Thursday, 6 October 2016

Relaxing Retreat | La Rioja & Beyond

You may have seen my Madrid post, in which I mentioned we also spent two nights in the La Rioja region. Expect to see lots of wine in this post, as let’s be honest, it’s what La Rioja is famous for!
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
En route to our hotel in Laguardia, we stopped off at a little village called Lerma, in the region of Burgos. We sat outside in the Plaza Mayor and enjoyed tinto and tapas – Burgos is famed for its morcilla, so we sampled that, along with a couple of other dishes. The village was really beautiful and after lunch, we made our way up and down the steep, narrow, cobbled streets – making our way to the church and even stopping at the Parador on the way back to the car.
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
We stayed at the Hotel Eguren Ugarte, which has to be hands down, the most luxurious and incredible hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Not only were the facilities fantastic, but look at this for a view! We could see out onto the vineyards and the lush landscapes for which the region is famed. Also included in the price of our room was a tour of the bodega and we even partook in a little wine tasting. It was truly fabulous and I long to return. If you wish to find out more about our stay, you can read my ‘Five Course Feast at Eguren Ugarte’ post.
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
Our first bodega visit was to El Fabulista in Laguardia – where we enjoyed a guided tour underground, before going on to taste a selection of the wines. I loved that the bottles' labels depicted fables and we sampled ‘The Deer & the Vine’ and ‘The Fox & the Grapes’ – both of which were red wines. El Fabulista produces five varieties of wine, one of those being a white. I was pleased to see they still used traditional methods, including the treading of grapes – in fact, we were invited back in October to do this ourselves. I was actually devastated I had no holiday left. One thing I noticed as we visited multiple bodegas was that the methods and storing of wine production were different, even if the same or similar varieties of grape were used.
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
The Vivanco Wine Museum was loads of fun, but unfortunately an hour and a half just wasn’t long enough to go around the five rooms. From the history of wine, to wine accessories through the ages; bottles, barrels and corks, to the grapes themselves and the methods involved, this place had it all. My favourite room was the sensory section, where you could smell different notes (the same way you test perfume at the airport!) – from the good (fruits, vanilla, floral and chocolate) to the bad (smoke, grass, charcoal and petrol), you couldn’t help but smell each one! I also loved this screen showing the different colours of wine; although is it really bad that I’d love a glass of each?
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
Muga was the third and final winery we visited and this by far, had to be my favourite – in terms of the tour and the tasting – even if we were sampling wine at about 11:15am! During the tour, not only did we see staff hard at work, cleaning barrels and bottling the wine, we were fortunate enough to see the masons even making the barrels. This made the experience a lot more intimate and gave a fantastic insight into some of the aspects I had never even thought of considering. While in the area, we also enjoyed a coffee in the plaza of Haro, known for its fine wine and Wine Festival.
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
Travel, Rioja, Spain, TBloggers, Jet Setters, City Hopping
On the way back to Madrid, we stopped off in Burgos. I didn’t feel at all well this day so couldn’t really enjoy the walking, lunch or the town as a whole. It was also unbelievably hot! Again, the buildings were so ornate and beautiful and the Cathedral was particularly spectacular. It was such an imposing building anyway, but those spires and the detailing to the facade were incredible. The Arch of Saint Maria was equally as impressive and acted as the gateway to the plaza.

Love, Lucy xx

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