We are off to Spain on our first Candelaria Design Tour Spain! We are having a fantastic time and I am writing this blog from Laguardia, Spain and the Hotel de los Parajes. http://www.hospederiadelosparajes.com/en/index.html in the Basque Wine Country.
This is our 15th Candelaria Design Tour with of course 14 of them being in Italy but our repeat travelers were ready for something new and Spain is one of my favorite countries and this tour is totally reconfirming this! Eight of my 13 travelers are repeat travelers with three of my travelers having joined me on over six trips.
We started this year’s tour of Spain in the absolutely spectacular city of San Sebastian’ on the north coast of Spain in the heart of the Basque Country. This is one of my favorite cities in the world and has more restaurants per capita than any city in the world including a number of three star Michelin restaurants. If you are a foodie then this is your heaven on this earth.
Our journey began in Phoenix and we flew through London then a stop in Madrid and then our final destination, San Sebastian. All in all some 22 hours of traveling having left Phoenix at 2:30 pm local time on Tuesday and arriving in San Sebastian on Wednesday at 5pm local time (8am in Phoenix). Of course, with a couple tight connections due to flight delays our bags didn’t quite keep pace with us so our trip from the airport to our hotel was nice and light! We were fortunate to rendezvous with two of our travelers who came early and had just arrived from France. Another traveler came by train from Madrid and my two other travelers from Atlanta had their flight canceled in Atlanta and so they had an extra day of travel thrown onto their itinerary!
From the airport to the hotel was about a 30-minute ride that just gets more and more beautiful as we make our way towards the city center and our arrival at the Hotel Londres! https://www.hlondres.com/es/ I love this hotel and stayed here with the family over the Holidays on our scouting trip. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is situated along the beach of the La Concha Bay with stellar views from all of our rooms of the beach and city. The weather was perfect and after getting settled and freshened up, it was time to go and get some tapas/pinchos!
The tapas/pinchos experience in Spain is unique and never the same in the States. First of all, with all of our codes and health requirements you can’t just have tapas sitting on an open platter for everyone to grab. With a glass screen guard separating you it loses its magic! Not here – grab a plate and start making your selections. Take your plate to the bartender, grab a glass of vino tinto or a cerveza and close out your tab and enjoy. Try a few in one place and move onto the next…..talking, laughing and never really ever filling up!
Dinnertime in Spain is late and we got started about 9pm which after flying for 22 hours seemed impossible, but the adrenaline kicks in and off you go with new life and energy fueled further by the fantastic nourishment from the fresh and un-doctored food and wine from Spain!
After several hours of tapas hopping we finished in style by eating fresh cheesecake on the street with red wine! Our trip to food heaven had begun!