Spainwithfriendstravel’s Weblog

March 10, 2021

#Spain #Tablao #Flamenco!

You don’t really know Spain until you experience Tablao Flamenco!

Flamenco’s instruments and music originated in #Andalucia during the VIII century under the #Moorish occupation and the growing Jewish and Christian Communities.

Later the #Gypsies “Gitanos” absorbed the sounds and instruments as part of their very own culture and way of life. It has remained this way to date. The “Gitano” Clans passed on through their songs the beginnings of Flamenco, eventually integrating it into their gypsy culture. The initial Flamenco consisted purely of sounds and songs accompanied by the rhythm of hands and palms. Later the guitar would be introduced and finally Flamenco would be complimented with footwork and “Castañuelas” (#castanets). #Castañuelas

In the 18th century schools of Flamenco started to blossom in the cities of #Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Sevilla’s “Triana” Gypsy Quarter. These styles and schools of Flamenco would extend to the Caves of Guadix, Sacramonte in Granada, Cordoba’s outskirts, Ronda and Jaen.

Flamenco like Jazz in America, originally was not favored by the elite and high society, it was seen mostly as entertainment for the working class. During the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th, you could only find performers of “Cante Jondo” an emotional singing and clapping of hands in local city cafes. Similar to the evolution and acceptance of Jazz in America.

This changed in the 1940’s and 50’s, when Flamenco started to gain popularity and “Tablao” footwork on wooden stages became a must see. With Tourism to Spain the demand grew even more to see Flamenco. Master guitarists such as Paco de Lucia, Victor Monge “Serranito”, or Tomatito are just a few of many that helped to bring guitar concerts to the large stage.

#Andalucia’s #culture, #heritage cities and #gastronomy are all intertwined with the history of Flamenco. When you visit #Sevilla’s Museum of Flamenco or the Andalusian Center of Flamenco in #Jerez de la Frontera, you’ll learn the many dancing styles and techniques as well as outfits used in Flamenco.

You will also learn of master dancers such as, Carmen Amaya, Cristina Hoyos, Sara Baras, Antonio Gades, “El Farruco” and singers like Carmen Linares, Lola Flores, Jose Mercé, José Domínguez Muñoz “El Cabrero” and Enrique Morente to name just a few.

We invite you to experience “Tablao” Flamenco and look forward to working with you in 2021!

Tell us: who will be traveling; names as they read on passports; day date time for your trip; preferred cities; prefer to fly First Class, Business Class or Coach at our #DiscountAirfares! Or would you prefer a private jet charter for your family and friends! Style and category of accommodations. We will curate your stellar vacation based on your wants, needs, desires, expectations and budget.

EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365
VISIT: Since 1985

December 16, 2020

Spain Basque Country Cuisine

There are more Michelin star restaurants in the Basque Country per capita than anywhere in the world, 29 and still counting. Since the 70’s pioneer Chef Juan Mari Arzak started to combined traditional Basque dishes with French gastronomy creating a whole new world class cuisine. “La Nueva Cocina Vasca”. Here you will partake of this great cuisine when you visit the sophisticated cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao, as well as the lovely historic towns of Hondarribia and Getaria. The abundant fishing waters of the North Atlantic, provide their Chefs with the perfect ingredients for unique seafood dishes.

Vegetables grown in their fertile Valleys are so flavorful, they have become main dishes in their own right. Like eggplant, white asparagus and wild mushrooms. Or you accompany a meat dish witha “Piparrada”, sweet red and green peppers sautéed in olive oil. Their secret is not very secret. Use the best natural produce and prepare them so as to enhance their natural flavors. It’s the way they’ve been cooking for generations.

We will introduce you to the delightful “Pintxos”, gourmet tapas, complimented with local white wine “Txakolí”’. A slightly effervescent, fruity and dry wine. Or you might prefer a world-class red from La Rioja Alavesa. The Basque Country is more than a region. It’s a culture. A friendly people with a history all their own and a language so different linguists can’t figure out its source.

