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Barcelona – There’s Much More:
What springs to mind for you when someone mentions Barcelona? Food from the Boqueria, the wonderful Gaudi architecture that is everywhere in the city, the beach, the galleries and museums, the tapas bars…
Or donkey riding?
Sometimes I DO think I’m turning into Bridget Jones. First a boot camp in Sitges and then a trip to Costa Barcelona which, we all know is Molt Mes (much more), not this time ostensibly for food and wine but to explore the region.
The programme was a selection of activities enough to strike fear into the most valiant of soft city girls. Apart from donkey riding we were hiking, cycling and using a Segway. At least there wasn’t a zip-wire involved. Nevertheless I was cautious!
Our first stop was Vilanova. Lunch overlooking the harbour – we could almost have been in Antigua. We were treated to a fabulous selection of seafood before visiting the Fish Market. Then, a trip out to watch the sun setting. Whilst we didn’t have an invite to the Armani Yacht, we did enjoy a glass or two of cava.
So far so good. Even I can manage a gentle trip out to sea on a boat and a lot of food.
Hiking in vineyards works for me too. It generally inevitably ends with wine tasting (or Cava, in the case of this trip to Penedes). En route we passed through vineyards and villages, stopping occasionally to chat to other walkers and local farmers growing peaches and almonds, enjoying the flower-lined fields of vines.
I was a little less convinced that Segway would be my thing. Especially as by now we’d moved to Els Monts – the hiking and trekking trail that connects El Montseny, Sant Llorenc del Munt and Montserrat. Having already been to Montserrat, I had some idea of the terrain – and by choice I’d have picked a nice, flat, straight path rather than something called ‘three mountains’.
Success though, after some initial hesitation, it did all seem to come quite naturally. And there was absolutely no effort to going uphill, other than keeping my balance.
Dinner and a night at a local hostal set us up for the next morning’s activity. Donkey riding has never been on my bucket list but, the Rucs del Dorredor initiative might just have convinced me it should have been. More later, but this particular activity was very low effort, very safe and really good fun. While we were there the centre was full of children on a school excursion, in principle there to learn about the donkeys and build their confidence by riding on them – but seemingly managing to have a lot of fun in the process.
The afternoon, Nordic walking, was something I believed I’d already tried. But actually the technique is quite different to the hill walking with poles I’ve tried. The initiative is part of a larger programme by the Alta Aiella vineyards to offer visitors different experiences within the overall umbrella of wine tourism.
But, with the saddle at its lowest possible level I could touch the ground with both feet. And, so I wobbled my way through the Delta of Llobregat.
Was it worth it? Most definitely. The bike ride took us to a protected beach, home to a host of birds and marine life (but no humans). And, to a striking, deserted lookout.
I’m planning to post in more detail about these activities, but wanted to thank the organisers and partners who made this trip so special.
Check out the Costa Barcelona website for more information.
We travelled with Vueling