Welcome to Spain and our 16thCandelaria Design Tour – our second in Spain. We have a great group with us this year – nearly all repeat travelers with a few newbies which I love.
We are on a bus from San Sebastián to Bilbao this morning to tour the Frank Gehry Guggenheim Museum and enjoying the lush and green Northern Spain landscape. Farms with vineyards interspersed and just vivid green everywhere you look. Such a nice contrast from the brown we are so used to in Arizona especially this time of year.
Before I begin this blog I would like to just say a few words about one of my idols and influencers in my life, Anthony Bourdain, who sadly took his life on Friday. Ironically, our group was at our cooking class at the Mimo San Sebastián School of Cooking when we received the shocking news.
Bourdain’s shows, Parts Unknown andNo Reservations, were always a joy to watch and the perfect escape when I was busy and could not travel. His shows and his brilliant commentary inspired me many years ago to travel and cook and both are two of my favorite passions for sure. His episode featuring San Sebastián, where we are now, inspired me to put this venue on our tour and it will always be the way I start any tour of Spain.
Although I didn’t always agree with every aspect of Bourdain’s political views, I definitely could connect and embrace his love of humanity and how food, cooking, and a good meal shared by a group of people from different cultures had the unique ability to dissolve both geographic and cultural barriers. I love how food and preparing and sharing a meal does this and how we have made sure this aspect is incorporated into everyone of our tours, not only with our travelers but with the people we meet from around the world on our tours. A good example has been our tour this year where we met a lovely couple from Oslo, Norway while having tapas and they expressed a desire to find a cooking class. I mentioned that we had a reservation at the Mimi Cooking School and that we might have room for two more! They said they would love to join us if it was ok and of course we said let’s do it. What fun it’s was to share the 6 hour cooking class and then lunch with our new friends from Oslo and who knows, I can see a Candelaria Design Tour Sweden in the works!
Anyway, I got the chills when we heard the news of his loss but at the same time I now feel like I need to carry on his passion, spirit, and soul. I love travel and of course great food. Spain is such an amazing an beautiful land and my ancestors left this country in the 1600’s for the New World so my DNA feels at home here. We are now on Day 5 and today is our last full day in the Basque County. San Sebastián has been fantastic – as always. Beautiful architecture, food, wine and wonderful people. My ravelers are loving it from tapas and pintxos on the street, dinner at the Michelin three star restaurant, Akelare, cooking the next morning at the Mimo School of Cooking, to something as simple as just enjoying a sidra – a fantastic fizzy apple cider with a nice kick – some flavorful cheese, and olives on the Plaza de la Constitucion and just watching life go by! Mr. Bourdain would be proud of our journey and his spirit and inspiration will always be a part of my soul.