This is day 6 for me in Spain, and it´s been an incredible journey so far. There will be photos to post later of the great folks I´ve met and things I´ve seen. First impressions: Loved Madrid, it´s a grand capital with wide avenues and graceful architecture. The Prado is beautiful and I loved exploring the galleries, like my college art history class come to life. So far the advice I have gotten from Ryan and Gabriella of Catavino has been spot on. Ryan told me to head to a specific street in the city for tapas and sure enough, they were great and the scene was lively. I met three fun Madridlenas and enjoyed a debate with one about French vs. American oak. I still prefer French, but like when it is not too heavily applied, i.e., not all new oak, and sure mix in some American too.
Driving up from Madrid I was stunned to see snow-covered mountains. My next stop was Aranda de Duero in the Ribera del Duero wine region. This is a small town that has seen way better days. Even the historic archtitecture is crumbling. However, it has lots of bars and restaurants, especially ones that serve the speciality of the area, roast baby lamb, a juicy, super tender dish that pairs so well with the Ribera del Dueros. While in the area, I had the good fortune to have a personal tour of Abadia Retuerta, a sensational modern winery where the wine is truly treated like gold. Nothing every shakes up the wine, no pumping here, every process is acheived through ingenious operations that allow gravity to remove the wine from the tanks and barrels.
I spent the afternoon in Valladolid a lovely city with so many interesting styles of architecture represented that it should be on every aspiring architect´s list of places to visit-I saw a baroque university, a Spanish gothic church, a palace with a platteresque window and more.
Driving out of the area, I was advised to avoid the shorter route as the snow was bad there. Snow? Oh, yeah, 3 hours of driving in it to get to Rioja. And in the mountains. Mountains with jagged black rocks looking down menancingly at me in my little car. Then, when the driving should have gotten better, I got thoroughly lost in Logrono. Thanks to my Iphone´s GPS, I finally made it to my hotel. I´ve grown to like this town very much, which is a stop on the Pilgrim´s route to Compostala. Well, apologies for the typos, etc., it´s rough blogging from the road.
Great to know that you've reached Rioja. I trust Ryan and Gabriella insisted that you came over to visit us at Dinastia Vivanco (just up the road from Logroño near Haro)?ReplyDelete
How long are you spending in the area?
Hi, Robert, I was at Dinastia Vivanco yesterday--that was amazing I spent 3 hours. I am tonight at the Marques de Riscal and tomorrow touring a winery in Haro then a long drive to Tarragona.ReplyDelete
Great to hear your trip has worked out so well. Looking forward to sharing a drink or two in BCN! Cheers, rReplyDelete
Diane, Sounds heavenly! Enjoy the rest of your trip. I look forward to your updates here.ReplyDelete
I just found your blog through the OWC... A pity I had not seen it before, nor you rplans to visit Madrid, I could have suggested some nice places for wine.
Also because maybe my site could have been useful to you. A pity! www.turismodevino.com
I can see though you are getting good advise. Good luck for the rest of your stay... You came on a cold week!!!! Enjoy it
It was a great pleasure to meet you last night, and with hope, you got back to your room in one piece ;-) Unfortunately, or fortunately, I fed you more Cava than I did delicious rabbit ribs, potentially making the walk home rather challenging. I suppose it's a good excuse to get you back here again! I look forward to reading your future posts on your trip, and please stay in contact!! Take care!
Luis, Thanks for visiting my blog. You're right, central Spain was freezing when I was there. I'll check out your site.ReplyDelete
Gabriella, what a night!! Yes, I later thought that more food would have been sensible. Thanks so much for taking me out on the town in Barcelona. Looking forward to the next times our paths cross. And give my best to Ryan--hope he's feeling better. Cheers!ReplyDelete
When is the Logrono, Spain wine festival for 2009? Recommended Bodegas to visist & taste.ReplyDelete
AJ - the festival is September 23 and it looks spectacular - if you go you'll have a great time. Visit the tourist center and they'll give you a book full of wineries to visit. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the insite. Do you recommend any regional tour service for 3 day/4 night - packages besides the "Luxury Private" ones that cost $700/person/day??ReplyDelete
It's not difficult to rent a car and self-tour in Rioja region. I made my base camp in Logrono, then visited the tourist office there. They have English-speaking staff and booklets in English of all the wineries that are open to the public. Just call a couple days in advance to set up appointments to visit. It's a beautiful region and easy to get around. Enjoy.ReplyDelete