Travel Director: Javier Galvez
Regions: Spain, Portugal and Morocco
Trafalgar’s Travel Directors play a key role in providing each of our guests with a truly memorable experience. From the moment your Trafalgar journey begins, our Travel Directors share their local knowledge and provide a personalized, one-of-a-kind insider’s view of each destination. They are experienced travelers, learned historians and culture buffs whose job is to help you become immersed in the places you visit.
This week, Travel Director Javier Galvez took a few minutes to talk to the Trafalgar Blog to share some of his experiences and give some insight to why he loves what he does.
Tell us a bit about yourself Javier!
I studied to become a journalist at Madrid University and since I always loved travelling, I also took courses in different European languages: German, Italian, French, and English. I started travelling when I was 17 and my father sent me to London to learn English. From there, I decided to travel a bit before coming back to Madrid and hitchhiked from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva and back to Madrid. It was so much fun and quite safe in the seventies to hitchhike so I didn’t have any problem and met a lot of people.
What is the best part of your job?
I think it is the chance to meet so many different people and for a week or two live with them and share what I know about the countries we are visiting.
What’s your best Hidden Treasure?
I have lots of Hidden Treasures to show and depending on the itinerary and the available time, I pick one or the other. I like the Cathedral, being made by one single man, in Mejorada del Campo in the outskirts of Madrid.
What is your favorite place to take guests?
Definitely Morocco! Just 15km away from Spain, across the Strait of Gibraltar and a totally different culture, cooking, and traditions. I feel people are very lucky to visit this country before Starbucks arrives so to speak! McDonalds and KFC are already there! What I mean is that so far Morocco has been successful in preserving handicraft and traditions and the Medina of Fes is an example of that…
What is your most memorable ‘on the road’ moment?
A couple of years ago, one of my guests from Canada came down to dinner with 30 Trafalgar name tags! After asking him, he told the whole group those were from his previous 30 Trafalgar guided trips. I let Trafalgar office know and Gavin Tollman (Trafalgar CEO) called my mobile to chat with him – I thought that was great!
What vacation photo would you recommend our guests have to take?
In the trips in Spain I recommend the view of Toledo from the nearby hills.
Your staple travel items?
Nowadays a good phone or camera with wifi, so that we can upload pictures or google for info or mail etc. And a plug converter that will make sure you have charged batteries!
What is your tip for feeling like a local when travelling?
Learn basic words in the language of the country: Please, thank you etc. Also know about Do’s and Don’ts. That is part of my role as Travel Director.
A favourite local saying you need to know is:
“A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda”: God helps the early risers…
What is your favourite food within your region?
Must buy souvenir?
Saffron in Spain or Morocco, Argan oil in Morocco and something made of cork in Portugal.
What or who is your biggest inspiration?
My guests wanting to enjoy our trip together.
What is your best travel tip?
Accept the culture of the country you are visiting and try to understand why people love to live that way. You are there only for a few days but if you are able to learn from the local culture, you will take with you a wealth of knowledge of how to enjoy your own life even more.