Our Dine Your Way through Spain Programs are designed to not only be a feast for your palate, but for your eyes and hearts as well. We look forward to working with you in 2021 for all of your travel arrangements!

#TravelAgent #JessKalinowsky
EMAIL: 24|7|365
VISIT: since 1985

December 5, 2020

Portugal Paths of Faith Fatima Center

Portugal Paths of Faith Fatima Center. We are humbled to share with you some of the most amazing faith based experiences.

Portugal is indeed a country of Faith, but that is not all that you will find as you explore its 900 year old history, culture and savory foods and top ranked wines. It is no accident that Portugal, has won the Best Travel Destination in Europe in 2020, for a fourth year in a row.

The Marian Shrine of Fatima is one of the top visited religious sites in Portugal, here your clients can walk the footsteps of Our Lady and visit the homes of the three shepherds that were witness to the Miracles of Fatima. However, Religious Tourism is much more than the city of Fatima. Head North and you will find Our Lady of Sameiro in the city of Braga, the second most visited shrine in the country, welcomes you with a stunning cathedral.

The Convent of Christ situated in the walls of the Templar Castle is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Southern Plains of the Alentejo, the Evora Cathedral rises above the city and is the largest medieval cathedral in Portugal. In the same city, you will find the Temple of Diana and the Chapel of Bones.

Portugal is home to one of the oldest working Jewish Communities in Europe and we can create a personalized itinerary for you.

Our individually curated religious itineraries will have you experience first hand the history and traditions of these churches, cathedrals and other religious sites.

Honored to partner with the Producers of the Movie “Fatima” that recently premiered in the United States to create an itinerary where you can visit the towns and villages that gave life to this amazing movie. This especially designed program will include visits to the Carmelite Convent in Coimbra where Sister Lucy spent the last years of her life as well as exploring the area in and around #Fatima where the bulk of the movie was filmed. This amazing program will have you travel back in time and experience FATIMA as never before.

Our US and Portugal based team are here here to help you. #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 is your one-stop resource for Private Religious Tours in Portugal and Spain including Luxury experiences and VIP concierge services.

#TravelAgent #JessKalinowsky
EMAIL 24|7|365
VISIT: since 1985

Lisbon Portugal Train Station

Lisbon Portugal AIrport Terminal

November 28, 2020

Portugal Food Tours Porto | Lisbon | Sintra | Obidos

Portugal Food Tours
Porto | Lisbon | Sintra | Obidos – 8 Days |

Portugal is one of the hottest destinations in Europe, and we know why!

Portugal boasts a fabulous climate, unique history and culture, plenty of art, and delicious gastronomy. Not to mention really friendly, unpretentious people.

Check our Portugal Food Tours – culinary tour and travel from Lisbon to Porto with three cooking classes and plenty of touring along the way.


Package Pricing Includes
• Private transportation from Lisbon Airport to the hotel in Lisbon
• Accommodation included (7 nights) in a twin or single room. 5 Nights in the city (4 stars hotels) and 2 nights in a lovely hotel in the quiet countryside.
• Breakfast is included every morning in all multi-day tour packages
• 2 lunches
• 2 dinners
• Lisbon: Saint George Castle (ticket entrance included)
• Lisbon: Enjoy a demonstration and tasting of the famous ‘pastéis de Belém’ (one cake and one coffee are included)
• The cooking lesson is in the country house Casas da Li. The hotel’s owner is Lígia Santos, the first winner of Masterchef Portugal
• Sintra: Pena Palace (ticket entrance included). Explore the vibrant culture, cobbled streets, and old-world architecture in Sintra. Wander through the spectacular and colorful painted Pena Palace, perched high on a hilltop, and its grand gardens.
• Piriquita Pastry: queijada (one local cake and one coffee are included)
• A brief presentation of the olive oil sector in Portugal. Technical proof of three Portuguese olive oils
• Wine tasting: Port Wine Cellar and The Best Winery of Vinho Verde
• Tasting of Portuguese products. Included: olive oil, bread, sausages, cheeses and one glass of wine or black tea or green tea from the Azores
• Guided Walking City Tour in Porto
• Full-day sightseeing tour Lisbon, Cascais & Sintra
• Full-day sightseeing tour Obidos & Fatima
• Private transfers during the tours
• Guide during the trips
• Private transportation from hotel in Braga to Oporto Airport

