Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Travelers Lorin and Jeremy Seidman with their family met the WOW Lister Virginia Irurita in Madrid, Spain.

Lorin and Jeremy Seidman with their family and WOW Lister Virginia Irurita in Madrid.

Virginia and her team planned an incredible trip to Spain for our family, with the kind of experiences that we’re quite sure no other travel agent would have had access to. Our teenage kids’ favorite part of the trip was a visit to Almodovar Castle, near Sevilla. The owner of the castle, Eva Morejon, greeted us upon our arrival, and then invited us to have lunch with her in the family’s private quarters of the castle. We sat in Eva’s dining room enjoying the most delicious authentic Spanish cuisine, which was cooked by her family’s personal chef, while she told us the history of the castle. She then took us on a private tour of the castle, including parts that were used for the filming of Game of Thrones.

Just returned from a wonderful trip to Spain. Virginia, Julia and Inmaculada planned our perfect trip to Spain. We wanted a trip that hit some highlights of typical tour stops sprinkled in with cultural and foodie destinations. As I was very specific, down to tasting the 2022 International Cheese winner, Julia patiently kept reworking our trip and Inmaculada worked diligently on reservations.

We started our trip in Barcelona and were expertly guided around many Gaudi sites by Begonia. She was really a true expert. Driven frequently by Cristobal—a very entertaining gentleman. We also spent a day in Costa Brava, Pals, where we met Chef Pilar and her husband Rene. They shared their spectacular home and cooking expertise about making crema catalana and paella. She was also able to find the 2022 International Cheese award winner from a small Spanish dairy.

Our next stop was to Sevilla. Lily, and Eduardo the driver, escorted us to the charming town of Ubrique, a short hike in Grazalema park, and to family-owned, artisanal cheese and olive oil production businesses. A day we will always remember! Jeronimo drove us around for the next few days to an Iberico pig farm, a Real Madrid vs Sevilla FC game and through multiple small white villages. He was the most knowledgeable and friendliest man/driver we have ever come across over many years of travel. A real asset to his company! He also took us to Cordoba, which thanks to tour guide Maria-Elena Consuela made this one of our favorite stops—loved the flower-laden patios and the church that combined elements from multiple cultures dating back over a thousand years. As well as a preserved Jewish synagogue built in 1315.

Our last major stop was in Granada with a stay in a hotel overlooking the oldest and largest bullring in Spain and expertly guided by Alfredo.
While there were some snafus, Virginia’s office quickly resolved a last-minute change in the futbol schedule and retrieved a forgotten cell-phone charger.
Highly recommend this agency. This was our 3rd trip with a WOW expert and they have all done a terrific job.

We had a wonderful time with Virginia’s company. This is our second tour with them, and it was just as good as the first one we did for southern Spain several years ago. Virginia’s team did an amazing job of working to understand our needs and adapting the trip for us. My wife hurt her knee just before we had to leave, and they got us set up with a wheelchair for everything in short order. We visited Bilbao, San Sebastian and Barcelona this time. In Bilbao we visited the Guggenheim, went to Santillana del Mar and had a wonderful time at the Crusoe Treasure underwater winery! A special shout-out to our guide in Bilbao, Irene Delgado, who was AMAZING. In San Sebastian, I would say you HAVE to stay at the Hotel Akelarre. It is out of town ~15 euro cab fare, but that was the most amazing location and hotel we have ever stayed at. It has a 3-Michelin-star restaurant on the location. We didn’t eat there but the staff and hotel are excellent. We did eat a LOT in San Sebastian though, and had a great time seeing the sights in and around the area with our guide Gurutze. We also had a great day trip to La Rioja. In Barcelona we visited the sights we had missed on our last trip, the Picasso Museum and Dali Museum. At this point I have to say please take the time to go to the museums with one of their guides! They can open up your knowledge of the artist in more ways than you can imagine. We discovered this with one of Virginia’s guides in Madrid on our last trip and now we do it on ALL our trips. You will leave with more insights and appreciation for the artists than you would get by just looking at a picture! We really enjoyed the 3 hotels we stayed at this time (Gran Domine Bilbao, Mercer in Barcelona and Akelarre in San Sebastian). Based on these 2 trips I have no reservations recommending Virginia’s team. We take these sorts of private trips every couple of years and hers are the only ones that come off without ANY hitches. Very well done!

Leon Malkin

Leon Malkin’s view of San Sebastián from his hotel room. Photo: Leon Malkin

In short, the trip was exceptional. I had been to Morocco with my two daughters (another WOW trip from Wendy), and when they returned home, I took the one-hour ferry from Tangier and was picked up and driven to Sevilla. I traveled solo for the trip to Spain. I visited Sevilla, Cordoba, Ubeza, Grenada, Bilbao, San Sebastián and finished in Madrid, where I did day trips to Toledo and Salamanca. Everything ran like clockwork, except for my last day going to the airport. There was a marathon in Madrid and the driver could not get through to the hotel, but the bellman walked with me and we hailed an Uber, so it all worked out well.

Every place was a joy to visit. I particularly loved Sevilla, and the old city where the guide took me for tapas and the following night I had a cooking course at her home, where we made soups and paella. Grenada and the Alhambra were sensational.

Ubeza was a great visit where they were restoring some of the Jewish homes and creating a museum.

Visiting an organic farm and old castle in the Andalusian countryside was so special, especially having lunch and a guided tour of the castle by the Countess. The Guggenheim in Bilbao was awesome and my guide gave a great tour of the huge space. Maybe my favorite place was San Sebastián—so beautiful on the water. Could definitely live there.

My guide Gurutze was so great to be with. Madrid was a big city but I really enjoyed my walking tour of the city and Royal Palace. I also attended a Flamenco show and dinner, which was most enjoyable. The old university in Salamanca was especially interesting. My favorite hotels were in Sevilla, Madrid, and San Sebastián.

What impressed me most about Spain was their quality of life, cleanliness, low crime rate, food, historic places of interest, and friendliness of the people. Could not recommend Spain enough as a destination. Thanks so much Virginia and her team and to Wendy Perrin for her high standards of travel advisors.

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