We Have Sheep
At the top of my Part 1 blog update I had included a photo of some sheep on the road. We’ve now seen the sheep many times and we’ve discovered that the farm next to us has the flock of sheep. Early yesterday morning Barb shouted out that there were sheep walking past our window and naturally I scrambled to put some shoes on and ran after them with my camera. The guy who was with the sheep (I guess he’s the shepherd) just smiled and waved at me while I ran past him, shooting photos of his sheep every few seconds.
Eating at Home, Eating Out
One of the best parts about not staying in a hotel is that we get to eat “at home”. It’s really nice just being able to wake up, make our coffee and breakfast when we want and just make the whole day so much more relaxed. We did some grocery shopping yesterday and last night we had our first barbecue which I’m sure will be the first of many. Since we don’t have Internet access at our house we went out for lunch trying to find an Internet cafe – a task that ended up being surprisingly difficult. We had driven about 15Km down the road to the relatively large town of Tolosa and it took us about 5 attempts to find a place to eat lunch that also provided Wi-Fi Internet. We quickly found out that nobody knew what we were talking about when we asked for “Wi-Fi” (pronounced in English) and we soon discovered that it’s pronounced “wee fee” by the locals. Knowing how to pronounce it properly made all the difference.
Between Barb and I we have a reasonably good command of German and French which of course comes in handy when we are visiting German and French-speaking countries. Just for the record our Spanish is pretty much zero, which interestingly enough is exactly the best language to speak if one is travelling to Spain. So far we’ve been able to get by but we have been asked on more than one occasion if we spoke French and ended up being able to discuss what we wanted. My assumption is that with this region of Spain being so close to the border of France that it makes sense that French is a common language spoken here.
The Wine and the Weather
Being wine lovers, when Barb and I were planning our trip to this part of Spain we definitely had to visit the major wine region of Rioja while we were here and yesterday we spent most of the day in this area. We visited a few wineries including the the Bodega Ysos which is the photo at the very top of this page which has a very unique “wave” architecture strikingly set in front of the mountains. Speaking of unique architecture, we had lunch at the winery Marqués de Riscal and they had a very unique series of metal panels around the building, shining in the sun.
Barb and were most looking forward to visiting one of our favourite brands: Marqués de Cáseras, a brand that we regularly buy in wine stores in Vancouver. We were introduced to Marqués de Cáseras on our first trip to Spain 13 years ago when we bought some of this wine from a local grocery store.
While we had great weather for the entire day visiting wineries we knew that we were in for a major change in temperature by the time we got home later in the day. In fact I’ll go on record to say that this trip to Spain now holds the record for the largest temperature swing of any trip that we’ve made over the past 20 years. When we arrived in Spain on Tuesday it was hot and in the low 30’s and as of right now (Friday morning as I’m writing this section) it’s 10 degrees outside and raining. It’s all just as well as we wanted to spend today just relaxing around the house after all the driving that we did yesterday. We came prepared with suitable clothing for cooler weather although I honestly didn’t think that we’d ever need to dip into the long pants and long sleeves when we were driving from the airport at 31 degrees a few days ago.
By the way the selfie above was taken last night at the local restaurant that we went to. We did end up spending the whole day at the house just relaxing and reading but decided that we wanted to get out of the house in the evening for dinner. We had some pizza and a bottle of local red wine and it was one of those small local restaurants that’s the go-to spot for everyone who lives nearby as it was pretty crowded when we got there around 9PM.
As it’s Saturday today we have two full days left in our rental house before moving onto our next stage of our trip on Monday. I’ll post the next update some time next week.