MSA CULTURAL TOURS

FELLOW TRAVELERS
NEWSLETTER

Summer 2007

 

FELLOW TRAVELERS NEWSLETTER – SUMMER, 2007

 

Dear Fellow Travelers,

 I commence the writing of this NEWSLETTER, not as usual in the subterranean office of MSA Cultural Tours or my austere University office, but from beautiful Évora, Portugal. I am on the terrace of my suite at the Hotel Cartuxa overlooking the 12th century city walls and the beautiful medieval cathedral. Those of you who journeyed with us to the Algarve in January 2008 will remember Évora and the Cartuxa. Those of you who have not been to Évora must put it on your list of must-see locations (see New Year’s Eve in Portugal Tour III). I await the arrival of over 200 colleagues, from 26 countries, who will participate in the 10th Annual Congress of the Mediterranean Studies Association. This lovely medieval town will soon be inundated with an avalanche of academic papers, most erudite, some pedantic, and all didactic. I wonder if charming Évora will ever be the same? You may ask why I am domiciled in the Hotel Cartuxa luxury suite. Alas, I had no choice; hotel policy is than when you reserve 50 rooms you must accept the suite. Hard as it is for me to suppress my Jeffersonian egalitarianism, I will survive by adopting a Marie Antoinette persona of “then give them cake,” but I digress.

NEW TOURS FOR 2007-08

Since the last NEWSLETTER we have completed details for two additional tours: the ANDALUSIA TOUR mentioned in previous NEWSLETTERS and NEW YEARS IN PORTUGAL. Andalusia will be from January 15-25, 2008 and will include such sites as the Algarve, Gibraltar, the Pueblo Blancos and Cordoba. New Years in Portugal will be December 28, 2007 to January 4, 2008 (optional layover in the Azores on the return flight). SEE FULL ITINERARY FOR ANDALUSIA BELOW.

TOUR CANCELLATIONS.

We are pleased to inform you that having completed our first year of independent operations, MSA Cultural Tours only cancelled one tour during the year, the Portugal-Spain-Algarve tour scheduled in January 2007, which only had 7 people registered. We are prepared to run tours with small numbers of participants of ten or more. Ten is the magic number required to be eligible for airline group rates (though not large enough to get hotel group rates). There is a caveat: land transportation for small groups will be by van (s), not motor coach. It is simply not possibly to have a $4000 coach for small groups. The Greece tour in March was an excellent example of this situation with which thirteen of us had a grand time touring Greece in vans.

MSA CULTURAL TOURS WEBSITE

Please check the MSA Cultural Tours website (http://msaculturaltours.com) from time to time. You will find information and itineraries of our tours, registration forms, an archive of  earlier NEWSLETTERS and additional information. We are most fortunate to have my old friend Dave Read, Cape Cod weatherman on stations WQRC 99.9 FM & WOCN 104.7 FM by day and webmaster by night, keeping our site up to date. Thanks Dave, you are doing a great job.

