POSTED ON October 16, 2007 | IN Spain's Wine Country | BY joe

We are back in the good old USA after a fabulous four-week adventure in Spain. We would like to return again to experience more of the Spanish lifestyle and their wonderful food and wine. We have learned much on this trip and this will surely help us on our next Spanish adventure.

The wine region of La Rioja is one area where we would love to spend more time. We would spend at least three full days there, and stay in one of the small La Rioja towns. We missed out on the tour and tasting at the amazing Bodega Marques de Riscal. We would love to tour the inside of the Bodega Ysios (Photo).

While in Barcelona we did manage a 45-minute train trip to the Cava town of Sant Sadurni and a tour at Freixnet, but there is much more to explore near Barcelona than Cava. The D.O. of Priorat and Penedes are nearby with much to explore there.

During our trip we rented an apartment with friends in both Madrid and San Sebastian. We found this to be a plus for several reasons. In our apartment we were able to eat a healthy breakfast in and prepare a small dinner. We usually made our lunch at a restaurant our main meal of the day.

Having a car is a must if you are going to explore the small towns and the wineries. We soon discovered we should have rented a car with a G.P.S. system. Although we had detailed Google maps, we still got lost frequently. What good are street maps if you cannot find the street signs, or when you find the street you see that it’s closed to vehicles?

As far as guidebooks, we found the Rough Guide to be the most useful. Frommer’s was also good. The Rough Guide had valuable information on many of the smaller towns not listed in the other guidebooks. They also have a very useful section on wine and that is how we discovered the wine museum in Briones.

We found the following books very useful and studied them for months to plan the itinerary of our trip:

“Discovering Spain, An Uncommon Guide,”by Penelope Casas
“Let’s Open a Bottle, My Journey through the Spanish Wine Revolution,”by Brian Murdock
“The New Spain, A Complete Guide to Contemporary Spanish Wine,”by John Radford

“My Maps”is a new Google feature and we found it to be immensely helpful in plotting potential places to visit. You put in the address you want, a pinpoint shows the spot on the map, and you can add a description and save it to your map of Spain. It is a great planning tool.

Finally, that dollar of ours!

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