they look cool, eh?
Just wanted to ask some more advice here/share stories about arranged travel groups. Has anyone here participated on a Contiki trip/GAP/etc. type excursion? I would like to go to Europe this summer to visit a wine region and have been looking into organized trips. I found the Wine Ladies - Georgia and Suzanne. Check out the the hot babes ----->
Anyways, they are going on a tour around Spain this June 2010. I have been to Spain but didn't have the chance to check out any wine regions. They are going to Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Laguardia, wine tasting in La Rioja, Somontano de Barbastro, Barcelona.
Something about Spain
has always captivated me. Although I have only been there briefly, I studied Spanish language, history, culture and literature in school as part of my Spanish minor components. Spain is so exciting to discover because of its diversity. There are so many different regions to explore - all with different languages, culture and cuisine.
Mainstream Spanish (known as castellano) is spoken throughout the country, but there are also a number of regional languages and dialects that bear little or no resemblance to it. After my years of Spanish study, I visited Barcelona (in the province of Catalunya) only to hear expressions such as, ”quant val?” instead of “cuanto vale?” and, “On es el bany?” instead of “donde esta el bano?” It’s an interesting mix of French and Spanish so I used what I know of the two languages to understand it the best I could. Catalan isn’t the only regional variation - there is also Basque, Valencian, Galician, and many others.
Although the country is predominantly Roman Catholic, there is a very prominent Muslim influence in the southern region of Andalucia. Back in the 8th century, the Iberian peninsula was conquered by the Muslim Moors from Northern Africa. The Moors left behind enchanting architecture, most notably the Alhambra palace in Granada. The Alhambra is the most magical fortress and poets have called it, “a pearl set in emeralds.” There are numerous fountains with running water and reflective pools which reflect the beautiful details of the columns and arches.
This region is also well-known for its sexy flamenco dance, gypsies and bullfighting. Because it is located right on the Mediterranean, the cuisine closely follows suit. Olive oil, fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts are the main staples. Ham is the delicacy - the mountainous region produces cured hams. Andalucian wines are known worldwide, especially their sherry (jerez). Sherry
is fortified with brandy and ranges from dry, light versions (finos - go well with olives, nuts, ham, fish, hard cheeses) to darker and heavier (olorosos - go well with meats). Many wine connoisseurs claim that sherry is ‘underappreciated’ and a ‘neglected wine treasure.’ Sherry has been perfected in Spain since it was introduced by the Phoenicians in 1100BC. In Madrid, you can visit sherry bars that date back hundreds of years. It is quite a unique experience.
I have been trying to learn more about wines myself and found these two women - the Wine Ladies - who have a cute wine radio and web tv show called ‘One Sip at a Time,’ that discusses how wines are made, how to differentiate different wines, tips on how to make wines last, etc. They also visit different wine regions and take you through their journey. Their next trip happens to be to Spain, so I am paying close attention and may even consider tagging along if possible. Georgia and Susanna are going to Spain in June 2010 for a “wine, culinary and cultural tour” to the best wine regions in the country to discover red wines, sherries, tapas, flamenco, etc… With only a small group (just 30) they will discover the monumental heritage, dazzling environment and to become acquainted with the customs and lives of the Spanish people. Has anyone here been on a wine region tour of Spain? What were some of the hot spots?
I’m looking to visit some of the cultural landmarks of Spain - the famous Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell in Barcelona, the architecture and museums of Madrid and Toledo, and the spectacular vineyards of La Rioja. I found out that not only is Spain the 3rd largest producer of wine in the world but in fact has the most vines planted throughout the entire world. The Rioja region where the Wine Ladies are visiting is located in the north of Spain and is split into three sub areas and was the first wine region officially created in the 1920’s. It mixes a unique combination of culture, history and cuisine/wine - a magical combination. I hope to go!!!
I was wondering if someone here has been to any of these places specifically to visit vineyards. If so, please share your experiences, recommendations, etc.
I found out about the Wine Ladies because I was looking into California wine and wine regions and the ladies did a special on California. But they're just like me... they love California but they wanted to try out somewhere a bit more exciting.
Actually the website is really cool, you can ask them all sorts of questions about wine. They give advice on how to keep wine fresh, what to do with a crumbly cork, etc. etc. AND THEY ARE PLANNING A TRIP.... i'm thinking about going. anyone else with me? lol
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