SUMMER INCENTIVE IN THE PYRENEES - OFFROAD, RAFTING AND VINEYARDS
After arriving to Barcelona our group went towards the final destination of the trip – the picturesque Principality of Andorra, surrounded by stunning scenery of the Pyrenees Mountains.
On the way we visited one of the most important wine regions in Europe, providing both exquisite wines and views: Penedés. We had a unique chance to get to know the ancient history of the site, and to smell and taste these excellent Catalan wines - produced in the modernist, Art Nuveau, marvellous wine cellars. Our group was astonished seeing the mysterious galleries of the cellar, where the wine is ageing before being delivered to houses all over the world. The visit was concluded by a gourmet tasting of delightful cava.
Just after checking in at the stylish 4* hotel in Andorra we have been welcomed with fresh Spanish sangria. After a relaxing break in the hotel spa, we ended up having dinner and trying local drinks in the evening.
On the following day after breakfast we were excited with the 4x4 vehicles parked outside of the hotel, announcing the forthcoming adventure. The trip consisted of an off-road ride through the mountains, following the paths used formerly by smugglers. Our scenic itinerary took us from green mountain pastures till the water sports centre down at the valley, where we were set to enjoy the next highlight of the day: riding the rough waves and rapids of the local river on… rafts! Thankfully we were guided by very professional instructors, whose valuable advice helped us to manoeuvre between wild water and whirlpools.
The wet and tired (but happy!) group had a chance to have a rest from so much adrenaline kicks – our jeeps took us to a mid-forest glade, where we found a small stone building. The building was a rustic, cosy restaurant, where we could eat our well-earned meal (consisting of tasty meat dishes and wine), finally enjoying dryness - thanks to a lovely fireplace which was placed there.
However, our group just didn’t know, but it wasn’t the end of the day! By reaching the dizzy altitude of 2300 m, we returned to our hotel. During the evening we could enjoy again Andorran delights: very peculiar tobacco liqueur (it´s a typical beverage there) and a variety of regional dishes in a traditional mountain restaurant. During the dinner we were pleased with an open bar with a wide range of drinks and spirits.
The next day was full of attractions. The itinerary combined scenic mountain roads with a luscious green landscape of Andorra. The group choose to visit two interesting museums: filled up with antic automobiles, the Museum of Motorization, and the interactive Museum of Tobacco, where we could take photos with these lovely historic vehicles and get to know more about tobacco production and smuggling. After learning a lot about the history of the Principality and curiosities about living there nowadays, we swapped again the bus for 4x4 jeeps! The winding track was the only way to reach one of the highest wine cellars of Europe.
Discovering the secrets of the wine production wouldn’t be complete without wine tasting and a lunch set in the mountain vineyards. In the afternoon we visited a local brewery, tasting Andorran beer, and afterwards we left shopping at the main boulevard of the capital – full of duty free shops and boutiques. After the supper we raised a glass of Catalan cava to say farewell to our Andorran adventure.
On the last day we left Andorra and visited the metropolitan city of Barcelona. We made a panoramic tour walking through the city, and ate our last lunch in a fancy restaurant right in the centre. After being gifted with original local souvenirs our trip has ended and we had to leave to the airport, thinking only about our next forthcoming visit to Andorra and Spain.