Author: Regina Winkle-Bryan

Regina Winkle-Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. She writes on all things Spain at The Spain Scoop and Uptake. She has published in Islands, Spa, Hotelier, Adbusters, Afar, and many others.

I travel frequently, and always prepare for my various jaunts doing fact-finding, participating in forums, asking friends, and even reading literature from my destination country. I’m prepared, but not too prepared, ever open to the spur-of-the-moment experiences traveling promises. For my month-long voyage to Southern India I spent an excessive amount of time planning. Hours, days, and months were spent investigating the merits of the SteriPEN® and concocting a route south from Mumbai. I weighed …

Read More


Iceland has neither McDonald’s, Starbucks nor, as of this writing, one single 5-star hotel in all of the country, population 320,000. Does Iceland need a 5-star hotel? Perhaps. What is certain is that Iceland, and its largest metropolis, Reykjavik, need more hotels to meet rising tourism levels. Here’s a look at the newest accommodation offerings on the tiny island nation, ideal lodging choices for your next trip:

Opened in 2013 – Ion

Double room

Read More

Almost everyone agrees: some very tasty wine comes from Spain. As a Barcelona resident with “localvore” tendencies, I mostly buy bottles from nearby Emporda, Priorat and Penedès. Of the three, Penedès is the most established and also closest to the city, making it an effortless option for a wine-tasting day-trip.

When locals think Penedès, they think “cava.” Cava, if you haven’t been lucky enough to sip it yet, is like champagne but from Catalonia. It’s …

Read More

The psychedelic works of Antoni Gaudí draw thousands of visitors to Barcelona, Spain, each year. While the eccentric architect completed projects outside of the city as well, his most impressive buildings are clustered in the Catalan capital. In fact, there are so many Gaudí buildings in Barcelona that it can be hard to choose which ones to visit if you’ve got limited time. Here’s the scoop on his top creations, plus a few more to …

Read More

Those of you who lived through the 1970s or who have rock-n-roll hearts like I do will know the tune. It’s Iceland’s soundtrack, and it kept playing in my head as I explored the island country’s extreme landscape:

“We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and

Read More

When I think romance, I think boutique hotel. Give me something intimate and unique any day over some sprawling resort! Here are a few top seductive stays for honeymooners looking for R&R in Spain.

****Wine Country Escapes – Can Bonastre Resort:

Newlyweds will adore this exceptional boutique hotel, just an hour away from Barcelona, Spain, by car. Can Bonastre Wine Resort’s twelve rooms are set within an ancient Catalan masia, or farmhouse, in the middle …

Read More

Where’s all the hype? Where are all the people? Where’s the best-selling expat memoir called ‘My Rioja Year’ or ‘A Casa in Rioja’? While La Rioja’s wines are acclaimed around the Iberian Peninsula and internationally, there isn’t much shaking in La Rioja, the region. This was brought to my attention by two sun-kissed Swedes who I was tasting with at the extravagant bodega Eguren Ugarte in Páganos, just a couple miles from Laguardia. Páganos is …

Read More

As the summertime approaches, the Spanish find reason to celebrate. Mark these festive dates for the best bashes on the Iberian Peninsula:

June – Welcome Summer in Mediterranean Spain

June 21, or thereabouts, is generally considered to be the summer solstice in the western world. In Spain, the official spring-to-summer jump is the 23rd of June on Sant Joan’s Day (San Juan in Spanish). The change of the season is celebrated with wild all-night shindigs …

Read More

Walking down Barcelona’s Passeig de Gracia the other day, I looked to the horizon and saw green. Spring had sprung while I was updating Twitter, and there it was suddenly, fresh and vibrant on Barcelona tree limbs! It’s hard to say when the people of Spain celebrate the most, as there are festivals and holidays galore throughout the year. However, spring seems to be one of the busiest seasons for fiesta in the country, kicking …

Read More

According to the legend, brave Saint George slayed the dragon and saved the village from its wrath. The dragon’s blood spilled out onto the cold dirt, and from this blood, a rosebush magically grew. From this bush, Saint George plucked the finest blossom for the princess in an attempt to win her over (just in case slaying the dragon was not enough).

Saint George is, of course, Sant Jordi in Catalan, and the alert visitor …

Read More

The Maya Trail cuts through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and even a bit of El Salvador. This is not a hiking trail, but a 1,500-mile imaginary loop with no beginning or end. Really, the Maya Trail is about hopping from one Maya site to the next depending on what you’re into. From Maya caves, to culture, to ruins, here are a few excellent hotels nearby worthwhile Maya sites.

1. Hacienda Uayamon – Yucatan, Mexico

The …

Read More

1. Secure bib.

2. Strip off charred skin revealing white meat.

3.Dunk generously in romesco sauce.

4. Tilt head back and bite sweet onion in half.

5. Savor.

6. Repeat 19 more times.

These are the basic steps to eating calçots, a seasonal Catalan food that is something between a sweet onion and a leek. Millions of these toothsome winter treats are served sizzling off the barbecue from January to April in Catalonia, Spain.…

Read More

Trying to impress that special someone? Consider these steamy Spanish stays to wine and dine your sweetheart.

1. Ski and Spa at Sant Roc Hotel, Solsona:

If romance and an adrenaline rush are one in the same for you and your sweetie, then a stay near the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains is the way to go. At the foothills of the Pyrenees, Solsona is an ancient village made up of stone houses and snug cafes. Spend …

Read More






–Five Destinations from the Author–

1. Mayan World:

This year it’s all about the “Mundo Maya” or “Mayan World,” which is mostly centered in Guatemala, Belize, southern Mexico’s Yucatan region and Honduras. As the Maya calendar comes to a close at the end of 2012, the Mundo Maya gears up with spiritual celebrations and specialized tours focusing on Mayan culture. Trek through the emerald Petén jungle to …

Read More