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The Great Spanish Gambit

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A Wanderlist inspired by one of the most enjoyable - and unpredictable - road trips I have ever been a part of. From the bustle and heat of Barcelona, through the Iberian food capital, over rugged mountains and along the Northern Coast, this is what I'll remember most about Spain from east to west.
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Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
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Carrer de Balmes, Barcelona, Spain
Spain has a great cafe culture in general, while Barcelona's scene is second to none. In preparation for our cross-country road trip, we sampled a little bit of what the city had to offer (to keep our energy up, of course). Tapas joints, coffee...
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Igeldo Ibilbidea, 187, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It was raining when we arrived in Donostia-San Sebastian, but the skies cleared on our second day, and we rode the funicular railway up Mount Igueldo to take in the view back on the city, La Concha Bay, and the empty beach. The "low" travel season...
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Jaizkibel Plaza, 14, 20160 Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Dear Pinchos, How I love you, and your bite-sized frame. I love the variety of shapes and sizes you so easily fall into, and I love your distinct flavors. From gratin spider crab to knuckle pork in juice to grilled liver gras with Porto wine...
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20170 Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Kalimotxo is a drink made of equal parts red wine and cola. When I first heard of the drink, I had to check the source - I thought someone was playing a trick on me. When I found out that people have been drinking kalimotxo in Spain for quite some...
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Comillas, Cantabria, Spain
Northern Spain isn't nearly as popular as the south among foreign visitors (if you discount the El Camino de Santiago), but for my money the north provides a more pleasurable experience. The mountainous terrain is spectacular, the food in every...
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Lago de la Ercina, 33556, Asturias, Spain
Hiking Lake Ercina was only half the fun of exploring the Picos de Europa; the other half was enjoyed learning how to drive a manual transmission all over again. It had been roughly ten years since I got behind a stick shift, and I may have...
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Cudillero, Asturias, Spain
Cudillero is a pretty fishing village popular among vacationing Spaniards, and travelers lucky enough to survive the descent from the freeway down the ancient cobbled road to the waterside. After feasting in the town square, we routinely set out...
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33158, Asturias, Spain
The northern coast of Spain is a rugged, wind-battered dreamscape that is totally rife for adventure. We were on a mission to find an especially picturesque section of beach, with tentacle-like rock formations jetting from the surf, but found...
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Cabo Vidio, Spain
My relentless pursuit of photographic glory leads my travel partner and I to suspect locations every now and then. She would say more often than that, but I choose to plead the fifth. At any rate, I found Cabo Vidio by scouring Google Maps/Earth,...
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27715 Meirengos, Lugo, Spain
The caves and arches the erupt from the sand along Playa de Las Catedrales, also known as Praia de Augas Santas, or the "Beach of the Holy Waters" are best experienced at low tide. At high tide you'd need a sturdy skiff, though you'd still be...
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Cariño, A Coruña, Spain
The wind carried us up and past Cariño to Cape Ortegal, where we looked out over the end of the world (and clung to the lighthouse like scarecrow on a stick in the middle of a Tornado). Experiencing the cape in a relentless storm was something...
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Rúa Santa Isabel, 0, 15130 Corcubión, A Coruña, Spain
I love dining in Spain. In my opinion, Spanish cuisine is characterized by the less is more approach (unless you're talking about paella, I guess). Case in point; roasted peppers, licked with olive oil and dashed with salt. Paired with fresh...
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Corcubión, A Coruña, Spain
Corcubión is a pretty little town on Spain's west coast. We originally planned on staying for a night before continuing on to Cape Finisterre, but stuck around for three. Corcubión has a number of excellent cafes and restaurants, a quaint...
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Praza da Inmaculada, 3, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
This was the end of The Way for us. We booked a couple nights at old digs in the Hospedería San Martín Pinario, an converted monastery in the heart of Santiago's atmospheric old city. It was an excellent base for exploring the city, and a...
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Rúa do Franco, 37, 15702 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Instead of perusing a menu at this well-lighted spot in Santiago de Compostela, point at what you want from the long bar where the tapas are laid out for the day. Offerings include fresh razor clams, stuffed squid, and glistening sheets of marbled...
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Fisterra, A Coruña, Spain
The end of The Way, where pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago come to burn their boots and dive into the sea - I think. We didn't see either, nor did we partake in said events, but it sounds like the sort of thing that would be fun if you arrived...