But on the way up to Asturias we decided that we wanted to do an overnight stop somewhere, and we found out that la Rioja would be a good place to do so. After all, who doesn’t want to aprovechar some Rioja wine and some tasty tapas / pinxos?
Another reason for picking la Rioja/Logroño was that I had recently found the blog Memoirs of a Young Adventuress, (about an American girl, Elizabeth, living in Logroño, the capital of the autonomous community of la Rioja) and in one of her posts, she mentioned that it wasn't really too hot up there. Perfectly hot daytime, but more chilly at night. It sounded perefct, cause Barcelona was scorching hot those days.
Hah! Never in my life have I experienced more heat than that day and night in Logroño!!! See, that same day a heatwave with hot hot HOT air from Africa blew over Spain. It was seriously like standing in front of a giant stove in action. And the wind was like a hairdryer at full speed. Gosh! Seriously uncomfortable.
One street termometer told me it was
but the wind made it feel even worse. And it's not like 40 isn't already heavy stuff.
Anyway, Elizabeth posts ”Pinxo of the week” on her blog and I had taken notice of some of the ones I though sounded particularly spectacular just in case we’d pass by. So when we decided to sleep one night in La Rioja, it just seemed very convenient to do so in Logroño, and actually use those tips! It was great, cause the whole pinxo-experience in Logroño became really goal-orientated and a complete sucsess. Thank you so much, girl! The pinxos & the wine were indeed spectacular and I will write a post of its own about that.
Although I might not have seen all that much of Logroño itself, (a part from the inside of quite a few pinxo-bars) there is a beautiful cathedral, like so many other Spanish cities!
La Rioja, as one can imagine, is full of wineries and I really enjoyed driving through la Rioja, with vineyards as far as the eye could see.
We also made it to a guided tour at one of the bigger wineries, Marques de Riscal. (Also after a tip from Elizabeth's blog, thank you again!) Great experience, and we got to taste two of their wines at the end, a red Rioja Reserva, and a white Rueda Verdejo. Both splendid wines. A future post about this visit will come as well!
We also made it to a couple villages, first Haro. A beautiful little village, said to be the capital of the Rioja-wine-production. (Well, many of the bodegas of important Rioja wines are located here.)
Another beautiful old stony village was Laguardia
With some curious art:
All in all, nothing but wonderful experiences in la Rioja. I love how you, in la Rioja, get a delicious glass of wine from €1.50, where as in Barcelona you basically (normally) get a crappy wine for that same price. Many of the less fancy bars here in Bcn, doesn't have a whole lot of wines to choose from and you might get the one that cost less than a euro a bottle in the shops if you get "el vino de la casa". In Rioja, and also in Pais Vasco, the wine you were served was always really good quality wine, and at a great price-quelity ratio. Thumbs up!