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The Best of Spain: Barcelona and Madrid

Program Number: 21336RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/25/2014 - 5/4/2014; 10/7/2014 - 10/16/2014; 10/17/2014 - 10/26/2014; 11/14/2014 - 11/23/2014; 2/13/2015 - 2/22/2015; 3/20/2015 - 3/29/2015; 4/10/2015 - 4/19/2015; 4/17/2015 - 4/26/2015; 5/1/2015 - 5/10/2015; 5/22/2015 - 5/31/2015; 6/12/2015 - 6/21/2015; 9/11/2015 - 9/20/2015; 9/18/2015 - 9/27/2015; 9/25/2015 - 10/4/2015; 10/16/2015 - 10/25/2015; 11/13/2015 - 11/22/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Spain
Price starting at: $2,249.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 15; 7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Gaudi and Picasso. Paella and tapas. Mediterranean chic and capital-city grandeur. There are no other cities in the world like Barcelona and Madrid. Join us to learn about what’s new in these two dynamic cities and reflect on what’s been around since antiquity, from fanciful architecture to wind-swept Roman ruins. With special insight from our local experts and plenty of time to discover on your own, you’ll get the most of these two bold European cities.




Highlights

• Learn about the incredible fairytale-like curved roofs and bright colors of one of the world's most intriguing parks and heritage sites: Parc Guëll.
• Attend expert-led lectures and gain insight into Spain's fascinating historical and artistic roots.
• Experience the vibrant night life of these two pulsing cities, and taste some of the most celebrated cuisine in the world.



This program is designed to be taken back to back with 20983 - The Best of Portugal: From the Age of Discovery to Today.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Barcelona, 4 nights; high-speed train to Madrid, 4 nights; departure.



Overnight from the U.S.
1 night
Arrival Barcelona
4 nights

Enjoy your first foray into Spanish culture on a walk through the bustling Ramblas to see the Boqueria market which dates from 1217 and is the gastronomic hub of Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine. Learn about the avant-garde architect who is synonymous with Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi. Discover his modernist apartment building “La Pedrera,” visit his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Famila, and view his equally exotic Parque Guell. At la Plaza de la Catedral, learn about the traditional Sunday morning folkloric “Sardana” dancing. Journey to Montserrat, the spiritual center of Catalonia, set in the mountains and perched on rocky slopes. Visit the Benedictine Abbey there, home to the 12th-century Romanesque carving of the Our Lady of Montserrat. Delight in one of the most extensive collections of Picasso's work to be found in the world at the Picasso Museum. Get an insider's perspective on Catalan culture and the question of independence. End your adventure in Barcelona with a traditional Mediterranean paella.



High-speed train to Madrid
4 nights
Departure

Journey to Madrid on the high speed AVE train. Enjoy a walking field trip of downtown Madrid with your Study Leader as the streets come to life in the early evening. Get a local’s perspective on the historic bustling streets of la Calle Mayor and La Gran Via. Journey to the historical town of Segovia in the Castile region, a UNESCO site boasting a wealth of monuments that span the centuries, including a well-preserved Roman aqueduct and the renowned Alcazar. Enjoy privileged access to the magnificent Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Join your Study leader at a traditional “tablao” to learn about the sights and sounds of a typical evening of Spanish folklore, music and dance. Visit Retiro Park, 450 acres of landscaped gardens, sculptures, monuments and a lake. Continue to Madrid's “Triangle of Art,” the must-see museums of El Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. There’s plenty of time on your own, so you can choose to visit Velazquez and Goya at El Prado, Picasso's “Guernica” at the Reina Sofia — or both.




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.



Accommodations
Barcelona: Centrally located four-star hotel in a fully restored historical building. Madrid: Hotel in in the very heart of Madrid, just a few steps away from Plaza de Cibeles and very close to the Prado Museum.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Cecilia Ceriani

Cecilia Ceriani has been an art teacher and critic for nearly three decades. She holds degrees in art history and English philology from the Complutense University of Madrid. Cecilia spent four years in South America as an art critic and book reviewer for newspapers in Montevideo and Buenos Aires before returning to her native Spain in 1986. Since then she has been lecturing on Road Scholar programs and at the U.S. Cultural Center in Madrid and writing for respected Spanish publications.
 
Silvia Riera

Silvia Riera was born and raised in Barcelona, where she developed her passion for arts and the Catalan culture. In addition to Spanish and her native tongue, Catalan, Silvia is fluent in French, Italian, English and Portuguese. Silvia has lectured about modernism and Gaudi since 1988. Beyond arts, Silvia is — like most Barcelonians — a big fan of FC Barcelona, the world-renowned soccer team.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
  Barcelona, Spain 4 nights
   Innside Madrid Genova
  Madrid, Spain 4 nights
 Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro is conveniently located in the heart of the city, one block from the Rambla de Catalunya and 2 blocks from the Paseo de Gracia, with its Gaudi architecture and buildings. The metro "Diagonal" is 200 meters away, and there is a bus stop beside the hotel. The hotel is a modern building, situated on one of Barcelona's main thoroughfares. There are 84 comfortable bedrooms, over several floors.
  Contact info: Balmes 142,
Barcelona,  08008 Spain
phone: +34 93 415 90 90
web: http://www.hoteles-catalonia.com/en/home.jsp
  Room amenities: All bedrooms include: Individual air-conditioning and heating Safe Fully equipped bathroom with hairdryer, telephone, focus mirror, marble finishes Minibar (for a charge) Room Service Direct dial telephone Satellite TV Free Wireless Internet connection Please note that room sizes in Spain tend to considerably smaller than in North America.
  Facility amenities: The Catalonia Diagonal Centro, has a snack-bar, lobby bar, small reception area, 5 meeting rooms,and a seasonal roof top swimming pool and terrace.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 1800-241-1404 to inquire about rate and availability.

 Innside Madrid Genova
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Innside Madrid Genova, is one of a new brand of hotels belonging to the prestigious Melia chain of hotels. The hotel combines the modern facilities of a contemporary boutique hotel, with the classic features of a traditional Madrid-style building. Located in the heart of the city's bustling Fuencarral area, and close to the exclusive Barrio Salamanca, the hotel is an ideal base from which to explore all areas of the city. The metro station "Alonso Martinez" is located beside the hotel. Note that there are a number of steps up to the reception from the hotel entrance. However, there is a small disabled-access elevator which guests may use as necessary.
  Contact info: Plaza Alonso Martinez 3
Madrid,  28004 Spain
phone: +34 91 2062160
web: http://www.melia.com/hotels/spain/madrid/innside-madrid-genova/index.html
  Room amenities: 65 bright and modern rooms, all elegantly decorated in a modern contemporary style. Each room is equipped with a comfortable king size bed or two single beds and decorated in superior quality fabrics, the rooms also have pillow menu, 37 inch LCD TV, individually controlled air conditioning / heating, functional work space with WiFi internet and socket for laptop, iPod dock and cordless telephone, safe, minibar and modern and comfortable bathroom (with shower) with a complete set of INNSIDE amenities.
  Facility amenities: SERVICES 24 hour reception and concierge Room service 24 hour wake-up calls Free high speed WiFi internet Business Centre with computer and photocopier (*) Laundry and ironing service (*) Medical services at the hotel (on request) (*) Currency exchange (*) Air conditioning Music Multi-lingual staff Humidifier FACILITIES The Library Cocktail Lounge The Deck Breakfast room 1 meeting room 2 magnificent terraces with views over the city Fully equipped gym (*) for a charge
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: No bath tubs - showers only.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBC Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 1800-241-1404 to inquire about rate and availability.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins in the early evening with orientation at your program hotel in Barcelona. You will be staying at Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast at your program hotel in Madrid. You will be staying at Innside Madrid Genova the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Inter-City Trains and buses to/from Barcelona are available to/from most Spanish and other European cities.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Barcelona
  Nearest airport:  Barcelona City Airport
  Transportation to site: For people who are unable to take the group transfer the day of arrival: the best way to get from the airport to the hotel in Barcelona is to take a taxi. A taxi will cost you between 35 and 40 Euros to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Madrid
  Nearest city or town:  Pozuelo de Alarcon, 9.8 km / 6.1 miles
  Nearest airport:  Madrid-Barajas Airport
  Transportation from site: For people who are unable to take the group transfer the day of departure: the best way to get from the hotel to the airport in Madrid is to take a taxi. A taxi will cost you between 30 and 35 Euros to the airport.
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: Depart USA
(Friday, April 25)
   
 Depart From: Overnight flights to Barcelona, Spain.

