Traveller Story: Northern Spain Delights

Graeme and his wife Susan travelled on our Northern Spain & the Pyrenees tour in September 2018. They really enjoyed the spectacular scenery, visits to charming towns, the superb food and wine they experienced along the way and the ample free time they had to explore at their own pace. 


Traveller:

Graeme Lowe 


What tour did you travel on?

Northern Spain & the Pyrenees
 

When did you travel? 

September 2018 
 

Why did you select this particular tour?

Very few touring companies do Northern Spain, and none start in Madrid, include the Pyrenees, and combine a lovely loop through south-west France and back into Catalonia and finish in Barcelona, so we were excited to take our first tour with Albatross…and we are so glad we did!
 

Who did you travel with? 

My wife, Susan

 

Have you travelled with us previously?  

No, this was our first Albatross tour
 

What was your favourite place/s on your Albatross tour?

Our best memories were: Pamplona – how far do those bulls actually run? (we know!), quaint Haro and the Maques de Riscal vineyard, gorgeous Santander, being caught up in the Spanish Vuelta Cycle race (we have a T-shirt), the mountain town of Potes and the spectacular cable car ride into those jagged peaks, the Guggenheim Museo in Bilbao, flamboyant San Sebastian (and that last dinner!), the ‘technical stop’ in dreamy St Jean de Luz, the French Hautes-Pyrenees with the Col du Tourmalet and the cable car ride to the summit of the Pic Du Midi, Figueres and the extraordinary Dali Museum…then to finish in Barcelona!
 
We stayed in an apartment for 4 days post-tour to check if it was as good as so many tell us - it is!!
Also: Santander - great beachfront and relaxed atmosphere. Would happily holiday here!
 

What was the most amazing thing you saw or did on your Albatross tour?

  • The Dali museum in Figueres - until you see where Dali started as an artist and his early work you cannot fully appreciate his unique genius. As he said, "... I don't take drugs, I am the drug!".
  • Getting to top of the Col du Tormelet - it's amazing how those Tour de France cyclists make this incredible climb under pressure!
 

Tell us about your most memorable moment on tour?

There were so many - for a start all that amazing Spanish tapas/pintxos and red wine, available in so many quirky bars! Spanish food is truly so unique,and I know we were not the only members of the tour who bought tapas/pintxos recipe books!
  • The cable car ride at Fuente De and the view from the top!
  • Arriving at the top of the Pyrenees on Pic du Midi.
  • LaGuardia - the 14th century Gothic stone portal in the Church of Santa Maria de Los Reyes with the perfectly preserved 17th century polychrome figures of the 12 Apostles and the superb sculpture of the Madonna. They closed the portico in the 16th Century to preserve the colours - the only portal in Europe to do so!
  • The visit to Marques de Riscal bodegas - we love their Reserva!
 

What was your favourite meal on tour?

So many! The last dinner in San Sebastian and our Farewell dinner in Barcelona were the best for us as part of the tour package.
  • Mirepoix: tapas lunch at 'Respaud Patrick' - superb! Nice French Rose too! (many of the tour party ended up here too!)
  • Carcassone: tapas (raciones) in L'Escargot' restaurant (as good as San Sebastian!)
  • La Somail: walked across the Canal du Midi and had a great 'plat du jour' at L'escale di Somail Resaurant plus a great French Rose from Languedoc!
 

What advice do you have for anyone interested in travelling on this tour?

From booking the holiday to the last farewell dinner, the organisation was faultless, and once underway, with a coach load of 26 Aussies, it was a 16 day cavalcade of lush, green forested scenery, visiting and touring towns, hamlets, and cities, each one exuding its own charm and history, which we had ample free time to explore. Our hotels were always comfortable and their staff very accommodating, while the included dinners/lunches were all very generous and generally superb. Eve was a gracious and unflappable guide and our driver Oska was a safe driver and bag man.
 

Would you recommend this tour to family and friends?

Yes, it is a comprehensive itinerary to see places not on many tour operators lists (only once we saw an 'Insight' bus..in Bilbao!)
 
 
Our superb Northern Spain & the Pyrenees tour has regular departures from May until September. Click here to learn more about this exciting tour.
 
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Michele Zavaglia

Michele Zavaglia is the Marketing Manager at Albatross Tours.