Guardian of the Grapes, Spain

While touring about La Rioja, I spotted this capable canine keeping an eye on the vineyard:

DSC_2432Was a friendly dog. He patrolled the rows of grapes a while then retreated to the shade of the nearby bodega for a nap. Good to know there’s someone looking after the coming harvest.

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Published in: on September 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Views of La Rioja, Spain

La Rioja, like much of Spain, features some marvelous views. A broad valley of fields and vineyards, it is dotted by some hills from which you can see for miles.

DSC_2480.JPGThere are mountains on either side. When the weather rolls in, you can see the clouds folding over the top and spilling downward.

fullsizeoutput_c47.jpegThis is a place to linger, to check out the local scene, enjoy the food and wine. Take your time.

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hospederia del Vino, Ábalos, Spain

During a recent visit to the La Rioja region of Spain, I had the pleasure of staying at the Hospederia del Vino. Located at the very edge of the hamlet of Ábalos, this is an active winery with a comfortable guest house, complete with pool and hot tub.

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The main building seen above features several guest room and the various places for dining and meeting. Here’s a look at the pool, which is indoors.

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Plenty of room in the water for you and all your friends. The Hospederia is operated by the Puelles family, and Jesús is passionate about his wine and country, so definitely opt for the wine tour and tasting. Here’s a look at the room:

DSC_2454.JPGEverything here for a comfortable stay, including a well appointed bathroom that can be seen in the next photo:

DSC_2455There is plenty of parking, a great breakfast, and all the tranquility you need for a great sleep. More about Spain soon!

Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Supper, Villa de Ábalos, Spain

While staying overnight at the Hotel Villa de Ábalos, I highly recommend eating supper there. When you make your reservation, be sure to let them know you would like to dine as well. It is a truly home-cooked, Spanish meal. The menu changes with the seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients. Here is the carta as provided during my visit:

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

These little gems were presented to start the meal:

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The two appetizers were creative and delicious. The first was a leeks and spinach terrine that you see in the next photo:

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The other appetizer was a sautéed vegetable medley that I was so anxious to eat, I forgot to snap a photo. But, next came the entrée, and what a fantastic one it was. Slowly cooked oxtail then removed from the bone and placed inside a sort of dumpling with a very nice sauce, as you see in the next photo:

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

This incredible meal was finished with a warm almond cake and vanilla ice-cream that truly hit the spot:

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

All this was served in a pleasant dining room you see here:

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

I would also like to mention the owner of this fine hotel makes his own wine, which is very good, especially the white. A bottle with dinner or afterwards is a great addition to the meal. Here’s a photo of the bottle:

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

When traveling, be sure to enjoy the local cuisine as much as possible.