I had no idea when I woke up that my day would be filled with adventure, laughter, fun, food and a lot cava (sparkling wine) starting at Les Comes, forty five minutes outside of Barcelona. Joining the TBEX blogger press tour, I was one of six on the Fast and Chic to highlight that a visit to Barcelona is “Much More” once you get out of the city.
We were scheduled to do a team building activity which would include our guide and driver but we had no clue what that would entail. So I put on my jeans and sneakers expecting to get dirty – this was not the time to be fashionable despite our private fashion show/tour of La Roca Village, a chic outlet shopping center, the day before. As the bus turned off the road, I wasn’t sure where we were going, I just saw dirt and mountains (or were they just big hills?) for about five minutes as we drove into the compound toward the stone villa/house in the distance.
We were greeted by two instructors/activity guides and led into the clubhouse for a coffee break as we watched the promotional video and learned of our schedule. Les Comes (meaning valleys) is a private event venue used primarily by corporations for client events, employee teambuilding and by Land Rover (a sponsor) for their Rover experiences. In my former job, I would have loved using this venue for company meetings and events (paintball anyone?). The property consists of 580 hectares including 60km of forest tracks all of which equals adventurous fun. It ticked all the boxes from just the site visit and video alone before I got to participate in the activities of the day.
We were then presented our schedule:
Clubhouse and Meeting Room Tour
Land Rover Off Road Adventure
Ropes Course leading to a Zip Line
Can you say fun?!!! I was pretty excited for the day and even more so when I learned that we had two Rovers and only two of us could drive a manual car so I got to drive the Rover! We split into the two vehicles and had the guides drive us up, over and on the side of the course which in of itself was exciting. And then it was my turn.
My Land Rover
Since the other two bloggers didn’t quite know me yet, they opted out of “my turn” and chose to get out of the vehicle and watch from the sidelines (I was a little hurt by this having driven a manual for over twenty years in the city no less!).
My guide instructed me as we drove up the steep hill and then down the steep hill (this is the part where you think “OMG, I hope I don’t flip the truck”) then around the track to the incline where I was up on the side and the passenger could pretty much touch the ground if he opened the window – driving sideways, I was really apprehensive on “this truck is flipping over today” but all was good and I did well on that part of the track. I then had to go uphill in the sandy part and needed to trust that the Rover knows what it is doing (the uphill reminded me of the hills on my South African Safari). So up the hill I went but then you know what’s next – “what goes up, must go down” and being behind the wheel staring down for a jump is one thing, being behind an expensive vehicle is another. Down we went (Good Rover). With the adventure course done, I picked up my abandoning passengers who congratulated me on a good drive and teased them that they had abandoned me.
From the adventure course, I drove toward the easy off road track (course roads vary in difficulty) which provided great views along the way. We would stop at a few places to enjoy the landscape, take a ton of photos (we are bloggers!) and compare notes about each twist, turn and bump.
Knowing that this is a bespoke experience in Barcelona, I ceded the drivers’ seat to our bus driver, Paco so he could have a spot of fun on the course. It took a bit of prodding from the guide for Paco to enjoy the drive as he was in “bus/tour driver mode” and being cautious with us (understandable but it was time to have some fun). I belted into the very back for a different perspective of the road before returning to the driver’s seat to finish the drive.
Gear On for Adventure
Next we were told to get our gear on – safety harness, helmets, etc. to experience the ropes course leading to the zip line. Our guide, Simone, was all in on the fun as she jumped onto the course in her wedges and pencil skirt. In addition to speaking seven languages, having a law degree and looking like a supermodel, she was athletic (she would end up tearing her stockings at the end but just tossed them away and continued onward).
Paco followed me as well. The off road went up and now we would make our way down via the ropes and zip line course (a few opted out and were driven to the bottom to watch us).
The first rope course to get your bearings was easy (sides to hold and a small rope to walk) and then progressed to the last one which was harder as you climbed outside of the ropes (like hanging off a net). I waited until the ropes had cleared to make it steady (easier for me) but Paco followed me behind and I don’t speak Spanish and he doesn’t speak English for me to tell him to wait.
Life is about facing fears and adjusting along the way. I went a bit slower to compensate for his weight moving the ropes. When I reached the platform, I turned to see Paco smiling as he completed each ropes course (side note – Paco was young 30’s, single and extremely handsome, oh how I wished I spoke Spanish).
Our final platform was the zip line to the bottom. It was not a series of lines that I’ve done before but rather one long line and you hold the top bar as you go. You controlled when you were ready to go – I stalled a bit as it’s not quite easy to sit on a platform and jump but once I did? Total fun as I flew toward my group trying to capture the view and just breathe it all in. Knowing that I was going just a tad fast and also that I didn’t want to try to stop/land on my feet (my luck I’d be injured), I decided to land in the sand pit on my butt (a bit embarrassing but I have enough padding to handle it). Getting up and dusting my jeans off, we waited for Paco and all enjoyed watching him laughing the entire way. The zip line was a first for many of the group and I remember how fun it was the first time I did it so no surprise when they said “let’s go again!”. Sadly no second trips today.
Try To Hit The Bulls Eye
While I did well driving off-road, survived the ropes and enjoyed the zip line, archery was next. I wanted to say “stand clear!” as this was not darts in a bar. Watching the others be guided and take their turns, I tried to figure it out so I could do well. Stand with your feet here, arms there, hold it up here and let go. Of my five tries – one landed in the grass, another off the stone wall and three on the target – no bullseye which was ok as this was a tricky one for me.
Food & Wine Lunch
After all this fun, what does one do now? It’s Spain so we eat! Moving to the garden, a lovely table had been set for us with wonderful views of the valley and of the pool. When the food was served tapas style we all indulged thinking this was it (in the U.S. the amount of food would have happily sufficed a brunch party) but no, this is Spain and just the beginning. The next course came followed by the main entrée before the dessert. All of course, accompanied by local wine. We had such a wonderful lunch with our guides and the group – it was the perfect end to a fun day.
Private House Tour
But there was more! We got to tour the owner’s house (originally 10th century, updated in 17th century with more renovations since) and his private collections of wine and motorbikes. The balcony is charming looking out to the property, the wine cellar has an impressive collection and the classic motorbikes really cool. Who wouldn’t envy this lifestyle?
Can’t We Stay A Bit Longer?
As we said our goodbyes and took photos with our guides and exchanged hugs, we were each given a jar of local honey made onsite in our media bag. I really didn’t want to leave, I wanted to experience more adventures but we were off to our Cava tastings and tours (there would be two wineries to visit) and if I thought my morning was adventurous, just wait until the Cava….