THE SILVER WAY – CACERES, MERIDA, SALAMANCA, ZAMORA

This tour highlights Spanish culture’s most intriguing traditions, treasures and places by following the ancient “Silver Way” and includes visits to Caceres, Merida, Salamanca and Zamora. You’ll experience flamenco in a private showing, see how bulls are raised and trained for bullfighting, walk the ancient streets of one of the oldest universities in the world, and cross into Portugal on a river boat excursion. The mission of Culture Connect Tours is to take you into the richness of the local way of life and the Silver Way delivers.

The Silver Way, or the “Via de la Plata” was an ancient commercial route in western Spain that ran from north to south connecting Merida to Astorga. The origin of the term “plata” in the name is derived from the Arabic for “cobbled paving,” describing the road as engineered by the Romans on an ancient path. As you travel the Silver Way there are blends of time and culture from the pre-Roman to the medieval to the modern. Accommodations include palaces transformed into hotels. On the Silver Way you’ll enjoy some of the best cuisine, including a Michelin 2 star restaurant, tapas walks, a cooking class, special dining in private houses and a visit to one of the best wineries in Spain.

 

 

image0301st day (Friday) Pick up in Madrid and off to Caceres in Extremadura, a region of western Spain bordering Portugal with vast open skies and rugged landscapes lined with olive groves. Consider it a time travel because Caceres is perhaps the best preserved medieval and Renaissance city in the world. Arriving in Caceres around midday you’ll be staying in a hotel converted from an ancient nobleman’s palace. Unpack and rest or go explore until we share a dinner in the fabulous restaurant at the hotel.D

2nd day (Saturday) : Today you’ll explore the many historic and beautiful sites of Caceres. In the evening you’ll be dining in a fabulous restaurant awarded 2 stars by the famed Michelin Guide (there are 17 in Spain.)The restaurant is a former palace turned into an architectural gem by the renowned architects Mansilla and Tuñón. You’ll be visiting their prestigious winery and fantastic cellar which boasts one of the largest collections of wine in the world. B,D

3th day (Sunday): Today we visit nearby Mérida (Emerita Augusta), which was founded 25 years before Christ for image013graduates emeritus soldiers of the Roman army and was the ninth largest city of the Roman Empire. Our expert local guide in Extremadura, will share the many well preserved Roman ruins including the Templo de Diana and the Teatro Romano which still hosts concerts in the summer. Lunch is in a traditional restaurant. In the evening it’s back to Cáceres for a free evening and dinner. BL

4th day (Monday): We make our way to Salamanca, the renowned university city on the Duero River. Along the way we’ll visit Trujillo a beautiful city and birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador that overthrew the Incan empire. Lunch is traditional fare in Trujillo at a popular restaurant. In the afternoon we finish the journey to Salamanca and in the evening dine on tapas. We will give you suggestions to explore this vibrant city’s fantastic nightlife. BLD

5th day (Thursday) In the morning we prepare to see the sights of Salamanca, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Rich in history and heritage Salamanca is home to one of the oldest universities in the world and host to numerous Spanish language schools because the purest form of Spanish is said to be found here. For lunch we’ll taste typical local dishes in a Salmantino restaurant. The afternoon and evening is time for you to enjoy your own exploration of Salamanca. We suggest visiting their famous “cocktail bars” frequented by all, from students to senior citizens, or a night stroll through a lighted Salamanca that gives a romantic hue to the city and is highly recommended. BL

SDC117156TH day (Wednesday): After a morning tour through Salamanca we head to the dehesa, the oak and cork tree studded pasture land of Extremadura where we will enjoy a picnic and see how the most famous bulls of Spain, El Toro de Lidia, are raised. We will taste typical country food and witness a small capea, an amateur bullfight, where the young bulls are trained. We return to Salamanca late in the afternoon to relax and again enjoy this beautiful city.

7th day (Thursday): In the morning we travel to Zamora where our accommodations are in a former palace of the Counts of Alba, a splendid example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Zamora on the Duero River retains the greatest number of Romanesque churches in the world and is famous for its Semana Sacra or Holy Week leading up to Easter. It is a city full of history and legends that will thrill you. We will visit the city and dine on tapas in Zamora’s “Street of Wines”. If you dare you can partake in the Zamoran tradition of “Cafe Torero” which consists of beginning tapas at noon and continuing throughout the afternoon with tapeando until the evening ending with drinks (copas) .BLLinda Basque Country 2014 395

8th day (Saturday): Today is dedicated to a gastronomic adventure in Zamora. First we hit the fabulous food market with a prestigious Zamoran chef to shop for fresh food items that we will use in our “Cooking Course”.  Then we head to the restaurant to select vegetables from their garden and prepare our dishes. We hope you enjoy the rich wealth of Spanish cuisine and want you to be able to “export” this dining experience to share with your family and friends when you get home. BD

9th day (Saturday): Today we’ll take a nature tour of the Arribes del Duero, the steep canyons of the Duero River created over the millennia by erosion. We explore by boat this natural wonder and cross over the border to visit Portugal. We’ll taste the famous Port wine and dine on delicious “Portuguese Cod ” for lunch. In the afternoon you can visit a small Portuguese town noted for its shopping. It is very typical that the Spaniards cross the border to do “compras” or shopping. We return to Zamora to prepare for a flamenco experience in a beautiful Zamoran house graciously opened to receive us. We will taste Zamoran food prepared by a chef exclusively for us and enjoy the show with, “singers” and “guitarists” in the living room of the house. You’ll live flamenco in its purest form. BLD

Silver Way MapMaker_Interactive10th day (Sunday): Today we will be heading through wine country on our return to Madrid. On the way you’ll be visiting two important destinations. The first is the town of Toro, with its spectacular Romanesque church.  The second is the famous wine cellar DO Toro where we will learn about wine production and taste different wines from the area. (Christopher Columbus liked Toro wine so much that the Pinta was half stored with it on his exploration). After lunch we take our journey back to Madrid. BL

11th day (Monday): Adios to the Silver Way Tour, a “goodbye” that we want to become a “Hasta luego” as we hope to “see you soon” on another wonderful CultureConnectTour in Spain made with love for your memories. B

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