Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guess Who's Back? (and has been for a week)

Before I move on to the rest of the Spain trip, just a bit more about Barcelona after seeing Carrie's pictures. First, one more thing about La Sagrada Familia. This picture is of the stairwell (with no railing) that wound from top to bottom. I was dizzy by the time we got down. Somehow I don't think this was built to code....

Also, for any food lovers out there, we went to a phenomenal restaurant in Barcelona called Cinc Sentis, where we were notified and showed that it was truffle season.

Yes, that is a massive white truffle that they shaved onto our dish and it was glorious. Last part about Barcelona. Carrie took a video of a choir singing outside one of the many old churches when we first got into town. The only thing goofier than hearing a song from Grease in a foreign country is hearing it sung with an accent.

From Barcelona, we rented a car and headed towards San Sebastian. We tried to take the backroads whenever possible and were handsomly rewarded for this.

We ran into some pretty difficult weather in the mountains on the way from Barcelona to San Sebastian. Had some icy sleety snowy wintry mix type stuff and I was getting nervous. I told our car that if it got us to San Sebastian safely, we would name it. Carrie decided that it was a he. We made it to San Sebastian. Meet Octavio.

We decided to go on a morning run/hike by the sea in San Sebastian the next day. Judging by this picture, it looks like we ran super early at sunrise. We did run at sunrise except it was like 9:30 am. That was a very strange thing about Spain. The sun rose really late. No wonder they don't start their day before 10.

Another great thing about San Sebastian/Spain in general. The ham hocks in the bar. As you could imagine, I really wanted to come home and roll up to customs with one of these things over my shoulder, but I thought better of it.

After San Sebastian, we meandered our way down to the Rioja region. It was on this drive that I executed the elusive quadruple pass where I took down four cars on a two-lane road. Dare I say "Legendary." I'll go into a bit more detail on the wine in the fourth and final post of this trip but below are some pictures of the Castle of Davalillo, which is an abandoned 12th century castle sitting on a hilltop. The cool thing about this place is that there's no guide. There's nothing written. It's accessed via a dirt road, you just walk right up and see no one. The castle from afar....

The castle up close.....

The view....

The wineries were amazing. The architecture was stunning. Below is Ysios, which was designed by Frank Gehry.

And this wasn't the only place. Here is Marques de Riscal. There were so many of these that were just spectacular feats in architecture. The only thing I couldn't figure out was how? A lot of these bodegas are otherwise small and don't produce a ton of wine. There were also some that don't do tours, taste their wines, or even have the name of the bodegas displayed anywhere. How can they possibly afford to build something like that, and moreso, why do it if you're not going to show it off to anyone or capitalize? Reason #272 why Spain is bankrupt. It made no sense, but it was great to see.

Song of the Day:

Passion Pit - Kingdom Come

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