+ Applicable #DiscountAirfares First Business and Coach


Itinerary Summary

DAY 1 – Lisbon: Arrival, airport transfer, hotel check-in.

DAY 2 – Full-day sightseeing tour Lisbon, Cascais & Sintra. Ticket: Pena Palace in Sintra.

DAY 3 – Full-day sightseeing tour Obidos & Fatima.

DAY 4 – Full-day Porto. Food Tasting in Porto & Port Wine Tasting.

DAY 5 – Free time in Porto. Private transfer to Arcos De Valdevez (countryside).
Dinner: Hands-on cooking class.

DAY 6 – Full-day Arcos De Valdevez.
Visit the vineyard and learn more about Vinho Verde.
Enjoy this beautiful landscape during the picnic lunch in the middle of nature.
Dinner: Hands-on cooking class.

DAY 7 – Half-day in Arcos De Valdevez.
Special Hands-on cooking class – Cornbread Making.
In the afternoon, a guided walking tour of historic towns of Braga.

DAY 8 Departure, airport transfer to Oporto Airport

Suggestion: Book extra night & Douro Valley Tour (Post-tour extension).
The Douro Valley (Portugal) is the birthplace of Port Wine. Douro River Cruise. 

#TravelAgent #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365
VISIT: Since 1985

Be sure to ask about your $25.00 per person discount for 2021-2022

Thank you in advance for allowing us to serve all of your travel reservations needs worldwide.   #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 Since 1985

November 26, 2020

#Spain #Valencia, #Cartagena and #Toledo


#Valencia, #Cartagena and #Toledo, 8-Day / 7-Night Package

Package Pricing Includes
Private airport transfer from Valencia Airport (VLC) to city center hotel
3-nights at Hotel Palacio Vallier*, Deluxe room, breakfast & VAT
Valencia: Private half-day historical walking tour with City of Sciences and Arts tickets
Valencia: Private half-day Paella cooking class
Private transfer from Valencia to hotel in Cartagena, with sightseeing stop in Alicante
2-nights at Hotel NH Cartagena*, Superior room, breakfast & VAT
Cartagena: Private half-day walking tour
Private transfer from Cartagena to hotel in Toledo, with sightseeing stops in Albacete and Consuegra, private guided tour of Consuegra white windmills & traditional Manchego lunch
2-nights at Hotel Boutique Adolfo*, Junior Suite, breakfast & VAT
Toledo: Private half-day walking tour
Private transfer from Toledo to Madrid Airport (MAD)

Note: the Carthagineses Romanos Festival occurs in September, book now for 2021! 

*Hotels may be substituted based on availability and/or if the traveler has one where they want to stay.

Itinerary Summary
Day 1 Valencia: Arrival, airport transfer, hotel check-in
Day 2 Valencia: Half-day historical walking tour
Day 3 Valencia: Half-day Paella cooking class
Day 4 Valencia/Cartagena: Transfer from Valencia to Cartagena via Alicante, hotel check-in
Day 5 Cartagena: Half-day walking tour
Day 6 Cartagena/Toledo: Transfer from Cartagena to Toledo, Consuegra tour, hotel check-in
Day 7 Toledo: Half-day walking tour
Day 8 Departure, airport transfer to Madrid Airport (MAD)

+ Applicable #DiscountAirfares Worldwide First, Business, Coach.

Every trip curated to the wants, needs, desires and expectations of the travelers! Tell us: who will be traveling. Most preferred travel dates. Hometown airport. Any specific request! 

EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365

Best Places to Go #Skiing in #Spain 24|7|365 24/7/365

November 25, 2020

#Portugal #Lisbon and the #Cascais #Coast

Filed under: Cascais,Lisbon,Portugal — spainwithfriendstravel @ 8:51 pm


November 6, 2020

#Portugal Best Beaches

Filed under: Algarve,Beaches,Europe,Mediterranean Sea,Portugal — spainwithfriendstravel @ 10:48 pm

#Portugal, the #Algarve, #praia da #Rocha.

Some of the Best Beaches in Europe

beach is popular with locals and visitors from around the world |

The #Algarve in #Portugal has recently been announced as the leading beach destination in #Europe at the World Travel Awards 2020. Take a closer look at one of the cleanest, and safest, places to holiday in the world.

With all the major challenges faced by the travel industry in 2020, it’s comforting to know that some things never change.

The Algarve region is the southernmost area of mainland Portugal, and this popular collection of 16 stunning municipalities has been announced as Europe’s best beach destination for a record seventh year. The victory in this prestigious category is also the sixth consecutive win at the awards for the Algarve.

Praia da Marinha is a dreamy destination you will want to explore on any trip to the Algarve

“In a year as troubled as 2020, receiving this award and continuing to earn the trust of travelers from all over the world is extremely rewarding,” says João Fernandes, president of Turismo do Algarve.

“This distinction recognizes not only the quality of our beaches and our offer, but also shows that the Algarve continues to be a safe destination for holidays and complies with public health protection rules,” Fernandes adds.

The best beaches in the #Algarve

As one of the first places in the world to reopen its beaches this year in line with updated safety measures, the Algarve has once again taken steps to maintain its hard-earned reputation. The region boasts 300 days of sun every year and has developed 87 beaches that meet the Blue Flag standard of excellence.

Away from the coast, visitors have access to #excellent #cycling #routes and #hikes suitable for all levels. Each of the 16 municipalities that make up the region also offers #diverse #experiences that delve into the #heritage of the area.

The #beaches themselves are #diverse, with #relaxing, #secluded spots that will keep you away from the crowds as well as a selection of family-friendly spots. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorites.

Praia da Rocha

When you think of #picturesque #Portuguese #beaches, this beach may well be what you imagine. Situated in #Portimão, which has hotels, restaurants, museums and attractions for all the family to enjoy, the beach itself is popular with locals and visitors from around the world. Praia Rocha is close to Faro Airport, so it’s convenient for a long weekend if time is an issue.

Praia da Marina in the afternoon sunlight

Praia da Rocha is handily located near to Faro Airport

This is another popular beach that benefits from the fact that it so big. Its size means you can find decent lounging space even when things get busy, which is going to be an even greater consideration in the next few months. Portugal has also emerged as a popular #surfing #destination in recent years, with Praia do Tonel’s surf school one of the best in the Algarve.

Praia do Tonel is very popular, but also very big, so you can always find some space

Praia do Zavial

This pick is off the beaten path, and as such doesn’t have much in the way of modern amenities. Luckily, the beach – located right where the #AtlanticOcean meets the #MediterraneanSea – speaks for itself. The sheer cliffs that surround you might not make it the best spot for pictures, but the high natural features protect you from the blustery winds that can pick up. This is also another popular spot for surfing, and the tubular waves are among the best in the world.

Praia do Zavial beach is a secluded spot

Praia da Marinha

Situated in #Lagoa, Praia da Marinha is rated by the #Michelin #Guide as one of the top 10 beaches in Europe and one of the best in the world. If you’ve seen a picture of a #Portuguese #beach, chances are it will be this one, as it is used in lots of guides to the country. The beach is small, though, and not very easy to reach. As a result it is rarely as busy as some of the others on our list. The cliffs, natural stone arches and clear water make this a dreamy destination you will want to explore on any trip to the Algarve.

