Last year I took a trip of a lifetime…or, at least, my first trip of a lifetime in many, many years. I spent 3 weeks in Spain, a country that has been calling to me for a long time but I just didn’t have the opportunity to get there.
(“Well, I never been to Spain…but I kinda like the music….Say the ladies are insane there…but they sure know how to use it. They don’t abuse it…never gonna lose it…I can’t refuse it… OK…this is a reference to use older folks who remember Three Dog Night from the song “Never Been to Spain” For the rest of you…look it up!)
My first week there was on my own. I flew into Madrid, connecting to Santiago de Compostela. Maybe you’ve heard of the spiritual journey folks take along the Camino de Santiago. This city is the main end point of the Walk. No, I didn’t do the Walk, or any part of it….but I did enjoy watching and greeting the “pilgrims” who came into the city with their walking sticks, tired looking faces and a wonderful sense of completion. I attended Mass at the church where the pilgrims are celebrated. It was very moving.
From Santiago I trained to Madrid. I enjoyed traveling alone…there is certainly all the flexibility I could ask for. But, it can be lonely…not to mention there is no one to share experiences with or to share expenses. In Madrid, I met up with my Trafalgar Tours tour group. Instant travel companions! And I no longer had to lug my own luggage around the cobbled streets or up the ancient stairways to reach my room (or to the elevator…yes, there were elevators).
The trip with Trafalgar Tours was wonderful. For the next seven days I was able to see and experience more of Spain than I ever would have on my own. And it ends up costing less, too…even with a single supplement. Tours and activities were available to experience flamenco, a traditional paella dinner, tours to places that wouldn’t have been available without reservations made months before. I had toured around Madrid on a Hop On Hop Off bus but didn’t learn nearly as much as I did on Trafalgar’s tour of the city.
Our tour guide was amazing…Alissa (that’s her in the picture). Though I’ve seen that she travels all over Europe, there is no guarantee you’ll have her as your guide. But, I’d bet just about anything that to be a Trafalgar Tours tour guide you have to be just as good as Alissa was for us. Not only did she keep us organized and on time (which is like herding cats!) she entertained us, informed us and, most importantly, I believe she got to know each of us. I never felt like “just another customer” …rather I felt like a friend.
The tour optimized our time to make the most of all to be seen in Spain. We saw all the main cities but we also got to experience Segovia with a castle that inspired Walt Disney; a small village where the houses are built right into the mountain…and see one of the resident’s house; a beach on the Mediterranean coast; and a multitude of things unique to the Spanish cultural.
OK…I’m going to be fully honest with you. I haven’t always been so crazy about tour group vacations. The pace can be daunting at times. But, I will say that this experience with Trafalgar Tours was delightful. And I truly appreciated having everything taken care of for me! I will add that the bus was very comfortable and (I was sure glad) they had wifi. And I continue to enjoy contact with my seat-mate. We hit it off well and spent time touring in Barcelona after the conclusion of the tour.
Trafalgar Tours offers experiences all over the world, including in the United States. For the cost conscious, they haveTrafalgar Cost Saver tours…the locations are the same though the hotels may be just outside the main areas.