Day 2: Arrival in Barcelona / Welcome and Information meeting
(Saturday, April 26)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival in Barcelona and airport transfers to the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Welcome and Orientation . Walk through the bustling Ramblas - the main artery of the city, see the Boqueria market which dates from 1217 and is the gastronomic hub of Catalan / Mediterranean cuisine - a place where locals eat shop and gossip together in true Spanish style.
 Dinner: Join all participants for a welcome dinner and the opportunity to socialize and get to know your fellow participants.
 Evening: Evening Presentation: An Introduction to Barcelona at the Hotel Meeting Room
   
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: La Pedrera and Panoramic tour of Barcelona.
(Sunday, April 27)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning join your Study Leader for a walking tour to "La Pedrera" - the Quarry ( the popular name given to the Gaudi-designed modernist apartment building - Casa Milà), continue on through Paseo de Gracia past the Casa Batlló (another excellent example of Gaudi´s avant-garde architectural style), to the Plaza Catalunya, and the Gothic quarter. Visit la Plaza de la Catedral to see traditional Sunday morning "Sardana" dancing - a popular folklorique dance which symbolises the unity and pride of the Catalan people.. Free time for lunch on your own in the old port"Port Vell"area - a shining example of Barcelona's successful urban regeneration which took place prior to the 1992 Olympics.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical tapas lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon's Guided Panoramic Tour of Barcelona includes a visit to the Basilica of the impressive, unfinished Gaudi Masterpiece - La Sagrada Famila, Gaudí's equally exotic Parque Guell & Montjuic Hill which is home to both Montjuic Castle (a 17th Century fortress originally designed to defend the city from the Castilian army) and many of the buildings from the 1992 Olympic games - (including the architect Calatrava's "Olympic Needle")
 Dinner: Leisure time to enjoy dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Montserrat Monastery & Museum
(Monday, April 28)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Field Trip: Montserrat Monastery & Museum. Montserrat, the spiritual emblem of Catalonia, is set in the mountains of the region and enjoys spectacular scenery from the site perched on rocky slopes high above the Montserrat National Park. Enjoy a guided visit to the Museum which is home to a surprising collection of artwork through the ages that includes paintings by local Spanish & Catalan artists as well as Caravaggio. El Greco, Dali, Picasso, Tapies.......later take time to visit the Benedictine Abbey which hosts the 12th Century Romanesque carving of the Our Lady of Montserrat, a Black Madonna & Patron Saint of Catalonia, visited each year by thousands of pilgrims. (Note that access to see the statue at close range is up narrow stairs, and not accessible for those with limited mobility - who will be able see the figure from below).
 Lunch: Leisure time to enjoy lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon take advantage of some free time to explore Barcelona using your T10 card for public transport. (Your Study Leader will provide orientation and assistance to ensure you make the most of your time). Before dinner, enjoy a lecture with the group: Your local expert will offer insight into the contrast between Modernist Catalan art, architecture & culture (Gaudi, Miro, Tapies, Dali….) and the more traditional aspects of art and life to be seen in Madrid later in the tour.
 Dinner: at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Picasso museum and Catalonia today
(Tuesday, April 29)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Morning Picasso Museum visit and lecture: With your expert guide, delight in one of the most extensive collections of Picasso's work to be found anywhere in the world.
 Lunch: on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon take advantage of some free time to explore Barcelona using your T10 card for public transport. (Your Study Leader will provide orientation and assistance to ensure you make the most of your time). Later enjoy a lecture by a local expert: Division in Spain - An insider's perspective on Catalan culture and the question of independence.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia Diagonal Centro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Transfer to Madrid.
(Wednesday, April 30)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Travel to Madrid on the high speed AVE train (Alta Velocidad Española) - Europe's longest high velocity rail network. Sit back and enjoy a comfortable, modern train, travelling up to 190mph and cutting standard journey times by half.
 Lunch: On your own onboard the train.
 Afternoon: After checkinging in to your hotel, enjoy a walking tour of downtown Madrid with your Study Leader as the streets start to come to life again at 5pm. Visit La Puerta del Sol( Sun Gate) - the geographical center (kilometer zero) of Spain, from where all road distances are measured, and the square that plays host to the city's annual New Year celebrations. Soak in the atmosphere of the grandiose Plaza Mayor and perhaps sample some traditional "Churros con Chocolate."
 Dinner: at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Innside Madrid Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Panoramic tour of Madrid & visit of Segovia.
(Thursday, May 1)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning enjoy a half day panoramic tour of MADRID by coach. Your local guide will show you the historic bustling streets of la Calle Mayor and La Gran Via, explain the significance of Cibeles to the people of Madrid , see also the imposing Columbus Square and the emblematic Puerta de Alcalá - a historical gateway to the city.
 Lunch: Leisure time to enjoy lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Field Trip to the historical town of Segovia by coach. Situated to the North West of the capital, in the Castile region, and classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, Segovia boasts a wealth of monuments which span the centuries. See the remarkably well-preserved Roman Aqueduct (dating from around AD50), the 16th Century Gothic Cathedral and enjoy a guided visit to the renowned Alcazar, begun in the 11th Century.
 Dinner: at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Innside Madrid Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: The history of Madrid and the Royal Palace.
(Friday, May 2)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Join your study leader for a morning presentation at the hotel. Learn about the history, culture and people throughout the Ages of Madrid .
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at a restaurant of your choice.
 Afternoon: Enjoy afternoon visits to Monuments included on your Madrid Tourist Card - Walk through the old Madrid of the "Austrias" to the Opera and Royal Palace with your group leader. Later, on your own enjoy fast track entry to the magnificent Royal Palace (the official residence of the Spanish Royal family dating from the 18th Century) and the Almudena Cathedral - named after the Patron Saint of Madrid.
 Dinner: at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Flamenco Show - join your Study leader at a traditional "tablao" to soak up the sights and sounds of a typical evening of Spanish folklore, music and dance.
   
