Day Off

The new King of England and I took a rest day today. I don’t know what Charley got up to but I visited the Marquez de Riscal winery and hotel for a tour and a tasting. The hotel was designed by Frank Gehry who also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It is avant-garde, meant to blend with the surrounding vineyards and the adjacent winery, built in 1858, but rather stands out with a flourish of giant ribbons. The trip to Elciego and the tour of the winery were quite a departure from the more austere and contemplative temperament experienced on the Camino.

The tour was worthwhile and the tour guide lively and knowledgeable, imparting bits if knowledge useful for those occasions when one opens a nice bottle of wine. The tasting consisted of three wines, a white and two reds, the latter of which was the flagship Grand Reserva. I still prefer a Ramon Bilbao crianza to the Marquez’ Grand Reserva.

The taxi driver who took me to the bodega was the son-in-law of a wine grower who was also well versed in the trade with hands-on experience. He explained how the long even rows of vines, like soldiers in formation, were usually Tempranillo and were harvested with machines whereas the older vines in uneven groupings were garnacha or mozuelo grapes and had to be picked by hand. In short, an interesting diversion, but I am anxious to get back on the trail.

I met with Lisa and we visited the Monastery, had a bite, and later met to go to Vespers followed by mass. Tonight the townsfolk are celebrating their fiesta and we checked out the band before returning to the hostal. We plan to meet up at 06:30 tomorrow for a rather leisurely 13 mile stroll to Santo Domingo.

The Marquez de Riscal hotel, part of the Marriott Luxury Collection. Quite a different crowd to the pilgrims.
Virgin of the Holy Cross in a chapel built into the side of the mountain at the monastery. The feria is in her honor.
Anther photo from the other day. This ancient olive tree is older than I am!

3 thoughts on “Day Off

  1. Jim,
    Thank you for sharing your interesting adventures! The photos are great. I’m impressed that you have enough energy, after all the walking, to have some fun experiences along the way!


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