Fado means fate, and to the people of Portugal, the music is as powerful as destiny itself. Fado is a Portuguese urban folk music that grew out of the streets and taverns of Lisbon in the 19th Century. It is characterized by mournful melodies and lyrics, often about the sea, neighborhoods, or the life of the poor. It is infused with sentiments of resignation, nostalgia and deep melancholy. Fado is often called “The BLUES of Portugal.”
Ensemble Iberica’s third annual trip to Portugal!
This is your chance to experience fado music in the ancient city of Lisbon along with Portugal’s top chefs and the famous wines of the Douro valley. Ensemble Ibérica artistic director, Beau Bledsoe will be your guide as he shares with you the musicians, singers and great restaurateurs that have become his friends over the years.
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Monday, June 25th: Arrival in Lisbon with transportation provided to the HOTEL do CHIADO, located in the very picturesque Bairro Alto with stunning views of Sao Jorge Castle and the River Tagus. After resting up this afternoon, we will all get acquainted at a cocktail reception on the roof-top lounge, featuring the best view in all of Lisbon. Then, enjoy a three-course traditional Portuguese dinner in our private dining room. Beau will bring along his Portuguese Guitar to play and explain a little about the fado music we are here to experience. After dinner, Beau will take any hardy souls to Café Luso nearby for some late-night fado entertainment.
Tuesday, June 260th: A full breakfast is included in the hotel each morning of our stay. At 12:00 Noon we check out of the hotel and board a large comfortable private coach for a three-hour scenic drive to Oporto. Upon arrival and check-in at the Superior Class NH Collection hotel, have a rest, explore or enjoy a light meal. Tonight we will celebrate our time together in Portugal over dinner at GRAHAM’s PORT LODGE Surrounded by 3,200 oak barrels where the Porto fine wines of Graham's are aged. The main dining room is situated in the heart of a magnificent 19th century wine cellar, with historic pine beams, and cast iron pillars, dating back to 1890. Beau and a few local friends will share their favorite fado music with us. The view of Oporto and the River Douro as the sun sets is spectacular.
Wednesday, June 27th: After breakfast (included each morning) we will board our private coach for a spectacular day trip through the Douro Valley, source of the finest Port Wines in the world. Our first stop will be near the town of Peso da Regua, for a visit to the VALLADO WINERY established in 1716. For lunch we will enjoy a tasting menu at one of the region’s finest restaurants DOC, by far the most idyllic situated restaurant in Portugal nestled along the River Douro, blending magnificent views of vineyards with lush growing vines. Chef Rui Paula uses only the finest local certified produce and uses them in innovative ways. To finish the day in the Douro we will visit Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo Wine Centre. Breathe in the panoramic view of the valley and serenity of the river while tasting a specially selected range of their finest wines. Tonight you may enjoy dinner on your own in Oporto. As always– Beau will have the latest news on fado music available in the area.
Thursday, June 28th: After breakfast and a Leisurely morning we will check out of our hotel and board our private coach for the journey back to Lisbon and the Hotel Do Chiado. But first, lunch will be provided aboard a traditional Rabelo Boat with a scenic cruise on the River Duoro. Upon arrival in Lisbon and check-in, the Afternoon and early evening is at leisure. Optional: late this afternoon join host, Beau Bledsoe on the outdoor, roof-top lounge for Port wine & Cuban cigars. For tonight’s outing, Beau Bledsoe has arranged for us a very special and rare evening: dinner and fado at MESA de FRADES. This is where the best fado musicians and singers hang-out. It is the oldest and most genuine fado House in Lisbon, housed in a small unmarked 1700 century chapel. Religious scenes in Portuguese blue tile still line the walls.
Friday, June 29th: After breakfast let’s gather in the lobby as we are off to visit the MUSEO de FADO, devoted entirely to Lisbon’s urban song universe. A welcome GINJA and lunch will be included at a spot in the neighborhood, Then we are off to visit The Castle of Sao Jorge, the ancient Moorish castle overlooking the center of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The remainder of the afternoon & evening are at your leisure. Tonight is at your leisure in Lisbon. This would be a good night to stay out late with Beau at some of the smaller, more rustic fado houses.
Saturday, June 30th: June 24th: Tonight we enjoy dinner and plenty of local wines at CLUBE Do FADO, before settling in to a festive evening of entertainment. Dinner in Lisbon is served late. Our evening will begin at 8:30PM and you are welcome to stay for the last fado set at 1:00 AM.
Monday, July 2nd: Travel Day. Check out time is 12:00 noon. Transportation has been arranged to the Lisbon airport for morning flights back home.
Please have a look at our photo album below of past trips.