My husband and I went to spend a week with the Spanish Thyme Traveller in May 2012 and from day 1 it was immediately obvious that we were in safe, knowledgeable and professional hands. Paddy Waller took great care and effort planning our break to suit our personal preferences and because he is a true bi-lingual speaker with a huge local knowledge and passion for this area of Spain, the whole five day trip was an absolute delight. I really felt that I'd had a true holday as he took care of everything for us; all we had to do was enjoy it! Every morning we were picked up from our hotels and taken out for the day to a variety of places which always included having a beautiful long meal sometime during the afternoon, before being chauffered back to our beds for that night.
This is just one example of a day spent with the Waller family from the Spanish Thyme Traveller and I include it because it was my favourite. One beautifully warm morning, Julia, Paddy and Sammy collected us from our hotel directly beneath the gorgeous castle at Xativa and took us 45mins or so into the surrounding mountains. We spent the next few hours walking through a dry gorge surrounded by wild thyme, rosemary, golden eagles and mountain goats, stopping every now and then to refresh ourselves with Julia's home-made snacks. We arrived at the end of the gorge, hot, tired and happy to a welcome icy beer from our chauffeur who then whisked us away to a restaurant for the most delicious arroz ever! After we got back to our hotel, we still had time to while away an hour or two in the beautifully scented gardens that surround the pool before Paddy and Julia called at 9 to take us out for tapas in their intriguingly ancient home town of Xativa.
And that was just one day!
Other trips included a fascinating guided tour around Xativa, visits to two small bodegas with a lovely walk from one to the other including the chance to sample the produce, two visits to ancient Ibero hill top sites and a hill climb up to the top of Mont Cabra (higher than Ben Nevis) - what a view!
One vital tip, don't forget strong footwear, hats, sun cream and water.
If you enjoy great food and wine combined with clean fresh air in stunningly beautiful surroundings and interesting sights all in the company of like minded hosts then you can't find better than this.
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