The Guide to Lodging in Spainís Monasteries by Eileen Barish is a great book which uncovers an almost forgotten type of accommodation that is still on offer today. The guide covers the religious buildings of monasteries, convents and casas that are spread throughout mainland Spain and its islands Ė The Canaries and The Balearics.
This guide is full of interesting information about the monasteries themselves, their history and their surroundings. The details of the building and its religious order make this book a great read, whether youíre planning a trip or not it is full of interesting little snippets and makes an unusual talking point.
Staying in monasteries has to be one of the earliest forms of accommodation on offer, rest and sustenance for the weary traveller was a tradition for the religious orders, welcoming all into their shelter from the hostilities of the road at night.
Barish makes it easy for anyone to follow in their footsteps today, and even includes a reservation letter in Spanish with a clear translation so you can send a letter to reserve a room for your stay.
She makes it clear that monasteries which offer accommodation are friendly and welcoming but are not hotels and shouldnít be treated as such. Many of them are fairly basic, some offer meals while others provide the use of a kitchen for your own catering.
All the relevant information is to hand - whether everyone is welcome or itís only men/women or for spiritual retreats. It includes the type of accommodation, cost, whether meals or kitchen area is provided and who and how to make contact.
Each monastery is unique and the setting varies from a medieval 13th century walled city to hilltop sanctuaries on the islands. You can take your pick from rural sites to historical city accommodation.
The guide to Monasteries contains over 150 different orders that offer accommodation and over 350 photographs.
Barish has come up with an intriguing and incredibly helpful guide to staying in a Spanish monastery, and there is also a guide to monastery stays in France and Italy too.
Lodging in Spainís Monasteries is a guide worth spending your money on as it is an invaluable tool for saving funds on your Spanish, French or Italian trip. Could there be a better way to understand and appreciate the culture of a country so tied up with religion?