farmers. At 650 euros/kg, more than 7 kgs were sold in just 3 hours.

Afterwards, we had the chance to speak with one of the coordinators, and our interview was very enlightening. We learned, for example, that the traditional use of pigs to search for truffles has almost entirely been phased out. After doing some research we did find one farmer who still has a pig, although he doesn't use it for hunting truffles anymore. For one, the pigs tended to eat the truffles. Secondly, dogs are much easier to train and control. A good truffle dog is expensive. If the truffle itself is an expensive treat, the dogs that find them are just as highly regarded. One truffle hunter told us that he was offered over 10,000 euros for his, and he turned it down without even thinking twice!

In all a great weekend with truffles at the heart, and it's great to see the rural regions of Spain on display! The season is almost over, but we've already begun setting up next year's truffle experiences. We'll keep you up on our blog!

For more information or to plan a private guided tour to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Beautiful February Weekend Awaits

 The weather has been strange this winter. Colder than usual, then unseasonably warm, last week's bizarre weather in Barcelona which left the city under a thick fog for several days. But this weekend is promising. February holds a special place for me in my Spanish travels, as it was a warm day in February 9 years ago that The Spanish Touch began along the shores of the Mediterranean. This weekend, for those people lucky enough to be along the coastline, looks to be another great one. From the Forum Gastronomica in Girona, to the open house tours in Granada to special walking routes in Valencia and Malaga, the temperatures look great for a taste of spring in the air! 60+ degree temperatures just invite you to walk along the beach, stop for a cafe con leche  in the morning, or a glass of vino in the afternoon.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great weekend. We'll be at the Trufa-Te Festival in Ainsa this weekend, tasting some of the almost 8000 truffle-inspired tapas (in fact, we're going to try for as many as humanly possible), and washing it down with some great Somontano wine!

For more information on how to arrange your private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The world's loss - Santi Santamaria

Today the world lost one of the great traditional chefs: Santi Santamaria, of the three-star Raco de Can Fabes just outside of Barcelona, died today at the age of 53. RIP Mr. Santamaria.

Mr. Santamaria was a proponent of the traditional Catalan and Spanish cuisine, and while he was often at loggerheads with other chefs like Ferran Adria, his restaurants earned worldwide fame and respect. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spas in Spain

We spend a lot of time talking about all the options for walking, exploring, eating and in general enjoying Spain as much as possible when you visit. However, after you've done all that, you need a few days to unwind. And Spain is not short of options for that! Whether you want an urban spa stop for just a few hours in downtown Madrid or Barcelona, or to disappear into the Pyrenees for a couple of days to completely disconnect from everything while contemplating Spain's majestic mountains, The Spanish Touch can help you. 

For more information and for help in planning your private guided visit to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Forum Gastronomic of Girona - February 20 - 23

Next Sunday from 11:00 through 8:000pm, Girona will be kicking off one of the biggest and most important gastronomy conventions in Europe. The event will take place at the Auditorium of Girona There are workshops and presentations throughout the day, with a presentation from the Roca brothers (of The Celler de Can Roca, 3 Michelin stars), as well as a food fair in the old market where you can sample the newest and most interesting creations of the world of creative and gourmet cuisine. Topics such as "Food and Health", "Sustainable Gastronomy" and forums for desserts, wines and foods. The entrance ticket is 5 euros, and to attend a forum or speech costs 3 euros. Workshops are 1.50 each.

For more information or for help planning your next private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch

Friday, February 11, 2011

Santa Eulalia - Barcelona's "Festa Major of Winter"

Tomorrow, Februry 12 marks the day of Saint Eulalia, the patron saint whose crypt can be found in the Cathedral of Barcelona. While many people in the city celebrate the Merced festival as the major saint day in September, there will be plenty to do and see as Barcelona celebrates the "Festa Major of Winter". The Gothic Quarter will be jumping with dancers, parades (featuring the traditional Gegants and capgrossos, and of course, the Castellers. The city celebrates it's patron in style, and a number of museums are joining in with free entry, making the event a great and inexpensive way to really get into the Catalan culture!

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

L'Estany - Eco- and walking tour friendly

Just over an hour north of Barcelona we find the lovely town of L'Estany and its 900 year old Romanesque monastery rests among the forest and along the eponymous lake.  With a collection of great hiking routes incorporating the history, culture and legends of the region, the town is a jewel just waiting to be discovered. And it has recently become the first town in Spain (and one of the first in Europe) which uses exclusively LED lighting for the entire town, thereby reducing drastically its energy consumption.

For information or for help planning your private guided visit to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Parador of Limpias - A refuge in unchartered Spain

Many people have asked us about staying in the Parador hotels around Spain, combining luxury with affordability. Staying in a Parador is not just the treatment you would expect for a 4-star hotel, with large, comfortable room and excellent service, it is much more.

