Iberia Capitalizes on Its Cities
by Tom Bross
Keep an evocative chapter of air-transport history in mind if you plan on flying from New York to Lisbon. By time-traveling back to May 20, 1939, you’re in the Pan Am era and at LaGuardia Airport. Ready for boarding at a Flushing Bay pier: the four-engine B-314 Clipper flying boat—amphibian wonder of the propeller age. Speeches, floral tributes and news cameras are abundant, for that day’s departure marks the beginning of our industry’s regularly scheduled transatlantic passenger service.
Carrying 74 passengers at 188-m.p.h. cruising speed, making Bermuda and Azores stopovers en route, the plane’s splashdown on Lisbon’s Tagus River came 26 hours after initial takeoff. Travelers crawled into sleeping berths for the long journey.
Compare those bygones with our speedy 21st century. Seated aboard a TAP Air Portugal A340 Airbus, flying from Newark EWR while cruising at 565 m.p.h. on a recent trip, JAX FAX zoomed across the ocean in a bit under six hours. That underscores the Lisbon gateway’s closeness to northeast U.S. coastal cities.
Much newness characterizes the hotel scene throughout Portugal’s capital. Downtown’s high-rise Sheraton Lisboa (www.sheraton.com/lisboa), for instance, topped by its romantic Panorama restaurant and cocktail bar, has completed a $65-million renovation. On-site amenities now include Spirito, a Mediterranean-influenced spa, added last November.
Lively Chiado and Belém Neighborhoods
Prefer more of an inbred European atmosphere? Then choose inner Lisbon’s venerable Chiado neighborhood—south of well-known Rossio Square—and check into the two-year-old Barrio Alto (www.barrioaltohotel.com), a five-star, 55-room beauty occupying a completely renovated circa-1845 building originally filled with insurance-company offices.
For an alternative locale, tell your clients about the laid-back Belém district, where the Tagus waterfront’s statue-embellished Monument to the Discoveries is right up there among metro Lisbon’s “must-see” attractions. Same for the nearby Belém Tower, built 1515-21 as a searfarers’ ceremonial gateway to the city proper. The white edifice exudes elaborate, Moorish-influenced, late-Gothic Manueline motifs and stands amidst marinas and Avenida de Brasília walkways paved with mosaic tiles. In the immediate vicinity, early 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery—wrapped around an arcaded cloister—dominates its surroundings as the biggest, most lavishly detailed Manueline blockbuster. Both the tower and the monastery made it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1983.
Belém’s appeal as a visitors’ destination shot steeply upward with the inaugural of the Barardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (www.museubarardo.pt) last June. In an appropriately avant-garde complex, exhibited paintings and sculptures cover influential artistic movements of the 20th century. Such as: pop art (Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock) and surrealism (Magritte, Dali, Frank Stella, Max Ernst), plus works by Picasso, Mondrian, Modigliani and Henry Moore).
As for accommodations situated directly across from the monastery, we recommend four-star Jerónimos 8, a 65-room design hotel welcoming guests since last August (www.almeidahotels.com). From the front door, guests stroll two blocks downhill to reach what is arguably the most popular pastry shop in all of Portugal: Café Pastéis de Belém, packing ‘em in since 1837.
Artsy Madrid’s Many Attractions
Making this a two-part report, we veer east to Madrid, centered in the Spanish heartland. The August and November issues of JAX FAX highlighted the capital’s burgeoning fine-arts scene. Coverage detailed expansion of the stupendous Prado. Featured, too: important Thyssen-Bornemisza collections and comparably world-class treasures in the Museo Reina Sofia, where Picasso’s hauntingly famous Guernica, from Civil War-era 1937, inevitably draws enthralled crowds.
If “cultural uplifting” extends to your clients’ dinnertime, direct them to La Favorita (www.restaurante-lafavorita.com) close to midcity Plaza de Olavide. Accompanying meals served in this 1904 mansion, the waitstaff sings Puccini and Verdi arias and duets. Travelers with expensive tastes gravitate to the same area’s Salamanca district (a bit north of 350-acre Retiro Park), encompassing a close-together assortment of designer-label fashion stores and boutiques as well as wineries and Salamanca’s upmarket, four-level Centro Commercial Serrano galleria. For details about specialty stores, bargains and three dozen affiliated hotels, (www.shopping-vip-pack.com).
