On The Spanish Speaking Road Again- Villanueva to Vitoria- Gasteiz
My high school Spanish Professór, Señor Maristany, used to jump up on the desk and yell at us, “Repita! Repita! Repita!” I fell in love, with both him, and the language.
So much so, that in college, I majored in Spanish, and wanted to become a Spanish teacher, l just like my role model, Señor Maristany. Subsequently, whenever Dan and I travel, my language skills are very helpful. Our recent road trip through the North of Spain, turned out to be my final exam.
We checked out of the Tres Reyes Hotel in Pamplona, and were on the road to La Rioja wine region, by noon. During the foggy drive to the tiny town of Villanueva, both my GPS and my language skills came in very handy.
I was able to read the BASQUE language signs, and got us to our destination sín problema!
For the prior two days, Dan and I had been partying in Pamplona, with the other million people, who attended the Festival de San Fermín 2014.
We’d woken up super early each morning, to watch the crazies Running With the Bulls, and each night in Pamplona, we stayed up late to watch the fireworks. At this point we were both, a teeny bit groggy.
It was close to 2PM when we pulled up to, a breathtakingly gorgeous hotel, unlike any we have ever seen before.
I found my new favorite Hotel Viura, through my favorite travel website, i-escape.com. It was a peaceful and stunning property. I could have enjoyed the rest of the day…just being there. Hotel Viura has a wine shop, art gallery, and the most unusual and inviting style I’ve ever seen. Just walking through the hallways of this small boutique hotel, is a delightful adventure.
Sadly, these were our final 24 hours of our vacation, so we had to make the most of our precious time. In típico Dan and Vicki style, there would be no rest for the weary.
Pooped and crabby (mostly me) we got back in the car, and drove to ElCiego. We zipped around Starwood’s Marques de Riscal Hotel and Winery, spent 20 minutes in the Medieval village of LaGuardia, admiring the breathtaking views of La Rioja, and finally we were off to Vitoria Gasteiz, the OTHER Gastronomic capital in Spain (San Sebastién is regarded as number one) for one last pinxto crawl.
Along the Spanish countryside, the views were spectacular, but I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open. Dan was exhausted too, but there was no stopping him.
Thankfully, my husband is one of the best drivers on the planet, and I’m alway confident that he will get us to our destination safely, even if he only has one eye open.
On another hand, Dan’s Spanish is limited to the words jamón and vino. If I were to take a little siesta while he drove, there is no question that he’d get lost, and we would be facing un problema grande.
Just in the nick of time, I spied a sign for a gas station, only a few metres away. We could gas up, grab some coffee to keep us awake, and enjoy the spectacular views.
Of course the gasoline pump’s instructions were in Basque, and Spanish. Dan didn’t quite understand, so it was my wifely duty to go inside to pay for the gas, and to order a couple of cafes con leche.
HABLAMOS CON MIS AMIGOS NUEVOS
While I waited for Dan to finish pumping the gas, I chatted with several of the locals, about the American tradition of taking coffee para llevar (to go), and how the Spaniards, use their coffee drinking time to socialize. Viva la differencia!
My new friends and I, chatted in Spanish, about where Dan and I were headed, and from where we had come. I told them that I was so tired, but didn’t dare fall asleep, because Dan would never be able to find the way, since he couldn’t read the signs.
When my adorable husband came in to use the bathroom, we all watched as he took a look at the door, emblazoned with the universal sign for bathroom, in enormous bolded letters.
It’s not that Dan doesn’t know what WC stands for, but he looked at the sign, and quickly proceeded, to the opposite side of the room.
“Where are you going, honey?” I asked in English.
“To the bathroom”, Dan declared.
“Me decía que no podía dormir”! (I told you that I couldn’t go to sleep), I said to my pals. The six of us cracked up laughing, at poor Danny’s expense.
“What’s so funny?”, Dan wanted to know.
“I’ll tell you later, sweetie.”
Gracias to Señor Maristany. Because of you, I got an A+, in both Spanish and Comedy.