One Saturday morning in October, I was lured out of bed with the promise of an "easy" hike ending with a stop at a local winery near Madrid for a tasting. Sounded perfect, except the hike was in no way easy and I was sure I was going to die either of dehydration in the Spanish countryside or be trampled by the herd of sheep we encountered during the hike. I survived, and after walking roughly 28,000 steps that day, we made it to the winery and ended up having much wine-induced fun in the end.
It all started so innocently in the town of Colmenar de Oreja. Pretty old buildings and lots of charming scenery. The plan was to hike out to the vineyards of the winery we'd be visiting later and then return back to their in-town location for the tasting. Little did I know it would be hours and hours and hours before we'd make our way back to town.
The first few hours of the hike were actually enjoyable. We passed by pretty countryside, while Hugo the dog entertained us with his antics.
Don't be fooled by how easy this part looks
Our fearless leader, who was a very seven months pregnant at the time, seemed to have everything under control. But, then we learned this was more of an experimental hike as it was the first time they had tried out this route, which led to our group getting lost numerous times. Climbing up ridges and banks only to climb back down, etc. The next hurdle was avoiding a sheep trampling (which I mistakenly thought were goats). Although, none of us girls minded the handsome sheep herder.
We were getting close to the vineyards, which was a good thing since our supply of bottled water was quickly dwindling on a very hot day. But, we had one more obstacle before arriving at the vineyards...climbing through a broken part of a fence to get around a locked gate! At this point, all you could do was laugh (or cry!).
Admiring some random grafitti while waiting for my turn to crawl through the fence
Finally, we made it to the vineyards of Solera winery for a quick lesson from owner Consuelo on the old vines, soil and winemaking process.
Post-lesson, we were back on the road and heading to Solera's tasting room location in Colmenar de Oreja.
We survived! I am so happy in this picture because the hike is almost over and the wine is near
Never have I been so happy to see a town sign with the promise of civilization
We arrived at Solera dehydrated and ready for the wine tasting, which is not necessarily the best combination. We tasted whites, reds and even a red wine that was old enough to have collected cobwebs on the bottle (and it was delicious!).
Next, we toured the winery, passing by the giant wine barrels and old winemaking equipment.
I know it probably sounds like I had a horrible time, but it actually turned out to be one of my favorite outings so far since moving to Spain (although I doubt anything will top my time spent with Esme Tours in the little village of Pozos). Yes, the hike was hard, but it made the wine at the end all the more rewarding. Plus, I met some fun, fellow wine lovers, which is always a good thing.
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I'm Becki...a part-time traveler and recovering expat back in the U.S. after two amazing years spent living in Spain.