During long-ago Bourbon times, Spain’s itinerant royal court luxuriated in four different places suited to each year’s four seasons. Springtime brought the retinue to charming riverside Aranjuez, 27 miles south of the capital. Side-tripping there becomes an opportunity to tour the palace (built 1561-86 during Felipe II’s reign) and its interconnected quartet of formal gardens. www.aranjuez.es.
Neither of these sizeable, culture-rich cities can be adequately “experienced” during a rush-rush day-and-overnight visit. Knowledgeable travelers shouldn’t settle for less than a three-day stayover in each of them. Hence the wisdom of purchasing the Madrid Card ($55 for 72 hours) and Lisboa Card ($44 for 72 hours). Cost-saving advantages include price reductions at selected museums and restaurants, also free public transportation as well as complimentary touring while riding on a double-deck, open-top Madrid Visión sightseeing bus throughout the Spanish capital (normally $21.45 per-person).
Choices of Transatlantic Flights
For its flights to/from Madrid, Iberia, Spain’s national airline, offers your clients a choice of five U.S. gateways: New York JFK, Boston BOS, Washington Dulles IAD, Chicago ORD and Miami MIA. OneWorld code-share partnership with American Airlines and USAirways expands the domestic route structure. TAP Air Portugal flies to/from Lisbon via Newark EWR. The airline has been a Star Alliance affiliate since 2005, code-sharing with United Airlines among other carriers. Newark EWR is also the gateway for flights to/from Lisbon and Madrid operated by Continental Airlines. In addition, USAirways operates Philadelphia PHL-Lisbon round trips.
Major additions draw attention to Portugal’s and Spain’s primary international airports. Easing traffic at Lisbon/Portola (12 million transits in 2006; 17% increase in U.S. travelers’ arrivals since then), Terminal 2 opened last August. The sleek facility handles domestic flights—relatively short hops to such outlying destinations as northerly Porto, Faro (capital of the Algarve), Madeira, the Azores and Vila Real, much-visited for its Baroque landmarks. At Madrid/Barajas, stunningly designed, two-part Terminal 4 began operations early that same year, instantly doubling gateway capacity. Extra-huge and super-functional, the skylit complex can serve 20 million passengers annually. Overall, Barajas now ranks second behind Frankfurt Rhein-Main as continental Europe’s biggest airport.
Contact the Portuguese National Tourist Office (New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco); www.visitportugal.com, and the Tourist Office of Spain (NY, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles); www.spain.info.
November 2007 Issue
Prado’s New Wing Debuts
To celebrate the most extensive expansion in its 200-year history, Madrid’s Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado) will present “A Collection Rediscovered: The 19th Century in the Prado” on October 31. More than 100 works – many not seen for many years – will offer a survey of the leading masters of 19th century Spanish art, from Francisco Goya to Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Running through April 24, 2008, the group of 95 paintings and 12 sculptures will be displayed in the Prado’s impressive new temporary exhibition galleries.
Additionally, a selection of drawings by Goya will be on display led off by the artist’s Winged Bull – its first showing since it was acquired by the Prado Museum last year.
Organized in nine chronological sections, the exhibition traces the different trends and styles that arose during the 19th century in Spain.
The Many Faces of Spain
The show opens with a room of portraits by Goya, including one of his most important, The Marchioness of Santa Cruz along with works by Vincente López (Portrait of the Painter Francisco de Goya) and José de Madrazo (The Death of Viriato.) “Romanticism,” the next section brings together works by Leonardo Alenza, Gerardo Pérez Villamil, Eugenio Lucas and Antonio María Esquivel. Next come eight paintings by Federico de Madrazo, a proponent of the Academic style and an entire room devoted to the Realist painter Eduardo Rosales including his celebrated Isabel La Católica Dictating her Will.
Tour the History Paintings
The second area of the exhibition has a spectacular group of “History Paintings” that includes some of the most impressive works in the Prado’s collection – monumental paintings like Francisco Pradilla’s Juana la Loca, Antonio Munoz Degrain’s The Lovers of Teruel and Antonio Gisbert’s The Execution of Torrijos. In the “Realist Landscape” section, the show adopts a more intimate mood with the work of Carlos de Haes and moves on to the exquisite realism and virtuoso technique of Mariano Fortuny with works such as Elderly Nude in the Sun and The Painter’s Children in the Japanese Room.
Comments on Turn of the Century Works
The penultimate section, “From Realism to the End of the Century,” features work by Francisco Domingo Marqués and Ignacio Pinazo. The exhibition concludes with the modern artistic styles that developed around the turn of the century with such celebrated works as And They Still Say Fish is Expensive! and Young Boys on the Beach by Sorolla.
In the $208.8 million restoration of the Museo del Prado, the original 1785 Villanueva building has been joined to a new structure effectively doubling the museums’ space. One of Spain’s most distinguished architects, Pritzker prize-winning Rafael Moneo, devised this ingenious and sensitive addition incorporating the 17th century cloister of the Monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, which was painstakingly dismantled and then rebuilt. The inclusion of the Cloister into the new building creates an exceptional light-filled gallery. The new 167,023-square-foot space includes a large underground area that connects the two buildings concealed beneath a roof garden. Here, Moneo brings to mind the traditional landscaped gardens of the 18th century.
Bringing the museum up to 21st century standards is a large reception area and visitor area, a new gift shop/bookshop, a new cafeteria-restaurant and a lecture hall with seating for 438 people. Specially-designed areas for restoration and larger and better equipped storage areas with a sizeable loading bay have been added.
Details on Admission
Open daily, except Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is about $8.50, or 6 euros, except Sundays (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) when it is free. Visitors under 18, over 65 and students from EU countries are admitted free; Non-EU students pay about $4.25. The Prado Museum is located on Paseo del Prado. Call 011-34-91-330-28-00; fax: 011-34-91-330-28-56; www.museoprado.mcu.es
Contact the Tourist Office of Spain: in New York, 212-265-8822; Miami, 305-358-1992; Chicago, 312-642-1992; Los Angeles, 323-658-7188; www.spain.info
October 2007 Issue
What’s New in Old Castile?
by Robert Levine
In a country filled with World Heritage Sites, the province of Castilla y Leon in Spain has the most. Avila, Salamanca, Leon and Segovia are all familiar and all spectacular; large sections of them remain as they were in the 16th century and they never fail to delight visitors. The relatively lesser-known, spotless and serene Zamora is another superb destination. If it is fascinating Roman and medieval cities, castles, Romanesque and Gothic churches, the oldest university in Spain, and plenty of atmosphere your clients are searching for, they’ve come to the right place.
But did you know that Castilla y Leon or Castile and Leon is also major wine-producing area, with wineries your clients can drop in on? And that it is becoming a world culinary center, following in the footsteps of Catalonia? And that in Leon, new art is blossoming next to the ancient? And that Valladolid now boasts the finest new concert hall complex in Spain? Welcome to the new, Old Castile!
In Leon, just blocks from the remarkable Gothic Cathedral (its almost 25,000 square feet of glass makes the visitor feel like he’s in a giant kaleidoscope), the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, a perfect Romanesque building that houses the Pantheon of the Kings of Leon whose vaults are decorated with 12th century frescoes, the Convento de San Marcos, the city’s most luxurious hotel dating from the 16th century and the rest of the town’s ancient treasures, is the city’s most modern work-of-art: the 33 million euro Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon (known as “MUSAC”). Simply designed from the outside as a rainbow of colors that will remind you of your childhood crayon box, the interior’s rooms are all strangely shaped and of vastly different sizes, suited to whatever the exhibits are. From each room you can see bits of other rooms – a corner here, a pie-slice shape there – so that the art seems to flow from one room to the next. The art is experimental and controversial; the space is refreshing.
From Sept. 21, 2007 through Jan. 6, 2008, MUSAC will present 200 works drawn from its own collection by Spanish and international artists in “Existencias." The works will be hung in an arrangement resembling storage racks. Sculptures will be spaced closely together in order to stress the ideas of accumulation, diversity and blending of artistic disciplines – designed to re-think the usual methods of observing art.
And in one of the museum’s wings, on the top floor, is a restaurant called Cidón (011-987 070 270; fax: 011-987-070-260) that earned a Michelin Star in 2004. A comfortable, airy space, the restaurant serves fish and meat dishes that are as interesting to see as they are delicious.
Valladolid, the region’s capital, has history written all over it: Ferdinand and Isabella were married here; Columbus died here; Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote,” lived here for three years. It contains dozens of fine, old buildings (the 15th century Colegio de San Gregorio, now housing the National Sculpture Museum, is so ornate that one writer referred to it as “almost edible”) and a colorful Plaza Mayor. The combination of museum-and-restaurant happens here as well: Atop the city’s Science Museum, with great views of the surrounding countryside, is the superb, innovative restaurant called Ramiro’s (011-983 276 898). A many-course tasting menu is available at about $65 and may include Iberian ham, warm pumpkin gazpacho with caviar and marscapone, venison with honey and plums. As in Cidón, meals are served elegantly and casually; and no sense of stuffiness here.
