This is La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site built between the 16th and 20th centuries to protect the city and bay. Interesting story of invasion and defeat of the Dutch in the Battle of 1625.
We had dinner with friends and spoke about hurricane Maria and PR’s recovery. Speaking with local business people, they say recovery is slow and many are donating locally to help areas not receiving aid.
We spent money with local businesses and had a wonderful time. Our hope is Puerto Rico will recover and grow stronger!
The world of wine opens up while strolling La Rambla or visiting a 300 years old vineyard. Take note! This city does not sleep and when you stay off La Rambla bring your earplugs. Several places we visited and events we attended in and around Barcelona:
Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
Palau de la Música Catalana (concert hall)
Vinyard Tour – Located in the city area of Manresa, Spain called Pla de Bages is the 1,000 year old vineyard named Oller del Mas. Oller del Mas is surrounded by and near the mountain area of the Montserrat monestary. Also, nearby is the 23,000 acre Natural Park of Sant Llorenç de Munt.
Oller del Mas uses only grapes from its estate for wine production. The vineyard seems to maintain great respect for the soil and the area. The “third-party” tour-guide walked us through the Oller wine making process and toured the vineyard.
In the castle we sampled Bernat Oller Picapoll Blanc and gazed upon the castle. One interesting note is seeing the long narrow windows. These were used for the archers as the residents protected themselves agains any intruders.
The cellar and storage areas were beautiful and displayed age-old beauty barrels and caves.
Wines produced at Oller del Mas are named: Especial Picapoll (2015) with 2,500 bottles and 100% Piquepoul Noir, Arnau Oller (2014) with 7,400 bottles and 90% Merlot/10% Piquepoul Noir, Bernat Oller Picapoll Blanc (2016) with 12,600 bottles and 50% Piquepoul Blanc/50% Piquepoul Noir, Petit Bernat Negre (2016) with 35,400 bottles and 40% Cabernet Franc, 25% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Picapoll Negre.
In Cochem, Germany in a small hotel on the Moselle river, we stayed in a hotel. We walked the riverbanks and took pictures of the castle at night (http://www.burg-cochem.de/lage-der-burg.html?&L=1). The contours of the neo-gothic building was more than about 330 ft above the river Moselle. Cochem Castle was built around the year 1000. Additional “must do” items include: The historical mustard mill (Senfmühle), built around 1810. For around 6 Eros, take the seselbahn to the Pinnerkreuz mountain and hike up to the cross on the top of the mountain. Also, wine cellars tour and tasting possible at: H.H. Hieronimi, Stadionstraße 2.
Cochem gets quite around 18:00 hours. However, make the most of the morning and big German breakfasts most hotels offer. It is a wonderful city and fun for the family.
All is good in Germany when it comes to celebrating Christmas. We recently traveled to Munich and drove to several Christmas markets. Our favorite was Nuremberg. In Nurrmberg we stayed at the Saxx Hotel with our room overlooking Christmas market.
The picture below is of a gentleman cooking Feuerzangenbowle, a traditional German alcoholic drink with a rum-soaked sugarloaf set on fire and drips into mulled wine.