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An Adventure on Spain’s “Great River”: Toros, Flamenco and Palaces

Program Number: 20836RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/31/2013 - 11/10/2013;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Spain
Price starting at: $3,194.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 24; 9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Grand Moorish palaces 700 years old, a monastery where Columbus once lived, the art of the matador, the thrill of Flamenco — experience the historic, the exotic and the sublimely beautiful as you voyage down the only navigable great river in Spain, the Quadalquivir.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Seville, aboard MS Belle De Cadix, 7 nights, disembark Granada, 2 nights; departure.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Days 2-3: Arrival Seville / embark MS Belle De Cadix:

Walk the cobblestone streets of Seville's oldest neighborhood and its Jewish quarter. Then embark our vessel and set sail past the famous Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An expert presents the history of Spain from the arrival of the Moors until their expulsion in 1492.



Day 4: Cadiz:

Depart inland to Jerez, to visit a family horse farm and a bull-breeding site to learn about bull fighting and horsemanship.



Day 5: Huelva:

Delve into the life of Christopher Columbus at the 15th-century monastery where he stayed before his voyage and a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María.



Days 6-7: Seville:

Explore the Cathedral of Seville, the third-largest church in Europe and site of the tomb of Columbus. Though we won’t actually see a bullfight, we’ll visit one of the grandest rings in Spain to study the culture of the Toreador. Then learn the basics of Flamenco.



Day 8: Córdoba:

Discover the interplay of Christian and Muslim cultures in Spain at the Cathedral of Córdoba, known as the Mosque of Córdoba, the foremost Islamic monument in Spain.



Days 9-11: Granada / disembark / departure:

Join an expert for an exploration of the architectural marvel, the Moorish palace of Alhambra. Discover royal apartments, forts, gardens, pavilions, all surrounded by an impressive wall. Lodging: Comfortable hotel in the center of Granada.



Ms Belle de Cadix

Spacious and light, this three-deck river cruiser is designed to ply the most beautiful rivers in Europe. 361 feet in length, it features 90 cabins, dining room, lounge, bar, sun deck and swimming pool. This ship is operated by a French family-run company known for its enthusiastic and passionate staff.


Spain

With the ascension of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, the Kingdom of Spain took on a shape similar to today’s nation. Ruling a culture born of Roman, Visigoth and Moorish invasions, Spain’s Catholic monarchy threw open the door to the Age of Discovery at the turn of the 16th century, importing goods and ideas from around the world while exporting their cultural fusion throughout the first empire on which the sun never set.



Meals and Lodgings
   MS Belle De Cadix
  Seville, Spain
Cadiz, Spain
Santa Maria, Spain
Seville, Spain
7 nights
   Hotel Carmen
  Granada, Spain 2 nights
 MS Belle De Cadix
Type: Riverboat
  Description: The MS Belle de Cadix is a 3 deck sailing vessel that sails the Guadalquivir and Guadiana Rivers and along the Atlantic Coast.
  Ship Information: Built: 2005 Length: 110 m long Width: 11.4 m wide Cabins: 88 cabins Passengers: 178 passengers
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67000 France
phone: +33 388 764 4444
web: www.croisieurope.com/en/guadalquivir-douro-and-po-rub80.html?data=belledecadix
  Room amenities: Equipments : all cabins are equipped with shower and toilet, hair-dryer, satellite TV, radio, safe.
  Facility amenities: Facilities: lounge-bar with a dance floor - Dining room 178 places - pianorama bar 30 places - marina at the rear of the vessel with direct access to the sea - spacious sundeck with deckchairs - swimming pool - lift - gift shop. Central heating, 220V electricity, air-conditioning, radar, radiophone, TV and video in the lounge.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Carmen
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hotel is located in Granada's commercial and historical center, 5 minutes from the Cathedral, 10 minutes from the Alhambra and 500 meters from the Convention Center. Distance between hotel and the points of interest: - In the historical city centre - In the commercial centre - In the financial centre - In the fairground - 500 m. from the Palacio de Congresos - 15 km. from the airport - 2 km. from the train station - 3 km. from the bus station - 7 km. from the golf course - 60 km. from the port
  Contact info: Acera del Darro , 62
18005 Granada,   Spain
phone: +34 95 825 83 00
web: www.hotelcarmen.com/granadahotel/eng/index-eng.htm
  Room amenities: - Air conditioning - Individual heating - Safe deposit box - Mini-bar - Tv satellite - Private connection for fax and personal computer - Pipe music - Direct telephone - Complete bathroom - Hair-dryer - Wi-Fi Internet connection - Room service and laundry - Non-smokers rooms
  Facility amenities: - 270 standard rooms - 11 Junior Suites - 2 Suites - Coffee shop - Live music bar - Private garage - Boutiques - Facilities for handicapped - Private parking - Jacuzzi - Outer swimming pool (opened from 22/06 to 07/09) - Terrace - Restaurant - Animals allowed - Money exchange - Car rental - Laundry service
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: No Before/After Nights 