To make certain that it takes its place in the 21st century culturally as well as artistically and gastronomically, the region has just opened the Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes in Valladolid, a sprawling, flashy, steel and glass structure housing a 1,700 seat auditorium for concerts of all kinds, a 500- seat chamber-music space and an experimental theater auditorium, which can be reconfigured for different events that to seat 600.
Just 35 miles east of Valladolid is the remarkable Castle of Peñafiel, dating from the 14th century. It now houses a museum of wine and is adjacent to the vast, impressive Protos Winery; tours are available (011-983 878 011). For a more intimate visit to a winery, however, send your clients about 60 miles west of Valladolid towards the city of Zamora. On the road to Toro (called Camino del Palo; you can’t miss it) is the family-run Bodega of Liberalia. Tours are available (www.liberalia.es) but they are incredibly gracious and invite drop-ins. The delightful Juan Antonio Fdez. Martin is the proprietor (his perfect-English speaking daughter helps too) and he will be there to work up your enthusiasm. They sell their wines there at discount prices.
Where to stay on this gastronomical, wine-loving journey? When in Leon, the real treat is the Parador de Turismo San Marcos; in Valladolid the handsome Melia Recoletos. A great idea is to make a side trip/overnight to Salamanca, certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, and stay at the brand new, spectacular Melia Las Claras. www.solmelia.com
Contact the Tourist Office of Spain, www.spain.info
August 2007 Cover Feature
36 Hours in Cutting Edge Madrid
By Jonathan Siskin
During a recent three-day visit to Madrid I was pleasantly surprised that Spain’s capital is living up to the latest hype about its emergence as one of the hottest destinations on the international travel scene.
A long-time prime destination for business travelers, Madrid is attracting growing numbers of leisure travelers each year. The city owes much of its appeal — to FITs and group travelers — to its myriad of compelling attractions alongside the warm welcome from the Madrileños themselves. Additionally, its upgraded tourism infrastructure and expanded flight service from the U.S. (see page 16) bodes well for Madrid, which is increasingly included on multi-country and multi-city European itineraries.
The 21st century Madrid is a feast for culture vultures who can sate their appetites on world-class art while foodies, night owls and other sybarites can select their pleasure(s) of a provocative menu of tapas bars, Michelin-starred restaurants staffed by celebrity chefs and nightlife. By day, it doesn’t take long to be swept up by the rush of energy pulsing through the heart of the city because Madrid, like Europe’s other marquee cities, is made for walking.
A favorite gathering in central Madrid is Plaza Mayor, a huge rectangular square forever abuzz with Madrileños and tourists chatting and imbibing at outdoor cafes. Completed in 1620 by King Felipe III—his statue stands in the middle of the plaza—it was originally a place where bullfights and public executions took place. Nowadays, it is framed by elegant arcades and stately apartment buildings with black slate roofs crowned by pagoda-like towers. Always a fun place to be, it becomes even more boisterous every May when it hosts the Fiesta de San Isidro, a highly charged week of celebrations highlighted by nightly fireworks.
Madrid’s rich and robust art scene features an A-list of attractions topped by the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection and the Reina Sofia Art Center. Most clients typically begin an art tour with a visit to the Prado which ranks as Spain’s premier art museum and one of the finest in the world. Construction began in 1795 during the reign of King Charles III, and was completed in 1819. Many of the museum’s prized works were amassed by a succession of Spanish kings beginning with Fernando VII. Among the collection of over 3,000 paintings are masterpieces by Velazquez, El Greco, Goya and Bosch; in addition there are exhibits showcasing a treasure trove of coins, medals and jewels. The Prado is currently in the final stage of its first major expansion since it was built and the new wing will open in October.
After the Prado, art lovers move on to the Thyssen –Bornemisza museum with its diverse collection of around 1000 paintings displayed in a series of rooms encompassing 700 years of art history. Arranged in chronological order, one begins with a look at paintings by Italian masters of the 13th century and concludes by passing through rooms adorned with finest examples of impressionism and expressionism along with works by the surrealist and pop artists of the late 20th century.
The third member of Madrid’s incomparable trio of museums is the Reina Sofia Art Centre known for its outstanding collection of contemporary art. Picasso, Miro, and Dali are among the best known Spanish artists with works in its permanent collection and there are also paintings by many celebrated artists from across Europe and the U.S. including Magritte, Ernst, Tanguy and Newman.
