About Our Hosts

Here is what several of our Basque Coast trekkers from the last May trek, thought about the trip and our hosts, George and Lucie Semler:

Just a short note to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to the Basque region of Spain with GivingJourneys in May 2019.  Every minute was a new experience and we found our fellow travelers to be so much fun to be with.
George and Lucie were fantastic hosts and tour leaders: no stuffy formality or pretense with those two free-spirits.Their fluency in Spanish and Basque made for easy communication with the locals. We found the trip to have just the right mix of hiking and shuttling between points of interest.  And, of course, the food and wine were absolutely five-star. We hope you plan to offer this trip again to others in the future. Bonnie and John Sebright

George and Lucie, our guides were indispensable on this trek. George’s unique language skills and life-long connection to Spain, coupled with Lucie’s sense of humor and organizational skills made this trip unforgettable. This is a “must do” for the adventuresome; Spain is wonderful; George and Lucie are amazing. Alan Cummings

I don’t know how I can top Alan’s comments … all that and more! The added benefits of George and Lucie’s personal contacts and years of living in Spain made our trip feel like we were visiting old friends …not as tourists 🙂 Ellen and Roy Knights


                 Meet George and Lucie Semler


A Marine infantry officer and rifle company commander in a former life, George Semler moved to Madrid in 1970 with his wife, Lucie, to work on a Vietnam memoir. Since then Semler has authored six books on Barcelona and one on Madrid and lived in the Spanish capital, the Basque Country and Barcelona. He is presently at work on a book about the Pyrenees based on a two-month walk from Atlantic to Mediterranean,
Semler was a Yale French major and later did a Middlebury masters and completed doctoral work with NYU in Spanish. A generalist, Semler has written about everything from fly fishing to flamenco, wild mushrooms and running with the bulls for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Forbes, Gray’s Sporting Journal and Sky and is presently a roving food and travel correspondent for The Daily Meal.
His SAVEUR article on Basque eating societies was a finalist for the 2004 James Beard Journalism award. A SKY Magazine article published in 1998 described a family eating and walking trek along the Basque Coast.

Daughter of an international public health physician, Lucie Hayes attended eight schools in eight years in Mexico, Maine, Iraq, Switzerland, New York and Colombia before completing secondary school at Milton Academy. A drama and French major at Bennington College, Lucie moved to Madrid with husband George Semler in 1970. Quilt maker, teacher, translator and mother of four, Lucie presently works as an editor and translator and she and George split their years between Barcelona and Blue Hill, Maine.