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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cycling (and not) in La Rioja, Northern Spain - Page 3

Written by Dale Fehringer
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Comfort Food and Comfy Inns

This is a region of fresh and hearty food that includes tapas, paella, cheese, and seafood. There are several Michelin-rated restaurants in the area and a well-established base of first-rate local eating establishments. Our meals were well-prepared, tasty, and inexpensive; our favorite foods were tortillas (potato omelets), white asparagus, black pudding (pork blood), tear peas (tiny, tear-shaped spring peas), and patatas bravas (fried potatoes in spicy sauce).

The last couple of days we cycled through Rioja, which is one of the oldest and largest wine producing regions in Spain. The rolling hills and sweeping views of vineyards and wineries make this a great place to cycle. Rioja wines are flavorful and inexpensive and feature vanilla overtones from oak aging. Local winemakers have used oak barrels for hundreds of years – originally French oak, but now primarily American oak. During a winery tour we saw oak barrels being made by hand – a rare sight indeed!

We stayed in a variety of small, comfortable inns staffed by friendly and gracious hosts. Two of our favorites were a flour mill that has been converted into a charming B&B, and an overnight in Frias where our hostess offered to do our laundry (!) and brought in neighbors to serve us a homemade seven-course feast.




Casona de Naveda


Charming country inn with rural views

Posada El Cazador

Villanueva de la Nia

Rustic hunting lodge

Posada Molina del Canto

Valle de Zamanzas

Converted flour mill with comfortable two-story rooms

Hotel La Alhama

Medina de Pomar

Within walking distance of the old town of Medina de Pomar and leather factory

Poza de la Torca


Nicely decorated rooms, great views, excellent meals, gracious hostess

Hotel Luz


Modern hotel within walking distance of tapas bars, shopping

Hotel Villa de Laguardia


Comfortable rooms, excellent meals, great place to end our tour

Lucky in So Many Ways

I was incredibly lucky in so many ways. This was a spectacular cycling tour and despite my accident I was able to enjoy it all. But I might not be so lucky the next time, so from now on I plan to be completely prepared. Before I start riding, I will become familiar with my bike by thoroughly testing the brakes, gears, and turning radius. From now on I will carry a first aid kit that includes bandages, ointments, and instant ice packs. And I will make sure I always have a cell phone, so I can quickly summon help in case of an accident.

These small adjustments will help ensure that we will be able to thoroughly enjoy the wonder of seeing a new part of the world by bicycle.


Casona de Naveda (

Hotel La Alhama (

Hotel Luz (

Hotel Villa de Laguardia (

Iberocycle (

Iberia Airlines (

Miro Hotel (Bilbao) (

Posada El Cazador (

Posada Molina del Canto (

Poza de la Torca (

©Dale Fehringer

About the author: Dale Fehringer is a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco. He is a columnist for Competitive Intelligence Magazine and writes for inTravel Magazine
( and Writer’s Showcase ( He shares office space with his wife, Patty, and cats, George and Gracie. He can be reached at (415) 602-6116 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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