Cooking and Culture Holiday
A VARIED AND INTERESTING WEEK THAT COMBINES COOKING, CULTURE AND WALKING.
We add a little of everything to our Cooking and Culture Holiday. Daily excursions will take us to explore this land, rich in history, architecture, gastronomy and culture. Neolithic Dolmens mix with formidable forts, medieval monasteries, majestic castles, ancient ruins and Romanesque churches.
We are Simon and Lucy, your hosts, a husband and wife team who pride ourselves on our personal service, the care we take and our attention to detail.
You will be staying at our exceptional, renovated farmhouse, within a UNESCO Geopark, a place of particular geological interest and close to two other parks. The National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Natural Park of Sierra de Guara, now itself with UNESCO world heritage status.
The group size is small with places limited to 8 people. Our local guides will accompany us on some of our walks. The itinerary below gives an idea of a typical week.
“Its all too brilliant. Lucy and Simon have something special, both in their location but also as hosts, they just get everything right."
Cathryn. London. 2016
Cooking and Culture Holiday • Dates and Prices 2018/19
Our Cooking and Culture Holiday includes full board at our 17th century farmhouse and all excursions. No single supplement applies. Flights are excluded.
We can provide transfers from Zaragoza airport for the Ryan Air flight from London Stansted, or Zaragoza train station for trains from Barcelona or Madrid for an additional charge of €70 per person return. From Zaragoza it is around two hours to our farmhouse. For more information see how to get to Albella
“My participation in the cooking classes was initially intended to please my more interested friends, but with a couple of glasses of wine and Simon and Lucy's expert instruction, the cooking turned out to be great fun, and delicious.”
Ellen. Arizona. Stayed May 2016.
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“This was everything we wanted, plus more. The landscape, geology, wildlife and history of this part of the Pyrenees is truly amazing.”
Kate. Leicester. 2016
Cooking and Culture Holiday Itinerary
The itinerary below gives an idea of what we will be doing during a typical week on our Cooking and Culture Holiday. Take a look at our short video opposite. Think of it as your first tapas, an appetizer of the area you will be visiting.
The decision of exactly where we go on a particular day will be decided by Simon and Lucy. It will depend a great deal on the weather conditions. See our Pyrenees Weather Forecast for a better idea of what to expect and what to pack (we send a recommended kit list when you book).
Our Cookery workshops are held in our modern catering kitchen. The focus is on Spanish dishes, both from our own region and other parts of Spain.
We offer 6 days of excursions, however, at anytime you are able to take a rest day, and relax in the comfort of the farmhouse. During the walks we make regular stops to look at the geological, historical and cultural points of interest, as well as the amazing wildlife.
The May holiday is the only Sunday to Sunday week, so please bear this in mind when looking at the sample itinerary below. This is done to coincide with the annual Romeria in Albella on Saturday 3rd June. This local fiesta is as old as the village itself. We start with the procession of the saints to the small ermita of San Urbez. After a good lunch there is live music and dancing, which carries on into the evening. The day ends with a traditional supper and the local drink, poncho, which is flamed.
DAY 1 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Saturday
• Arrival at Casa Allué, Albella. A welcome drink and a chance to meet Simon and Lucy, your hosts for the week, before our evening meal.
DAY 2 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Sunday
• After a day of travel this is a gentle introduction to the area. We will walk to the beautiful Ermita of San Urbez in our village of Albella. Having talked a little of the history of this chapel, and the customs associated with San Urbez, we will set off on circular walk. The pathways date from medieval times and link the local villages. We will cross ancient seabeds strewn with fossils, our destination is the village of Janovas, which sits at the head of a dramatic gorge. Janovas has a story to tell, one which had implications for the whole valley where we live! Picnic lunch.
• Return to Albella for our first cookery workshop. Here we all join in to prepare a traditional segundo plato.
DAY 3 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Monday
• We visit the 10th century monastery of San Juan de la Peña. Built into the rock face in a spectacular mountain setting. The elegant twelfth-century cloister is said to be one of the greatest examples of Romanesque carvings in Spain.
In 1675, a fire in the monastery forced the monks to build a newer one, further up the hill. Our second destination. Here we get a novel insight into the daily lives of the monks with exhibitions and models.
• After lunch at a local restaurant we descend down to the garrison town of Jaca, the former capital of Aragon. There we will visit the Romanesque cathedral and the Doicesano museum. The museum has a superb collection of Romanesque to Gothic religious art.
• Return to Albella for a light supper.
DAY 4 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Tuesday
• After breakfast we leave to visit a local artisan producer of liqueurs and teas. With our senses still tingling we head to the valley of Bujaruelo. This is a beautiful valley with a diversity of flowers, marshy meadows, mountain streams, marmots and variety of birds. After a gentle walk we can choose a place to picnic. The crystal clear waters of the rio Ara and the medieval bridge of San Nicolas provide an idyllic setting.
• On the way home we will stop at Torla, the gateway to the National Park of Ordesa. Here we will take some time to wander the narrow streets, noting the medieval Aragonese architecture.
• In the afternoon we will return for a cookery workshop. Today the focus is on postre!
DAY 5 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Wednesday
• We head south to explore the citadel of Alquezar. Originally a 9th century Moorish fort, perched on rocky cliffs above the Vero river, in the natural park of Sierra de Guara. In the 11th century it was taken over by the Chrisitans.
We take a tour of the fascinating interior with a range of styles from Romanesque to Renaissance, including the unusually shaped cloisters with murals dating back to the 15th century.
• After a picnic lunch we take a short walk along the spectacular pasarelas above the river Vero.
• In the afternoon we visit a local bodega for a tour and wine tasting. On the way home calling at a family owned olive-oil producer to learn how to appreciate olive oil like wine!
• Supper in the medieval square of Ainsa.
DAY 6 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Thursday
• After a leisurely breakfast we have our third cookery workshop. We unravel tapas!
• After lunch we visit the medieval town of Ainsa. Voted one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. An important strategic and commercial centre since the time of the Moors, in the 8th century. There will be time to visit the old fort, where there are open views to Monte Perdido.
As we stroll through the beautiful arched plaza we will learn about the history of the town, and take a coffee at one of the many bars. No visit to Ainsa is complete without going inside the Romanesque church, completed in the 11th century.
• Return to Albella for a light supper.
DAY 7 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Friday
• In the morning we will go to three viewing balconies that overlook the dramatic gorge of the river Yaga. This is the best place in Europe to see the magnificent Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture). The views are breathtaking.
• After our lunch at a mountain restaurant we make the short drive to do a walk rich in cultural history. We will enjoy panoramic mountain views, visit a megalithic structure and three ermitas (hermitage). The earliest of which dates from the 11th century.
• On our way home we will call at Ainsa for a beer, a coffee or to do some shopping.
• Return to Albella for a light supper.
DAY 8 Cooking and Culture Holiday: Saturday
• A flexible timetable depending on departure times. For those departing from Zaragoza airport we can visit the impressive Castillo de Loarre on route.
Please note this is strictly a non-smoking holiday.
“Lucy and Simon are perfect hosts, sharing their love and knowledge of the area and how you can experience it, from walking to wildlife, food to photography. ”
Martina. Essex. Stayed Oct 2016.