Experience the Treasures of Northern Spain!
Basque Country - Asturias - Galicia
Join us for this fantastic experience in Spain from Aug. 29 - Sept. 8, 2014 (10 nights with 5 being weekends/holidays). This region is known for its delicious cuisine, amazing architecture, art, and beautiful natural surroundings. We have several walking tours planned, including hiking part the famous Camino de Santiago. (You may opt out if you're not up for the walk.) While we will try to fit in some yoga postures whenever we can, this will be a yoga-off-the-mat trip. We will practice being yogis in the world, breathing fresh air, and being our best selves, but there will be no formal yoga classes.
We will start in San Sebastian, where we will spend 4 nights. Our hotel is a highly rated 4-star seaside hotel. On arrival, we will have free time to rest or explore on your own, and later that evening we will go on a guided pintxos tour. Pintxos is the local word for "tapas." We'll go bar-hopping (bars have food, not just drink!) to taste the local delicacies and learn about the pintxos scene. The following days will include a cooking class ... a scenic hike that ends with a short boat ride and lunch, and a day in La Rioja -- Spain's most famous wine region. There we'll visit 3 wineries, walk through a medieval town, and have lunch in a traditional restaurant. (Note: those not interested in wine can spend the day in San Sebastian.)
Satiated with San Sebastian, we will move toward Cangas de Onís. On the way we will stop in Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim Museum of modern art. Then we will drive for about 2 hours to our destination, where we will spend 2 nights in a monastery built in 746. (Yes, 746, not 1746; but don't worry, periodic renovations have been made, so you will be very comfortable.) Our monastery sits on the bank of the river Sella and is surrounded by the Picos de Europa, giving us a breathtaking view of the green, Asturian landscape. We will stay here 2 nights to enjoy the sites and scenery. Our guide will likely recommend a visit to Covadonga, where the reconquest of Spain began. There is much interesting history here to go along with the beautiful scenery.
Next we will begin to travel the route that innumerable pilgrims have taken on the way to Santiago de Compostela since the 9th century. Legend has it that St. James' remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to Santiago, where they were buried in the magnificent cathedral that serves as the end-point of the pilgrimage. We will drive 2 hours to León, where we will stay in a 16th-century palace built by Ferdinand the Catholic. In Leon we will visit the Pantheon of Kings, which holds rare 12th-century frescos, and we will also visit the nearby Gothic cathedral, which houses spectacular 13th-century stained-glass windows which are considered miracles of architecture, even by today's standards. The amount of stained glass used equates to more than a square mile!
Our hotel in León is pictured below:
The next stop will be a short drive to Astorga, a historic Roman city that was an important stop on the Camino in medieval times. Here we will have the option to hike with the pilgrims. We can customize our walk based on the level of the group, and those who don't want to walk don't have to. After our walk we will have lunch and go to El Bierzo, a place that enjoys a microclimate well-suited for farming. On our way we will enjoy panoramic views of the Sierras and we'll pass through some quaint villages and learn about their inhabitants.
We will spend 2 nights on a vineyard in a rustic palace that was built in 1730, and we'll enjoy food and wine that were grown on the property. During our stay at this lush and peaceful place, you can choose to simply relax or you can hike one of the most beautiful sections of the Camino which winds through tranquil forests, mountain hamlets, and hillsides covered in heather. An ancient village with Celtic dwellings awaits.
Finally, we will take an hour's drive to our last location: Santiago de Compostela. Our accommodations are in what is considered to be the oldest hotel in the world. The Royal Hospital was built in 1499 to house the pilgrims arriving in Santiago. It is the most luxurious accommodation in the area. Here we will visit the cathedral, which is the destination of the pilgrimage and the center of life in this town. It is considered one of the finest achievements in Romanesque architecture. We'll enjoy a delicious farewell dinner, and the next day we will go to the airport to go home or to visit another area of Spain if you wish.
Please see the column on the left side of this page for pricing information. If you have any questions, write to me at email@example.com