In the two Spanish wine regions par excellence, Ribera del Duero and La Rioja, separated by barely a half-day’s journey by car, we find many of the best examples that pair wine culture with contemporary architecture.
But we want to show you where it all began, the heart of Basque gastronomy, where one of the greatest culinary traditions took shape—and continues to develop. At THE REAL THING, we will reveal to you one of the Basque people’s best-kept secrets: Gastronomic Societies. Places where women were once prohibited and where men met to talk amongst themselves, and in particular to cook with friends and try one another’s meticulously prepared dishes.
We will meet in our chef’s kitchen and, attentively following his instructions, will prepare a meal using the ingredients we buy together on our morning visit to the market.
La Perla has an ancient and fascinating tradition, in addition to being located on La Concha, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The current building where La Perla del Océano (its official name) is located—El Perlón, as the people of San Sebastián call it—opened in 1912, is one of the authentic heirs of the Belle Époque and was one of the preferred retreats of Queen Maria Christina, who sought out the baths that were so highly recommended by the Royal Family’s doctors.
It was refurbished in the 1990s, and today La Perla Spa and Sports Center is one of the most modern in all of Europe.
Many ambitious projects took place. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum was obviously the star, but important works by world-renowned architects like Isozaki, Moneo, Siza, Calatrava and Foster, as well as numerous projects by the youngest and most brilliant Spanish architects, were also included.
As a result, there are few other places in old Europe where it is possible to enjoy a concentration of such magnificent architecture. Add to this the that the fact that the beautiful city of San Sebastian is a mere hundred kilometers away by car, a city framed by a gorgeous bay, the plaza with Eduardo Chillida’s El Peine del Viento (The Wind Comb) and Rafael Moneo’s magnificent Kursaal Congress Center and Auditorium, and we find ourselves in an unforgettable petit tour, capable of satiating even the most sophisticated architectural appetite.
Exemplary restoration of the Cathedral, which is “Open for Construction”, has unearthed stonework with a story to tell, allowing us to glimpse the hidden facets of the refurbishment process: a distinct, fascinating visit to this 13th century church-fortress, passing by scaffolding, surrounded by hard hats, giving us access to spaces we wouldn’t normally be able to see. This tour will also help us understand the origins of the city through an unprecedented archaeological display excavated from under the cathedral.
At THE REAL THING, we suggest another three stops on our tour of Vitoria, European Green Capital 2012: namely, the BIBAT, Fournier Naipes, and Archaeology Museums. The Fournier Naipes Museum, located inside the Renaissance Bendaña Palace, is home to the world’s largest collection of playing cards, and the Archaeology Museum, an award-winning infrastructure by architect Francisco Mangado, has 1,500 original artifacts from Álava dating from prehistoric times through to the Middle Ages.
A joint visit where architecture and contemporary projects inspire all kinds of passionate daydreams.
From bar to bar, our outing will bring you to new heights of pleasure that will be difficult to surpass. Together we will discover the secrets of Basque gastronomy, learn more about the culture behind such a special city, and participate in an important part of its lifestyle.
Cristóbal Balenciaga is, for many, the true father of haute couture. His museum boasts more than 1,200 pieces, many of which were provided by his disciple, Hubert de Givenchy. The museum is located in his hometown, the fishing village of Getaria; which, according to the New York Times, is one of the world’s must-visit places.
We invite you to visit the museum accompanied by a well-known textile designer. Together we will admire the collections of volumes and asymmetries created by Balenciaga that first stirred enthusiasm among the upper middle-class and Spanish aristocracy and, later, in the glamorous world of design.
The famous restaurants in the port provide the perfect place to finish off the morning!