#LaRioja via Instagram
We used the social network Instagram as an emergency tourist guide to discover which aspects of one of Spain's wine regions surprise anonymous photographers the most.
With citizen participation in social networks and the democratisation of photography, perhaps one of the best ways to get to know an area of a country is to type the tag of the chosen place into the search engine. Instagram, that melting pot of anonymous gazes, allows us to carry out this little experiment.
So I set out to type the hashtag: #LaRioja on Iconosquare with the aim of taking a quick x-ray of one of the cradles of wine in Spain to see what I find. What do the thousands of users who have passed through there highlight the most? What has most caught the attention of the people who live in or visit these lands? How will the puzzle of one of the most interesting places in Spain be made with the images of those who have decided to visit it?
More than 45,000 photos have been shared on Instagram with the hashtag #LaRioja. But, as in any experiment, the first thing we notice is a small problem: Spain and Argentina share a territory with the same name and, as is obvious, they have little to do with each other topographically. So, to refine the search, I choose the next tag offered by Iconosquare. In this case it is #LaRiojaApetece -a tag proposed by the area's tourism authorities- and here we do find nearly 4,000 images that serve perfectly as an improvised and very visual quick tourist guide.
Gastronomy and wine, along with nature, are the three basic pillars that Instagram users highlight about this autonomous community. Elena, who runs a blog with the user @micasaencualquierparte, has shared one of the most evocative photos. She informs us that one of her plans for this summer will be to walk and cycle through vineyards. In fact, we could say that the landscapes flooded with vines, the wineries, the glasses of wine, the pinchos and all kinds of culinary temptations are the images that stand out the most in the area.
In this sense, I am also curious about an account called @fungiturismo, associated with a website of a company that organises visits to La Rioja, but from the point of view of mushrooms and fungi.
Also the festival associated with the liquid par excellence of the region: the Haro wine battle, represented in the image of @sandrita_bj.
The landscapes of La Rioja are, without a doubt, one of its best tourist attractions. One of the most prolific and careful photographers is Diana, whose account @diugarte shows with a very sharp eye the goodness of the land of La Rioja. Especially in the area of San Asensio, in La Rioja Alta.
José María Marcolain @marcolain goes even further when it comes to landscape; sharing one of his photographs of Ezcaray, a municipality located in the southwest of the community, he compares it to the beauty of some typical Asturian or Cantabrian landscapes.
Architecture also seems to be one of the signs of identity that instagramers highlight in La Rioja. Sometimes for the modernity of its constructions and other times for its sobriety, the buildings of the University of La Rioja or the Toyo Ito building in Logroño, much debated, according to the opinion of @carmeloasun, author of the photograph, are a clear example.
And, of course, traditional architecture, in shots of Logroño Cathedral, the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla and Clavijo Castle. This last enclave is Instagrammed by a blog under the name of @latortuguitablanca in a post called Discover La Rioja, in which he tells, and not only graphically, about an appetising excursion a few kilometres from Logroño.