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Curated Travel, Guest Blog, Member Spotlight

Traveler Spotlight: The Feil’s & The O’Hara’s trip to Spain and Portugal


November 19, 2018 • By THIRDHOME

Be inspired by this Curated Journey designed by THIRDHOME Adventures & Custom Travel

 

THIRDHOME members and good friends, Phyllis & Don Feil and Tamra & Charlie O’Hara, embarked on a journey together through Spain and Portugal. This Curated Journey, designed by THIRDHOME Custom Travel, allowed each member to enjoy their vacation without the hassle of planning. These 4 members were lucky enough to experience luxury accommodations in historic Paradores, once lived in by European royals.

Phillis Feil provided a first-hand account of her Curated Journey to Spain and Portugal. Keep reading for her account of this amazing experience.

 

We just returned from a trip of a lifetime to Spain and Portugal, and can’t thank Liz Bates enough for putting together a perfect vacation.  From the first time I contacted THIRDHOME, until the very last detail, the entire planning process seemed way too easy. Liz did an incredible job fulfilling our expectations, including transportation, rental car, and accommodations. She saved us hours of research and planning. I highly recommend the THIRDHOME Adventures & Custom Travel.

 

Gaudi Architecture Barcelona, SpainPark Guell Gaudi Spain

 

During our 14 day journey thru Spain and Portugal, we stayed at beautiful Paradores along the way. (One of the best kept secrets of Spain and Portugal, Paradores offer luxury accommodations in historic buildings or castles built for european royalty). Every stop was a new and exciting experience. From Barcelona up to the wine country of Rioja, down to Toledo, Granda, Ronda, Malaga, and a quick flight to Portugal, it was hard to say which Paradore was our favorite.  Each location was first class with captivating views and rich heritage. Our first stop was in Barcelona, after disembarking from a Mediterranean cruise. Liz had a private driver waiting to pick us up and drop us off at our hotel.  Then we were off to explore the sites of the city. Local markets, cathedrals, and parks were all within walking distance from our location.

 

Parador Santo Domingo, SpainParador Santo Domingo, Spain

 

In Barcelona we picked up the rental car, and began our Spain road trip. First stop was the Rioja wine region. The scenery was hard to believe. One rolling vineyard after another and such an easy drive. The Paradore we stayed in was on the path of the Pilgrim Walk, or El Camino de Santiago, which was an added bonus. We really enjoyed seeing and meeting people from all over the world. 

 

Toledo Cathedral, SpainToledo, Spain

 

After spending a few days in La Rioja we packed the car and headed south to Toledo.  The Paradore was located at the top of the hill, overlooking the historic Toledo UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Paradore restaurant had the best views of Toledo, and served delicious authentic Spanish cuisine. A tour of the famous Saint Mary of Toledo Cathedral was the highlight of our visit. Its a must see if you travel to Toledo. Words can not express the beauty.

 

Toledo, Spain Sierra Nevada Mountains Olive Trees, Spain

 

After spending a few days in Toledo we packed the car again, and headed south to Granada. The drive thru the Sierra Nevada Mountains was amazing, passing by hundreds of olive tree orchards and vineyards. We had no idea that olive trees lived up to 1,500 years old. We arrived a few hours later and checked into the Paradore, which was located inside the Alhambra, and just steps away from the front entrance.  The following day we spent touring the Alhambra, General Gardens,  and Moorish heritage. So many beautiful things to see!

 

Paradore in Ronda, Spain Cliff in Ronda, Spain

 

Next stop was Ronda, Spain, located around one hour from Granada. This was one of our favorite Paradores. The views from our balconies were like a postcard. Ronda is so picturesque and such a charming place to visit. There were many restaurants and stores to shop within a two minute walk of our location.  The town is gleaming from the white buildings and cobblestone streets.

 

Cliff view of Ronda, Spain  Ocean view of Malaga, Spain

After leaving Ronda, we headed to the Mediterranean coastline city of Malaga, the birth place of Picasso. We stayed at the Paradore Malaga, which overlooked a bull fight arena and cruise port. Once again, we were very happy wth the accommodations, views, and incredible Spanish cuisine offered on property. We got lucky and arrived the day of a large festival celebration. We attended the festivities offered by the Paradore restaurant. What a way to end our journey through Spain….. with fireworks and an amazing five course Spanish dinner.

 

Parador Restaurant special evening dinner Fireworks Show during Dinner
           The following morning we boarded a quick fight to Lisbon Portugal to spend our last few days of vacation.  Lisbon is spread across hillsides and overlooks the shoreline. From Gothic cathedrals, to castles, and museums there is so much to see. Not to mention the waterfront square with all the incredible seafood restaurants to choose from. We enjoyed the fresh seafood platters and romantic ambiance.

 

Building in Lisbon, PortugalThe Feil's and the O'Hara's in Lisbon, Portugal

 

          To sum it all up, Liz Bates did an outstanding job of putting our dream vacation together. We would do it all over again and not change a thing. It was hard to leave and come back home after experiencing the beauty that Spain and Portugal has to offer.  Back to Houston and reality for now.  Cheers until our next incredible journey through THIRDHOME Adventures & Custom Travel.

 

Contact liz@thirdhome.com to start planning your Curated Journey. 
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Special thanks to Phyllis for sharing her experience with THIRDHOME Travel & Concierge!