• Portillo’s Passion For Trains And Travel: Portillo has been hosting various travel shows since 2009, when he first presented Great British Railway Journeys, a series that follows the routes of the Victorian-era Bradshaw’s Guide. Since then, he has expanded his horizons to explore other countries and continents, such as Europe, America, India, Australia and Japan, using historical railway guides as his reference. Portillo’s passion for trains and travel stems from his childhood, when he used to collect train timetables and maps, and dream of visiting exotic places. He also credits his father, who was a railway engineer, for instilling in him a love of locomotives and engineering.
  • Portillo’s Personal Connection To Andalucia: Portillo’s journey to Andalucia is not only a cultural exploration, but also a personal one, as he traces his family roots and history. Portillo’s father, Luis Gabriel Portillo, was born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1920, and became a prominent lawyer and republican activist. He fought against Franco’s fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War, and was imprisoned and tortured by the Nationalists. He managed to escape and flee to England in 1939, where he met Portillo’s mother, Cora Blyth, who was a Scottish teacher. Portillo’s father never returned to Spain, and died in London in 1993. Portillo’s journey to Andalucia is a tribute to his father’s memory and legacy, as well as a way of reconnecting with his Spanish heritage and identity.
  • Portillo’s Highlights And Discoveries In Andalucia: Portillo’s journey to Andalucia is full of highlights and discoveries, as he immerses himself in the region’s rich and diverse culture. Some of the most memorable moments include:
    • Visiting the Alhambra, the stunning palace and fortress complex that was built by the Moorish rulers of Granada in the 13th and 14th centuries. Portillo marvels at the intricate architecture and decoration, and learns about the history and symbolism of the place, which was the last bastion of Islamic Spain before it fell to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.
    • Exploring the Mezquita, the magnificent mosque-cathedral of Cordoba, which is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Portillo admires the forest of columns and arches, and learns about the religious and cultural significance of the building, which reflects the coexistence and conflict of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in Andalucia.
    • Touring the Alcazar, the royal palace of Seville, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful palaces in Europe. Portillo enjoys the fusion of Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, and learns about the history and legends of the palace, which was the residence of kings, queens and explorers, such as Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan.
    • Visiting the Picasso Museum, the museum dedicated to the life and work of Pablo Picasso, who was born in Malaga in 1881. Portillo discovers the early influences and inspirations of the artist, and sees some of his most famous and innovative paintings, such as The Three Musicians and Guernica.
    • Experiencing the Flamenco Museum, the museum that showcases the art and history of flamenco, the traditional music and dance of Andalucia. Portillo learns about the origins and evolution of flamenco, and watches a live performance by some of the best flamenco artists in the world.

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