Accommodations: Innside Madrid Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Retiro Park & Triangle of Art.
(Saturday, May 3)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: With your group leader, enjoy a morning visit to the Retiro Park (compare to Montjuic and Gaudi Parks in Barcelona ) - 450 acres of landscaped gardens, sculptures, monuments and a lake. With guidance from your Study Leader, chose to visit other museums or attractions in the area - for example, the nearby Botanical Gardens.
 Lunch: on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you will have a chance to visit Madrid's "Triangle of Art" (The must-see museums of El Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza) on your own. Entrance Fees are included in your Madrid tourist card that will be given to you by your group leader. With the assistance of your group leader choose to visit Velazquez and Goya at El Prado, Picasso's "Guernica" at the Reina Sofia.....or both.
 Dinner: at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Innside Madrid Genova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Departure transfers and return home.
(Sunday, May 4)
   
 Morning: Departures in the early morning to the airport.
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


Antonio Gaudi, Master Architect


Author: Juan Bassegoda Nonell


Description: This lavish little collection of Gaudi's work captures the evolution, imagination and exuberance of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.



Barcelona


Author: Robert Hughes


Description: A Longitude favorite, this big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to the present.



Barcelona Map


Author: Borch Maps


Description: A detailed city map, laminated and folded for easy reference.



Cadogan Guide Barcelona & Catalonia


Author: Dana Facaros


Description: This savvy guide combines practical details and maps with illuminating background on history, culture and sightseeing.



Food and Wines of Spain


Author: Penelope Casas


Description: This classic collection of 400 recipes, interwoven with cultural commentary and culinary history, is a pleasure to read, but prepare to become hungry.



Gaudi, A Biography


Author: Gijs van Hensbergen


Description: A vivid account of the architect and his work.



Ghosts of Spain


Author: Giles Tremlett


Description: Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interview, anecdote and observation.



Homage to Catalonia


Author: George Orwell


Description: Orwell's portrait of the Barcelona uprising and the spirit of a city at war is a classic, an observant and heartfelt report from the streets.



The Arts in Spain, From Prehistory to Modernism


Author: John Moffit


Description: From the cave painting at Altimira through the Golden Age, to the works of Picasso and Miro, this book documents the course of art in Spain, with 150 illustrations.



The Shadow of the Wind


Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Description: Set in the brooding atmosphere of post-WW II Barcelona, this gripping story-within-a-story has it all: murder, doomed love and a mysterious book which draws the young hero, Daniel Sempere, into the city’s dangerous underworld.





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