Destinations > Spain

Catalonia’s Costa Brava an Interview with Joan...

by ExperiencePlus! - Thursday, March 7, 2013

We interviewed our Spanish country coordinator and tour leader Joan Escosura about something very close to his heart – ExperiencePlus!’  new cycling trip along Catalonia’s Costa Brava which he helped design. Joan is very excited to introduce our riders to his home region and is also thrilled that we now have a 201 (201-301) rated trip in Spain.

What excites you the most about the new ExperiencePlus! trip along Catalonia’s Costa Brava?
I am proud to say that Catalonia is my home and I look very forward to sharing a part of it with our riders. The new Catalonia Costa Brava tour is going to be fantastic because the area has such a long history, rich culture, a world renowned cooking tradition, lovely varied landscapes and so many special spots that I can’t wait to show you. I should warn you that I am very biased!

What about the riding? Up until now most of our tours in Spain are rated 401 which is challenging – how does this compare?
I’m thrilled to have played a part in creating a tour in Spain that offers flatter terrain (rated 201 and 201/301) in a country and region where hills and valleys seem to grow like mushrooms! There are great options for all abilities. We’ll ride to the sea over gentle hills and the flat terrain of the Emporda area and then inland towards some hilly areas which are ripe for exploration for those looking for extra miles. I believe the ride into Cadaqués, the loop to Cap de Creus and the ride towards Olot are all going to quickly earn legendary status as “must dos” amongst ExperiencePlus! travelers.  A highlight for me (and I hope for you) will be the last day’s ride into Barcelona (on the 12-day itinerary) and cycling the famous Ramblas towards our hotel.  My hope is that in the end everyone will discover their new favorite ride(s) and that you will grow to cherish Catalonia as I have!

What can you tell us about the food in the region?
It’s no coincidence that Catalonia has the highest number of Michelin ranked restaurants in Spain, and the reason is simple: mountains, fields, sea, and Mediterranean weather. Catalan cuisine has been influenced and benefited greatly from its southern location and the cornucopia of flavors, aromas and spices that have come from the Far East through northern Africa. These unique factors have evolved to create the exceptional cuisine that we enjoy today and which I am very pleased and proud to share.

A number of famous artist are from this area – will we get to see any of their work?
Artists and architects have made Catalonia and the Costa Brava their home and have considered the region an inspiration including Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Antoni Gaudí.  On our cycling trip we ride to Cadaqués and visit one of Dalí’s homes which he considered an “inspiration spot”. We’ll also stay in Figueres where the Dalí museum is located and take a guided tour of the museum.  Our 12-day Plus! tour ends in Barcelona where you’ll become familiar with a few of Mirós’ sculptures and paintings as you stroll Las Ramblas. Barcelona is also considered the Modernist mecca featuring the largest collection of buildings designed by the master Antoni Gaudí including the Sagrada Família, and the magical Park Güell both of which I encourage everyone to visit.

Are there other cultural sights that you are excited to share?
We will stay in the old Jewish quarter in Girona, one of the best preserved in Spain. We also explore the history of the Emporda region starting with Peretallada, a pedestrian friendly medieval village in the farmland of Girona, and then we visit the Roman founded town of Vic. Needless to say those of you who love ancient spots, and buildings made from stones that have been sculpted by years of history, will be in heaven!

Any final comments?
I can’t wait to see people’s faces after enjoying a great fish Paella in the fisherman village of Cadaqués — what could be better after a remarkable ride than a gorgeous meal with a great wine? There’s so much to be enjoyed that I can’t wait to start this tour. I hope everybody will love it!

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