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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Day 7 - Good-bye Barcelona

Today we transitioned from Barcelona to our three day stay in wine country. Our taxi driver Tony (who picked us up at the airport last week) arrived just after 11am to drive us back to the airport. He was also kind enough to write out driving instructions to guide our journey towards our next destination. At the aiport we picked up an Audi A3 from Hertz and headed into the country. The trip was suppose to only take about 40 minutes and we did it in about an hour. We used 2 map "apps" (Apple and Google) along with our Tom Tom GPS. The Tom Tom and Apple got us close, but it was Google that actually got us to our destination. We knew Apple had flaws when it told us we had reached our destination and we were stopped in front of textile mill in a small town.

The Can Bonestra Wine Resort ( http://www.canbonastre.com/ ) is situated in the midst of a working winery. A few minutes up a country road led us to a beautiful series of buildings surrounded by gardens and a pond. A horse and the requisite Spanish donkey were also there to greet us. The reception was cheerful and told us to have lunch before checking in. 

Our room was large with Great Wall to wall windows overlooking the vineyards. While the room was nice to look at it seemed that it was designed more for looks than for function. Very few electrical plugs, taps that dripped and were hard to turn on or off, closet doors that crashed and a shower with too many nozzles. But overall we did enjoy ourselves, especially since the room was very quiet (except for the donkey) which was a nice change from Barcelona.


On our first afternoon we visited the Spa which also suffered from Design over Function. There were many different water features, all hard to operate and the sauna and steam room had no way to make them work. One visit to the Spa was enough for this trip. 

A wonderful feature of this hotel is the large first floor deck where we sat and drank in the amazing views of the vineyards and the Montserrat mountains. Everyday between 5-7 the hotel provides free wine, cava, cakes and other nibbles for guests. We were also able to meet other people. One lovely retired couple from Palls, Spain engaged us in conversation. They spoke Catalan, Spanish and a bit of French. So we (mostly Monica) used our limited French and Spanish to explore our lives. The husband made the point (in a light hearted manner) that this was Catalan country, not Spain. They come from a village of 2000 people where everybody knows everybody. When we boasted about our new granddaughter Madeline and showed pictures they quickly started showing us pictures of all 5 of their grandchildren. 

DInner service began at 8:30 and we were the first to arrive. Other guests started to come in after 9pm. And yes they were all Catalan. The food this first night was extremely disappointing. It made us think about changing hotels but later in the blog we will report that it improved. But we did not consider this a food  destination. Also we were surprised that for a Wine Resort there were only  3 red wines, 2 white and few cava. THe wine was good, but a little more variation for an extended would be welcome. 

Our friends that we met on the deck earlier sat just next to us and we had a great time conversing in broken French. It's a shame that we could only understand about half of what each of us said. They are such warm and sincere people. 

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