The first hominids to enter Europe from Africa came this way, and millennia later, Andalusia became the meeting place of the Mediterranean and transatlantic worlds. As we shall see, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Byzantines all left their marks here, and the Moors ruled for nearly 700 years from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Moorish Al-Andalus, centred on Cordoba and Granada, our bases, was one of the most cultured, and sometimes tolerant, kingdoms of Europe. For the three nights in Cordoba we shall stay at Las Casas de la Judería de Cordoba (www.lascasasdelajuderiadecordoba.com), a hotel created from 17th- and 18th-century houses in the old Jewish quarter, midway between the Great Mosque, now the Cathedral, and the 14th-century synagogue.
The second half of the week, we will stay at Palacio de Santa Inés (www.palaciosantaines.es) in Granada, where from the terrace of this 16th-century hotel we have a fine view of the great palace of the Alhambra. During our stay we should be able to enjoy what Bill Clinton rightly called ‘the most beautiful sunset in the world’. The gardens of the Alhambra and the Generalife are among civilisation’s highest triumphs. We shall also visit Malaga – very much more than an airport for tourists.
Monday 1st October – arrive at Malaga
12.15 Depart Gatwick flight number EZY 8607, arrive Malaga 16.10 . Transfer to boutique hotel. Talk by Huon Mallalieu.
Tuesday 2nd October – Cordoba – Mezquita and the Alcázar
The exquisite multi-arched Mezquita was built as a mosque (started in 785AD); after the Moors were expelled in 1236 it became a Christian Cathedral. The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is the palace where Queen Isabella first met Christopher Columbus in 1486; close by is the Roman bridge over the river Guadalquivir, and the Torre de Calahorra.
Wednesday 3rd October – Cordoba – Judería and the Royal Stables Show
The Judería, Cordoba’s old Jewish quarter is a fascinating and atmospheric network of narrow lanes and artisan shops: the Calle des las Flores, the Casa de Sefarad and the 14th-century Sinagoga, one of only three originals remaining in Spain. Tapas and the Royal Stables, 16th-century home of the famed Andalusian horses; we will have premier seats at a show of these incredible dancing horses.
Thursday 4th October – Antequera – Montilla
Transfer to Palacio de Santa Inés, in the Albaicín district of Granada, with views of the Alhambra. On our way, we stop at a Montilla vineyard for a tasting of cool amontillado then on to Antequera. Known as the Florence of Andalusia with more than thirty churches alongside Roman, Moorish and opulent Spanish-Baroque architecture, Antequera is a little explored gem. Just outside the town are three 4,500-year-old prehistoric burial chambers, the Menga, Viera and El Romeral dolmens. They are among the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe.
Friday 5th October – Granada – Generalife
Near to the Alhambra, the Gerneralife was used as a place of rest for Moorish royalty, a rural villa of cool courtyards with decorative gardens. Guided tour with the senior gardener of Generalife. After lunch: shopping and explore Albaicín.
Saturday 6th October – Malaga – Picasso and Thyssen museums
In old Malaga, merchants’ houses have been renovated and stylishly laid out to house the art of Pablo Picasso in the Museo Picasso. Afterwards we visit the Museo Carmen Thyssen which focuses on 19th-century art of Spain in general and of Andalusia in particular. Lunch is in one of the many seafood restaurants.
Sunday 7th October - Granada – Alhambra and Evening Flamenco Show
The Alhambra – the Red Castle, a love letter to Moorish culture – is part fortress (the Alcazar), part palace: with arches and colonnades, exquisite masonry, intricately carved ceilings and walls, cool pools in walled gardens; the Patio de los Leones, the14th-century Palacios Nazaries and Palacio de Comares and more. In the evening there is a magical flamenco show while we enjoy dinner at Jardines de Zoraya in the heart of Albaicín.
Monday 8th October – Malaga and home
Depart Malaga at 12:35 flight number EZY 8604, arriving Gatwick at 14.35.
Do book with Katherine to guarantee a place on firstname.lastname@example.org. Her number is 01225 427311.
HOW TO BOOK: Call 01225 427311 PRICE PER PERSON: £1,895 for those sharing a double/twin room, including everything apart from flights and drinks before and after lunch and dinner. We need to charge a single supplement of £300. Katherine will require a non-refundable deposit of £750. Final payment will be due by 1st July 2018. ----
IMPORTANT NOTE RE CURRENCY RATES
Due to the recent collapse of sterling, The Oldie needs to protect itself against further sudden falls, and, hence, reserves the right to change the price of the holiday. The Oldie is happy to maintain the current price until the euro drops below €1 to £1, using FairFX’s currency rates as the arbiter. The current rate is €1.10 for £1.
We will absorb (and you will not be charged for) any increase equivalent to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements, which excludes insurance premiums and any amendment charges. You will be charged for the amount over and above that, i.e. if the exchange rate falls below €0.98 to £1 before August 1st, 2018. However there will be no change after July 9th, 2018.
If this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of the price of your travel arrangements, you will have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid, except for an admin fee of £100. Should you decide to cancel: 1) you must do so within 14 days from the date on your final invoice of July 1st, 2018 2) We will provide a refund of insurance premiums paid to us if you can show that you are unable to transfer or reuse your policy. Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, i.e. if the euro were to reach €1.10 to £1, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection.