The Art of Spain: A Creative Adventure with Eric Aho and Tim Weed

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Join artist Eric Aho and writer/Spain expert Tim Weed for a unique nine-day journey to Spain. This ARTravel adventure is open to artists, writers, and enthusiasts of any level of aspiration, experience, and accomplishment. We will travel with journals and sketchbooks, using our art – literary and/or visual – as a way to interpret and savor the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of Spain.

Encounter some of the world’s greatest art from a creator’s perspective, while gaining insight into Spanish history and culture by following in the literal footsteps of such creative giants as Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Joaquin Sorrolla, Antonio López García, Ernest Hemingway, and Federico García Lorca. More focused on process than product, this creatively conceived travel program will get you off the tourist circuit and out into the streets, landscapes, markets, museums, bodegas, and historic villages of Spain to explore, appreciate, and generate an unforgettable idea-based travel journal.

Our journey begins in Spain’s vibrant arts capital, Madrid. Visit some of the world’s finest museums – the Prado, the Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Casa Sorrolla – benefiting from the insights of artist Eric Aho, supplemented by socio-historical context provided by Tim Weed and local art historians. Take a day trip to fascinating Toledo, a medieval hill-top city that is home to some of El Greco’s greatest paintings. Explore historic plazas, palaces, and monasteries. Stroll through expansive parks, discover Madrid’s hidden neighborhoods, and stop by local restaurants to sample the earthy wines and delicious locally sourced cuisine of Spain.

Travel over land to the remarkably well-preserved Andalusian Renaissance city of Úbeda, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and spend the night in a restored 16th century palace. Continue on to the highly evocative southern city of Granada, where the focus shifts to creative outdoor exploration with sketchbooks or journals in hand. Visit the storied Alhambra, the largest Moorish palace in the world, where ornately carved chambers overlook the stunning valley of Granada, and gravity-powered fountains designed in antiquity fill leafy courtyards with the soothing babble of water. Hike to a deserted monastery for a picnic and a guided sketching or writing session. Visit the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, Granada’s Renaissance cathedral, and the medieval Moorish neighborhood known as the Albaycín. Take a day trip to the great mosque of Córdoba, stopping to absorb the stark landscapes of rural Andalucía. Visit the Alhambra at night for a dramatic reading of Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra, take in some flamenco in a gypsy cave, and venture out to sample Granada’s specialty: its great variety of delicious bite-sized tapas.


Dates: June 2-10, 2013

Lodgings: We stay in fine, carefully selected, well-located boutique hotels and historic palaces.

Price per person: $3,550 for double occupancy (single supplement: $600), includes transportation, museums, local guides, all breakfasts, seven lunches, and four dinners.

Some independent meals give participants the chance to get a break from the group and sample some of Madrid and Granada’s delicious restaurants and tapas places on their own.

For the sake of flexibility and to allow for independent travel planning, flights from participants’ home cities to Spain are not included in the program price. We are happy to help you arrange flights, and to give detailed advice regarding pre- or post-program travel.

Space is limited to preserve the intimacy and flexibility of the experience, so apply early.

Getting There: The program begins in Madrid on the morning of June 3 (you must depart the US the evening of June 2 to arrive then), and ends in Granada on the morning of June 10. If you’re flying home directly, Málaga is the closest major airport. Most airlines that fly to Spain will allow you to fly into Madrid and out of Málaga.

Group Leaders

Eric Aho studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London, England and received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1989 he participated in the first exchange of scholars, in over thirty years, between the U.S. and Cuba. He completed his graduate work at the Lahti Art Institute in Finland supported by a Fulbright Fellowship in 1991-92 and an American- Scandinavian Foundation grant in 1993. Aho’s paintings have been presented in numerous exhibitions including: the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT; the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College; the Ogunquit Museum of American Art; the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan; the National Academy of Design and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. Most recently, The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH organized a survey of more than thirty of Aho’s paintings. Aho’s work is represented in private and public collections throughout the country and abroad including the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Oulu City Art Museum, Oulu, Finalnd. Eric Aho is represented by DC Moore Gallery in New York and lives and works in Saxtons River, Vermont.

Tim Weed is a Putney-based author and educator with more than two decades of experience developing and leading educational travel programs abroad. As a founding director of National Geographic Student Expeditions, Weed played a key role in developing new photography, archaeology, and wildlife conservation programs in Iceland, Peru, Ecuador & the Galápagos, Spain, the Yucatán Peninsula, Alaska, and Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks. His experience in Spain goes back to his years at Middlebury College, where he majored in Spanish Literature and spent a semester at Middlebury in Madrid. He led a six-week language immersion program throughout the country for Putney Student Travel, and later developed new language and educational programs in Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, and Cádiz. Weed spent a full academic year based in Granada, where he served as an academic director for the School for International Training’s College Semester Abroad program. His short fiction has been short listed for numerous awards, including the Autumn House Fiction Prize, the Lightship International Short Story Prize, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers, the Richard Yates Short Story Awards, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. His essays and articles, mostly on travel, the outdoors, and the writing craft, have appeared in national magazines, and his essay on Cuba won a 2012 Best Travel Writing Award. Weed is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese and Italian, and has traveled to virtually every corner of the Iberian peninsula.