Future trips

It turned out 2020 was a complete washout for us. So the trips planned for 2020 will now take place in 2021


11- 14th May 2021

Discover Lisbon, a city full of authenticity where old customs and ancient history intermix with cultural entertainment and hi-tech innovation. Lisbon is ageless, but the people like the Spanish, know how to enjoy themselves.

The Portuguese capital is constantly recognised as one of the greatest cities in the world, a claim confirmed by the “Lonely Planet Guides”, who named Lisbon one of the world’s top 10 cities. Surprisingly, Lisbon is still one of Europe’s least visited capitals, but this is rapidly changing as new visitors discover the allure of Portugal. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon’s mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect city to visit.

As Portugal’s capital, there is a lot to see and do in Lisbon. Even exploring the city centre will take a few days out of a family holiday as there is no real central district, although Praça do Comércio is a good central place to start, in Baxia, or Rossio, the city’s main square which has a sort of Trafalgar Square feel to it. Or you might try climbing up the Cristo Rei, a huge statue of Christ with  spectacular views across the whole city. The Castelo de São Jorge also offers great views and isn’t quite such a steep climb. A short tram ride to the west of Lisbon will also bring you to Belem, where you can explore attractions like the Belem Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre, which features a fantastic art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and Magritte. In downtown Lisbon, you’ll also want to visit the Gulbenkian, which has to be Portugal’s answer to the British Museum full of fascinating cultural artifacts and with some superb gardens in the grounds.

Lisbon like Rome is built on 7 hills and  in the Alfama’s steep, narrow, cobblestoned streets and catch a glimpse of the more traditional side of Lisbon before it too is gentrified.

Standing in the heart of Lisbon’s historic Alfama district, just below the Castelo de S. Jorge, Hotel Convento do Salvador (http://www.conventosalvador.pt/en/) is situated in one of the city’s oldest convents. After an extensive renovation and modernisation, this charming property offers cosy boutique-style accommodation and friendly, welcoming service in a highly central location.. Many of the city’s most important landmarks are within easy walking distance of the hotel, and guests wishing to explore further afield can catch one of Lisbon’s emblematic trams – the famous No. 28 passes right outside the front door of the hotel It will be our base for 3 nights

Tuesday 11th May

We fly out with TAP airlines at a reasonable morning time arriving Lisbon after 13.00 hours, a short taxi journey of 20 minutes to the hotel, check in and  then we head off for the fabulous Time out Market https://www.timeout.com/lisbon/restaurants/time-out-market-lisbon. Altrincham market hall is based on this but the Lisbon version seems to be 4 times larger and with more seating! There are 24 restaurants some of them from very well-known Portuguese chefs, 8 bars, a dozen shops.  We will lunch there. Then we can stroll back exploring this part of the city. We dine locally that evening.

Wednesday 12th May

One of the reasons which persuaded us to return to Lisbon was the wines from Quinta do Pinto in Alenquer north of Lisbon. The whites and reds are stunning and the vineyard is based in a sheltered saucer surrounded by hills. It is a beautiful area.

We lunch nearby and then set off for our hotel. There will be time for more sightseeing around 4 hours. That evening we dine locally.

Thursday 13th May

Once you have seen 1 winery you have seen them all??? WRONG. I was under this impression as I headed off to Bacalhoa https://www.bacalhoa.pt/enoturismo/adega-museu-bacalhoa in Azeitao to the south of Lisbon. Before reaching the winery, I went over the fabulous suspension bridge which is based on the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. The winery cellars Moscatels, even a purple Moscatel,  and  1 red and 1 white are available to taste in their modern tasting room.

Also included in the visit is a museum featuring an “Out of Africa” collection but for me there was a fabulous assortment of Art Nouveau and deco  items in another part of the winery. From the tasting room, admire the tranquil scene of the Japanese garden, in which some of the works of the sculptor Niizuma are exhibited, along with a Kaki tree, the ‘great-granddaughter’ of the only tree to survive the Nagasaki bomb.

There is an olive tree that has been aged at 300B.C.

The museum is absolutely fascinating.

We then lunch in the fishing port of Setubal .

We return to our hotel and then wander down to a local restaurant with good food and accompanied by fado. This is like a mixture of opera and flamenco.

Friday 14th May

We do not have to leave for the airport till 8 o`clock, so we will lunch near to the hotel, Leaving the morning for sightseeing and shopping.

The cost of this trip will be £1195.00, as there is an extra day and extra meals than normal. Bearing in mind, that this will include flights, transport, all meals and wines. There would be a £95 supplement for a single traveller. We would like a 25% deposit on booking and the balance 6 weeks before leaving.

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Bologna     4th – 8th October 2021


Even by Italy’s notoriously high standards, Bologna is a foodie hub, as you’d expect from the place that invented bolognese (just remember it isn’t called that here!). To the east of Piazza Maggiore, the grid of streets around Via Clavature (Street of Locksmiths) sits on what was once Roman Bologna. Known as the Quadrilatero, this compact district is a great place for a wander with its market stalls, happening cafes and lavishly stocked gourmet delis.


