Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Spain
It’s no secret that there are countless unknown holidays that are celebrated around the world (Talk Like a Pirate Day, Margarita Day…you get the idea), but International Dance Day should be one that is on your radar every year. Founded over 30 years ago, the day’s message is one that transcends all barriers, “The intention of International Dance Day is to celebrate dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural, and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language – Dance.” To celebrate in our own way we’re bringing you four cities to visit to experience this international language. Read more
Spring and summer seem to be festival seasons, and this time of the year, there’s plenty to celebrate. Warm weather, blossoming flowers, the ability to carry your wife long distances – wait, what? Across the globe, there are tons of strange and spectacular festivals commemorating everything from macaque monkeys to body painting. We’ve selected seven we find a little bit odd, but entirely awesome. Read more
Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. You may be sniffling from spring allergies now, but Memorial Day will be here before you know it, bringing warm temperatures, shortened work days, and summer vacations. Don’t let the season sneak up on you; take advantage of the many early bird specials out there and book your summer travel now. Read more
On a recent trip to Spain, I was in awe of the displays of Christmas lights in cities big and small. From bulbous blue lights hanging over the winding streets of Barcelona’s Barri Gotic, to gigantic neon-green Christmas trees in Madrid, to a seemingly endless draping of bells and garland-shaped light strings in Seville, there was no shortage of fluorescent holiday expressions. Our Christmas lights here in the U.S. are dim in comparison.
Many of these bright lights lit the way to charming Christmas markets found along pedestrian streets and major urban squares across the country. Spanish Christmas carols were heard from a chocolate vendor in Seville. Fresh pine wreaths adorned outdoor booths in the nation’s capital. Vendors in Barcelona sold logs with faces and hundreds of defecating figurines. Wait, what was that?!
In the world of luxury travel, few providers hold a candle to Abercrombie & Kent. A&K travel conjures up images of elegant, five-star accommodations, customized itineraries with expert guides, the finest of Michelin-rated dining, and cushy modes of transportation. And, of course, the hefty price tag that comes with all of those extravagances.
Looking for all that glitz on a budget? Consider A&K Connections, a new line of luxurious journeys for small groups of 24-28 guests that offers 17 itineraries from six continents. Some of the available destinations include Australia, France, India, Morocco, and Peru. I recently joined A&K on a preview of their “Spain: Seven Cities tour” to see firsthand what Connections is all about.
The cities that make up the title include Barcelona, Granada, Marbella, Gibraltar, Seville, Cordoba, and Madrid. Tally up the day-trips to Malaga, Ronda, and Jerez, however, and you’re looking at a whopping ten cities packed into a ten-day tour. The preview trip was condensed into seven-days. Needless to say, at times, this felt like a break-neck pace, even with Gibraltar sliced off the itinerary. I’d imagine the ten-day version to be just slightly less speedy.
Despite the pace, it’s hard to say which part of the trip I would eliminate to slow things down. In retrospect, it’s easy to see why Simon Butler-Madden, an A&K vet who built many of the Connections itineraries, included all the sights we saw; the trip provides a cohesive overview of Spain’s diverse history, and how that history affected all aspects of modern Spanish and Catalonian culture. Read more
We’d love if every cruise we took could be aboard a luxury liner like the Queen Elizabeth, but budget constraints normally keep us from splurging on all that opulence and personal service. However, these amazing, limited time fares – up to 60 percent off – on Cunard’s fall Mediterranean sailings mean you don’t have to sacrifice savings for style.
The best value is the 10-day Mediterranean Moments, where inside cabins start at $699, or about $70/day; the cruise goes from Rome to Southampton and makes calls in Italy, Monaco, and Spain. Other itineraries we love range from the 12-day Holy Land Explorer (Rome to Venice, with stops in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt) from $899, to the 12-day Pearls of the Black Sea (Venice to Athens, with stops in the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Ukraine) from $1,299. Even better: all sale fares also include an onboard credit of $100-$300, depending on cabin class.
To give you some perspective, these fares are comparable to similar itineraries currently on offer from Royal Caribbean, which don’t include Cunard’s luxury perks like white-glove service and formal evenings. Just be warned that all sailings with the exception of the 12-day Greek Isles and Turkish Splendours start and end in different ports, and buying two one-way flights may increase the cost of your airfare. You’ll also have to hurry, as the sale ends August 6! Find all the details at www.cunard.com/sale.
Bilbao was once a decrepit port city on the north coast of Spain, famous for its decaying industrial complexes and stinking river. But since the Guggenheim landed on its banks in 1997, the city has seen an explosion in tourism, going from sleepy town to a must-see overnight. In a rush to recreate that “Bilbao Effect,” other Spanish cities have built flashy art centers, cultural landmarks, and infrastructure projects funded by taxpayers’ money. But Europe’s financial meltdown, combined with government mismanagement and poor attendance, have caused these grandiose projects to fall behind on their payments, resulting in a $25.5 billion bill and public backlash. So, did these structures cause a tourism boom, or are they just big budget bombs? Let’s find out. Read more
Getting fingerprinted on vacation usually comes after a night of bad decisions. But at the Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in Ibiza, Spain, it’s commonplace. The 236-room hotel located on Playa d’en Bossa, now lets its guests pay with their fingerprints. Using the free PayTouch system, guests register their prints and credit card information at kiosks throughout the resort and then use their sun-kissed digits to pay for their pina coladas, spa treatments, siesta snacks, and any other tempting treats. If they pre-registered for PayTouch before their trip, members can use the Fast Pass lane for concert tickets – a popular activity at the hotel, which also hosts a music venue.
I was confident that we had closed the book on Europe’s need to work more and vacation less in “An Open Letter to Europe.” The only strong point that I missed (and that blogger Christine Cantera pointed out in the comments) is the need for our friends on the other side of the Atlantic to also cool it with the three-hour lunches so that some business can be conducted while the sun is still shining. I was ready to move on to more pressing travel matters, like the threat of Ryanair flights touching down on U.S. soil and why Egyptair kept serving me three rolls with every meal on a recent trip. Now, however, comes news that a court has ruled that Europeans who get sick on vacation are entitled to go on another holiday…that their employer must allow them to take. Europe, you’re killing me.
Author’s Note: In light of the recent financial crisis in Europe, it seems like the appropriate time to air some grievances regarding traditional practices in the region and how they affect tourism. By no means am I an economist, but I do have a checking account and a fair amount of common cents sense.
Hola. Bonjour. Γεια σας. While I hope that this note finds you well, I know that things have been a little rough on your side of the pond lately. With unemployment in Spain close to 25 percent, at least I know nearly six million people will have time to read this letter. Sorry, that was harsh. I’m not writing this to antagonize you or make light of your economic collapse. On the contrary, I’m here to help. Europe has long relied on tourism to fill its coffers, and summer is prime time for Americans to flock to your ruins, relics, and monuments (your stuff sure is old).
You need Americans to visit you. We need a strong Europe to bolster the global economy. So, how can we get things straightened out over there and encourage Americans to head your way? Here, in no particular order, are a few simple suggestions that you can have for free (which, I imagine, is a pretty good price for you these days). Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals