With rain pouring down and a temperature unusually low even for a Swedish summer, our long drive from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela seems like ages ago. If I think of it, I might still miss the warm afternoon in Ribera del Duero or the tapas in Logrono. Next time I might stay the whole time in Rioja, which provides quite the stunning landscape as well as all the lovely wines you can wish for.
This time, however, we were on a specific quest. “We” does not refer to me and my sister, but instead an international group of six people. The idea of the trip along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela came from Masters of Wine Justin Knock and Tim Wildman They brought a photographer, Johnny Mindlin, along for filming their quest for the secret to wine. My travel buddy, sommelier and now pr-wiz at Nudge,
Donald Edwards, came as comic relief to said filming. He did a great job in front of the camera – I can’t wait for his video on sabrage (the number of attempts before lift-of will not be mentioned here…Soon available as a blooper on a YouTube-channel near you).
Why they brought me as well, I’m not certain – maybe as a balance to the five boys? One woman, I must admit, was not enough to keep the jokes particularly clean….
IT-guru Ken Kaban came to test his new 3D-filming equipment and possibly as expert map-reader to Tim. The team (apart from me and Ken) spent most of their time on quite a funny project – a wine video like you have never seen it. Can’t wait for the results of the hours on hours of hard work. Me? I was working on an article on Rioja, and gaining weight. Not necessarily in that order.
So, my best tips for northern Spain include:
DO a tapas-bar crawl in San Sebastian. Repeat in Logrono.
DO learn to pour Txakoli from great height.
DO sit at Bai Gorri and watch the view over the vines of Rioja.
DO have the croissants of the bakeries in San Sebastian.
DO taste the wines of R.Lopez de Heredia.
DO drive too fast over the rolling hills of Ribera del Duero (yeehaa!).
DO wet your feet in the Rio Oja (Rio Oja = Rioja) just to say you did.
DO look for the modern architecture of Rioja, especially at Marques de Riscal.
DO eat juicy suckling goat in Castilla y León.
DON’T play drinking games with Masters of Wine. Take my word for it.
DON’T swim in the fountains of Santiago de Compostela. Or at least, don’t ingest the water.
DON’T miss the fireworks of the festivals in Santiago de Compostela.
DON’T stress. This region is made for taking it easy.