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Upcoming Programs:
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Spain: Bilbao to Madrid

June 11-20, 2012
Faculty: Steve Cushman, Professor of English

Price: $3,995 per person, land package
$695 single supplement

Registration is Open

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Experience the Iberian Peninsula, from the flavors of the sea in Basque country to the urbanity and sophistication of Madrid, our special sojourn offers captivating sights, great food and memorable experiences. We start in five-star luxury in the Silken Gran Hotel in Bilbao and spend an afternoon at Guggenheim Museum. We will visit the subject of Pablo Picasso's famous Guernica painting and stroll the streets of the Belle Epoque city of San Sebastian, once a 19th-century royal seaside retreat, and enjoy its famous enjoy pintxos (tapas). We will explore the formerly fortified city of Pamplona, home of the infamous "running of the bulls," visit the Museo de Navarra which showcases Roman artifacts including 2nd-century mosaics, Romanesque art, and Gothic and Renaissance paintings. Visit Burgos’ flamboyant Gothic cathedral with its soaring frilly spires and savor a wine tasting in Rioja. Vist one of Spain’s most enchanting cities, Segovia, and see its well known Roman aqueduct, one of the world’s most perfect engineering works. We finish up in majestic Madrid. We visit one of the world's finest collections of European art, the Prado, and see many of the important sights of this capital city.

"If [Madrid] had nothing else than the Prado it would be worth spending a month in every spring, if you have the money to spend a month in any European capital. But when you can have the Prado and the bullfight season at the same time with El Escorial not two hours to the north and Toledo to the south, a fine road to Avila and a fine road to Segovia, which is no distance from La Granja, it makes you feel badly, all questions of immortality aside, to know that you will die and never see it again." – Ernest Hemingway

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Program Highlights

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Gran Hotel Domine, Bilbao; AC Burgos, Burgos; Hotel Libany, Madrid.

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Breakfast daily, 5 Lunches, 2 Dinners, 1 Wine tasting

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Steve Cushman, Professor of English
Steve Cushman, Professor of EnglishSteve Cushman is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1982.  With a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. from Yale, he has brought to the English Department his commitment to American literature, modern Literature, poetry and the American Civil War.  His teaching has been honored with an All-University Teaching Award and the first Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship.  A poet as well as a scholar, he has published six books, including Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle (Virginia, 1999) and Cussing Lesson, a volume of poems (LSU, 2002).   His latest book of poems, Heart Island, was published by David Robert in fall 2006.  Steve and his wife Sandra have two sons, Sam, a U.Va. fourth-year student, and Simon, who will be entering the University of Mary Washington this fall.

Steve helped create our 2007 journey entitled "Hemingway's Africa: Sights and Safaris." and has led trips to Ireland and Around the World by Private Jet.

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Day 1 -- Monday, June 11
Depart the United States on independent flights to Bilbao, Spain.

Day 2 -- Tuesday, June 12
Welcome to Bilbao
Arrive at Bilbao's airport, designed by Santiago Calatrava, arguably Spain’s finest architect. Located on the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao is the fourth largest city in Spain, one of the country’s most important ports, and a center for manufacturing, shipping and commerce. In the late 1980s, the Basque authorities embarked on an ambitious redevelopment program for the city. By 1991, with new designs for an airport, a subway system and a footbridge, among other important projects by major international architects such as Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava and Arata Isozaki, the city planned to build a first-class cultural facility, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Frank Gehry, now the city’s star attraction. In October 1997, the Guggenheim Bilbao opened its doors and spearheaded the dramatic new beginning of a waning and forgotten industrial town. Transfer independently to the contemporary, five-star Silken Gran Hotel Domine, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel boasts an ideal location in front of the Guggenheim and the Nervión estuary and is within walking distance of Calatrava's symbolic White Bridge. This afternoon, visit the Guggenheim Museum and see its remarkable collection of artworks by many of the most significant artists of the second half of the twentieth century, including Anselm Kiefer, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist, Clyfford Still, Cy Twombly, Andy Warho, and Jeff Koons’s Puppy, now iconic in its position in the museum plaza. This evening, enjoy a sumptuous welcome dinner featuring traditional Basque specialties and the region’s sparkling wine, txakoli.

