Blogs from La Rioja, Spain, Europe

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Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Haro July 6th 2022

Haro is considered by some sources to be the wine capital of the Rioja wine area so I pick this as our next stop and a place for a day of wine tasting. I hadn't realised, but Haro is also famous for having a wine "battle" where everyone drenches themselves in wine. We've just missed this by only a week. The Rioja is also a longish drive from Barcelona so we have full day in the car heading westwards up the Ebro valley. Driving in Spain is relatively easy as most of the roads are good and surprisingly quiet. I picked up the tip of traveling mainly on “A” roads signed as AutoVia which are free and almost as good as the toll motorways. We are used to Australian style wine tasting and we know that ... read more
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Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Granon May 19th 2022

We left the municipal albergue at about 6am, heading towards Ciruena or Cirinuela, depending on where you looked. After about 2 hours of walking, we arrived at Cirinuela, a rather large and largely unused golf course and apartment building group. It seemed like a ghost town, but we saw that at least some of the apartments were occupied. Right next to it is the town of Ciruena, a rather small town. After passing through the apartment complex, we came to a bar, Bar Jacobeo, where we stopped for breakfast. After our breakfast, we walked only for less than half an hour before we spotted Santo Domingo de la Calzada, although it was quite a ways still. There was a nice little rest area not too far out of town, but we kept on walking. We reached ... read more
Entering Ciruena, actually just the golf course
Actually entering Ciruena
Iglesia de San Andres

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Azofra May 18th 2022

Today was about a 22 kilometer trip, from Navarrete to Azofra. We packed our stuff, left our bag and keys to the apartment at the office, and we were on our way. We were too early for breakfast, so we just started walking. Just on the outskirts of town, we passed the cemetery, apparently a rather old one. The first town today was Ventosa, about 6 kilometers from Navarrete. At about 9am, we reached Ventosa and spotted the Cafe Bar Buen Camino. I remembered stopping here in 2017 on my Camino. We had the usual breakfast of coffee and a sweet. We continued on, passing by the Iglesia de San Saturnino. We could tell we were in La Rioja from all the grape vineyards we passed. A couple hours later we entered Najera. We decided it ... read more
First view of Ventosa
Heading into Ventosa
Our breakfast stop at Cafe Bar Buen Camino

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Logroño May 17th 2022

We got up and on our way just before 7am. Just over half an hour later, we passed the Ermita de la Virgen, a pretty nice rest stop, but we didn't stop. Another half an hour and we passed into the communidad of Los Riojas, famous for their grapes and wine. We walked just under an hour before we entered Logrono. Logrono is a pretty big town, and has the factories and plants to prove it. Just before entering, we saw a cute little house the offered water and a stamp, but we passed it up. We wound our way through Logrono to the main cathedral, then found a good place for breakfast. I don't remember the name, but we had coffee and sweets. After our breakfast, we headed out of Logrono, but it took a ... read more
Ermita de la Virgen de las Cuevas
Entering the communidad of La Rioja
The outskirts of Logrono in sight

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Santo Domingo de la Calzada September 27th 2018

Staying in a ghost town tonight. Cireña is a modern development with many condominiums and houses, nestled around a top class 18 hole golf course. But most of the town is overgrown, unloved, and uninhabited. Big money poured in and seems to have created a lemon. Dinner is being set up around me and the owner has given me the far corner of the table to tap this out. This morning was fresh, and the South American woman below me rose at 5.30 in order to get ready, eat some breakfast and venture into the cool, dark morning to start her walk. I was awake so I followed her lead. I ate some fruit and nuts, had 2 coffees, and I was energised. My walking buddy wasn’t at the meeting point, I gave her 5 minutes ... read more
My Hot Soup Last Night
Early Departure From Navarette
At Nájera

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Logroño September 26th 2018

Early morning call for Mr. Sherry. If anyone is wondering what goes on on the Camino in the middle of the night, with strangers of all ages, nationalities, genders, and desires, I can only relate my experience. At 3.37am this morning I received a call from the aged care facility in Australia where my mother lives, to advise me of a slight change in her medications. There’s no need for permission, it was just to let me know. So, at that time in an albergue, there is about 20 exhausted people, all in close proximity, snoring and sleeping in the hope to be energetic enough to walk the route the next day. Then came the shrill noise from under my pillow. Drowsy and confused, I grabbed the phone from under my pillow, answered it, said nothing, ... read more
Sunrise Looking Back Towards Sansol
Viana
Just A Small Reflection

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Haro March 29th 2018

A beautiful, warm day (well relatively - 19) for our (self drive) winery tour in La Rioja (with Kate, because it's a public holiday in Spain). And she changed the sat nav to English, always helps! Headed first to a town called Haro (about an hour northwest of Calahorra) where there are lots of wineries. We had appointments for a tour and tasting at one winery and a tasting at another (have to make appointments and pay, can't just walk in and taste). The first was CVNE, (also known as CUNE because of a printing error way back when) which was established in 1879, and is a family owned and run winery. We had a most interesting tour (even though I struggled with the accent) and then tasted 2 wines - red - were ok. Then ... read more
CVNE Alcohol fermentation barrels
Oak Aging Barrels
Winery No 2

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Calahorra March 28th 2018

Took advantage of the later than usual checkout time this morning and had breakfast back at Bar Swing (didn't really want to leave this lovely hotel). Then had a drive around San Sebastian trying to get to the top of Mt Urgull (view to the right!), but discovered the road only goes around the base. Still, interesting drive through the narrow one way streets in lots of traffic! One thing we learnt while we were here is that San Sebastian is not a little beachside resort town, but a big (population, not area) busy city that has a beach. Then we were on our way to Calahorra. A 2(ish) hour drive from San Sebastian. Drove through the mountains (there seem to be lots of them here!), and past lots of small towns, most with churches on ... read more
Spanish Town
A little snow left on the mountains
Wine country - La Rioja

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Logroño September 22nd 2017

Kathy and I spent our last day in Barcelona walking and busing around town. We visited the northern portion of the city around the business and high income areas as well as scoping out our logistics for getting to the Sants Barcelona (Barcelona train station) for our trip to Logrono. We also enjoyed (tongue in cheek) a ride on the Barcelona subway. Getting around in a city where you don't read or write the language is very difficult, both on you and them (them being those on the receiving end of our endless questions). It goes something like this.. Me: "How do I buy a ticket?" Them: "Habla Espanol?" Me: No! Habla Ingles?" Them: No! Then you stare at each other for a while wondering how do you talk to someone that doesn't have a clue ... read more
Hikers on the Camino de Santiago
Old Town
Old Town Logrono...Later

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Santo Domingo de la Calzada September 8th 2017

We left the albergue at 6:30, heading to Azofra for our breakfast stop. The trail was fairly flat once got out of town, plus it was fairly dark most of the 5 kilometers or so. We stopped at the Bar El Descanso de Peregrinos for our usual breakfast. Just outside of town we passed a pilgrim's monument then walked another 7 kilometers, passing a golf course a bunch of apartments and duplexes that looked pretty empty, with a lot of for sale signs. Just passed the golf course we finally found a bar for our next break, called Bar Jacobeo. The last 7 kilometers or so was pretty long, with some steep ups and downs. Finally spotting Santo Domingo de Calzadas, our destination for today, put a little zip in our stride, but only a little. ... read more
Our first sheep crossing
Entering Cireuna
Bar Jacobeo in Cireuna




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