Leaving Palencia we headed for the capital of the ‘Ribera del Duero’ wine region -Aranda del Duero….. Obviously a week away from the river was enough to give us the shakes. Although the same river, the Spanish ‘Duero’ wine is quite different to the Portuguese ‘Douro’ wine, despite only being a few miles apart. The countryside however is equally as beautiful although the hills are more of the ‘rolling’ type in Spain in contrast to the more ‘Ragged’ ones in Portugal 🙂
Aranda del Duero is known for its network of underground caves joining many of the ‘Bodega’s’ together (as well as its wine obviously). There are over 180 Caves in total roughly 30m below ground spreading across 7km. Many of the caves are private, but a few are open for visits and we managed to find a small bodega where for the price of a glass of wine we could venture down into their cave. Unfortunately, they obviously knew we were coming and didn’t store any wine in the one we visited ….so we had to stick to trying the wine in a couple of small bodega’s instead.
The Aire (GPS n41.66833 w3.69583) was being renovated unfortunately, due to re-open in June, but we found a nice quiet little spot near the train and bus station to park up oddly with the only noise (both day and night) being peacocks…..???
After a very fresh run along a cycle path we headed to Burgos, one of the towns we visited roughly 18 months ago and loved the architecture and general feel of the town and surrounding area.
This time, instead of stopping at the campsite we found an Aire (GPS n 42 21′ 5 w3 40’50) roughly 3km from the center and sadly, reasonably close to a Laundrette …..I would like to say that I was down to the last pair of socks but that would be a lie as I had to use the last ones twice….. Sorry mum – It’s ok, I have bought some more now and we are back up to two weeks worth 🙂
Feeling much refreshed – both for washing pretty much everything we own and as the weather dropped to zero (or lower if you include the wind chill) – we spent a couple of days enjoying walking through Burgos and around the park, impressed by the quantity of Pilgrims there are at this time of year doing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostello.
From Burgos we traversed the rolling patchwork hills to arrive at Logroño, bringing back memories of the beautiful British countryside. En-route we passed a group of enormous and oddly beautiful Vultures – I think of the Griffon variety….but I was driving. Each time I see them I have to admit I am caught a little short of breath as they are such odd looking birds, but there is an incredible beauty there…..nothing like the ones I remember in South America from when I was younger destroying the carcass of a cow.
Logroño is the capital of the ‘Rioja’ wine region although most of the larger Bodegas for the region are in Haro a few kilometres away. Having visited Haro 18 months ago, I would say Logroño is a better balanced town, slightly less tourism and more ‘normality’ – but still with the wine theme 🙂
As it was Sunday we walked through the streets of the historic center admiring the architecture and soon found the hustle and bustle of the four blocks that contain over 50 tapas bars. Each bar has its own speciality Tapas, some only serve garlic mushrooms, patatas bravas or Skewers with meat, whereas others have a slightly more comprehensive menu of tapas – all however, offering a wide selection of local wines. We only got to the area after 3pm and despite it being Mother’s Day in Spain it was heaving… With mothers and grandmothers enjoying a gastronomique ‘pub crawl’.
The Aire we had parked at (GPS n42 28’45 w2 27’25) just so happened to be hosting the last night of the ‘Circus of Horrors’ …. Yay 🙂 To be fair, all was pretty quiet until the end of the show which was about 10pm and then there was mass exodus from the car park which took about 15 minutes, followed by the chink chink chink as they took down the big tent …. We were suitably impressed at how efficient the team was, by the morning there was pretty much nothing left.
Leaving the hustle and bustle behind us we worked our way through some stunning countryside as we approached the Pyranees where we stopped at Jaca (GPS n42 34’4 w0 32’42). Jaca is a strategically placed town with a pretty fort, still containing high military presence looking out into France.
We have pretty much followed the ‘Camino de Santiago’ pilgrimage route over the last week being accompanied by dozens of people walking the opposite direction to us, so as we have found a beautiful town to stop in, a nice peaceful Aire to park in and the weather is due to turn later this week, we decided to take advantage and stay and extra couple of nights and walk a bit of the Camino de Santiago…..