Rioja 2011

On Wednesday, 22nd June, 16 of us left St Teresa's, heading for a five day holiday in the Rioja wine region of Spain.  After flying to Madrid we travelled by coach to Logrono, enjoying the breathtakingly beautiful scenery en route.
 
Our hotel was ideally situated, only a short distance from the centre of Logrono, with its beautiful cathedral, Santa Maria de Redonda, containing a Michelangelo painting of the crucifixion, and only a short walk from the river Ebro with its famous 19th century stone bridge, Puente de Piedra.We visited two family run vineyards during our stay there (see link below) and enjoyed sampling some of the excellent wines they produced.
 
Evenings were generally spent going from bar to bar, enjoying a glass of wine or a beer in each one and a selection of tasty tapas.Saturday was a free day, so most people enjoyed spending it in a leisurely fashion, looking round the town and eating and drinking!  Two of us went by public transport to Santo Domingo, an hour's bus ride away.  We enjoyed walking round, seeing the mediaeval walls, the beautiful old plazas and the cathedral and even climbed up the 243 foot tower after enjoying a leisurely lunch with a bottle of Rioja.
On our last day we spent a couple of hours in Burgos and were lucky enough to see a Corpus Christi procession, complete with brass band.  By this time the temperature was in the 30s, but two of us still managed to climb way above the town to visit the hilltop castle.
 
Before boarding the plane we spent a couple of hours in Bilbao, admiring the wonderful design of the Guggenheim, walking along the river, etc.  Some of us walked to the old part of town and watched a multicultural event, including Hawaian and South American dancing and listening to a group of musicians fron Senegal.  By 10pm we were safely back at St Teresa's.
 
Many thanks to Mike Crickett for organising such a wonderful holiday.

Kathy Willitts

Thanks to various participants for allowing their pictures to be displayed here:
picasaweb.google.com/uphollandu3a/Rioja2011

Mike