Friday, October 30, 2009

Summary of Holts tour of Portugal and Spain

Jan and I often thought about visiting the battlefields of Portugal and Spain, particularly as our Waterloo holiday in 1971 had been so enjoyable. We had always been put off by the difficulty in researching how to explore the battlefields, and our complete lack of Spanish or Portuguese.

Whilst living in Germany we had visited quite a few battlefields. Some, like Verdun, had been easy to explore. This battlefield is a national monument for the French, and there are lots of books available about the battlefield itself. It is also very well sign posted.

Others, like Minden, had proved difficult in the extreme. We lived quite close to Minden, and after our Waterloo holiday had tried to explore Minden battlefield armed with a book of the battle and a modern day map. It had proved a complete failure.

Then one day in 1991 I found out about Holts Battlefield Tours. I had heard of them before and knew they specialized in visiting World War One and World War Two battlefields. But they were now doing Portugal and Spain. They were not cheap, but it was the opportunity that was too good to miss.

They did three tours. The first was Portugal, the second Spain and the third the Pyrenees. We would have liked to do all three, but could not afford that. So we choose the one which offered the best selection of battlefields. The tour would last seven days from 21 to 28 October 1991, and would visit 10 battlefields and let us visit both Lisbon and Madrid.

It was an excellent tour and proved very good value for money. Most important of all, it would give us the confidence to return to Portugal and Spain and “do our own thing”.

The next blog will deal with our return visit to Portugal and Spain to explore more of Wellington's Peninsular battlefields, this time on our own.

You can read about it at: