Rules – Who Needs ‘Em? #Vuelta2017 Stage 13 and the Condado de Huelva DO

Friday’s stage moves us to the northwest, toward the Atlantic coast. The race route cuts through Jerez, birthplace of the solera system and sherry and, surprisingly enough, home to quite a few cattle and horse ranches. Inland, the terrain is rugged and mountainous but, closer to the coast it flattens and cools, thanks to the ocean breezes. And our destination city, Tomares, sits just outside of Sevilla, capital of the region of Andalucía and the only river port in Spain.

Plaza de Espana at sunny day in Seville, Spain
Plaza de España in Sevilla, Spain (photo by Kavalenkava)

We begin Stage 13 in Coín, built along the valley of the Rio Grande. Throughout its history Coín has always been a center of trade: fertile soils were a reliable source of fruit and vegetables, and the nearby quarries supplied marble and iron ore to builders all over Spain. According to some accounts, Hadrian, a future emperor of Rome, was born just outside the city’s border. It’s possible: historians agree that he was indeed, born in Spain; in exactly which city, however, is up for debate. But for purposes of this post, we’ll go with it! Continue reading “Rules – Who Needs ‘Em? #Vuelta2017 Stage 13 and the Condado de Huelva DO”

Sierras, Smugglers, and Sunshine: Welcome to Andalucía and Stage 12 of #Vuelta2017

  Thursday, we trade the shimmering rocky beaches of the Costa Blanca for the seaside resorts of the Costa del Sol. The peloton will spend the next few days in the southern reaches of Spain, specifically Andalucía. It’s a large region, home to such diverse cities as Jerez, Seville, Málaga, and Granada. A stronghold of Moorish rule, Andalucía remained under their control long after they … Continue reading Sierras, Smugglers, and Sunshine: Welcome to Andalucía and Stage 12 of #Vuelta2017

Explore Emilia-Romagna with the Italian Food, Wine & Travel Group (#ItalianFWT)

Saturday, September 2, the Italian Food Wine & Travel group takes a virtual trip to Emilia-Romagna, exploring its culture and cuisine and – of course – its wine traditions. Anyone who’s interested in the topic is welcome to participate, and we love when new folks come into the fold! Learn more about it in my invitation post. The diversity of Emilia-Romagna’s terrain gives a clue to its … Continue reading Explore Emilia-Romagna with the Italian Food, Wine & Travel Group (#ItalianFWT)

Bullas: Where Religious Pilgrims Meet Monastrell in #Vuelta2017 Stage 10

You might think a rest day would afford the riders a chance to recuperate, replenishing their energy and enthusiasm to get back in the saddle and sally forth. But it’s a funny thing, that rest day: it sometimes leads to mental and physical breakdowns on the first day back. No one really understands why some riders benefit from a day off and others don’t; all … Continue reading Bullas: Where Religious Pilgrims Meet Monastrell in #Vuelta2017 Stage 10

Wines of Alicante and the Costa Blanca: #Vuelta2017 Stage 9

Sunday’s stage is flat, flat, flat, all the way to the 130 km marker and the Category 2 Alto de Puig Llorença. The peloton will then scramble through the intermediate sprint, and then attack the Category 1 Cumbre del Sol/El Poble Nou de Benitatxell and the summit finish.  Our departure point, the city of Orihuela, was once ruled by the Visigoths and served as the … Continue reading Wines of Alicante and the Costa Blanca: #Vuelta2017 Stage 9

Biking the Route of the Volcanoes, Drinking the Wines of Jumilla and Yecla: #Vuelta2017 Stage 8

On the surface, Stage Eight seems rather tame, with only three categorized climbs to challenge the riders. But this is the Vuelta a España – nothing is easy, least of all the mountain-top finishes! Saturday’s race concludes at the top of the Xorret de Catí, a 3,600-foot monster considered one of cycling’s iconic climbs. Making its Vuelta debut back in 1998, the Xorret de Catí … Continue reading Biking the Route of the Volcanoes, Drinking the Wines of Jumilla and Yecla: #Vuelta2017 Stage 8

Caches of Coins, Hanging Houses, and Bottles of Bobal: It Must Be #Vuelta2017 Stage 7

Let’s hope the riders are well-hydrated before they hop on their bikes for Friday’s stage: they’ll have a long, hot day of cycling ahead of them. Stage 7 is the longest of this year’s race, and it takes the peloton inland, away from the cool coastal breezes, toward the Saharan conditions of Spain’s Meseta. Other than that, it should be a fairly “normal” day in … Continue reading Caches of Coins, Hanging Houses, and Bottles of Bobal: It Must Be #Vuelta2017 Stage 7