04 October 2010

La Rioja

I have so much to tell about, but I think I will have to break it up into two posts.
On Saturday, we had our first excursion with my class and went to a few different places to learn about the area of Spain we are in, called Alava, and wine culture. We visited two different prehistoric monuments called Dolmens. They are rock structures built sometime around 4,000 BC that were supposedly used as shelters. They are kinda one of those unsolved mysteries, cause the rocks are so big and the mountains are pretty far away, so no one knows exactly how the structures were built and how the rocks got there. We also went to a small museum called La Hoya, which means "hole in the ground" in Spanish, and learned about the history of the ancient people who lived in the area.
Then we went to a city called Laguardia where we toured a winery, La Bodega de la Fabulista (The Winery of the Story Teller) and got to taste a couple different wines. It was really interesting to learn about the different fermentation processes and how the wine is made. At this particular winery they still squish the grapes by stepping on them...what a cool job! Our professor also taught us a bit about the trading and investing processes of the wine world. Laguardia was a beautiful town with small skinny streets that are only walk-able; the town is mostly restricted for cars. We got lucky that it was a sunny, beautiful day and we could see wine fields and mountains all around.
At the end of the day we went to Labastida, a historic city with a beautiful cathedral and cobblestone streets. Elley and I wandered around for a bit and found some cute pathways and lots of little benches to look out at the wine fields. It was the most beautiful place I think I've ever been! I completely feel in love with the Spanish wine fields and my pictures just do not do it justice. It was an amazing place and really the word majestic describes it perfectly. Everything was so old and had more history than I could ever imagine. We went to the top of one of the hills and the panorama of mountains and fields was breath-taking. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure it wasn't a dream! It was just like I was looking at a beautiful postcard, but it was right in front of me and so much more amazing than I ever imagined. It was a place that doesn't exist in the US because it was the mixture of the history, culture and natural beauty that made it special.
Here are some pictures of our great day and I will write later about our trip to Bilbao yesterday.


Elley enjoying the view in Labastida

Elley and me



El Dolmen

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