España Day 1: Bilbao

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Flying into Bilbao on the northern coast of Spain is a spectacular experience and makes you forget your travel woes. Green, hilly, with strong breezes and crisp air. It feels almost like Ireland, but Basque.

In a few short jet-lagged hours, I saw the Guggenheim, strolled through a park, had an ice cream (flavor: tarta queso, we’ll be figuring out how to make that at home) and kicked off the business side of things with an elaborate dinner at chef Martín Berasategui’s Guggenheim Jatetxea restaurant.

Gracefully accompanying six courses like fine dance partners, the Osborne Wines flowed, and we were immediately immersed in a thorough education on the wines of Rioja by winemaker Maria Martinez-Sierra, who has been Osborne’s winemaker at their Bodegas Montecillo for decades, and is known as the Grande Dame of Spanish wines.

Absolutely stuffed (but certainly not as tipsy as the drinkers in the group), I tucked into my modern little hotel room with its ruby red pillows and said Buenas Noches.