Best of Spain & Portugal Tour Magic Moments
|Easy-going locals nudge Americans into really relaxing.|
Real Experiences From Our Tour Members
Our goal as tour organizers: to pack your trip with "magic moments." Here are just a few of the many magic moments our gangs experienced on a Rick Steves' Spain & Portugal tour last year. For the inside scoop on all of our tours, check out our uncensored tour member feedback page.
There were several magic moments. Two that come readily to mind:
1. In Granada, we walked up the hill at sunset for a view of the Alhambra. Unbeknownst to us, our tour guide was lugging four bottles of champagne up that hill (quite a strenuous climb even without carrying champagne!). We then toasted to the beauty of Sevilla and to newfound friends (and to our wonderful tour guide) with the Alhambra in the background.
2. But perhaps better yet was our last night in Lisbon when we arranged an impromptu group get together for dinner (and our tour guide negotiated on the spot with a small restaurant for an eight-Euro dinner of roast chicken, salad, french fries, bread and wine for all of us!). Afterwards, we walked over to the little place that served cherry sherry. A couple of our group members started imitating the horses of Andalucia — dancing and prancing around the square. Suddenly, a four-man band (including an accordion player) appeared out of nowhere and struck up a lively tune. Within moments, everyone was dancing (except for those who were laughing and applauding!). We soon drew a small audience, and one of our tour members, as she danced, went around the rest of the group with hand held out for donations — which she then took over to the band. It was a great ending to a wonderful trip. Dancing in the streets of Lisbon at 9:00 on a Tuesday night is something I'd never have imagined I'd do, yet it will certainly be a memory I'll never forget!
— Karen in Columbia, MD
Oct 6, 2003
Reuniting with my cousin in Lisbon after 30 years was my magic moment.The Lisbon date of the tour along with the city activity schedule allowed for this reunion to take place.
— Lita in Alameda, CA
Oct 6, 2003
The carriage ride in Sevilla was really special. Robert made it seem like a spontaneous happening, which really enhanced the experience for all of us. I also enjoyed all of the picnics; I realize they are standard for a Rick Steves tour, but they add a great deal in terms of getting to know each other and gaining a feel for the country. Another special time was the side trip to the cork trees. Rick Steves Tours couldn't have planned on the shepherd and the 300 sheep wandering through; it was serendipity and all the more wonderful for that.
— Barbara in Midland, MI
Sep 29, 2003
I was greatly impressed with Picasso's Guernica and the guide's interpretation of the painting. Also, I was touched by the memorial to the 50,000 who died in the Spanish Civil War, the Valley of the Fallen. Finally, dinner at the Candido restaurant was quite a production, especially the smashing plates.
Sep 14, 2002
My magic moment was the picnic stop on the first bus day. It was a great ice breaker and just a nice way to relax and begin to enjoy Spain after the frenzy of Madrid. Sitting on a porch in Arcos with friends new and old sipping wine, watching the setting sun reflect golden off the church tower, seeing and hearing the swallows wheeling overhead, and having the church bells ring was not too shabby!
— Alex in Oakland, CA
May 12, 2003
For me, my magic moment was the religious procession through the streets of Granada. We saw a solid silver Virgin Mary carried by about 30 men. There was incense, candles and a band following the procession. The scene was just like in the movies!
— John in Santa Ynez, CA
May 12, 2003
The best part of the trip was when we pulled up, there was an old man weaving grass baskets. He had four finished that were laying on a blanket. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people off of the bus, so I asked the man how much they were and if I could buy one (they were only four Euros each). After buying one of the baskets I had our guide ask him if he would take a picture of us. The guide chatted with him and found out that he had lived there all of his life, and that he was now 80 years old. The basket is one of my most treasured souvenirs. It sits in my den full of flowers along with the picture of the old man and me.
— Renee in New Brighton, MN
May 12, 2003
I loved the free time to wander through the streets and see the locals "in action." We stumbled across a two-year old celebrating her birthday in a small pastry shop, saw two small neighborhood religious processions and listened to the Portuguese celebrate after a huge soccer win. And I'll never forget the 80-year old man who tried to kiss me while I was sitting on a park bench! It really gave me a better feeling for the people and the area.
— Sharon in Tualatin, OR
May 7, 2003