Saturday, April 2, 2011

Exploring Mediterranean Spain: wine, cheese, markets, architecture

As some of you know, I leave on Tuesday, April 5 for a three-week holiday in Spain. I fly into Barcelona and then travel south along the coast via Tarragona to Alicante before doing a loop inland to Murcia and Jumilla, then returning back up the coast to Valencia and Barcelona.

This is southern Spain with traces of the early Roman and Moorish settlers. It’s the garden of Spain with rice paddies, oranges and vegetables galore. And it’s grape-growing country with lots and lots of wineries (bodegas).

Map of Spain by Tourizm Maps © 2006
Tourizm Maps

It’s shaping up to be a really interesting trip. Here are just a few highlights:

Alicante – Mireia of Mandarinablue Tours will be taking me to visit some wineries – I think it will be similar to this tour that she offered recently.

Mireia has also arranged for me to have a tour of Alicante with one of her colleagues and has given me a list of vegetarian restaurants and bakeries in Alicante.

JumillaSue and John Walker give free walking tours in English of Jumilla, and they’ve been incredibly helpful. I’m looking forward to sharing a meal and exploring the town with them. This is a small town, but there are at least 7 wineries within the town limits plus an olive oil producer.

The Walkers produced the following video of Jumilla:

I’m also looking forward to a visit to Bodegas Luzon (Altos de Luzon blog post), which is just outside of Jumilla, and to tasting the local goat cheese.

Valencia – John Maher of Wines of Valencia has given me a list of stores and restaurants. He also put me in touch with the owner of La Ola Fresca, a delicafe, which seems to combine healthy food, store, cooking and language classes and activities, with a British twist - sounds fascinating.

Barcelona – Yvonne from Gourmand Breaks has given me a list of cheese, spices and chocolate stores in Barcelona.

I’m also looking forward to a guided tour of the Pares Balta winery (wines available from Cava Secreta and Souleio in Saskatoon), near Vilafranca del Penedes.

And there are food markets and bakeries and museums and Roman ampitheatres and much, much more to explore! Plus it’s Easter so there will be huge Semana Santa parades.

I spent three weeks in Andalucia, Spain two years ago. There’s lot of information here on my blog.

La Oreja de Van Gogh
For those of you who can’t join me on the road, here is a music video from my favourite Spanish music group, La Oreja de Van Gogh. This particular song, Jueves, is dedicated to the victims of the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Update: I had a fabulous time in Spain. Here are the links to some of my posts:
Jumilla, Spain: 5,000 years of growing grapes and making wine
Palate Press: Introducing Jumilla to a World Market
Semana Santa Processions
Stately Homes of Tarragona
Alicante – Exploring the Layers of History with Turiguias
The Countryside around Alicante: Part One: Mandarinablue Travel Experience and Heretat de Cesilia Winery
The Countryside around Alicante: Part Two: Alguena’s Wine Cooperative and Caves
The Palm Groves of Elche
Chocolate and Pirates
Shopping in Alicante
Travelling in Style, Estacio del Nord
Parés Baltà Winery: A Place of Enchantment
La Formatgeria la Seu, Barcelona
Spanish Breakfasts


Renee said...

Have a wonderful trip Penny! It all sounds so lovely.

Jen said...

So exciting! Can't wait to read all about it! Have a safe and fun trip!