Click HERE for a complete tour of the apartment in my NEW Cribs video
The train ride from Barcelona to Logroño was only four hours long. As I began to see more vineyards from my window, the fact that I was moving to wine country was beginning to set in. Up to this point, my research had given me a rough idea of what I could expect Logroño to be like. These assumptions were soon to be confirmed or proven wrong as I began to explore this new city. I went up the escalator and out the door of the train station to take my first breath of fresh La Rioja air.
After about a 20-minute walk, I was at the hostel that would be ‘home’ for the next week. I checked in on a Sunday, and had to check out the following Saturday. Hopefully six days would be enough time to find a place to live. After lugging my bags around, I was relieved to be able to set them down, connect to wifi, and take a shower. Later that afternoon, I was able to meet up with Anthony who I had met through a Facebook group for English language assistants in the region. He gave me a quick tour of the city before grabbing a drink on Calle Portales. He introduced me to a couple other language assistants who had also recently arrived to Logroño. By some odd chance, one of them was Katie from my hometown of Centreville, VA who I was just now meeting for the first time. Small world! During these next few days, a lot of time would be spent learning the new streets either by skating or pincho bar hopping.
**Quick Lesson on Pinchos**
In the north of Spain, they refer to the small creative dishes served at bars as pinchos rather than tapas. Each small dish usually focuses on a few main ingredients and each pincho bar has its own specialty. On average, you can expect to pay (2.50-3.00 euros) for a pincho with a beer or wine. Photos at the end of this post show examples of local pincho bar offerings.
Time flew by. Sunday turned into Monday, Monday to Tuesday, and so on. There I was on Wednesday afternoon and I hadn’t made much progress on finding a more permanent place to live. I chose to spend my first few days here enjoying and discovering the city rather full-time apartment hunting. Yet I still spent hours each day apartment hunting and did a couple viewings from Monday to Wednesday. To make things interesting, Logroño’s biggest holiday –San Mateo– began the same Saturday that I needed to find an apartment by. I quickly learned that this meant everyone was in party mode- including real estate agents. As the weekend approached, agents were becoming less responsive and there was more pressure for me to find an apartment)
By some shot of luck, I found an apartment on Friday afternoon within hours of real estate agencies closing their doors for the full week of San Mateo fiestas. Now after all this, you might think that I would have ended up with a sub-par apartment. My original budget was 250€ per month for rent and expenses. I was willing to sacrifice location and living conditions for cheaper rent if it came down to it. To my surprise, I found a gem in the center of the city with: two bedrooms, two living rooms, two bathrooms, and an oven. Ovens are rare over here so that was exciting. Rent is just 350€ for the flat, so 175€ each. After the first month, I fell just under my budget of 250€ for rent and expenses. With a cheap place in the center of the wine capital of Spain, it sounds like we’re off to the start of a great year! I unpacked my things on Friday night and got ready for the week-long festival that was to come.
*Click HERE for a complete tour of the apartment in my NEW Cribs video*