Hello again! This month for the Travel Diaries I caught up with Thea to find out more about her trip to Spain.Keep reading to find out how Thea came up with just the right cocktail of cycling, sightseeing and sipping on the best wine The Penedès has to offer!
WHO: Thea Wingert, public servant, frequent cyclist and traveller, and part-time blogger with Zen Travellers
Thea and some future cava
WHAT: My fiancé Philip and I spent 6 days cycling through the Penedès wine region in Catalonia, Spain and then another few days touring around Barcelona.
WHERE: From Barcelona where we picked up the bikes, GPS, maps and panniers from Terra Diversions Bike Tours. We put the bikes on the train and got off at Sant Sadurni Di Anoia which is the cava capital of Calatonia and home to the Simon Coll chocolate factory. Once there, we toured the chocolate factory, Freixenet facilities, and enjoyed some amazing cuisine and hospitality. From Sant Sadurni Di Anoia, we stopped briefly at the Cordoniu cava vinyard before cycling about 45km to a beautiful rural eco-hotel called Cal Ruget. The following day we cycled 38km up Mont Rubi, toured the Bodegas Torres near Vilafranca del Penedès and headed back to enjoy the calm of Cal Ruget.
descending down from Mont Rubi
Freixenet, Cordoniu and Torres wines and cavas can all be found in Calgary in either the Spanish or Sparkling Wine sections of most liquor stores, and I strongly recommend you give them a try! Next, we had an easy day descending through the gorgeous Parc Del Foix and cycling over the cobblestone streets of Castellet before arriving at a peaceful seaside town called Comarruga where we enjoyed delicious fresh seafood and local wine. The following day, we cycled about15 flat km along the beautiful mediterranean coast and enjoyed a cava lunch before starting the climb to the biggest city in the Penedès region, Vilafranca del Penedès. Once there, we learned about the history of the region by touring the wine museum and walking through the old town square. For our last day of cycling, we descended to the famous coastal city Sitges where we enjoyed delicious paella on the beach and took in the lively night life. We had no cycle routes scheduled the following day, so we switched things up by going for a swim in the Mediterranean and touring the city on foot. After we tired of that, we reluctantly loaded our bikes onto the train and headed back to Barcelona. A short ride brought us back to Terra Diversions, where we dropped off the bikes and thanked them for setting up a wonderful tour.
WHEN: We went the first week of September which was great for the weather and lack of crowds, but seemed to be the week that a lot of places were closed since for them it was the end of the busy season. I would recommend going the second or third week of September instead.
WHY: We were there to travel by bike through one of the world's lesser known but still incredible wine regions and to visit an old friend in Barcelona. It was our first multi-day cycle tour and it was the perfect destination for us to learn to love travelling by two wheels.
HOW: We flew using points from Air Canada to Barcelona. We spent a few days touring Barcelona's incredible neighbourhoods and Gaudi architecture before getting equipped for our cycle tour through the Penedès wine region.
What was the best part of the journey? The food and wine in Catalonia is simply incredible and the best part was that since we spent the day cycling through beautiful scenery, we could enjoy all the treats guilt free!
What Riyoko piece did you take with you? I brought the Riyoko Sweater Love Dress with me.
The Sweater Love Dress is a classic Riyoko piece that is still available via the shop, or special order via email
Why did you choose that piece? As anyone who has ever done a cycle tour knows, packing light is essential. The Sweater Love dress was versatile enough to be worn as a technical piece while cycling during cool mornings and as a style piece once I had arrived at my destination in the evenings. I loved that I could have something in my pannier that could so seamlessly take me from riding to out on the town.
How did you style it? I wore it as an outer layer for cooler mornings on the bike and then styled it with leggings and a light scarf for late Spanish dinners once we arrived at our destination. I thought I would exclusively want it to be my going out at night piece, but I loved how it took the bite out of the cooler morning temperatures too.
Sounds like a lovely adventure, thank you for sharing Thea! I love the that the Love Sweater Dress was super practical and came through as a style piece for nights out as well as multitasking. Versatility in each piece is key when packing light and the Love Sweater Dress definitely fit that bill!
Make sure you reach out if you have taken any of your favourite Riyoko pieces on vacation with you! I'm off to look for flights to Spain...