These pretty arches that line Bologna’s streets are a handy shield from rain or blinding sun, and years ago they were where merchants would set up stalls to sell their wares. You can see evidence of the former markets on Via Indipendenza. There are 25 miles of arcaded streets, so it doesn’t even matter if it rains. It’s well worth making the 3.8km hike along the world’s longest stretch of porticoes, southwest of the city centre, which leads to the beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna San Luca and panoramic views back over the city.

These porticoes are numbered so you can track your progress until you reach the final arch, number 666. Seems like an odd choice of number for a religious site? Apparently the architect fell out with the church halfway through the job, and this was his revenge


 The two towers are a symbol of the city, and the shorter of the pair, Garisenda, leans much more dramatically than Pisa’s leaning tower. It is so famous in Italy that Dante invoked the tower in his Commedia, so look out for the plaque with the quote. You can’t climb Garisenda, but it costs just €3 to climb its sister tower Asinelli and get a beautiful view over the city – not to mention a great leg workout. (only 459 steps).

Pauline will be leading the way!




Stunning churches

As well as the San Luca, the city centre itself boasts plenty of impressive churches. The Chiesa della Santa has the mummified remains of Saint Catherine of Bologna in an eerie side chapel, while San Domenico Basilica has a Michelangelo statue and a piano used by Mozart during his time studying in Italy. There are also the seven churches of Santo Stefano, built over a six hundred-year period in different styles and now forming one unique sprawling site


No, not the University of Bologna – although it is very interesting, with a creepy ancient anatomical theatre to visit. We’re talking about the Carpigiani Gelato University, where you can take professional courses in making gelato. It’s attached to the Gelato Museum, which has a range of experiences on offer, from a basic tour through the history of gelato to workshops where you can make your own – and whichever you choose, you’ll get a free delicious ice cream included..


Besides the above, there are 25 miles of hidden canals, numerous museums Renaissance art on show, and the Pinacoteca Nazionale has art created in the region from 200 AD to the Baroque period. Other museums for art buffs are the Municipal Art Collections, with art from the 14th to 19th centuries, Galleria D’Arte Maggiore and modern art museum MAMbo  and so on…

We stayed at the Hotel Metropolitan Via dell’Orso, 6, 40121 www.hotelmetropolitan.com/en/ and thought it was delightful. Comfortable rooms and a very pleasant outdoor space. It has been described as Hotel Metropolitan is centrally located, near a main shopping street and convenient to the train station, with contemporary furnishings and designer pieces that give it a modern and sophisticated look.

On a quiet little street off Via Indipendenza, a main shopping thoroughfare. Hotel Metropolitan is less than 10 minutes on foot from Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s main square, with all major attractions, including the Two Towers and medieval food market, within easy walking distance.

Monday 4th Oct

We fly from Manchester at 08.25 arriving Bologna local time at 11.45. The airport is 25 minute taxi ride from the hotel. We will lunch round the corner from the hotel and then we will have the afternoon to search out Bologna . That evening we dine locally.

 Tuesday 5th Oct.

Most of you will know that Modena is the base for Balsamic vinegar, but it also the home of Luciano Pavarotti, which has now been turned into a museum. It is also the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and their is a museum of his cars. Modena is also famous for its charcuterie. So it`s perfect if you like eating salami with Balsamic vinegar, listening to Pavarotti and imagining the Ferrari was yours. We will lunch nearby.

That evening we explore and dine in the Quadrilatero area.

Wednesday 6th October

As Yesterday was so busy and Bologna has so much to see,we thought you might like a free day. We would meet for lunch and return to dine that evening.

Thursday 7 th Oct

 We will take taxies to Dozza which is 35 minutes away. It is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is a small middle age village near Imola. It’s still not known among tourists, even its so near to Bologna. Dozza has a permanent street art museum to visit day and night, a well-preserved castle that also hosts a winery in its basement. Having checked out the well stocked wine cellar that is the centre of the wine regions board Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna showing over 100 wines. We lunch looking onto the castle.

We return to Bologna early afternoon.

Friday 8 th oct

All good things come to an end and we check out of the hotel to arrive at the airport for our13.25 flight to Manchester arriving at 14.55.

We really are excited about this trip and we look forward to sharing our discoveries  You might want to bring a large suitcase to cover your purchases… wine oils, cheese etc.

The cost of this trip will be £1395.00, as there is an extra day and 2 more meals than normal. Bearing in mind that this will include flights, transport, all meals and wines. There would be a £95 supplement for a single traveller. We would like a 25% deposit on booking and the balance 6 weeks before leaving.


John and Pauline

There is no travel insurance included in this trip.
Andalucia  Unwrapped

Special places to stay         Spectacular scenery           Stylish regional food

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