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts with an Orientation at 5 PM onboard the ship in Seville on Day 2. You will be staying at MS Belle De Cadix that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with breakfast at the hotel on Day 11. You will be staying at Hotel Carmen the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. No other documents are needed.
  Parking availability:
No parking available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: The airport bus in Seville is around 2€ and can be caught every 30 minutes.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Seville
  Transportation to site: Getting from the airport into the center of Seville is easy and quick. The journey will take you around 15 mins and costs between €15 and €22 depending on which time of day you travel. The taxi rank is just outside the terminal building.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Granada
  Transportation from site: The group flight is departing from Malaga airport, which is about 1 h 20 min from Granada. Please check with your group leader how to book a private transfer.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: US Departure and Overnight Flight.
(Thursday, October 31)
   
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight to Seville.

Day 2: Arrival Seville / Program Orientation
(Friday, November 1)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive in Seville and transfer to the ship.
 Afternoon: Join your group leader and other participants for the program orientation and a walking discovery of the area around the Quadalquivir river.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner on board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Seville Old City / Sailing the Guadalquivir
(Saturday, November 2)

Note: About 2h walking and about 2.5 miles



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning explore Seville by foot. Begin by walking the cobblestone streets of of Seville's oldest neighborhood, the Barrio Santa Cruz/Jewish quarter. End the morning exploring the Alcázar Royal Palace and gardens.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: After lunch the ship sails from Seville. Join your Study leader on deck as he comments on the sites of the city. Later, enjoy some time on deck to relax or soak in the small deck pool. While the ship follows the current of the Guadalquivir you see untouched nature, and where fields of cotton and rice sit side by side with extraordinary wildlife. Cruise past the famous Doñana National Park, declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. Then participate in a presentation on "1492, More Than Columbus - the Reconquista of Spain." Examine the History of Spain from the arrival of the Moors until their ultimate expulsion from Iberia under the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Dock in Cádiz, and then by coach take a night tour to see some of Cadiz' best known monuments.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cadiz Market and Spanish Toros
(Sunday, November 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning enjoy an expert-led discovery of Cádiz featuring the Plaza de Topete and the Mercado Central. This square is one of Cádiz's liveliest, bright with flower stalls and adjoins the large, animated Mercado Central (Central Market), the oldest covered market in Spain.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time on the deck as the ship cruises towards Puerto Santa Maria. From Santa Maria, depart for Jerez, famous for its horses and also as the birthplace of the famous Flamenco. Visit a family horse farm and a bull breeding site, or "ganadería", an ideal opportunity to find out more about the living symbols of Spanish culture "Bull Fighting and Horsemanship." Return on board in time for dinner and an evening with a Spanish theme.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Spanish theme this evening. Ship set sails in the early morning for Barrameda.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Spanish Horsemanship & the Culture of Andalusia
(Monday, November 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Field Trip: Here we set off for our excursion to Jerez, Jerez is famous for its horses and also the birthplace of the famous Flamenco. After a short panoramic tour, we visit a family horse farm to see some of the finest horsemanship in Spain. We return on board in time for lunch
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: After lunch enjoy some time to rest and relax on the deck and take in the scenery as you cruise back towards Seville. Then participate in a presentation on "Seville: Flamenco, Bull Fighting and the Culture of Andalusia."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Ship arrives in Seville late in the evening.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Columbus & Flamenco
(Tuesday, November 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Field Trip: Columbus - Preparing for the Journey: Huelva and its environs is a Mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus, with a number of significant tourist attractions relating to the famous explorer. Cristóbal Colón (as he is known in Spain), south of Huelva city is the 15th-century Franciscan Monasterio de Santa María de la Rábida. La Rábida is where Columbus stayed between 1491-92 waiting for financial backing from the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, for his voyage to the New World. We end the morning in the nearby, Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels) a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of Columbus's three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, built for the 500th anniversary celebrations in 1992.
 Lunch: Back on board for lunch.
 Afternoon: The Museum of Flamenco Dance is the key to access the magic world of flamenco dancing. Learn more about Andalusian culture and experience flamenco dancing. All are invited to participate in a Flamenco dance class.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Seville - The Story & Myth of the Toreador
(Wednesday, November 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza is considered the oldest and grandest of Bull fighting rings in Spain, and Seville is often called the birthplace of this Spanish sport. This morning study the culture & myth of the Toreador. NOTE: We will not see an actual Bullfight presentation.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is free to explore on your own or rest on board the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Córdoba Mosque & Church
(Thursday, November 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning coach to Córdoba and explore this ancient city. The Cathedral of Córdoba, popularly known as the Mosque of Córdoba, or the "Mezquita", stands over a Christian church built in the Visigothic period (5th C). After the Moorish conquest of Spain, it was used as a Mosque. From 786 to 988 the original church was rebuilt into a Grand Mosque. Following Córdoba's fall to Saint Ferdinand III in 1236 (after over 500 years of use as a mosque), the site was reconsecrated Christian, and a cathedral erected in the center of the mosque in 1523. It is the foremost Islamic monument in Spain and a unique example of the inter-play of Christian and Moslem cultures in Spain. Field trip - Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos Just southwest of the Mezquita (Mosque), the Alcázar, or Castle of the Christian Monarchs, began as a palace and fort for Alfonso X in the 13th century. From 1490 to 1821 the Inquisition operated from here. Today the castle’s gardens are among the most beautiful in Andalucía. The building houses an old royal bathhouse, the Baños Califales. Take time to gaze at the 3rd-century Roman sarcophagus, with its reflections on life and death.
 Lunch: Lunch in the old city.
 Afternoon: This afternoon explore the Museum of Inquisition. Situated in the heart of Córdoba's historic Judería Quarter, this museum takes you on a journey through one of Spain's and Europe's darkest chapters - the massive use of torture to enforce confessions between 13th and 19th centuries.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Belle De Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Granada's Arab District, Sacromonte and the Gypsy Quarter
(Friday, November 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to Granada. On the drive to Granada learn about the importance of Granada as a center of learning, and the contribution of the Moors to Spanish and World Culture. Upon arrival, explore Historic Granada in the old Arab Quarter, known as the Albaicín. It comprises the area between the hill of the Alhambra, the hill of San Cristóbal, the Sacromonte and Elvira. The Albaicín is like a different world within Granada due to its strong Muslim influence and was the place where the first Ziríd court was built in the eleventh century.
 Lunch: Lunch in town.
 Afternoon: Learn about the life and history of the Gypsies in Granada and in Spain. Continue to the Sacromonte, Granada's traditional Gypsy Quarter, which rises above the Albaicín. It is a tight-knit community with its own traditions and art forms. Most of the dwellings on this hillside high above the city were carved out of the hard-packed lime soil between the late 19th and mid-20th century as inexpensive, quickly constructed housing for people relocating from the countryside.
 Dinner: Check into hotel. Dinner on your own in Sacromonte Quarter or around the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Carmen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Granada - The Alhambra
(Saturday, November 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra is more than a just a palace; it is an entire walled city within the city of Granada. There are royal apartments, forts, gardens, pavilions, barracks... All this surrounded by an impressive wall. Explore this site and imagine it coming to life 1000 years ago.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in downtown Granada
 Afternoon: Free time in Granada for you to explore on your own. The city offers so much all within walking distance. Spend the afternoon exploring at your own pace.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner in Grenada.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Carmen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Departure
(Sunday, November 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach transfer to airport for return flights to the U.S.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Traveller's History of Spain


