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Catalonia personal review, Spain

Catalan Culture and Beach Trail - Staff Review

By Rachel Presnail, March 2010

 

After working for Unicorn Trails for only 3 weeks Wendy informed me that I was off to visit our hosts in Catalonia. Although I had ridden since the age of nine I had never been on a riding holiday, so I was both excited yet unsure of what to expect. It’s all well and good reading about a trip on paper but nothing beats actually experiencing it first hand.

Farmhouse on arrivalI arrived into Barcelona airport in good time and played ‘spot the rider’ while I waited for Marcos to collect us at 6:30pm. We arrived at the farm in time for a late dinner and a chat about the sort of horse we would like to ride. Despite being tired from an early start and a comforting open fire I soon got stuck into the red wine while I learned about the other riders in my group. One lady was 72 and it was her 11th time to Catalonia!

The next morning we had breakfast while Julian and Birgit, our guide, talked us through the route and what to expect. It was mid March and Catalonia had experienced heavy rain in the past few weeks. Being typically unprepared with my ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude I expected to be fine with just a light raincoat and half chaps – I would soon regret this!

Gill, my horse for the weekI was introduced to my horse, a gelding called Gill who would be my steed for the week. We set off in an orderly fashion and it wasn’t long before we were enjoying our first canter. Then the rain came. And lasted all day. My pathetic raincoat did not do much to keep me dry but I was still having a good time, and when we reached our destination for the evening I had that lovely ‘exhausted, cold and wet but utterly content’ feeling. We fed and watered the horses before hopping in the pickup and heading back to the farm.

After the rain, with wax jacket!The next day Julian offered me a wax jacket and some pull ups which I gladly took as it looked like it would be a wet day again. I was proved right. Today was a half day ride with an afternoon visit to the famous Dali museum in Figueres, followed by a few drinks in town. For the rest of the trail we stayed in hotels en route rather than coming back to the farm.

 

 

Another tasty lunchThe sun came out on the 4th day and it did not disappoint. Birgit was an excellent guide and pointed out landmarks and fauna as we went along. The sunshine allowed for long lazy lunches for the rest of the trail with plenty of red wine, cheese and bread. I expected to return a few kilos lighter due to the long hours in the saddle, but due to the quality and quantity of the Catalonian cuisine this was not the case! My favourite lunch of the week was after a ride through the forest, and as we approached a clearing by an orchard Manuel had set up a picnic table where he served chicken fajitas with home made guacamole and hot coffee.

 

On the beachDay 6 started with a gallop along the deserted beach before starting the journey back to base. Another boutique hotel was our accommodation for the second – to - last night of the holiday with the horses grazing in the back garden. I had dropped my camera earlier in the day during a long canter, which resulted in members of the group having to dismount and help me look for it, and therefore I owed a bottle of cava at dinnertime due to the ‘Champagne Rules’. I didn’t mind though and I’m pretty sure the other riders didn’t either!

 

Relax on the verandaUpon our arrival back at the farm we said goodbye to our horses before enjoying a few beers and the last sun rays on the veranda. There were more guests this evening who had booked the short break and the party atmosphere soon had us knocking back the Barcadis. The perfect end to a great week.

    

 

 






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