The wine region of northern Spain produces the best known Spanish wines and has the oldest protected denomination of origin. The Atlantic climate with intense frost and sufficient rainfall creates an elegant wine on the slopes of the Ebro. Capital of Rioja, and at the same time Spanish wine-capital is Haro. Almost every house offers wine tasting. Beneath the town there are numerous wine cellars. There is a big wine festival at the end of June: the Batalla del Vino, a wine battle in which the participants toss wine on each other.
Tip: Guided tour in a bodega
A very good recommendation is a tour in the bodega R. Lopez de Heredia (www.lopezdeheredia.com). It is the oldest and one of the largest wine cellars in Haro, in which even the oak barrels are still hand-crafted.
The “chicken miracle” on the Way of St. James
This city was founded in the 10th century as pilgrimage station, when St. Domingo is said to have built bridges and paths here for the pilgrims. The town was also allegedly the scene of the “chicken miracle.” When a family from Xanten in the Lower Rhine spent the night in the town while on the route to Santiago, the innkeeper's daughter fell in love with the family's son, who, being pious and chaste, refused her advances. She took revenge by hiding one of her father's silver chalices in his luggage. The next day, the bailiff found the allegedly stolen item and took the son before the judge, who then had him hanged. When his parents passed by the gallows on their return trip, their son, who was still hanging there, told them he was not dead because he was safe in the hands of St. James. His parents related this to the judge, who happened to be eating two chickens at the time. The judge replied that their son was as dead as the chickens on his plate, at which time the chickens stood up and flew away. Even today, there is a chicken coop in the cathedral of Santo Domingo with two chickens inside as a reminder of the miraculous chicken resurrection.