Accommodation: Silken Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 -- Wednesday, June 13
San Sebastian/Guernica
Drive through the scenic, rugged beauty of the Basque countryside to visit Guernica.  Guernica, the seat of the parliament of the province of Biscay, was the site of one of the first aerial bombings by Nazi Germany’s air force in 1937, sent by Hitler to support Franco's troops’ efforts to overthrow the Basque Government and the Spanish Republican government. Pablo Picasso painted his famous Guernica painting to commemorate the horrors of the bombing. Visit the Gernika Peace Museum Foundation, both a history museum about Guernica and a theme museum about the culture of peace. The exhibitions illustrate the importance of democracy, local legal system and freedom, principles that Basques have associated with Guernica and what Guernica now represents to the world, namely human rights and peace. Continue to San Sebastian, situated between the rugged beauty of the Basque countryside and one of Spain’s most picturesque bays. This sophisticated Belle Epoque city was once a 19th-century royal seaside retreat. Hemingway was acquainted with the city: it is the setting of several scenes in The Sun Also Rises. Take a stroll along its beautiful waterfront and scenic bay before setting out on a guided tour of the city’s historic center with captivating labyrinthine streets. Enjoy free time to enjoy pintxos (tapas) in one of the many pintxos bars for which San Sebastian is famous throughout Spain. Stop to view Chillida’s remarkable Wind Combs, an installation that combines elements of sculpture, wind and sea. Upon returning to Bilbao in the afternoon, admire the city’s unusual iron “transporter” bridge, an 1893 engineering marvel that was just designated a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.

Accommodation: Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 -- Thursday, June 14
Excursion to Pamplona
Delight in a full day excursion to Pamplona, the Spanish city that is most clearly associated with Hemingway. The most significant town in Spain's Pyrenean region and once a fortified city, it was for centuries the capital of the ancient kingdom of Navarre. Despite its rich cultural heritage, the city became famous worldwide after Hemingway’s descriptions of the running of the bulls in his first successful novel, The Sun Also Rises. During a city walking tour, trace Hemingway’s footsteps, and see the many establishments that he frequented that exist today: Bar Txoko, Hotel La Perla and Café Iruña, all in the Plaza del Castillo, and Hotel Yoldi, the bullfighters’ hotel. Pay homage to Hemingway at the monument commissioned by the Pamplona City Council and erected on the Paseo next to the Bullring. Also see Pamplona’s other cultural attractions, including the Catedral and Museo de Navarra. The cathedral’s neoclassical and baroque façade belies a surprising Gothic interior with fan vaulting. The 14th- and 15th-century Gothic cloisters are a highlight of the cathedral. The Museo de Navarra, housed in a 16th-century hospital, showcases Roman artifacts including 2nd-century mosaics, Romanesque art, an important Goya portrait, Gothic and Renaissance paintings and murals from the 13th century. Stop for lunch at Café Iruña, a Parisian-style café on the Plaza del Castillo, once a bullring and now the buzzing nucleus of Pamplona. Drive into the beautiful foothills of the Pyrenees and take in some of the majestic mountain scenery. Return to Bilbao in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5 -- Friday, June 15
Bilbao/The Rioja Valley/Burgos
Depart for the vine-clad hills of the Rioja Valley, known worldwide for its bold red wines. Visit the winery Paternina in Ollauri near Haro. Take a guided tour of the bodega and learn about wine production. Enjoy a discussion on the history and recent explosion of Rioja wines and savor a relaxed wine tasting with tapas. Continue to Burgos, a beautiful Gothic city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoy an afternoon city tour, including a visit to Burgos’ flamboyant Gothic cathedral with its soaring, frilly spires and an interior that has been augmented across the centuries. Check into your four-star hotel located in the heart of Burgos’ historic center.

