We returned from Spain several days ago and I am still almost out of words and most reluctant to resign to domestic realities. The Rioja wine region took my breath away! Everything was perfect: our little but spacious family-run hotel in an ancient palacio in a small village, the excursions, the company, the meals, the weather and the timing of our visit. Not to mention the wines but more about them later.
The hilly landscapes patched with vineyards of all shapes were garnished in bright shades of red, orange and yellow. The old towns and castles scattered on hilltops here and there were just lovely. The autumn scenery was simply magnificent!
The most breathtaking views were probably those we saw when driving the winding roads through the vineyards from one small town or village to the next. “¡Mira, mira! Look at that!”, was exclaimed from the front seat every minute or two to us ladies occupying the two back rows of the family van.
But we happened to be at a hilltop town a few times at the time of sunset and were able to take some photos of the changing landscape in the valley below and the shadows cast against the hills and mountains in the distance. Impressive, even with my point-and-shoot camera. (Although it is so handy to carry in your handbag or pocket even I must start to practise with a proper camera one of these days.)
As for the rain so common this time of the year, we hardly had to open our umbrellas but saw quite a number of rainbows. We spent the holiday in a rather small area in the northern part of the Rioja wine region and it felt like being very close to the end of the rainbow. In fact, we were close – twice! We witnessed the same phenomenon two times in the horizon to the east of the hilltop town of Laguardia. It might not have been in the province of La Rioja but perhaps in the neighbouring País Vasco, the Basque Country, or Navarra. Wherever it was, there must be something magic there, don’t you think?