Praia da Marinha beach is picturesque but small

Ilha de Tavira

Ilha de Tavira, or #Tavira #Island, lies a few hundred metres off the coast of the mainland. It has 11km (7miles) of beaches and allows #naturism in some areas. The town of Tavira has a fascinating heritage that includes a period of rule under the #Moorish #regime. You can still see some aspects of this period in the architecture of the town centre, and name Tavira is derived from the #Arabic for “the hidden”. Fishing may not be the big industry it once was in the region, but you can still also find a lot of fishing artefacts here.
Ilha de Tavira, or Tavira Island, lies a few hundred metres off the coast of the mainland

EMAIL: #JESS #Kalinowsky 24|7|365

#Portugal is on The #Atlantic #Ocean and the #Mediterranean #Sea where as

#Spain is primarily on the #Mediterranean #Sea. Both with amazing beaches!

October 25, 2020

#Lisbon, #Portugal

Filed under: Europe,Lisbon,Portugal — spainwithfriendstravel @ 1:24 am

#Lisbon, #Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal |
If there’s one city that embodies what it means to be a discoverer, it’s Lisbon. Over the centuries, this city on the sea has been the gateway to the world, with numerous expeditions departing from its port to chart the unknown. These days, Lisbon oozes charisma, welcoming tourists with an easy-going and vibrant charm. With the #Mediterranean sun overhead, cobblestone streets beneath your feet, and distant Fado music on the wind, it won’t take long for you to fall in love.

Fun Fact:
Vasco da Gama Bridge, which crosses the Tagus River, is the longest bridge in Europe, stretching 12.3 kilometers (7.6 mi).

#Lisbon, #Portugal Location
N 38.72° / W 9.13°

Spring and Fall
You can visit Lisbon all year long, but keep in mind that summers are hot and crowded, while winters are mild but rainy. The seasons of change – spring (March-May) and fall (Sept-Oct) – offer a sweet spot for travelers to get the full Lisbon experience.

#Lisboa |
Lost in Lisbon
Getting lost in a new city is always an adventure, but if you can recognize the different regions of Lisbon, you’ll always be able to find your way around. The main draw of #Belem is the magical little tower that sits on the #Tagus river. Make sure to grab a pastry from the famous #Pastéis de Belém down the street.The oldest district in the city, Alfama is ancient and enchanting. You can stop by the #LisbonCathedral, or try to squeeze yourself onto #Tram28. Or, find a hidden cafe all to yourself. One of the trendiest regions of the city, you can enjoy the historic center of #Baixa alongside the lively, metropolitan shops of #Chiado. Sun’s down? Grandma’s asleep? Time to go out on the town! Slip up to #BairroAlto for some of the best bars and clubs to dance the night away.

Miradouro S.Pedro de Alcântara |
I Can See My House From Here
Lisbon was built on seven hills, which means you’re going to have aching calves at the end of the day. But it also means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get jaw-dropping views. There are multiple miradouros, or viewpoints, scattered throughout the city, like the popular #Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. You’ll also find some of the best views at #SãoJorge castle, which overlooks the city.

#Lisboa |
How Do You Say “Hang Ten” in Portuguese?
Perched on the #Atlantic #Ocean, Lisbon is perfectly poised for radical waves. #Carcavelos is one of the best known #surf #spots in #Portugal, and is only 10 minutes from the city.

MAAT Lisboa |
For the Cultured Mind
Exploring the city will take up most of your time in Lisbon, so if you’re ready for a quiet place to slow down and think, stop into one of Lisbon’s iconic museums. From the National Tile museum, that showcases iconic Lisbon ceramics, to the MAAT, which showcases architecture and technology, you’ll be occupied all day.