Accommodation: AC Burgos, Burgos
Meals: Breakfast, Wine tasting, Lunch

Day 6 -- Saturday, June 16
Today we visit Segovia, one of Spain’s most enchanting cities. Segovia is strategically sited on a rocky ridge and is well known because of its Roman aqueduct, one of the world’s most perfect engineering works. View the aqueduct and then visit the gothic-style cathedral. The cathedral has various museums which are located around the gothic cloister, and in one of them is an interesting collection of pieces of tapestry by Rubens. Stop to enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and enjoy the chance to enjoy Segovia’s most celebrated dish, suckling pig. Continue to the Alcázar, one of Spain’s most distinctive castles. Its many halls tell the story of the Spanish kings that have lived there. It was also the site of the Catholic’s coronation ceremony. En route to Madrid, drive through the Sierra de Guadarrama, the setting for For Whom the Bell Tolls. During his time as a Spanish Civil War correspondent in Madrid, Hemingway memorized the area around Navacerrada, as he found it spiritually restful and visited it often. Stop to see the bridge that Robert Jordan is sent to blow up in the story, which is on the road to Segovia north of the Puerta de Navacerrada, though it is an old stone bridge rather than an iron one. Continue to Madrid, arriving in the late afternoon. Check into your four-star Hotel Libany, ideally situated near the Plaza del Sol, one of Madrid’s most desirable locations.

Accommodation: Hotel Libany, Madrid
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7 -- Sunday, June 17
Enjoy an orientation city tour of Madrid. See the the Plaza de Callao, pass the Palacio de Deportes, the site of Madrid's main bullring in the twenties, continue to the Plaza de Las Ventas, a splendid neo-mudéjar bullring that was inaugurated in 1934, only a little further away from the city center than the Antigua Plaza de Toros. Visit the Museo Taurino, which provides a good introduction to bullfighting for those who want to see the real event. The museum houses bullfighting memorabilia, such as the death costume of Manolete, a colorful painting of a matador by Goya and displays of photographs and relics that trace the history of bullfighting in Spain from its ancient origins to the present day. Enjoy lunch at one of Hemingway’s favorite bars, the Cerveceria Alemana in the Plaza Santa Ana, which, according to Hemingway, served "the best beer in Spain." The Cerveceria Alemana's marble counter and its tables and woodwork evoke times gone by, as do the old photos on the walls. In the afternoon, visit either the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia to see Picasso’s famous Guernica or the Thyssen-Bornemisza, a private collection containing over 700 world-class paintings by a vast array of artists from the 14th to the 20th century.

Accommodation: Hotel Libany, Madrid
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 -- Monday, June 18
Madrid's Prado
Spend the morning at the Prado which features one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th century to the early 19th century,and based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of works of art and historic documents. The Museum will be displaying about 1300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works are on temporary loan to various museums and institutions. Enjoy a free afternoon in Madrid. Those interested in continuing on at the Prado can enjoy lunch in its excellent self-serve café.

Accommodation: Hotel Libany, Madrid
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 -- Tuesday, June 19
Free Day in Madrid
Enjoy a free day in Madrid for independent explorations or enjoy an optional “Dutch-treat” excursion to Toledo, another city beloved by Hemingway. This evening, gather for a farewell dinner at El Botín, reportedly the oldest restaurant in the world  and famous for its Castilian roast meats. El Botín is another Hemingway favorite and the setting of the last scene of The Sun Also Rises. After dinner, choose between returning to the hotel or enjoying a cocktail at Hemingway's favorite cocktail bar, the Taberna Chicote (now Museo Chicote), once the chicest, most cosmopolitan bar in Madrid. Hemingway's appreciation of Chicote grew as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, for Chicote never closed, even during the Siege of Madrid when the Gran Via was shelled and bombed constantly. Museo Chicote is still a cocktail bar with the same 1930s interior design that Hemingway would have experienced.

Accommodation: Hotel Libany, Madrid
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10 -- Wednesday, June 20
Return to the U.S.
Following breakfast, take independent transfers to the Madrid airport for flights back to the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

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Program Fees

$3,995 per person, double occupancy, land only. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $695 per person, double occupancy rates.

*Tour price must be re-confirmed upon acceptance of tour, based on changes in the above factors or changes to the tour itinerary.

