Two Tours, Three Countries, Four Weeks

June is the second busiest month of the year for us Tour Manager people (September, since you ask). This year is no exception. I have two tours, back to back, with only 36 hours between them. The good news is that they are both strong Tours and I’m already familiar with them from previous experience.

First up, I have the Grand Tour of Spain and Portugal. This is for Vacations By Rail and is therefore with American clients. It starts in Madrid on Monday 22/05/23 and finishes in Barcelona on 02/06/23. As always with American clients we move fast and cover a lot of ground – Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Lisboa, Sevilla, Granada & Barcelona.

I’m not sure about Americans, but British clients often fail to appreciate that Spain was the dominant Global Empire in the 16th Century, the largest and richest on the planet. It doesn’t look like it when you visit the Costas and lie on a sunbed, but the moment that you head North you begin to see and understand. The Treaty of Tordesillas, (June 7, 1494) established Spanish zone of control over all non-christian lands discovered West of an imaginary line in the Atlantic and Portuguese control over the East. That’s why you find Portuguese influence in Madeira, Azores, Cape Verde, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Macao & Goa (All East of the line). It’s also why Spanish control existed in most of South & Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Texas, Florida, California, Colorado, New Mexico & The Phillipines. Spain, and particularly Portugal, discovered (and exploited) vast areas of the world and the wealth that flowed into them was reflected in their cities and architecture. If you think New Orleans French Quarter is French architecture, think again – It’s pure Spanish Colonial.

I get back home about 2pm on 02/06/23 and then bounce back out on 04/06/23 with Top to Toe of Italy for Great Rail Journeys. I’ve done this one before and it’s a comprehensive journey through the country, starting in Torino and finishing in Sicily. One of the many highlights of this Tour is the Ferry to Sicily across the straights of Messina – the train is split in half and then both parts roll directly onto the Ferry before travelling over on the ship and being reassembled on the other side. There are very few of these left in the world and this is the only passenger one in Europe.

With thanks to our friends at

Busy times ahead but please follow me round and I’ll be blogging!

One Reply to “Two Tours, Three Countries, Four Weeks”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: