Spain the honeymoon – Rioja

Got back from Spain two Fridays ago. We were there for two weeks and it was technically a “doublemoon,” where we went with our friends that got married in September. Overall of Spain? I really enjoyed it! We visited La Rioja (staying in Logrono), Bilbao, San Sebastian, Mallorca, and Barcelona. Let’s start with La Rioja!

We drove from Barcelona to La Rioja. We stayed in Logrono since it was our first day in Spain, I had a feeling we would feel some jet lag and needed to be in an area that was close to lots of restaurants. If we stayed in any of the winery area, then it would’ve been tiring to find a restaurant after our long flight and drive. Logrono has a couple of streets that are famous for tapas. Here is what one of the streets (Calle Laurel) looks like in the day time. I forgot to snap a photo at night because I was so excited to start eating!

Each place has a specialty so it’s easy to know what to get. Alternatively, some places display all the tapas that they have available or you can have something not displayed made to order. It was awesome because we got to go on our first tapas crawl together. So much good food for reasonable prices! It is helpful to know some Spanish, like understanding what they are asking you and knowing how to order. Here is one of my favorite tapas on our first night. It’s so simple and yummy. Mushrooms grilled with lots of olive oil, garlic, and salt. A shrimp is placed on the toothpick and then three mushrooms are placed beneath the shrimp. Then, the stack is placed on top of a piece of bread to soak up all the juices. So easy!

The next day we drove through the wine area. It’s so BIG compared to Napa! I’ve been to most of the major wine regions of CA but nothing prepares you for how big La Rioja is. Maybe it’s because in CA, there are lots of hills so you can’t see how far the vineyards stretch? I want to go back when the vineyards have grapes on them! Prior to our trip, we did our due diligence with wines from this area. Luckily we live super close to a few great wine shops. We learned about Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. All labeling intended to tell the reader how long the wine has been in the barrel and bottle before selling. Crianza being the youngest and so forth. It was cool seeing that our local wine shop really did carry the famous wines…we even tried two wineries that we had from our wine shop! Speaking of wineries, in Spain wineries are called bodegas. 🙂 Here is a photo of the vineyard at Bodega Baigorri.

Hopefully I remember to post about the other parts of Spain!

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