Thursday, November 20, 2014

From Bilbao To Zaragoza with Rioja

Leaving Bilbao, once again, we set our funky Tomtom to avoid major highways and toll roads and she got us onto tertiary roads--just what we wanted. Those carried us serendipitously through the heart of the Spanish Rioja wine district. The countryside, out of Bilbao, was lovely, and as we went on, the rolling, neatly cultivated vineyards reminded us of our own Napa and Sonoma valleys. What was so different, was the hilltop villages, usually built around a church or monastary. We stopped, briefly, at the Vivanco bodega, near Briones and San Vicente.

From there--Zaragoza, drawn in part by the Roman, Moorish, Aragonian cultures which shaped the city.

We arrived in late afternoon, just as city was awakening from siesta and with mild weather decided to venture out for the evening. This gave me a chance to play with nighttime cityscapes which I’ve not done much. And it took us to the Basilica del Pilar which put the excess in late Baroque. Architecturally the thing is pretty much three separate buildings which manage to blend with utmost disharmony. Left me cold, but as a monument to the glory of man and the church.

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