The Parador at Limpias, about an hour outside of of Bilbao set along the charming Cantabrian coast, offers guests the chance to get away and get into the Spain that all too often gets overlooked: natural, unspoiled and spectacular. The restaurant also offers spectacular local cuisine and  

For more information about our Paradores Tours or to plan your private guided tour of Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

For all full-day or multiple day tours booked between now and March 12, a free bottle of cava courtesy of The Spanish Touch if you mention you saw this on our blog!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The XXVIII Theater Festival in Malaga

This wek is the last week to enjoy The 28th annual Festival del Teatro in Malaga. While long known for it's moniker as the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga has been emerging as a top destination for travelers interested in more than just the sun and beach lifestyle so famously popular down the road. Great restaurants, the Picasso Museum and an lively restaurant and nightlife scene are making more and more people aware of this long-overlooked diamond in the rough.

The Theater Festival is based at the Teatro Cervantes, just behind the Plaza de la Merced (where Picasso's birth house is located). Malaga has a long history of excellent theater productions, as native son Antonia Banderas can attest to. Take advantage of the shows and enjoy night out at the theater, maybe followed by some tapas and a glass of great Malaga Dulce wine!

For more information on what to do in Malaga, or for a private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Second Time Around - Spain for repeat travelers

Spain's allure has tempted many people to make the return trip. However, once the idea comes up, the question inevitably arises: But what else can we do?

In every corner you find new and exciting ways to enjoy your experience. At the Spanish Touch we will do our best to make sure that no two visits are the same. So much depends on when, where and what you want to do, that even seasoned travelers will find something to fit there needs.
Whether that's a cooking workshop in the heart of Barcelona or a lovely hike through small-town Andalusia, a chance to race on Formula 1 racetracks or horseback riding along the beach, discover more about Spain and discover how much there really is!

For more information or to arrange your private guided tour of Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Friday, February 04, 2011

This weekend in Barcelona - Petit Detall Art Expo in Gracia!

This Sunday in the charming barrio of Gracia, just a block off the main street that leads up to Park Guell, take the opportunity to stop in at the Cova de les Cultures (Cave of Cultures) for the "Sales" fair of arts and crafts from local professionals from around the city. The expo runs from 11 in the morning through 10 at night nonstop, so stop on by and get to know some of Barcelona's most interesting new artists and artisans at Carrer de l'Angel, 12, in Barcelona. Check out the blog for Petit Detall to see some of the presenters.

For more information or for help planning your private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Barcelona and Madrid Cultural Tour with The Spanish Touch

For those looking for a great one week vacation with The Spanish Touch in Spain's two biggest cities, here's your chance! In the coming weeks we will be publishing this year's set private tour dates for this guided tour. Check up on our blog and our website for dates and prices!

Barcelona and Madrid Cultural Tour

Day 1. Arrival in Barcelona.
Transfer to hotel. After lunch, take a walking tour around the old city to stretch your legs and get a feel for the city. Night in Barcelona.

Day 2. Dali’s Theater-Museum in Figueres and Girona
Breakfast at hotel. Morning transfer to Figueres. Afternoon visit to Girona including the Jewish Quarter and the Cathedral. Night in Barcelona.

Day 3. Gaudi's Modernista Barcelona
Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. Afterwards, continue to Park Guell, and Casa Battlo and La Pedrera. Optional evening tapas tour through the old city. Night in Barcelona.

Day 4. Montserrat and Wine Country
Morning trip to Montserrat, including a visit to the Monastery and the Santa Cova. In the afternoon,  take a trip into wine country to visit a winery see how the hand-crafted traditions are still alive. Evening transfer via AVE to Madrid. Night in Madrid.

Day 5. Madrid City Tour and the Reina Sofia. 
Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit to the Reina Sofia museum. Afternoon tour of Madrid city center. Night in Madrid.

Day 6. Madrid Museum Day
Breakfast at hotel. Madrid at leisure to visit the famous Golden Triangle of Madrid’s other two most famous museums: El Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Optional day tour to Segovia. Night in Madrid.

Day 7. Toledo Day Tour
Breakfast at hotel. Day trip to Toledo, the famous walled city, including visits to the Cathedral, Cristo de la Luz Mosque, El Greco’s house and the old Jewish Quarter. Farewell dinner and last night in Madrid.

Day 8. Departure
Transfer to airport for return flight to the USA. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February tours in Spain

February is a great month. Yes, it's still cold. But it's also filled with hints of spring, and a sense of blooming romance. And Spain is a romantic's dream. The low temperatures keep the prices low as well, and there's a lot to be said for visiting the Prado, or the Alhambra, or the Sagrada Familia, without being surrounded by teeming crowds of people gulping cold water to fight off the sweat. In fact, visiting any of these places in a month like February can often be an enticingly quiet experience! so come and take that romantic getaway to visit some of Europe's most intriguing spots, and take advantage of the cold to get some well deserved tranquility while you walk through the walls of the Alhambra, or contemplate Goya's works, or try to imagine what Antoni Gaudi was trying to create in the Sagrada Familia....

For more information or to arrange a private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.