“We decided to walk back from our friends’ wedding in Belem to our hotel in Alfama. We saw people gathering on a rooftop building decorated with street art. A farmer selling artisanal treats greeted us with samples as we entered, and designers and creators dazzled us with their artwork as we strolled on. LX Factory is an urban hive of artists, inventors, writers, innovators, designers, chefs and creatives from all backgrounds perfecting their craft. When our feet were tired, we wandered into a huge bookstore, ordered tea and stuck our noses in books for the rest of the afternoon.”

#PastelDenata | #Foodies 
Calories Don’t Count
You’re going to be doing a LOT of walking in Lisbon. Which means you’ll work up a massive appetite. Good thing Lisbon is a growing foodie paradise, with options to satisfy all tastes. One absolute MUST is a pastel de nata, aka egg tart. No day is complete until you’ve devoured one or twenty of these delicious pastries.

Make Yourself at Home
It’s hard to pick just one place to stay in Lisbon. From luxury resorts, to boutique hotels, to quaint apartments, there’s a place for everyone. If you’re looking to save your cash, check out these funky places. Many of these apartments are less than €100 a night, and are hidden behind incredible historic facades.

Personally I am not climbing a ladder to get to my bed, BUT if one is on a budget, and physically able, then fine.  Personally I more of a 4-5 star hotel with all the bells and whistles, 24 hour room service, a bar, a fantastic restaurant, a great concierge, “the works!”

#LisbonTram |
Best of the West
“Want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city? Take a drive to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe, to breathe in the salty sea air and see if you can spot the Americas.” –

Swan Lake
“If you’re up for a very warm reception in the closest resto experience that you’ll find to a home-cooked meal, try #Taberna Anti-Dantas. Prepare to be warmly received, ask questions about the menu and revel in the #ambiance. But pro tip: it’s #cash #only, so bring those euros.” –

EMAIL: #JESS #Kalinowsky 24|7|365

October 21, 2020

#Spain #Barcelona

Filed under: Barcelona,Costa Brava,Culinary Vacation,Europe,Foodie Tour,Sagrada Familia Basilica,Spain — spainwithfriendstravel @ 9:08 pm

#Spain: #Barcelona
Barcelona Add-on Package, 5-Days, 4-Nights 

Package Pricing Includes
Private airport transfer from Barcelona Airport (BCN) to city center hotel
4-nights at Hotel Almanac, Almanac King room, breakfast & VAT
Barcelona: Private half-day tapas walking tour
Barcelona: Private half-day walking tour of Barcelona with Sagrada Familia
Barcelona: Small-group full-day tour of Girona and Costa Brava
Barcelona: Small-group half-day cooking class with Boqueria Market visit
Barcelona: Private half-day Gothic Quarter walking tour with Picasso Museum
Private transfer from city center hotel to Barcelona Airport (BCN)

Itinerary Summary
Day 1 Barcelona: Arrival, airport transfer, hotel check-in, evening tapas walking tour
Day 2 Barcelona: Half-day walking tour with Sagrada Familia
Day 3 Barcelona: Full-day tour of Girona and Costa Brava
Day 4 Barcelona: Morning half-day cooking class, afternoon half-day Gothic Quarter tour
Day 5 Departure, airport transfer to Barcelona Airport (BCN)

EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365

October 8, 2020

#Spain La Batalla de Vino

Filed under: Europe,Haro,La Batalla de Vino,Spain,Vineyards,Wine Tours — spainwithfriendstravel @ 10:57 pm

La Batalla de Vino – Spain

Thousands gather in the village of #Haro on June 29 each year in Spain’s northern wine region for La Batalla de Vino (aka the San Vino Wine Fight Festival). On a hill overlooking La Rioja’s vineyards, participants douse each other from head to toe using water pistols, buckets and spray bottles with the red wine from surrounding wineries that wasn’t good enough to be bottled. On the eve of the Wine Fight, crowds congregate on the streets of Haro and engage in lively sessions of drinking and dancing until the wee hours. The practices of today’s festival are believed to have stemmed from a centuries-old land dispute between Haro and the neighboring city of Miranda de Ebro.

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