Spain, I

During our engagement, the husband and I made a deal. If I made all of the less than major decisions about the wedding – the decisions that in-the-moment weigh no less heavily as those such as location and wedding party, but are actually quite minimal – he would plan the honeymoon. We took it as far as leaving it as a surprise for me, as in I found out where we were going when we got to Philadelphia International Airport, at the Delta check-in counter when the agent gave me my boarding pass.

We were going to Spain and flying into Madrid! The husband bought us Delta One tickets for the round trip. If one’s budget allows it, I absolutely recommend flying in this cabin. With fully reclining beds, pillows and down blankets, noise cancelling earphones, a multi-course meal complete with sommelier picks and a seasonal cocktail, this cabin is luxe life in the sky.

Unfortunately even with a reclining bed and down blanket, when we arrived at the end of the six-plus hour flight, the head cold I had been fighting for the week prior finally won. Lucky for us, our hotel in Madrid allowed us to check in even though it was only 8 am. Cut to me taking a shower, popping two Tylenol PM, and sleeping for eighteen hours.

Despite the small room square footage, I would recommend staying at Hotel Wellington. Everything was very walkable. The Prado Museum was a mere fifteen minutes on foot. There were copious restaurants and shopping within a five block radius. We had a room with a balcony overlooking the courtyard; we slept with the double doors open every night. My favorite part was my visit to the spa; after several months of wedding planning, an hour long massage was exactly what I needed.

After three days of fighting the cold in Madrid and taking out a bottle of cough syrup (Yo busco por una [hold up a screengrab on my phone of cough syrup and Vicks Vapor Rub] por favor)”, my husband and I embarked on a wine tour. If you take nothing else from this post, remember this: Wine Tourism Spain, private tour. Our tour guide, Raul, picked us up at Hotel Wellington precisely at 9 am as we were checking out of the hotel. We stopped in Segovia for croissant and cafe and viewing the infamous aqueducts.

Over the course of the next 48 hours, we visited five wineries:

  • Bodegas Astor, where we also were treated to a phenomenal lunch and some insane grappa

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  • Bodegas Tritium, where we bonded with one of the only English-speaking members of the family who owns it, over some charcuterie that was truly next level
  • Bodegas Marqués de Riscal, where we not only took a very comprehensive tour of the winery,  but also enjoyed the infamous Frank Gehry architecture

All of the wineries were truly wonderful, as was the company that organized the tour! We learned so much about Spanish wine, thanks to Raul. Did you know that in order to qualify as Rioja or Crianza (pronounced cree-ahn-tha), the winery has to go through a certification process by a governing board? And if the benchmarks are not met, while the wine may be sold as table wine, it cannot be labeled as Rioja or Crianza? Yes, the Spanish take their wines seriously.

The first night of the tour we stayed at Hotel Abba Burgos. Our room opened out onto a terrace, although as it was shared we thought it best not to keep the doors open overnight. On the way to dinner, we stopped by the cathedral – just gorgeous. Raul brought us to a lovely restaurant for tapas. After dinner we wandered down the street for some more wine. Even though there was a festival that night, we decided that a 9:15 am morning called for an early night, a cough syrup and Vicks combo, and some BBC News.

Continue to Part II…


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