This was an historic trip of a lifetime. We arrived via Air Canada on July 7th in Lisbon, Portugal. Our first 5 days were spent enjoying the luxurious surrounding of the Pestana Palace Lisboa a National Monument built in the 19th century. These palatial surrounds included beautiful flourishing gardens, indoor and outdoor heated pools, gymnasium, sauna, Turkish bath jacuzzi, and to top it off Scottish baths as well. What a marvel. Check it out here. https://www.pestanapalacelisbon.com/ During our days, we packed two full coaches and arranged for our clients and guests to attend every religious event at the Feira International de Lisboa/ Parque das Nações.Then it was on to explore the region. The map below shows the route Artisan Vacations planned for our guests.A breathtaking tour that crossed three countries and Gibraltar. Here are the eight highlights of our journey.
- We visited Our Lady Of Fátima Shrinewith the tombs of the three visionaries: Lucia, Jacinta, and Fernando; and the Chapel Of The Apparitions, where the Virgin Mary appeared to them in 1917.
- From the shrine we travelled on through the sherry wine region of Jerez to Algeciras and enjoyed a ferry ride across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. Once on North Africa’s infamous Barbary Coast, we travelled on to Rabat, once a lair of the corsairs and now the country’s capital.
- The next stage was legendary Casablanca. Here a special lunch was prepared for our travellers at Rick’s Café Américain, made world famous by the movie Casablancathat starred Humphrey Bogart, his leading lady Ingrid Bergman, and the iconic song As Time Goes By.
- A fascinating drive through the desert via the Dades Valley with its oases filled with olives, dates, and figs. Then, we headed through Morocco’s Grand Canyon, Todra Gorge, to Erfoud in the heart of the Sahara. A special treat awaited us! We climbed aboard Four-Wheel Drive vehicles to drive the sand dune of Erg Chebbi. At the end of the drive, we all admired the unforgettable and romantic sunset as we sipped traditional mint tea before heading back to town.
- The next stage of journey took us to Er Rachidia, originally built as a French settlement, then travelling via the Ziz Gorges and the Middle Atlas Mountains we headed to Fez.
- On the way there we drove through the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, and travelled on to Bab BouJeloud, the traditional entrance to Old Fez.
- A guided walking tour took us through the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, with superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte. Later, we visited the Water Gardens of The Generalife which was built in the 13th century and was the official getaway for royality.
- On to Madrid to visit the Prado Museum, one of the most visited sites in the world and is considered one of the greatest art museums in the work. Some of the great art contained in this museum are works by Francisco Goya, Peter Paul Rubens, El, Greco, Diego Velazquez, and Titan.