Sometimes everything just clicks, and that's exactly what happened on my recent Backroads bike trip to Spain's Pyrenees and Costa Brava. During the first night introduction one of our fellow guests said this trip was about "freedom," which really struck a chord with the group and set the tone for the week. COVID has limited our freedoms while programs like Zoom have let us all get comfortable with virtual everything, but the real world matters!
On our first day, all of my senses were awakened. I noticed subtle things I would never pay attention to back home. I noted that sheep and cow bells are very different and extremely pleasant to hear. I heard the sound from an unseen horse that thankfully put me on full alert so I was able to avoid it in the road as I biked around the bend. Later, there was an unknown "clickety-clack" that I soon discovered were some highly-trained athletes roller-skiing UP the mountain just ahead of us.
And then there were the scents. At one point as I was climbing a hill on my bike, my head was down and suddenly I smelled pine. I looked up and, sure enough, the trees around me had changed and I was now riding through a pine forest.
NO screen is big enough to capture the 360-degree view from the top of a mountain pass or looking out over the ocean at sunrise, both of which we had in abundance on this trip.
As for taste, it's a genuine toss-up between the goat shoulder at the Michelin-starred restaurant and the fresh melon just cut by our Trip Leader and handed out as we crested a mountain pass. What do you feel while riding a bike? Your grip on the handlebars as you bounce along a cobblestone-street set centuries ago, the sun in your face as you climb a mountain, the shade as you round the bend and the headwind that hits you around the next switchback. All are welcome reminders that this is REAL, and so much more meaningful that anything you experience through a digital filter.
But what really matters are the people. The simple fact is that Backroads Trip Leaders and guests are some of the most interesting and easygoing people you will ever meet. While we all came from different places and situations, we had a single purpose: to fully enjoy the shared experience ahead of us—to be present and embrace the experience of being here in this beautiful new corner of the world together. Our guides were ready, willing, and able to help us maximize this goal and helped us to achieve it spectacularly!
If you've also been living virtually for far too long, grab a catalog or get online, find a trip and book it NOW - the REAL world awaits!
Learn More about our Spanish Pyrenees to Costa Brava Bike Tour HERE