I asked myself that question the first time someone recommended that I go to Spain.
I had warmbloods, wasn’t really (or thought I wasn’t) interested in Spanish horses. In my mind they were hot, skittish, and of zero interest to me.
The pestering from friends and clients didn’t stop, until I finally decided to relent and give it a look.
I haven’t looked back.
After my first trip here, I realized that EVERYONE who loves horses, wants to travel, loves to eat good food and drink amazing wine AND that wants to go on a unique, boutique trip to a SAFE country full of lovely people and places, needs to come to Spain on my boutique adventure which I amply call…Ride, Wine, and Dine Dream Trip to Spain.
It is basically that simple.
What makes my trip unique and so special?
First of all, we don’t just ride. My trip is a deep dive into the culture of Spain, the horsemanship, the food and the people. We do ride- almost every other day. The other days, we go to places such as the School for Andalucian Art, visit the oldest Stud in Spain, learn to cook paella in a private class, and we dine at some amazing restaurants, drink fabulous wine, and also have time to tranquil (relax) in some luxurious accommodations that I handpicked.
What do you have to do?
Show up. As soon as you arrive to Jerez- our starting point- I organize the rest, including your flight to Menorca from Jerez. You do have to pick some things on the menu, but that is basically the limit of your responsibilities. Oh- and you have to know the difference between tinto (red wine) and blanco (white wine) when you order!
I am sure you still have some questions…
so here are a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Where do we stay? What are the accommodations like?
We stay in beautifully appointed lofts. They are located in the Old Town, across the street from the famous Fundador Sherry Factory! In fact, the lofts were originally an old sherry warehouse that has been painstakingly restored to create these lofts. These lofts have one bathroom, a full kitchen and living area.
Double or Single Accommodation: If you chose a Double, then you will share a loft with one other person. The sleeping areas are separated; however, you will share a bath. If you chose a Single, you will have your OWN loft.
In Menorca, we stay in Villas. These villas are similar in that they each have three bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen and living area that opens up to a patio with an outdoor kitchen and pool. They are situated close to the water, so you can soak up the Mediterrean!
Double or Single Accommodation: If you choose a Double, you will share a villa with two more people. If you choose a Single, you will receive that large bedroom with the Queen Size bed and ensuite bathroom. Double accommodation has their own bedroom with a twin bed, but must share a bathroom.
What if I want to share a villa with a friend or husband/partner:
This is possible, but you must each choose a SINGLE SUPPLEMENT. These villas are quite large and designed for a couple of four more people.
How do we get there?
You are responsible for booking your International Flight and connecting flight to Jerez. Jerez has a small airport, so you will need to book a flight to Madrid then a connecting flight from Madrid to Jerez. You could go through Barcelona; however, Madrid has a lot more flights. I can definitely give you tips on booking this!
The trip covers your return flight from Menorca to Madrid or Barcelona.
What if I am a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free or have other food concerns? Is it possible to visit Spain and be one of the above. YES! You do need to tell me when you register if you have any food issues. When we are at restaurants, make sure the server knows, as well.
Breakfast in Spain:
In Jerez, we all meet at our hosts’ loft- Janey and Juan- and eat there. There is always a variety of Spanish meats, cheeses, yogurt, fruit, breads and eggs. For one breakfast we will try a tortilla which is not like tortillas in the States- it is more of a frittata- traditionally with eggs and potatoes.
Lunch in Spain:
We are generally out riding or touring during lunch, so you can pick what you like from the menu where we are eating. There are always vegetarian options. If you have an issue where you will get ill from your good touching meat/dairy/ or bread, you need to tell the server. They will let you know what will be best to order.
Paella Cooking Class:
In Menorca, we have a chance to go a cooking school and learn to make paella from a pro! They do have vegetarian/vegan or a meat option. If you have issues with any meat, you should choose vegetarian. This will insure that you use vegetable broth. The meat paella has pork, beef and chicken.
We have a lot of dinners together (see itinerary). In Jerez, we have a welcome meal at a lovely restaurant. I will make sure there are vegetarian options- and vegan if you need that; however, I have to know when you sign up for the trip. We also have several meals together at our villas in Menorca!
Of course, it is a benefit if you speak Spanish; however, most tourists visiting do not. The Spanish are amazing people and everyone we work with in Jerez speaks English. You will not have a problem ordering food or getting around if you only speak English.
In Menorca, they do speak Spanish but they all speak their own language- Menorcan- which is very similar to Catalan and has its roots in the Arabic language. The only people who do not speak English are our cook and her husband who helps me with the riding. They are great to practice Spanish with! They are incredibly patient, and love to talk. Other than that, just about everyone speaks English. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish when I started going there, and I never had a problem!!!
What if I want to learn a little Spanish before I go?
I suggest SPANISH WITH PAUL. It is online, not expensive and great!!!
DOUBLES OR SINGLES:
If you want to share with someone but don’t have a friend that can go, I can help find you a roommate. We have had couples come on the trip, but the majority is women- and all like minded!
We all want to have fun and stay safe. There is no pressure to ever ride fast. We mainly walk and trot some. Cantering is completely optional. We ride about every other day. This gives us time to rest! I realized when I started booking these trips that most of the riders coming did not ride everyday, or 6 plus hours a day!
The first right outside of Jerez in only a couple of hours long. We ride on Pure Raza Espanols (Andalucians) through the countryside on the estate of Alfonso _____________. Alfonso is from one of the oldest families in the area. He is a wealth of information on the area, and his family are also sherry makers! After the ride, we have an exsquisite spread served at his own home either on the terrace or by the fireplace. We- of course- have the opportunity to try and some amazing sherry, as well!!!
The second ride is in Menorca.
This ride is a bit longer- almost 4 hours. We ride sturdy Menorcan horses through the Tolkien like terrain of El Felipe and the neighboring National Park on the famous Cami de Cavallis- the road of the horses. This road that goes around the island was created so that the Menorcans could defend their island. You will see few people and no cars on this amazing ride.
The third ride is on the other side of the island. We ride Menorcans through another part of the Cami de Cavillis. This side of the island looks very different. We will ride alongside the water into the forest, then out through to lovely beaches.
What kind of Tack to we ride in?
In Jerez, we ride in the traditional Doma Vaquero saddle- this is a very comfortable saddle made out of sheepskin and calf leather. It is similar somewhat similar to a Western saddle, but I think most would agree more comfortable- particularly for the knees! The stirrups are different than ours- they are made of metal and you put you WHOLE FOOT in it- which seems odd at first, but make sense you when you get the hang of it! It will elevate knee and joint pain. We also ride- like Western- with one hand. The horses are use to a loose rein. This is the tradition of vaquero.
In Menorca, we ride in Endurance saddles at one facility and English at the second.