Vine Country

rioja vinesA lone scrub oak stands among of sea of vines near Haro, La Rioja. Just below this vineyard, where the vines curve down the hillside, runs the Oja River–in Spanish, Rio Oja–which gives the region, and the wine, its name.  Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Sweet Medicine with a Kick

malaga-wineMalaga wines are sweet, fortified dessert wines. In the old days, some of them also contained quinine. Jesuit missionaries brought the bark of the so-called fever tree to Spain in the 16th Century and it was used to treat a variety of illnesses for centuries. Medicinal wines with quinine were still widely consumed in Spain until the 1970’s. This barrel is from my favorite bar in Malaga, the Casa Guardia. I’ve been visiting it off and on for 20 years, and it hasn’t changed much either. As for whether quinine wines are still being drunk in Spain, I can’t say. Does anybody know? Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Lighting the Way

jaime-king-of-aragonOrnate iron street lamps glow in the backlight of a late winter afternoon on the Carrer Jaume I in Barcelona. Jaime I, King of Aragon, is an important figure in Catalan history, promoting language and culture while ousting the French and expanding the Crown of Aragon across Catalonia and the Mediterranean. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Modern Transformation

mercado-de-motoresIn the Retiro neighborhood of Madrid, the Nave de Motores hosts a mercadillo the first weekend of every month. Inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, the Nave’s transformers and massive diesel motors provided electricity to Madrid’s Metro from 1923 until Continue Reading →

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