Another highlight of a visit to Madrid is a tour of the Royal Palace (Palacio Real de Madrid). This magnificently preserved 2800 room palace rivals such manmade marvels as the Palace of Versailles; its opulent interior is decorated with priceless porcelains, tapestries, jewels, and paintings by Goya and Velazquez. The palace also contains an astounding assortment of clocks and a collection of regal armor; there is also a table with seating for 100 guests that is still used today for royal functions. The stunning Moors Gardens (Jardines del Moro) surrounding the palace is a study in elegance with its extensive array of plants, fountains and statues.
Dining and Sleeping
No stay here is complete without spending an early evening devouring tapas, an assortment of savory snacks served at a local bars accompanied by wine, beer or sangria. Among the favorite tapas are potatoes seasoned with garlic mayonnaise along with paella, sausages, mushrooms, fried fish, anchovies, squid, octopus and tripe.
Places to stay in central Madrid range from chic designer hotels to high tech havens to stylish bed and breakfast establishments. The Hotel Urban, which opened for business last year is represented by Design Hotel and is also a member of Derby Hotels (www.derbyhotels.com). It is popular with business travelers and an upscale artsy clientele who enjoy the ambience of this 96 room boutique property that features African art in the lobby and rooms. The Petit Palace Alcala Torre occupies one of Madrid’s landmark buildings and is situated near the Senate and City Hall. It consists of 66 rooms containing exercise bikes and high tech showers. Other amenities include free internet and and Wi-Fi access in the rooms and public areas. The hotel is a member of Spain’s group of high tech hotels (www.hthoteles.com). The Casa de Madrid is an elegant bed and breakfast hotel consisting of six spacious rooms and two suites. Each of the rooms is decorated in a unique style reflecting an “aristocratic ambience” inspired by owner and world traveler Dona Marta Medina. Several rooms come with balconies facing the Royal Opera House; (www.casademadrid.com).
Contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York Chicago, Miami or Los Angeles; visit www.spain.info.com
Interview with Javier Pinanes
Smile, You Are about to Visit Spain
By Maria Lisella
Javier Piñanes, director of the Tourist Office of Spain talks about Spain’s unprecedented popularity, its art, culture, gastronomy and why this is the time to send your clients or yourself to visit one of Europe’s hottest tickets.
Any new attractions agents should know about? Valencia just finished hosting the America’s Cup so the city underwent a beautification program. Last October Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts & Sciences – the $307 million Queen Sophia Palace of the Arts – debuted. Zaragoza is sprucing itself up for next year’s World Expo -- June 14 - September 14; city officials intend to increase green spaces by 20 percent and create a larger network of bicycle lanes.
Is there any new air service to report on?
Iberia Airlines inaugurated nonstop service from Boston and Washington so it now serves: New York, Chicago and Miami. Additionally six U.S. carriers offer daily flights to Madrid and Barcelona: American Airlines code shares with Iberia, Continental from Newark, Delta from New York and Atlanta and US Airways from Philadelphia and Northwest flies from Minneapolis, Detroit and Mephis through Amsterdam or Paris to Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world; what are its strongest selling points?
The dichotomy of the traditional and the cutting edge: At this moment world-renowned architects are designing stunning new structures all over Spain.
The City of Arts & Sciences created by Valencia’s native son, Santiago Calatrava is Europe’s largest aquarium, a science museum, a planetarium and the performing arts center. It’s been 10 years now since American Frank Gehry built the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
By the end of this year, the last of Madrid’s three museums will have all doubled in size: the Thyssen Bornemisza, the Reina Sofía’s and Rafael Moneo’s sensitive addition to the Prado – the venerable institution’s first in 200 years – will be officially inaugurated in October. Americans are exploring Barcelona and other parts of Catalan like the Costa Brava, Girona and Tarragona.
Andalusia has been called the “soul” of Spain as it resonates with a rich mix of cultures – Christian, Moorish and Jewish. This is the land of white towns, flamenco, tapas and sherry. Seville’s Metropol Parasol, a series of mushroom shapes shading one of the city’s main squares will be inaugurated later this year.
Visitors can still find untouched areas off-the-beaten track such as Extremadura – the land where many of the conquistadores came from, you can find charming towns and small villages like Mérida, Cáceres and Trujillo – little changed in two hundred years.
Of all the regions in Spain, Castile and León has the most World Heritage sites. Monumental cities such Ávila, León, Segovia and Salamanca are much like they were in the 16th century.
