"As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life, and travel, leave marks on you. Most of the time those marks, on your body or your heart, are beautiful. Often though, they hurt"
Anthony Bourdain, the late great travelling chef, writer, TV presenter & humanitarian
Those words above express, far better than I ever could, my own experience. Scars there may be, yet there is also a wealth of vivid memories that sustain me, whether of people or places. Those threads weave an intense story.
A recurring theme in my travel-writing, books and tours is my love of mixing the high-end with the low, beauty with quirkiness, sophistication with the everyday. I seek the unusual and above all the authentic – light years from tours where 'travellers' have little contact with local people and follow well-trodden paths strewn with clichés.
Instead, why not share my spirit of adventure to dive deep beneath the surface? Come with me to discover the real Andalucía on a journey through its rich, complex culture and majestic landscapes studded with unforgettable monuments and full of great characters. Once you know the region, you will be hooked, I guarantee it.
Another trip, The Kingdoms of Andalucia, was initially scheduled to run in May and September 2020 however the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that. It may reappear so I am including it here. Devised by the talented historian, Felipe Trigo and run by the innovative American company, Atlas Obscura, it uncovers the hidden worlds of Andalucia's three great cities: Seville, Cordoba and Granada. During the 8-day tour, I shall be sharing culinary information and anecdotes beside Felipe's inspired historical input.
Another Andalucian experience, Sierra Food and Wine in the Heart of Andalucia - A Ronda Cooking Adventure, led together with two professional cooks, takes place in a beautiful, relaxing finca just outside Ronda, with excursions to olive mills, bodegas, Roman ruins, pueblos blancos and other wonders, as well as cooking workshops at the finca. Get a group of foodie friends together and contact me for details, dates and to reserve the salivating adventure (maximum 10 guests)!
In November 2018, I led my Secret Andalucía tour to the eastern side of Andalucía, taking in Malaga, Almeria, Antequera and the queen of the south, Granada. Between the cities, we enjoyed fabulous restaurants featured in my book, visited inhabited cave-dwellings, an olive-mill, an organic caviar farm and met a top ceramicist in his studio. "We would never have been able to experience a time like this without your help". S & F, Carlisle, PA. Read more about the tour in this interview with me in SUR
Looking ahead to autumn 2021, I shall again be leading an Andalucian tour to Cordoba and Granada and surroundings, this time with ACE Cultural Tours. Gastronomy will be king! More to follow...Again, like the Kingdoms tour, this was stymied by the pandemic but may run in 2022.
Instead of joining a group, why not consult me on a private bespoke tour? I can design an itinerary according to your tastes, interests, energy and budget. For nearly 10 years I was an expert on National Geographic tours through northern Spain - so, as an alternative to Andalucia, I can devise an itinerary taking in Galicia's peerless seafood, Asturian chefs and cheeses and the Basque country's famed pintxos - plus mountains and sea. Don't hold back!