By Nancy Todd
Me? In a tour group? Never. However, I have changed my mind since learning about Context, an unusual business that designs walking seminars specifically for the intellectually curious individual or group no larger than six.
What you won’t find: shrill tour leaders, sparring orange umbrellas, superficial info, and feeling like a herded goat.
What you will discover: art historians, architects, and other specialists, giving you in-depth info that is not in the guide books. You will discover docents who know the nuances of a medieval lane, the history of a Goya or Picasso, info on layers of ancient ruins, and where to stop for the best hot chocolate.
Almudena Cros was my docent in Madrid. She inquired as to my interests as a journalist, and designed a walking seminar of Madrid that I wished could have lasted for days. In addition to being charming, Almu knew where the hidden nuns sold sweets from behind a door in their convent, unusual facts about Picasso’s Guernica, where to buy Madrono liquor and the best tapas. Confused by the royal dynasties in Spain, Almu unraveled their history for me with diagrams and pictures of the staunch royals. Almu is typical of docents Context arranges in Venice, New York, London; altogether a total of 12 cities.
Founded by Lani and Paul Bennett, Context has won the Conde Naste Top Travel Specialist Award for 2010. Whatever your interest: cuisine, art history, archeology, environmental science, literature, etc., the cultural heritage of their walking seminars brings the spirit of a city alive.
Context tours graciously invited The Spain Scoop to experience their tour free of charge. We are grateful for the invite.
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