Valdenas Rhine gorge – The hotel “Gasthaus am Brunnen” in a 500 year old building is exceptional. It is far away from tourism and crowds of people. It has only 7 rooms and all of them are very different, simply furnished. The house is almost only made of wood and so the room smells wonderfully of wood, one can relax very well in this place.
Restaurant and Dinner
The restaurant in this hidden place is really fantastic. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are from the surroundings/region. The jam for breakfast and homemade and just very delicious. The great thing is that you can simply eat a main course or a whole menu with various delicacies, you always get full. In the afternoon you can drink coffee by the wooden well or have a cocktail in the lounge in the garden and watch the ducks from the farmer next door.
In the surroundings you can visit the Rhine Gorge or take a hike to Lake Cauma and/or Lake Cresta. The nature is beautiful and there is something for every fitness level.
The Hacienda Colomé (by Swiss entrepreneur Donald M. Hess) is not only worth a visit for its wines, but for the special place. The next small village is about 45 minutes away by car. From Salta you can do the zigzagging roads by going over the top of a pass (Cuesta del Obispo) and “Parque Nacional de los Cardones” about 5 to 6 hours, depending on road conditions (partially dirt roads). This means that one does not go there spontaneously for a winetasting. For a long time we had the idea to include the Bodega Colomé on our next trip to Argentina because we know friends that stayed there. Since the hotel has only 9 rooms, this was the first thing we booked for our trip and planned everything else including flights only afterwards. It was really worth it. It is a place with a certain magic. You can relax, get some peace and quiet, do walks and besides; taste the best wines of the region. We spent New Year’s Eve at the bodega and had a really wonderful evening with people from France, Brazil, Switzerland and Argentina. Bodega Colomé grows their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in their garden and cooks only regional and seasonal meals. The staff conjured up a delicious multi-course menu for the guests that evening, including wine pairing. At 12 o’clock we all toasted to the new year on the terrace under the roof of stars and there was – still on top – a huge dessert buffet. Those who make it to Colomé should stay at least two or three days, as the James Tyrell Art Museum is also very worth seeing.
The hotel and bodega Gimenez Riili is located in the middle of the emerging new wine region “Valle de Uco” near Mendoza. The hotel has only eight rooms but they are already in the process of being extended. The rooms are very nice and modern furnished. The food is excellent and is cooked on an open fire in the middle of the restaurant. You can also try their own wines with the meal.
The hotel is home to people and some animals like guinea pigs, dogs, tarantulas (only one luckily ;-)) and toads that are running around freely. So you should not be afraid of contact with animals.
This hotel and restaurant is really something unique, a hidden gem. It is not at all on the way and does not always guarantee electricity – especially after 11pm. But in reward, one gets a wonderful fauna and flora right in front of the door. Unspoiled nature wherever you look. After four days on the Peninsula Valdes I thought I had seen all penguins, sea lions and ostriches, but Bahia Bustamante offers all this too, but not as an observer from far away, you are right in the middle of it. It is difficult to describe the place, you have to see, feel and experience it on your own. The hotel should be booked 6-9 months in advance and you should definitely book the cabins WITH dinner. The food is incredibly good and this at the end of the world and with a view of the vines (yes really vines in Patagonia) and the sea behind. Of course you shouldn’t be picky about what you eat, because there is simply one menu every evening, but if you like local food and wine, you are in good hands.
Shuzenji (between Kyoto and Tokyo) – When in Japan, a visit of a ryokan (Japanese inn) is a must do!
We selected this beautiful place and enjoyed every minute of it. The rooms are in traditional Japanese style with tatami mats in the whole hotel, so you are only allowed to walk in socks or bare feet. As soon as you arrive at the hotel you get rid of your shoes anyway and you receive a beautiful kimono (yukata) to wear throughout your stay…so you can dive into this other world and let yourself get indulged.
During all your stay you can take a bath in the natural hot springs inside and outside (open air). If you feel too hot you can also feed the koi fish (yes, they are always hungry!) in the pond or just relax and enjoy the calming atmosphere.
Dinner is served at any time you want in your room. This time we were also sitting on the floor at a low table, but luckily for us and our bones with a big cushion :-). This food was again beautifully prepared and decorated in the theme of autumn. For the second time we tasted fugu fish…and luckily are still alive.
After dinner the staff prepares your futon beds at the very same place in your room. In the morning you can choose between continental breakfast and Japanese breakfast…after a little discussion I agreed to the Japanese breakfast. I am really NOT fussy at all with food and I bravely ate the grilled barracuda, eggplant, miso soup and rice but when I opened the mussels soup bowl I had to give in 😉
Barcelona (Playa del Bogatell) – As we wanted to spend some time at the beach but also have a decent lunch, we chose La Guingueta/Xiringuito Escriba – actually two restaurants working together: one restaurant at the beach, the other just over the beach foot path.
The great thing is, everything you can eat in the restaurant can also be served at your beach space. The umbrella and the sunbeds cost some extra but it is so relaxing and therefore so very much worth it.
The food was very good, if you are a frequent reader of this blog you remember my post about the other “La Guingueta in Barceloneta“. The food quality was the same high standard. Escriba is also a bakery/shop in Barcelona…so desserts should be great as well, sadly, we were full and not able to try any more….
Barcelona – Barceloneta beach is just some 5 minutes walk from the city centre and actually really nice for a city beach.
If you become hungry after all the volleyball, swimming or just laying around – there are loads of restaurants, but the Guingueta caught our attention as it looked so open, friendly and modern. You can just have a freshly squeezed fruit juice or a wheat grass shot (….it felt like I just ate a whole golf green) or get a whole lunch.
The sandwiches and burgers are really tasty and the desserts looked great as well. This concept by Carles Abellan is the modern interpretation of a chiringuito “Guingueta” in Catalan (small restaurant with simple but good food at the beach). And I was so happy to find my very Spanish and favourite drink on the menu as well: Tinto de verano (but do not mix it up with Sangria!).