BARCELONA/MALLORCA (Summer 2016)
Our first trip begins in the Catalan city of Barcelona, where we experience the romance, the sights, sounds and tastes of the Spain that Picasso, Dali, Miro, Tapies and the plethora of Spanish artists and poets shared in the "Barcelona de las Artes." In addition, we will experience Mediterranean gastronomy with the atmosphere of flamenco. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco one of the "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."
We begin with the spectacular architecture of the figurehead of Catalan Modernisme, Antoni Gaudi, to set our bearings in the City. We then retreat to the calm and serenity of the Fundacio Miro, the Museu Picasso in the five adjoining medieval palaces of La Ribera, and on to the museum of the famous Catalan painter, Antoni Tapies. Our visit to Barcelona will conclude with a short train journey to the Salavador Dali Museum in Figueras. All the while, we hear and taste the essence of Barcelona.
After our week of culture, music, food, art, poetry and fun in Barcelona, we take a one hour flight to the magical waters of the Balearic Island of Mallorca. More of an intimate experience, we will visit the homes and studios of Joan Miro in Palma de Mallorca and the palatial home and museum of Joaquin Torrents Llado, the artist who painted the European jet set along with the kings and queens of Europe.
Majorca is a jewel in the Mediterranean landscape, blessed with imposing mountains, wonderful bays and beaches, as well as an ideal climate, almost all-year-round. The art and culture scene's beating heart can be found in the island's capital Palma de Mallorca, whose museums and art galleries are comparable with anything on the international circuit.
We will drive around the island and pay homage to the vacation retreat of composer Frederic Chopin and his lover, the novelist, George Sand. They spent the winter of 1838/1839 at the Carthusian monastery in Valdemossa. It is here that George Sand recounts the story of her perceptions and opinions of the people of Mallorca.
We visit the neighboring village of Deia, aptly known as the artist's colony. Deia perches precariously high above the seashore clinging to the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, flanked by pine and cedar forests, olive groves and lemon orchards.
It was here that Deia's most famous resident, British poet Robert Graves, author of "I, Claudius," swam every night. Graves attracted bohemian followers and movie stars to his villa Ca N'Alluny (The Far House). Ava Gardner gave him the black matador's hat he was often seen wearing in photographs. We spend a night at La Residencia, or La Res as it's known to returning guests. It was once four separate mansions, all grand fincas, which lorded it over Deia when the village was a remote peasant outpost on the island's western coast.
Richard Branson turned La Residencia into a luxury hotel and sold it to Orient Express. It's a sumptuous retreat for celebrities sinking into the hotel's heavy Spanish sofas in cool oak-beamed lounges. Princess Diana famously took refuge at La Res when her marriage broke up, and Andrew Lloyd Webber reserved the entire hotel to celebrate his 60th birthday.
With separate villas linked by secretive stone passageways, Spanish arches and tumbling olive terraces, La Res gives up its secrets slowly. It has a private beach, a great spa, three pools, complimentary yoga and tennis courts.
Afterwards, we drive to the fairy tale village of Banyalbufar (population approx 600) for lunch at the Hotel Mar i Vent and explore the cliffs where Joaquin Torrents Llado found his inspiration to paint. Then on to the fishing village of Port Andratx, to peruse the local art galleries, as we make our way back to Palma, the capital city of Mallorca.
If you are looking for a journey that will fill your heart and ease your soul, this is the one that will sweep you off your feet and land you in a state of bliss for decades to come. When Joseph Campbell said "follow your bliss," he must have been referring to Mallorca........
Dates and Cost of trip TBA
ANCIENT & MODERN TURKEY: ISTANBUL & the Aegean and Turquoise coasts of the archaeological and historic arts