Friday, May 25, 2018

Devinssi: A Beautiful, Boutique Winery in the Priorat Region, Catalunya

Fun Filled Winery Day at Devinssi!  From left:  Vita, Sapna, Robby, Rob, Marina

What's the smallest winery you've ever been to?

Well, I bet it's not as small as the one I took a mini-road trip to a couple weeks ago! Itching to travel and have a break from our PhD/work sagas, Marina, Robby, Rob, Vita and I decided to rent a car for the day.

On the metro to the car rental place!

Actually, I've only recently realized that I know someone who can legally drive here (Thank you, Robby!). The rest of us have foreign driver's licenses, which apparently can't be used after a year of living in Spain.  You have to take Driver's Ed again and pass the Spanish test. Seeing as my idea of parallel parking is driving an (automatic) car right into a North-American sized spot, I don't see that happening any time soon!

Now, I did a really stupid thing and forgot that I had taken 10 or so photos of our trip on my SLR when I formatted it before last weekend's Switzerland trip.  So, I'm sorry to say that a few good shots of the streets of Montblanc are gone.  (Thanks to Marina, Vita, Robby and Rob for the photos in this post!)  You'll have to imagine the somewhat rainy weather, cloudy skies with beautiful mountains and ancient streets. 

Don't worry, I have plenty of Swiss mountain and town photos coming up for you next week.

Devinssi: A Private Vineyard Tour

Remember way back in 2015 when Sean visited and we checked out two starkly different but wonderful wineries - Freixenet, a cava place, and Pares Balta, a tiny organic winery?

Well, Devinssi was even smaller! It had such a boutique atmosphere - and a tiny vat for processing wine. In fact, our tour guide was one of two employees and actually lived in a house attached to where they produce the wine.

Robby and the Wine
As a group of linguists and language teachers, we were all shocked when our tour guide told us he was from Russia and had only moved here when he was 28. His Catalan, Spanish and English were so good we thought he was from here, or at least a native speaker of one of those languages. Goes to show you can learn a language at any age, people!

We all came away from the vineyard with bottles of wine - including one white Mas de Las Valles for dinner, which we cooked at my house. We made a yummy vegan mushroom quinoa pilaf, and Ratko joined us for dinner with homemade chocolate cake!  Oh, and I also bought a bottle of Il-lia, an amazing deep red grenache, carignan and cabernet sauvingnon blend. I'll be saving that one for a special occasion, or our next mini road trip adventure.

Montblanc - The Cute Town in Catalunya

Well, until this trip I thought Montblanc was in Switzerland! (Of course, there's one there, too - a beautiful mountain in the Alps). It turns out there's one a lot closer to Barcelona.

We basically just walked around and had lunch in this town, since everything is closed on Sundays.  You know what, though? Lunch with a group of great friends is a stellar way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We had traditional Spanish food (which means I had zucchini, salad, and cheese ;) and tried their tiramisu for dessert, of course. The wine was lovely. It's hard to beat Priorat for wine, really. In fact, most of it is produced for export!  It's the "expensive wine" in the supermarket (if you can find it there).

I put "expensive" in quotes because here in Spain, that's about 10 euros. Yup. I love this!

From Left:  Marina, Sapna, Vita, Rob and Robby

Well, that's about it for this short post.  

If there's one thing I learned from my trip (other than upload your photos asap!), it's that mini-road trip adventures with friends make for the best Sundays. We laughed so much on this trip, it reminded me how important laughter is. (I even wrote the next day's Motivational Monday Post on Laughter!)

Even when we're swamped with work, PhD insanity, immigration hassles or life in general, we should all take the time to take a mini-road trip with friends. Let the work wait for 12 hours, take the pup for a long run before you leave - and hit the road!

What's your favourite day trip or mini road trip story? I'd love to hear it in the comments below!

Stay tuned for my next post about another magical road trip I've just taken - to the German part of Switzerland. 

Have a good week!


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