SARDINIA

An unexpected MSA business trip to Sardinia in April has opened the opportunity for a new tour to be offered in October-November, 2008. Sardinia, like Sicily, is a travel treasure awaiting discovery. We are in the early stages of planning a 9 day combination Sardinian-Sicilian tour for late October 2008. The full itinerary will be available in the Fall NEWSLETTER and we will start accepting early registrations for this tour which we anticipate will fill very quickly. Let us know if you would like your name on the waiting list.
2007 - 2008 TOURS
I. BUDAPEST-PRAGUE-VIENNA SEPTEMBER 17-26, 2007 (SOLD OUT)
II. FOLIAGE/ HISTORICAL TOURS OF SOUTHERN FRANCE & NORTHERN ITALY- NOVEMBER 5-20, 2007
PRICE $1795.00 FOR ONE TOUR & $2895.00 FOR BOTH TOURS.
ITINERARY 1 NOVEMBER 5-13, 2007
Day 1. Arrive Barcelona & Overnight in Carcassonne
Day 2. Depart Carcassonne to visit Albi. Overnight in Carcassonne
Day 3 Depart Carcassonne for Avignon. (visit Pont duGard).
Day 4. Visit Arles. Overnight Avignon
Day 5. Depart Avignon for Grenoble. Overnight Grenoble.
Day 6 Depart Grenoble for Italian Alps. Overnight Aosta
Day 7. Explore Valle d' Aosta . Overnight Lake Como
Day 8. Early departure for Milan Airport and Boston.
ITINERARY 2 NOVEMBER 12-20, 2007
Day 1 Arrive Milan & Overnight Lake Como.
Day 2. Depart Lake Como for Genoa. Overnight Genoa.
Day 3. Depart Genoa for Gorges du Verdon, & Moustiers-Ste-Marie.
Day 4. Explore Gorges du Verdon, the Grand Canyon of France
Day 5. Depart Moustiers-Ste-Marie for Nimes
Day 6. Depart Nimes for Barcelona. Overnight Barcelona
Day 7. Barcelona. Overnight Barcelona
Day 8. Departure for Barcelona Airport and Boston.
III. CHRISTMAS IN PORTUGAL DECEMBER 28, 2007 TO JANUARY 4, 2008  $1995  EVORA AND LISBON WITH OPTIONAL LAYOVER IN AZORES ON RETURN FLIGHT.
IV. ANDALUSIA JANUARY 15-25, 2008 10 DAYS AND 9 NIGHTS  $1895
Arabs or Moors from North Africa crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in 711 and in the course of the 8th Century conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. A handful of small Christian Kingdoms survived in the far north and commenced what history calls the Reconquest. The Moors nevertheless  retained control of the southern peninsula for centuries (Granada until 1492). This area which stretches from Lisbon on the Atlantic, to Valencia on the Mediterranean, was call al-Andalus by the Moors, or as we call it today, Andalusia.
ITINERARY
Day 1. Depart Boston                                
Day 2. Albuferia, Portugal in the Algarve. Possibly the most beautiful town in Algarve.
Day 3. Sanlucar de Barramera, Spain. With Jerez is the capital of Spanish sherry production
Day 4. Cadiz Spain. Believed to be the oldest city in Western Europe
Day 5. Tarifa, Spain.                                
Day 6. Rock of Gibraltar
Day 7. Ronda, Spain in Pueblos Blancos   
Day 8. Cordoba, Spain. Political and cultural center of Moorish Andalusia
Day 9. Cordoba, Spain                             
Day 10. Evora, Portugal
Day 11 Return to Boston
V. GRAND TOUR OF ITALY - APRIL 7-24, 2008 VENETO-UMBRIA TUSCANY- LIGURIA. $2999.00 FOR BOTH TOURS $1895 FOR INDIVIDUAL TOUR
ITINERARY 1. VENETO & UMBRIA   APRIL 7-16, 2008
Day 1. Depart Boston for Milan Italy.
Day 2. Arrive Milan & Overnight Lake Garda
Day 3. Verona. Overnight Verona
Day 4. Visit Padua & Overnight Verona
Day 5. Ravenna. Overnight Ravanna
Day 6. Assisi. Overnight Perugia
Day 7. Perugia Overnight Perugia.
Day 8. Orvieto. Overnight Orvieto.
Day 9. Depart Rome Airport for Boston.
ITINERARY 2 TUSCANY & LIGURIA   APRIL 15-24, 2008
Day 1. Depart Boston
Day 2. Arrive Rome & Overnight Orvieto
Day 3. Siena. Overnight Siena
Day 4. Siena & San Gimagnino. Overnight Siena
Day 5. Florence. Overnight in Lucca
Day 6. Lucca. Overnight Lerici
Day 7. Cinque Terra & Portovenere. Overnight Lerici
Day 8. Castleaquarto. Overnight Castleaquarto.
Day 9. Depart Milan for Boston.

GAZETTE
2ND ANNUAL MSA FELLOW TRAVELERS GET TOGETHER AUGUST 26th

The 2nd Annual Fellow Travellers wine and hors d’oeuvres party will be held August 26, 2007 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the home of Maryellen and Norman Shachoy, 1Water St, Marion. We will e-mail a reminder and directions in early August. Please mark this date on your calendar; we look forward to seeing everyone.

NOCCIANO SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE

My thanks to the scholarship committee and to all of you who attended the fund raising function held on April 15, at the Woodland Commons Community Center on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus. This event raised nearly $2000 in scholarship funds to aid students in attending the Nocciano Institute for the Arts and Culture. Committee members include Elizabeth Martin, Anne Bedser, Jeanne Drury, Chris Starvaggi, Louise Boudreau and Kathy Miraglia.

CREDIT CARDS

Finally we offer our thanks to those of you who have been sending us checks rather than credit cards. While we will continue to gladly accept credit cards, your payments by checks are very helpful in allowing us to keep out tour costs down. The average credit card charge for a tour is about $75.00. Helping us avoid that expense is most appreciated. It is particularly helpful in light of the fact that the Euro continues to gain against the dollar, recently having reached nearly a $1.40. That is up from $1.28 only a year ago.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT MSA CULTURAL TOURS:

PHONE: 508 979 8687 or 800 979 8687.  e-mail: msaculturaltours@comcast.net