Northern Spain
Southern France

We flew to Dubai and had a 2-day stopover.  During our time in Dubai we went to the Spice and Gold Markets in Old Dubai, a Yellow Boat (large Zodiac) tour of the Dubai Harbour getting up close to Al Burj and the Palms complex, visited the Dubai Aquarium, went to the top of Burj Khalifa (124th floor) and spent time at Dubai Mall and also watch the light and sound fountain show in the water complex outside the Mall.       

We then flew on to Barcelona, our first stop in the Northern Spain part of our tour. While in Barcelona we had a walking tour of the city, visited Sagrada Familia, spent a couple of days exploring the city with the Hop-On, Hop Off buses, visited the La Boqueria Markets and followed this with a Cooking School class.  Las Ramblas was a mass of flowers and candles as the terrorist attack had occurred only 1 week prior. 

We took a train down to Sitges, south of the city, and spent a day enjoying their St Bartholomew Festival.  We also enjoyed a day trip to Monserrat (means Razor Mountains) and toured some of the Cava region enjoying a tasting and lunch as part of this.  We then took to the road and travelled through the Northern part of Spain, overnighting at the historic hilltop town of Sos del Rey Catolico and then the beautiful seaside town of San Sebastian. 

From here we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the sculpture park, Chillida Leku.  Back in San Sebastian we had a Pinxtos (Basque equivalent of tapas all done on toothpicks) walking tour of the old part of the town in San Sebastian – done during a torrential thunderstorm!!  We then travelled through to Bordeaux where we joined our APT river cruise ship, MS AmaDolce, for a spectacular 8-day cruise through the Bordeaux rivers that (no surprise) focussed on wines. We explored the various river tributaries and went on at least 2 excursions each day that included visits to wineries, seeing how barrels are made, visited a caviar farm followed by a tasting, and visited Cognac Otard. 

On a return to Bordeaux at the end of the trip, we witnessed the amazing the tidal bore, known locally as the Mascaret Wave.  Waves of up to 3 metres travel more than 160kms from the ocean estuary, and we saw jetskiers enjoying the ride on this wave.  At the end of the cruise we then travelled to Carcassone, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence that dates back to 6BC. 

We overnighted at a hotel within the walls and so had the city to ourselves for the evening and early morning the next day.  We then travelled across to Nice where we spent a few nights before we flew home.  During our time there, we travelled to the Fragonard (perfumery) museum in Grasse and visited the private modern and contemporary art collection of the Maeght Foundation. 

One of our days here, everyone was able to go and do tours that they were specifically interested in or just explore Nice.  We flew from Nice through to Dubai (stopover only) and then back home.  This tour featured wine, gastronomy and art and was a delight for all our senses.        

Northern Spain & Southern France
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