View from the bus; Logroño to Laguardia
After enjoying 24 hours in Logroño, Lauren and I boarded a 9am bus to the small walled town of Laguardia. I had never heard of Laguardia before visiting Lauren but the tourism office in Vitoria suggested it and any place new sounded good to us.
Laguardia is perched on top of a hill in the middle of a beautiful valley of vineyards, Rioja Alevesa.
After an hour bus ride we met up with Koldo’s relatives, Lidia and Jose Ramon, who offered to show us around Laguardia and then drive us to other areas in the Basque wine region. How lucky were we as a car would allow us to visit a couple of other smaller towns not easily accessible by bus.
The main square.
We entered the walled town through the main square.
Within the town of Laguardia are many narrow streets
The Church of San Juan Bautista
There are two main churches in Laguardia, one on both ends of the town. As we admired the stone walls of the church of San Juan Bautista, an elderly woman came up to us and remarked that she still was amazed at how the buildings were constructed even though she had lived in Laguardia all of her life.
The Church of San Juan Bautista
A float in preparation for Semana Santa procession
We entered the church and explored the interior on our own while people worked on floats for the Semana Santa procession to be held later that week.
Ancient book on display in the tiny museum in the Church of San Juan Bautista
We discovered a tiny museum in the back of the church where ancient looking books and clothing were on display.
Map of wine storage tunnels beneath the town
Beneath the town are a labryinth of tunnels and passageways originally used as shelter and escape routes but today family owned winerys store their wine in the caves located beneath the shops and houses. A visit to the tourism office led us to the family owned bodega Vinasperi which offered a tour of their cellar while we were there.
Tasting room in Vinasperi Cave
Being claustrophobic I was a little uncertain about descending beneath the ground into the caves but Lidia assured me that I would be fine since she has the same issue. And she was right, the caves were more roomy than I expected and I enjoyed seeing where the wine was made and stored. At the end of the tour we were given a tasting right from the barrel.
“Viajeros” by Vitoria-born sculptor Koko Rico.
The Church of Santa María de los Reyes is located on the north end of town. Adjacent to the entrance of the Church is a sculpture by Koko Rico entitled “Viajeros” (travelers) inspired by the footwear of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrims who pass through the town.
Polychromeda Arch, portico of the church of Santa Maria de Los Reyes
We joined a guided tour of the Church which was in Spanish but I could still appreciate the beautifully adorned portico without needing words.
The Church of Santa María de los Reyes
It is a spectacular church inside and well worth visiting. The church was locked when we tried to get in on our own but the tourism office has a schedule of times when tours are given.
Abbot’s Tower (Torre Abacial)
Next to the church is the bell tower, Abbot’s Tower.
which we easily climbed to the top for gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains, vineyards and rooftops.
View from Aboot’s Tower
Finally it was time for lunch. The town was more crowded than usual since it was a holiday week but we found a place with outdoor seating that served a delicious Menu.
Our next stop; Elciego.