I believe in making lists to place my concerns in order before taking important decisions. Spending a few days away from the vineyard, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it is now, end of June, is not something we would do before considering the pros and cons: can the vines stay unattended for a few days knowing that fungi are ready to attack any time, which dogs can travel with us and will be happy to, will the cats be alright and have plenty of fresh water for these warm days, are we ready to assume all the mess and surprises when we are back, and so on...
Back in March, the famous Prowein was the perfect excuse to take our van, prepare it as a modest camper van and hit the road with one of the dogs, the youngest, quietest one. It would be a long journey (turned out to be a 5000-kilometre one in ten days) with just a few stops: Bilbao, Bordeaux, la Loire, Düsseldorf, the Black Forest, Alsace, Burgundy and then back to Torgo.
Just as we did in our backpacker days, we let the Lonely Planet's advice guide us, only this time we used their Wine Trails' and France's and Germany's Best Trips' suggestions. Now, as for travelling abroad with Mandel (our dog's new name after the trip) it would all be new. Not even the Lonely Planet guides could help us with that. However, we were sure about travelling with him. And, to our great joy, we found that France and Germany are very dog-friendly countries. Except for the fair, which we visited for business and pleasure, and were it would not have made sense to take him in, we could enjoy every single wine experience in our dog's company. Delighted, he ran among the biodynamic vines of our hosts in Bordeaux, behaved impeccably in the little restaurant in Baden Baden with the most exquisite weizenbier and red wine, sat patiently while we were learning about Burgundy wines at a lovely wine shop in Pommard and walked the fairytale towns surrounded by endless vineyards in the Alsace.
Perhaps we would not risk leaving the vineyard for a few days now. But one great thing about having guests at A Pampla, our little cottage, is that they often visit us with their dogs. People may feel a little taken aback that we are more smiley and affectionate with the furry ones. In fact, we love meeting people who live and spend their holidays with them and decide to stay at our place for a few days. We must say that sharing our wine with our visitors while the dogs run like crazy in our vineyard is very close to total happiness. This is why we can wait a little longer before we travel, again, with ours.