Author: Juan Lalaguna


Description: A swift survey from prehistory through the Romans, Goths and Moors to the present.



Andalucia Map 578


Author: Michelin Travel Publications


Description: A travelers' map of Andalucia and the Costa del Sol at a scale of 1:400,000 with city plans of Seville, Malaga and Granada.



Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, the Alhambra


Author: Washington Irving


Description: This collection of Irving's writing, published by the Library of America, is the only book in print that contains "The Alhambra," his romantic account of travels in Southern Spain.



Driving over Lemons, An Optimist in Andalucia


Author: Chris Stewart


Description: Stewart's memoir about moving with his wife to a farm in Alpujarras is charming and insightful. Unlike many expatriates, Stewart manages to ground himself far enough into the community to make lasting friends -- as well as a home for his young daughter.



Eyewitness Guide Seville and Andalusia


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This wonderfully organized and visually rich guide features excellent maps and essays on the culture, history and geography of the region. With a pullout city map of Seville.



Moorish Spain


Author: Richard Fletcher


Description: The history and culture of Islam in Spain geared for the curious traveler.



Platero and I


Author: Juan Ramon Jimenez, Eloise Roach (Translator)


Description: In this autobiographical tale, the Nobel Prize-winner chronicles the wanderings of a donkey and his meditative master through Andalusia, capturing the rhythms and traditions of village life.



Shadow of a Bull


Author: Maia Wojciechowska


Description: In this compelling award-winning, young-adult novel, everyone expects Manolo to become a bullfighter like his father. Not surprisingly, it features vivid descriptions of bullfights.



Spain, The Root and the Flower John A. Crow


Author: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.


Description: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.





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