Last weekend, the program organized a trip for us to visit Logroño and Bilbao. I was particularly excited because one of my goals is to visit each of the four different regions in Spain. I loved getting to know Andalucía and Catalunya, so I certainly looked forward to getting a taste of what La Rioja and the Basque country are like and get closer to my goal of seeing all four regions.
Our first stop was in Logroño to visit a winery and as a huge fan of wine, I was really looking forward to the entire experience. I’ve visited many wineries around my home in Virginia and Maryland, but this was a different experience because they really took the time to explain every step of the process. We even got to chop some vines and bottle our own wine, it’s definitely an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Another activity I really enjoyed while in Logroño was getting to walk a small portion of the “Camino de Santiago.” When I visited Porto last semester, I met a group of Swedish friends who had just completed the entire Camino and after talking to them about the experience I have to admit I got the desire to do the camino myself. Since I am not planning to do it in the near future, it was fun to get to do at least a little bit of it and seeing what the signs that lead the way look like.
Once we arrived in Bilbao, I was excited to eat some pinchos, even though I visited many pinchos bars in Barcelona, the ones in Bilbao were worth it and did not disappoint. Afterwards, we got to witness a game of “pelota vasca” which I will admit I had never seen before. I had no idea this sport existed in the United States, much less in Miami, where I lived for two years. After the game, we did some exploring and got to witness one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen since my time abroad began last August. It was such a wonderful way to end my day and it made me feel grateful for all I have experienced in the past couple of months.
Last but not least, we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao which is a must-see if you visit. While the art inside the museum was awesome – and they even had a Van Gogh exhibition, who is one of my favorite painters – my favorite part was the massive dog sculpture that’s outside the museum and made from flowers and plants. Dogs are my absolute favorite, so truly anytime there is anything related to dogs, it outshines everything else.
I had a great time experiencing La Rioja and the Basque country and certainly hope to be back soon!