Northern Spain Tour, Fall 2008
by: Dean Dalton, July 7, 2008 12:07:20 pm
KUHF's Fall Tour to the North of Spain
The purported tomb of St. James was discovered in 813 in the wilds of Galicia, the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, and soon began to attract pilgrims. Roads and bridges were built which soon coalesced into a standard route, along which hospices and monasteries were founded and secondary shrines established. Much later, during the war of American Independence, John Adams was ordered by Congress to go to Paris to obtain funds for the cause. His ship started leaking and he disembarked with his two sons in the northwest town of Finisterre in 1779, where he proceeded to follow the Way of St. James in the opposite direction, in order to get to Paris overland. It is this pilgrimage route in reverse, more or less, that we will follow on this tour. Starting our adventure in the city of Santiago de Compostela, the most romantic and historic of Spain's great cities, we work our way east via Leon, an ancient town of Romanesque buildings, Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, Burgos and its wealth of 17th-century buildings and Bilbao, with its famous Guggenheim Museum.
While this trip certainly offers a variety of musical attractions, gastronomically, it will be a revelation. From Galicia to Bilbao, local cuisine mixes a strong sense of tradition with startling innovation. From the all-male dining clubs, where friends cook for each other, to the indoor markets spilling over with smoked idiazabal cheeses and gleaming fresh fish, from the rustic cider clubs to the chic new bars vying for the ‘tapas of the year' prize, the north of Spain prides itself on the quality and provenance of its food. There will be time for special culinary adventure too, as we savor the gourmet food of Juan-Marie Arzak (the most famous restaurateur in Spain), Martín Berasategui, Pedro Subijana and Hilario Arbelaitz. Together, they share no fewer than eleven Michelin stars.
We will also visit the countryside of La Rioja, the northern rim of the most prestigious wine-making area in Spain and the Pyrenees. Between visits to restaurants, wineries and special food shops, we explore mediaeval villages, Gothic churches and Baroque interiors, and see examples of the outstanding contemporary architecture by Gehry, Calatrava and Moneo as well.
Download the brochure with complete details and a reservation form; if you have questions, email Dean Dalton at DDalton@KUHF.org
Dean Dalton, Director of Cultural Programming and Tour Host