To truly understand the significance of the Camino, you have to travel at least a part of it yourself. I did and what I discovered is that at the heart of this storied path of quaint villages, picturesque landscapes and historical relics lies a deep spiritual journey – one that began with Roman-era Christians but now includes people from many different walks of life.
With its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Spain today is the culmination of thousands of years of trade, exploration and exposure to cultures from around the globe. Beyond its seemingly endless coastline, Spain boasts epic mountain ranges, world class cities, incredibly friendly people and intoxicating traditional music, food and drink. A trip here is sure to leave you spellbound, so we've highlighted seven of our favorite hotels across a wide array of Backroads adventures in Spain.
Vincent Soyer, our Pyrenees Regional Expert, was born and raised in the region and has drawn on his passion for Catalonian food, wine and culture - and cycling - to create an insider's look at his beloved home. One of the many highlights is your stay at Torre de Remei, a boutique hotel within a small castle, where we're the only guests.
The Spanish love their ham. I just never realized the profoundness of their devotion until I first stepped into a local cervecería (bar). To say I was astounded by what I found would be an understatement. The sheer volume of pig legs hanging from the walls and ceiling... the bar sported more pork parts than pints!
I've been lucky in my time as a Backroads leader to have some amazing guests, like Andy Russell. If that name rings a bell, it's because Andy was an NFL star in the 1960s and '70s. It was day three of our trip and Andy and I were riding along a gorgeous stretch of road. Something shiny coming from Andy's handlebars caught my eye, so I took a look: a ring. It looked like a Super Bowl ring. I had to ask.... Andy, who hadn't mentioned anything up to this point, grinned a little grin and told me his story, and what a story it was!
One warm and lazy afternoon, I found myself meandering about the twisted and narrow pedestrian streets of downtown Seville. As I made my way back toward the main square, I spotted a tiny nun (almost a full head shorter than myself), nearly doubled over with what looked to be an incredibly heavy picnic basket, disappear into a small doorway. Surprised--and more than a little intrigued--I followed in the nun's laborious path to sneak a peak around the door she had left ajar.
Awaken to the smell of mountains–a mix of cold morning air, dew-laden grass and the faint, earthy smell of livestock. Tuck into your slippers and shuffle across the chilled tile floor, opening the shutters to look out onto a valley still encased in early-morning fog.
As a Backroads trip leader, I often get asked what is my favorite city in the world. Many of my peers answer, "Oh, that's tough..." For me, it's not tough at all. It is, without a doubt, Barcelona.
It's not often in life you get an opportunity to see how loved you are. The opportunity to be reminded just how lucky you are. There are birthdays, but then those are almost obligatory. Random moments caught in time when someone tells you how much you mean to them…