A Visit To Pasajes (Pasaia Donibane)

If you have the time on the drive between San Sebastián and Hondarribia, pay a visit to the picturesque fishing village of Pasajes de San Juan, also known as Pasaia Donibane in Basque.  You can even reach it by a one-minute ferry ride on the Itxas Zerbi water taxi from Pasajes San Pedro, on the…

Dining Well In Sevilla – Part 1

Gourmet Dining in Sevilla Dining options in Sevilla have certainly changed over the past 15 years when the majority of places only offered the traditional dishes; pescaíto frito (fried fish), jamon, coquinas (little clams, exquisite), gambas al ajillo (prawns sizzled in garlicky chili oil), arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), chipirones a la plancha (grilled…

The Medieval Villages of Catalunya

Two Atmospheric Medieval Villages (Barcelona) While spending a few days relaxing in the tranquil setting of the Parador Vic-Sau, we were able to explore some of the surrounding countryside and came across the charming and virtually isolated stone village of Tavertet.  This small retreat at the end of the road is filled with weekend homes…

The 12 Days of Christmas in Catalunya

El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos The weather in the Catalan Pyrenees is not always the best for skiing in late December/early January, but even without the snow it doesn’t dampen the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas as celebrated throughout the region.  The festivities begin on December 24th, Christmas Eve, with the…

The Spanish Basque Country

Planning your trip to the País Vasco The capitals of the three Basque Provinces of Spain are San Sebastián-Donostia in Gipuzkoa, Bilbao-Bilbo in Bizkaia and Vitoria-Gasteiz in Álava.  Euskadi is the politically correct term for the Basque Country, but some prefer the more historically inclusive Euskal Herria, which means the Basque Lands or home of…

Pintxos Hopping in Bilbao

Pintxos in the Old Quarter, the Casco Viejo   Plaza Nueva On Sundays you can see three generations of a family making their way through the neighborhood bars drinking Rioja in sips and feasting on pintxos.  In the “Siete Calles” section, those seven parallel, narrow, pedestrian streets running south of the cathedral.  Note that Bilbaínos…

An Excursion Into The Basque Highlands

A short drive from San Sebastián, south on the A-1, will take you into the Goierri, the Basque Highlands, a region surrounded by the Aralar Mountains.  Continue on the road to the attractive, and very Basque, tiny village of Zerain, a postcard perfect setting, which lies midway between Donostia and Vitoria.  On the way you’ll…

Excursions on the Costa Brava

In the Alt & Baix Empordà Medieval Villages Take a driving tour of the highly picturesque, beautifully preserved, charming, atmospheric medieval villages of Pals and its castle tower and rice fields (but is perhaps a bit too-well restored and overly manicured), and the nearby tiny Sant Feliu de Boada, with its lovely 12th-century Romanesque church. …

Of Chestnuts, Wine and Celts

Celtic Galicia, Spain’s Ireland You will need a few weeks to properly explore Spain’s lush, misty, and verdant northwest corner:  a land very different from southern Spain.  This lush, misty, and verdant northwest corner of Iberia, facing the fierce Atlantic, is a place of spectacular seaside cliffs and mighty rivers gushing through deep gorges, of…

Fallas

The festival in Valencia, Spain’s 3rd largest city, is similar in many ways to the Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona; open and welcoming, people of all ages and stature coming together, long days and late nights in a city that never sleeps, thousands of participants immaculately dressed in traditional regional costumes, food stands serving…