Estella? Wine-not

Last weekend, I had a crazy hair and decided to take a weekend trip somewhere in Spain. There’s so much more to the story, but I won’t bore you with details. Long story short, I met someone as crazy about travel and adventure as I am.. we decide to “meet in the middle” and begin the adventure.

I hopped in my rental car, a zippy little Fiat 500, and began the road trip. Destination: Estella, about a 5 hour drive. Estella is a small town nestled between Pamplona (famous for the running of the bulls), and San Sebastian (my favorite… Basque Country.)

Madrid to Estella

As I drove the windy roads, hugging each turn with excitement, I wondered what to expect… Going to a place you’ve never heard of can be hit or miss. But, as I neared our destination, I had a good feeling about this one. Judging by the greenery, the villages we passed through to get to where we were going… things were looking up.

Luckily, Estella was a hit. All you need is one night in this quaint town to fall in love with it. The town itself is positioned in a valley; surrounded by green rolling hills and occasional cliffs. When overlooking the city, you see magnificent Catholic churches sticking out between the ceramic-tiled homes, dating back to 1090. When walking the ups and downs of the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll see Spanish people who seem to climb these streets like little Basque mountain goats…  it ain’t no thang.

Also, Estella is located in the autonomous community of Navarre, which, just like many regions of Spain, is famous for it’s wine. You know I have a healthy relationship with Spanish wine country.

When in Navarre, naturally, wine tasting is a must. We ended up at a winery called Irache.

After a quick tour of the winery, we sit down at a table of about 15 Spaniards. The tasting begins. But – these aren’t stingy pours like what you’d get in the states… these are Spanish pours – very generous (essentially half-glasses of wine.) We’re supposed to only taste the wine and pour the rest out into a small metal basin… But to pour this wine out would be a DIRTY. CRYING. SHAME! Definitely not an option. So, what do we do? Every time Juanjo comes around to give us a new pour, we down our previous glass. Soon enough, we’re about six pours deep and feelin’ pretty good. The wine tour/tasting wraps up. We head out, but not before claiming our TWO free bottles of wine. God bless Spain.

The final stop at the winery was the fountain. This was a water fountain, built into the side of the winery, decorated beautifully with stone elements and mosaic accents. And to my dismay and excitement… a wine fountain right next to it.

Oh, it gets better.

A man is standing in front of the wine fountain, and he’s holding his toddler under the spout. As his buddy takes a photo… to my dismay – the dad turns the spout and begins to pour WINE down his son’s throat. !!!!!!!!!!!!

The little boy smiles, licks his lips, and says “Que riiiiiicoooo!” (How delicioooooussss!)

He was TWO.

Mind-blowing!

After that, we head out and start our drive through the Spanish country side, taking a detour for some #views.

Finally, we end up in San Sebastian, land of pintxos, beaches, and Basco’s. What more could you ask for?

The day activities included a visit to La Perla – a resort-like area which was comprised of 6 different pools. One pool had an underwater gym, the other had jets to massage various muscle groups, but one of my favorites was the “hallway of sensation” – where you walk through a dark corridor with very low, colorful lights. As you walk, sensors go off, triggering water spouts to shoot warm and cold water in places that you wouldn’t expect… your face, your bum, etc.

Finally, topped it off with a little relaxation in a water bed. Haven’t laid in one of those for a few years.

That night, we ate at Zuruko, one of the best pintxos places I’ve ever been to. The difference here is that you select which pintxos you’d like, put them on your plate, and hand your plate to they bartender, who prepares them for you in a fancy-shmancy way. I had no idea that’s how it worked… I just grabbed a pintxo and was about to put it in my mouth, but the bartender caught me in the nick of time by shrieking out in horror, as though I was murdering a puppy.

The weekend wrapped up with a nice visit to the beach. We rented a stand up paddle board, conquered the waters of La Concha beach, and headed back to reality (well, you know what I mean.)

Next up, adventures in Bulgaria!

Cheers,

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1 comment

  1. I always feel like “I’ve been there” after reading about your adventures….kind of gives me a brief Mental Vacation

    And yup….had a Spanish Italian friend that put beer/wine in the baby’s bottle…always wondered what he grew up to be…

    Happy Wandering!!