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We will experience 3000 years of history and an eclectic mix of landscapes: undulating sierras, mountains, lakes, dunes and atlantic coastline. We will be situated in the Southwestern part of Andalucia, the historic city of Seville to the North and Jerez with its sherry bodegas and dancing horses to the South. Eastwards is the Sierra de Cadiz, where the rugged hills of the sierra are densely wooded with pine trees and cork oaks. Clinging precariously to the edges of deep river gorges or perched on rocky cliffs, are a series of fascinating fortified towns known as simply los pueblos blancos, “the white villages.” Each year, villagers whitewash their homes to create a striking contrast to the flower filled streets.
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Day One, Corral del Rey
Guests are welcome to arrive during the early- to mid-afternoon on this day. Guests will have their afternoon at leisure to relax and get situated in our home away from home for the next three nights. The group will meet at our hotel in downtown Seville hotel for a welcome drink at 6 pm, for an overview of the week.
This evening, our adventures will begin with a “Tapas Crawl.” During this evening’s exploration of a variety of Seville’s finest tapas bars, we will become familiar with the region’s most common ingredients and this ritual that is el tapeo.
Day Two, Corral del Rey
After enjoying breakfast on the hotel’s roof terrace, we will meet as a group to visit Seville’s major historical sites. Our local guides will bring us through the Barrio Santa Cruz, where we will visit the Real Alcazar and Cathedral.
Seville’s Cathedral—larger than both Saint Paul’s in London and Saint Peter’s in Rome—was built on the site of an Islamic mosque in the late 12th century. A visit to the Royal Alcazar palace, which bears striking resemblance to Granada’s Alhambra, will provide us with context for the flavors and textures of southern Spanish culture that we will encounter throughout the coming week, in the kitchen and beyond. With visions of these historical monuments still fresh in our minds, we will wander the maze of narrow streets that make up the Barrio Santa Cruz, once the city’s Jewish quarter, filled with wrought iron gates and patios spilling flowers into the alleyways. Here, we will enjoy a light lunch at another lovely tapas bar.
Afternoon free to relax or for shopping in city.
Dinner as a group at another favorite sit-down restaurant in downtown Seville.
Day Three, Corral del Rey
After breakfast on the roof terrace, we will once again board our bus to the Sierra of Aracena, to visit a farm to see how the local, Iberian pigs are reared, and then to one of the most well-known ham producers in the village of Jabugo, a mythical name in Spain for fine ham. We will taste some of their jamon Iberico, along with a glass of fino Sherry. Lunch at the farmhouse.
Returning to Seville, we will have the evening free to relax or explore the surrounding town.
In the early evening we’ll be treated to a flamenco show. Afterwards, the evening will be free to enjoy dinner on your own (nearby recommendations will be provided).
Day Four, Hacienda de San Rafael
After breakfast on the roof terrace, we will meet one of Seville’s most renowned chefs. Today, he will take us for a trip to Seville’s fish market, and help us to pick out a full fresh fish, which we will take back to his kitchen for a cooking lesson. Lunch in the restaurant.
After lunch, a siesta to relax or pack before departing Seville for our next location: the Hacienda de San Rafael.
Upon arrival at the Hacienda, we will be welcomed with an aperitivo before enjoying some time to relax by the pools or in the gardens.
Dinner will be served in the dining room.
Day Five, Hacienda de San Rafael
Each morning at the Hacienda, we will each enjoy breakfast in our private verandahs, an exquisite basket of fruits and other treats delivered straight to our door.
After breakfast, we will travel to Jerez to visit its vibrant fish market. After, a private visit to a sherry bodega to learn about one of southern Spain’s most celebrated exports.
We’ll continue south to Sanlucar de Barameda, a small town at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, famous for its waters plentiful with prawns and the launching point for Christopher Coumbus’ famous voyage. We’ll have lunch at a local favorite specializing in seafood and located on the waterfront.
Aperitivo back at the Hacienda, followed by a light supper in the dining room.
Day Six, Hacienda de San Rafael
After enjoying breakfast on our private verandahs, we will visit a bull farm, where we will be witness the matador’s training exercises and settle in the kitchen for a cooking class, followed by lunch.
Once again, aperitivo drinks back at the Hacienda, before enjoying a light supper in the dining room.
Day Seven, Hacienda de San Rafael
Today, the Hacienda will open its own kitchen to us and Chef Isabel, born and raised in the nearby village, will treat us to a lesson on some of the region’s more traditional home-cooked fare. world. We’ll enjoy lunch at the Hacienda
This afternoon will be open for rest and relaxation, soaking in our final day at the Hacienda, our home away from home.
This evening, aperitivo will be offered in the gardens (weather permitting), before we gather for our farewell dinner.
Day Eight, Departure
Breakfast on our private verandahs, followed by group transfer to airport in Seville. (Guests are advised to book flights departing after 1pm on this day. Earlier, private airport transfers may be arranged for an additional cost.)