- Spain Trip Reviews
- Pastoral sights
Nov 30 - Dec 6, 2022
Kimkim paired us with Spanish travel specialist Irene who coordinated our 7-day drive through the Extremadura region southwest of Madrid, after we spent 10 days with friends in Sevilla and Madrid. With minimal Spanish fluency, my husband and I were nervous about driving on our own through the countryside for a week, but Irene managed every detail, allowing us to experience this extraordinary agricultural and historical region. She designed an itinerary that incorporated each destination we... read more
Kimkim paired us with Spanish travel specialist Irene who coordinated our 7-day drive through the Extremadura region southwest of Madrid, after we spent 10 days with friends in Sevilla and Madrid. With minimal Spanish fluency, my husband and I were nervous about driving on our own through the countryside for a week, but Irene managed every detail, allowing us to experience this extraordinary agricultural and historical region. She designed an itinerary that incorporated each destination we requested and hit the mark in every respect, assuring that we felt safe and looked after throughout this part of our journey. She arranged the car rental, reserved exquisite hotels for no less than two-night stays as we requested, and arranged local English-speaking tour guides for each major destination we requested along the way. Although our tours ranged from laidback to frenetic, each guide was prompt, passionate, and informative, aimed to address our interests as well as share their favorite sites and stories, and helped us feel safe and welcome. The best guide for us was Álvaro with whom we spent two full days. An expert in the region’s “dehesa” and agrarian culture, Álvaro shared a thrilling visit to witness as hundreds of newly born lambs were vaccinated and marked to pair them with their mothers, a stroll among a herd of Iberian black pigs, and a tour and tasting at a family-run processing plant for curing ham. Álvaro also guided us through architectural antiquities in Plasencia and through the Monfragüe National Park, including a mountain top hike and birdwatching expedition, and provided two of the most outstanding culinary experiences of our trip: the tasting with the owner of the processing plant and a picnic with his colleague Esther at a panoramic mountainside location. We are grateful to Kimkim and to Irene for her understanding and for meeting our specific requests to create as seamless and stress-free a travel experience as possible.
Wonderful hotel and experience. Comfortable modern room in this historic renovated convent. Excellent breakfast buffet and table service and one of the best dining restaurants of our three-week travel through Spain. Convenient location.
Spacious corner room with a great view of the Plaza Mayor. Airy and bright but easy to black out the windows for sleep and quiet. Good breakfast in convenient dining room. Front desk staff were attentive and accommodating.
The tour began on the steps of the walled city, where we stood too long next to a loud generator that made it difficult to hear and understand our guide; we wish our guide had taken the initiative to step to a quieter spot much sooner. Our guide Javier was relatively low energy and, unfortunately, the night was cold and rainy, which detracted from the experience. Javier was well-informed and shared many intriguing stories and points of history. The sites themselves were stunning and beautifully lit at night. We did not know how long a tour to expect, so when Javier said at several points that we could go into a building or museum then or come back later on our own, we opted not to enter each time in order to walk and see more. In retrospect, I wish Javier had encouraged us to step inside from time to time to get out of the rain and cold. We were able to tour the walled city fairly thoroughly, and did return the next day, but might have enjoyed touring some of the interiors with Javier who had extensive knowledge about the architectural, political, religious, and art history of the city.
The Roman ruins in Merida were our primary focus and we were thrilled to walk among the ruins of the theater, amphitheater, and Temple of Diana. These spots have enough authentic relics to ground the viewer in their historical relevance and enough restoration to give a feel of their awesome grandeur. Our guide Juan Luis, native to the city, was informed, funny, and responsible to attend to our interests and comfort. Right away, he stepped up to help us find parking, paced our walk among sites to match our interests and stamina, then recommended restaurants for us to access following the tour. He relayed stories of historical importance and reveled in trivia about the daily lives of ancient Romans which made his tour especially fun and engaging.
Perhaps the highlight of our three weeks in Spain, the experiences our guide Álvaro shared in the dehesa met and exceeded our hopes for pastoral experiences of the Spanish countryside. He shared deep knowledge and passion for sustainable agriculture and demonstrated an impressive grasp of the intersection of politics, economics, geography, and biology in determining the past and likely future of this region. We got rare glimpses of the workings of animal husbandry due to his investment in and commitment to individuals who work the land and whose efforts maintain the local culture and economy. We strongly recommend this experience for anyone interested to get out of the urban centers and seek to learn about the people and culture of this region of Spain.
A tour of this beautiful park was a great change from the urban areas we also visited on this trip to Spain. We enjoyed a mountaintop walk to an ancient Castillo offering amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the area, birdwatching with binoculars and a telescope the guide provided, and a delicious picnic provided by our guide.
This was a busy tour both because there was much to see and because our guide kept a fast pace to cover a number of sites in limited time. His knowledge and passion of this hometown were evident as was his professional commitment to being a guide. He encouraged us to return later to visit several sites we passed; we were able to return to a couple of them but the initial tour was so rushed that we could not get our bearings and had difficulty finding some locations when we tried to return. Nevertheless, Salamanca was one of our favorite cities to visit in Spain due to its remarkable architecture, profoundly significant 15th-century history regarding discoveries of the "new world," and the presence and influence of the third-oldest surviving university in Europe.
Dear both,It was a pleasure for me and my GenuineSpain colleagues to be your local hosts in our country.
We really appreciate your words and they help us to keep improving and offering responsible tourism experiences in Spain and Europe.
A big hug and we hope to have you back in Spain in the future.
Irene Carravilla, Susana and Giulia