Logroño is a small city and the capital of the La Rioja wine region in the North of Spain. It is off the tourist trail and mostly only visited by travellers on the Christian pilgrimage, El Camino de Santiago. We spent our mornings sleeping in, afternoons riding bikes and at night we took the infamous La Senda de los Elefantes, ‘trail of the elephants’.
Bike riding: We were able to pick up a free passes to use the public bikes at the tourist office! Cycling through Logroño is beautiful and the city is very bike friendly.
After a good few hours cycling, we headed to the tranquil park near the riverbed in the centre of town to read and do as the Spaniards do – Siesta. All throughout Spain, business literally shuts down – commercial, retail, hospitality – at about 2pm for locals to head home for a sleep before reopening at 5:30pm. Restaurants do not open until late and you won’t find locals out for dinner before 10pm! Yes 10pm! A little sleep in the afternoon definitely goes a long way to blending into Spanish life. If you are hungry before 10pm, some establishments in Logroño offer a little reprieve, serving small snacks before the madness begins on Calle Del Laurel.
Come 10pm there is only one place you could find Ben and I, strolling along Calle Del Laurel and it’s neighbouring streets in the search for Pinchos. Pinchos are small snack-like food served in bars alongside a beer or glass of local wine. This regional custom is like a pub crawl but with very delicious food. Each bar usually has a pintxo speciality and for only €1-€3, you can’t go wrong!
With the pigeonhole sized bars, people always end up spilling out onto the street, drinking, eating and socialising. The atmosphere is great! On our second night, we already had a taste for our favourite spots, and our elephant walk usually involved the following: Patatas Bravas from Bar Jubera and wine, mushrooms from Bar Angel and wine, duck liver on gluten free bread from Bar Donosti and wine, back to Bar Angel for mushrooms and wine, Iberian ‘secret’ from De Perdidos al rios and wine, crispy pigs face from La Tavina and wine, back to Bar Donosti for warm goats cheese, walnuts and apricot compote and wine, skewers of pork from Bar Paganos and wine. You can see why they call it the trail of the elephants, because of the way you end up walking after too many glasses of wine! The food is divine and by the third night the bartenders knew our orders and we were experts in navigating the narrow, winding streets of Logroño.