Price includes:

Price does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646 or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $750 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately 4 months prior to departure. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via credit card. Final payment must be made by check.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

ISDI and the sponsoring organization reserve the right to cancel any tour prior to departure for any reason including insufficient numbers of participants, as well as the right to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour at any time. If bookings fall below the minimum required, passengers will be advised of additional costs or itinerary alterations before departure date. All cancellations must be received in writing by ISDI, and charges are calculated as of the day notification is received in writing by ISDI. If a tour member cancels, the following scale of charges is incurred: There is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person. The costs associated with any tickets purchased for planned activities (as indicated in the itinerary) are nonrefundable. Written cancellation received by ISDI before 120 days prior to tour departure: full refund minus $500 per person administrative fee. Written cancellation received by ISDI between 119-75 days prior to tour departure: full refund of any recoverable land costs, less $1,000 per person cancellation charge (includes administrative fee). Written cancellation received by ISDI between 74-31 days prior to tour departure: results in forfeit of majority of funds, including a $1,500 per person cancellation fee (includes administrative fee). Cancellation in this time period could involve a loss of as much as 100% of land costs per person. Cancellations received on or after 30 days prior to tour departure: no refund. After the tour has commenced, it is not possible to issue any refunds. No refunds for any unused portion of the tour including, but not limited to, occasional missed meals or any missed sightseeing tours. Costs for promotion, staff, and other group expenses are not refundable. A package of cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance is strongly recommended. An insurance application was included with your tour confirmation letter. This package is for insurance in case of cancellation and covers the non-refundable expenses incurred.

International Seminar Design, Inc. (“ISDI”) acts as the agent for the suppliers of services (including, but not limited to, air and ground transportation, meals, and lodging) provided in conjunction with the tour. ISDI is not liable for the negligent acts, omissions, defaults, or failure to perform of such suppliers. The Participant releases ISDI and the Sponsoring Organization from any and all liability resulting from acts or omissions of the suppliers of services, including, but not limited to, loss, damage, delay or injury, or damage to Participant (including death) or Participant's personal property. Nor do ISDI and the Sponsoring Organization accept responsibility for losses or delays arising from sickness, quarantine, government restraints, war, acts of terrorism, weather conditions, earthquakes, or acts of God. In no event shall ISDI nor the Sponsoring Organization’s liability exceed the amount received by ISDI from Participant.

ISDI has no special knowledge of problems or hazards regarding health or safety in the destinations visited by Participant. Participant agrees to assume full responsibility for his/her safety during this tour and is advised that some destinations visited may involve risks of political instability, terrorism, social unrest, disease, and climatic extremes, as well as geographical and atmospheric extremes such as altitude and/or pollution, earthquakes, etc. Participant assumes all risks of damage or injury in connection with such risks and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless ISDI and the Sponsoring Organization against any and all claims arising from Participant's travel to such destinations. For additional information regarding hazards in specific destinations, Participant may consult the U.S. State Department and the Center for Disease Control. Dates, schedules, program details, and costs stated by ISDI’s itinerary and brochure are given on good faith and based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure and of pricing the tour and are subject to change and revision at any time by ISDI. ISDI does not guarantee the rates of any suppliers and reserve the right to substitute alternate suppliers if deemed necessary by ISDI. ISDI and the Sponsoring Organization reserve the right to change Participant's itinerary if, in ISDI’s sole discretion, such change is advisable to protect Participant’s safety. No refund shall be due from ISDI or the Sponsoring Organization in conjunction with changes in rates or itineraries, substitution of suppliers, or Participant’s decision not to complete a tour itinerary. ISDI and the Sponsoring Organization reserve the right to refuse to accept any Participant, cancel any tour at any time, or request a Participant to withdraw from a tour if, in ISDI's sole discretion, such refusal, cancellation, and/or withdrawal are in the best interest of Participant or other tour Participants. Participants are encouraged not to purchase airline tickets until after receiving a letter stating that they are confirmed on the tour, and neither ISDI nor the Sponsoring Organization accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable domestic ticket to the tour departure cities and return. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times.


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