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Trip Report Amazing Spain & Portugal with Insight Vacations

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Just returned from a 10 day tour of Spain and Portugal with Insight Vacations. I actually booked the tour through Grand European Tours which I tapped into through the AARP site. Apparently Insight is a "sister company".

I am an older lady; I've never left North America before; and I traveled alone.

Our tour members were wonderful (there were 39 of us). The tour director (Anita) was excellent and very knowledgeable. Our bus driver (Eugenio) was also excellent.

For my first international adventure I liked the length of the tour. I would recommend this tour and I would recommend Insight Vacations; I would travel with them again; I felt safe and cared for throughout the trip.

It's true that you cover a lot of territory and living out of a suitcase takes a bit of getting used to. I got tired of the early calls but they are worth it to see everything that is included. Our hotels were good and wonderfully located. I got a good night's sleep every night because the beds and pillows were excellent. Sleeping on the bus was not an option for me nor was it necessary.

Portugal was a wonderful surprise for me. I loved it and want to go back. I took an optional tour to Cascais and Sintra (where we toured the palace) that I wouldn't have missed for anything. Lisbon sports a great outdoor café on the plaza downtown where the scenery is wonderful and the beers are even better! The Portuguese are very proud that many of them speak English and the food and wines were exceptional. Another option in Lisbon was the Fado Evening. Not to be missed! The venue was wonderful, the food and wines were delicious, and the show was outstanding!

Spain was my featured destination. I was not disappointed. Toledo was amazing with its beautiful damascene (sp?) jewelry and the El Greco masterpiece. The Tagus River flows past Toledo. This is THE river that empties into the Atlantic at Lisbon. What a great trip detail! I also loved the optional tour to Córdoba. It was like being in a postcard with the whitewashed walls and colorful geraniums everywhere. We toured the Mezquita. Breathtaking! Another tour member and I had lunch at a beautifully tiled restaurant there called "Bar Restaurante Federacion de Peñas". I ordered from the Menu del Dia and was delighted with my meal. There is nothing about Spain that I didn't love (hundreds of miles of olive groves, vineyards, and shepherds with their dogs and sheep) but I have to mention Avila - truly a step way back in time - as a standout for me. In Sevilla, if you stay in the neighborhood, walk down Via Alcala to a little wifi (pronounced weefee in Spain) bar named Lemón. Order "un vaso de vinto tinto - Rioja" and email all your friends while sipping your wine. I was the only tourist in there and was treated very well. In Madrid I skipped the Prado (I'll go there next time) and went instead to the Reina Sofia art museum to see Picasso's "Guernica". What an unforgettable moment! What an unforgettable building! I could go on and on citing favorites but there's more to mention before I run out of space and risk boring you.

Every morning we had the most sumptuous and wonderful buffet breakfasts at our hotels: fresh fruits, meats, scrambled eggs, waffles, yogurt, juices, cereals, breads and - BEST OF ALL - Café con Leche. Would I travel with Insight again? You bet! I'd even take this same tour again. Salud and Happy Travels!

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