Adventures in Spain & Portugal

Author: Emily Siegel

I was recently one of the fortunate Penn Alumni Relations staff to accompany one of our Penn Alumni travel tours, Paradores & Pousadas: Historic Lodgings of Spain & Portugal.  It’s a bit daunting to think about what is blog-worthy, or for that matter, interesting to those who weren’t able to go on the trip with us.  Sure, I could post pictures and tell you about all the neat places we went, but that just won’t capture how special this trip truly was.  The dynamics of the group on this tour were just fantastic – everyone looked out for one another and took the time to get to know each and every one of their traveling companions.  The group became so tight, that by the third day of the tour it was declared that we would gather for happy hour every evening before our scheduled dinner.

When I returned home from our two-week extravaganza, I was reflecting on whether or not I’d be interested in doing this all again.  Sure, the easy answer is YES – who wouldn’t want to explore more of the world?  But truth be told, I hesitated a bit at first. The group of people on this tour made it the special tour that it was, and I’m just not sure I could ever re-create an experience as wonderful as the one we had.  But as cheesy as this may sound, I then remembered I’d be traveling with our Penn Alumni and friends, and I’m certain that it would again be its own uniquely special trip!

So, for those who want “the details” on where we went and what we saw, some pictures for you to enjoy.

We started off our trip in the vibrant city of Lisbon, Portugal.  We spent our days sight-seeing monuments, monasteries, and royal summer homes, and in the evenings we enjoyed delicious meals and even a Fado show!

After Lisbon, we were off to the small town of Monsaraz for a quick day trip.  The town only has a population of 150 – isn’t the cutest town you’ve ever seen?

Before we knew it, our time in Portugal was over and we were off to Spain.  First stop, Merida – a town with some of the most well-preserved Roman ruins.

Did I mention we had a group of alumni from Puerto Rico with us on this tour?  I didn’t?  Well, they were such a fun bunch, they deserve a pic!


One of my favorite sightseeing days in Spain was visiting Seville, where we had plenty of time to explore and soak up the architecture and culture.

While I loved Seville, Ronda was hands-down my favorite city that we visited in Spain.  We stayed at the top of a gorge, and I was lucky enough to find a friend on our tour who was just as interested in hiking and exploring as I was:


As I mentioned up above, our group was serious about their happy hours.

The final leg of our trip took us to Granada where we visited the famous Alhambra.

Before arriving at our final stop in Madrid, we popped into Toledo for an afternoon tour and we were able to catch a great shot of the city on our way out.


We ended our trip with a bang in Madrid where we spent our days exploring palaces, museums, and enjoying tapas in Plaza Mayor.

And of course, no Penn Alumni Travel trip is complete without a picture with our Penn Alumni banner:


Such a good looking group!  I would travel anywhere, anytime, with these folks again. And  if you’re interested in getting in on the fun, check out our upcoming Penn Alumni Travel Tours.

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Emily S., Events, Penn Alumni Travel, Photos, Travel

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