Spanish cuisine is probably the hottest cuisine right now. Bilbao and San Sebastian boast Michelin-starred and world-class restaurants as does Barcelona and towns in Catalonia.
How can travel agents learn more about your destinations?
Each year, regions from Spain give educationals for U.S. travel agents This year, Andalusia and Catalonia did so; last year the 13 UNESCO World Heritage Cities of Spain came to the U.S.; as have Valencia, Galicia and Castile and León in recent years. Our offices in New York, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, organize several travel agent fam trips in cooperation with the regions. We are developing a Spain Specialist program with Virtuoso, the exclusive network of more than 6,000 elite travel specialists worldwide. By the end of this year we will be publishing a new version of our Sales Travel Guide.
Can you give us a client profile of visitors?
Seasoned travelers and first-time visitors to Europe are lured by Spain’s art and culture. Americans take off for a long weekend to see an exhibition or attend a concert in Madrid and Barcelona. We are seeing a steady increase in the number of conventions, meetings and incentives gatherings taking place in Spain especially in Barcelona and Madrid, which have sophisticated congress facilities.
With hundreds of courses all over the country, golfers are attracted to Spain as are spa goers discovering Spain’s hundreds of spas – both traditional ones with mineral waters and cutting-edge resorts with all the latest treatments. Hikers and bikers travel on the vias verdes, over 900 miles of unused railway lines.
Can you tell us about some of your new marketing campaigns for 2007?
The current campaign is “Smile You’re in Spain.” This year we have increased our budget for on-line marketing and our Spain tourism messages will be visible on various Portals, search engines and sites like google, travel zoo and MSN.com.
The Tourist Office of Spain has several co-op campaigns with tour operators who sell Spain, with travel agent consortia like Virtuoso and we have a multi-faceted joint marketing campaign with Portugal and we work with the European Travel Commission.
How many Americans visited in 2006? Compare it to 2005 and what are your goals for 2007?
In 2005, 873,000 Americans came to Spain. In 2006 we saw an increase of more than 6 percent, as 930,000 visitors arrived from the U.S. We’re projecting between a 10 and 15 % increase this year.
Any trends to be on the look out for?
Americans are starting to discover Spain, particularly Barcelona and Madrid, with their children since they have introduced a number of family friendly amenities and attractions.
We’re also seeing more cooking classes and culinary tours. Wine tourism has come to Spain and renowned architects have been designing dramatic wineries. Calatrava created an undulating low-rise building surrounded by reflecting pools for Bodega Ysios and Zaha Hadid crafted a tasting room at the Lopez de Heredia in Haro. Frank Gehry’s new state-of-the-art winery for Marqués de Riscal opened last year in Elciego.
What is the impression you would like visitors to take home after they visit?
I would say we would hope that they would be so enthusiastic about their visit that they would want to come back and explore a different part of Spain on their next vacation.
Contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York Chicago, Miami or Los Angeles; visit www.spain.info.com
Spotlight: Iberia Airlines
I was invited to Madrid in early May by Iberia Airlines to mark the introduction of nonstop service between Boston and Madrid. Flights depart five days weekly (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) at 6:20 p.m. from Boston’s Logan
Airport and arrive in Madrid at 7:20 a.m. the next morning. On June 2, Iberia further expanded its service from the U.S. when it began flying from Dulles Airport in Washington five days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday): flights depart at 6 p.m arriving at 7:20 a.m. the following morning. By adding Boston and Washington, Iberia now offers nonstop service to Madrid from five U.S. gateways—the other three are New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—and all flights land at the sparkling new $7 million T4 terminal at Barajas International Airport. Completed last year, the terminal makes Barajas the second largest in Europe and the world’s 10th largest and doubles the airport’s capacity to 70 million passengers.
Flights from Boston and Washington are on Airbus A340-300 aircraft and feature Iberia’s Business Plus, an upgraded business class offering the latest high tech flatbed seats that provide maximum passenger comfort. Dining is also first rate with a menu consisting of three appetizers followed by a choice of three main courses and concludes with an assortment of cheeses and two choices for dessert. The main courses on my Boston-Madrid flight included grilled salmon with red pepper sauce and new red potatoes, chicken tortellini with Parmesan cheese and short rib braised wild mushroom ragout with leeks and carrots. A selection of fine wines from the Business Plus Cellar include reds from the finest Rioja estates and whites from the acclaimed Pazo de Senorans and Bodega Polacio de Bornos wineries. Contact Iberia at www.Iberia.com