Summary : CULINARY EXPEDITION - Gourmets everywhere will be whetting their taste buds as the jewels of Europe’s gastronomy are showcased during this voyage. From sampling Portugal’s famous port and Bordeaux’s delicious wine, to feasting your eyes on UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the world-renown Guggenheim in Bilbao, this epicurean adventure is a must for anyone with a combined love of food and adventure. With daily cooking classes centered on the local specialities of the region, this journey is a must for gastronomes and culture lovers alike.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$6,000 to $23,600
Embark Silver Cloud, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. Later there will be a Sail Away cocktail and you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and your guest lecturers. Tonight enjoy the first of many memorable dinners in one of the restaurants, specially prepared by the Culinary Experts and your Executive Chef.
Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine. Oporto's strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town's importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries.
La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th-century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors. It was after Galicia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias that the epic saga of the Pilgrimage to Santiago (St. James) began.
Ribadesella serves as the starting point for three very different full day excursions: a drive to Oviedo and Gijon will permit you to visit the culturally and historically important city of Oviedo, the modern capital of Asturias and to enter La Laboral, Spain’s biggest building holding the “City of Culture” and part of Gijon’s university. A traditional lunch will be served in a local restaurant in Gijon.
For nature lovers a visit to the lakes of Covadonga will be of interest. Located within the National Park Los Picos de Europa, beautiful panoramic views of the lakes and surrounding landscape can be enjoyed weather permitting. Covadonga holds a special historical meaning for Spain, as the Reconquista started here in 722 after the first Christian victory over the Moors. Lunch will be served at the Parador de Cangas.
For those interested in architecture, an excursion to Comillas and Santillana del Mar will let you see “El Capricho”, the modernist palace of the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, and one of the most beautiful and well-preserved towns in Spain. Lunch will be at a Parador in Santillana.
The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, and other reminders of Gijón's time as an ancient Roman port remain visible downtown. Gijón was almost destroyed in a 14th-century struggle over the Castilian throne, but by the 19th century it was a thriving port and industrial city. The modern-day city is part fishing port, part summer resort, and part university town, packed with cafés, restaurants, and sidrerías.
Time in Bilbao (Bilbo, in Euskera) may be recorded as BG or AG (Before Guggenheim or After Guggenheim). Never has a single monument of art and architecture so radically changed a city. Frank Gehry's stunning museum, Norman Foster's sleek subway system, the Santiago Calatrava glass footbridge and airport, the leafy César Pelli Abandoibarra park and commercial complex next to the Guggenheim, and the Philippe Starck Alhóndiga Bilbao cultural center have contributed to an unprecedented cultural revolution in what was once the industry capital of the Basque Country.Greater Bilbao contains almost 1 million inhabitants, nearly half the total population of the Basque Country.
Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points within it, is what you'll want to visit in order to understand why Victor Hugo described it as Versailles plus Antwerp, and why the painter Francisco de Goya, when exiled from his native Spain, chose it as his last home (he died here in 1828). The capital of southwest France and the region's largest city, Bordeaux remains synonymous with the wine trade: wine shippers have long maintained their headquarters along the banks of the Garonne, while buyers from around the world arrive for the huge biennial Vinexpo show (held in odd-number years).
Lovely Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest of a small clutch of islands off the coast of Brittany. Just twelve miles long and less than four miles wide, this verdant atoll benefits from a mild climate, which contributes to the abundant flora found here. Fragrant eucalyptus, exotic gingko and mimosa trees, bountiful figs and colorful oleanders are all part of the lush landscape. Secluded, small beaches along coastal paths and quiet roadways are perfect for hiking and biking. Le Palais, the island’s main town, boasts a 16th-century citadel standing guard near the harbor. Monet painted the charming village of Sauzon during a stay in 1886 and Sarah Bernhart owned a home on the island for several years.
Visit Locronan, France’s most picturesque medieval village. Once there, you will have a guided visit and will see the church with its 15th century stained glass depicting the passion of Saint Ronan. At Le Guillou bakery you can taste the traditional Breton butter cake known as “kouign amann” before watching a group of Breton dancers in their traditional costumes, introducing you to Brittany’s rich culture and identity.
Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by tenuous man-made causeways, romantic St-Malo has built a reputation as a breeding ground for phenomenal sailors. Many were fishermen, but others—most notably Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for Francis I in 1534—were New World explorers. Still others were corsairs, "sea dogs" paid by the French crown to harass the Limeys across the Channel: legendary ones like Robert Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin helped make St-Malo rich through their pillaging, in the process earning it the nickname "the pirates' city.
Le Havre, founded by King Francis I of France in 1517, is located in Upper Normandy on the north bank of the mouth of the River Seine, which is considered the most frequented waterway in the world. Its port is ranked the second largest in France. The city was originally built on marshland and mudflats that were drained in the 1500’s. During WWII most of Le Havre was destroyed by Allied bombing raids. Post war rebuilding of the city followed the development plans of the well-known Belgian architect Auguste Perre. The reconstruction was so unique that the entire city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
London is an ancient city whose history greets you at every turn. If the city contained only its famous landmarks—the Tower of London or Big Ben—it would still rank as one of the world's top cities. But London is so much more. The foundations of London's character and tradition endure. The British bobby is alive and well. The tall, red, double-decker buses (in an updated model) still lumber from stop to stop. Then there's that greatest living link with the past—the Royal Family with all its attendant pageantry. To ice the cake, swinging-again London is today one of the coolest cities on the planet.
Following breakfast on board, disembark Silver Cloud.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (Le Champagne Restaurant excluded); butler service; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Vista and Veranda Suites receive one hour of included internet access per guest/per day; Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive unlimited internet access; Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in Le Champagne (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at Le Champagne Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises