After early start flying from Birmingham, I arrived in Barcelona to meet with the rest of the group, excitedly anticipating what we shall be doing and seeing throughout the trip. Our first journey was to Salou where we checked into our overnight accommodation- Cambrils Park Resort which is located only a short distance from Salou.
After freshening up, we made the short journey to Salou where we have the chance to experience the Urban Route of the World Rally Championships from the balcony of the Presidency of Salou. It was a great spot to enjoy the rally, which was a first for me. We also watched the sunset over the nearby sea and learnt about rally driving from an expert! Afterwards we enjoyed a drink before a lovely meal in a local restaurant, courtesy of the Salou Tourist Board.
After breakfast, we had a guided tour of both Cambrils Park Resort and the nearby Futbol Salou. They work closely together; and are located only a 10-minute walk apart, and are a popular choice for football teams and schools from within Spain and around Europe. There are plenty of football pitches, including natural, artificial and hybrid turf, which can be arranged for 8 x 11 a-side matches, or 16 x 7 a-side. Games against local opposition can be arranged as well as masterclasses with specialised technicians from around Spain, licensed by UEFA.
We were then driven to the near-by town of Cambrils, where there was a wine and tapas festival, which we visited for a short time before a indulging in a beautifully fresh lunch at the town’s harbour, courtesy of the Cambrils Tourism Board.
We then travelled 2 hours north, arriving in Santa Susanna. We checked into our accommodation, ate in a nearby hotel restaurant and then enjoyed a drink in a local bar which had a live band as entertainment. This gave us as a group a chance to network and learn more about each other and our companies.
After breakfast, we departed our accommodation and spent time looking at some group accommodation and football fields in Santa Susanna.
We then travelled to Tordera to visit Top Ten Sports Complex. It has 11 x 11 pitches and 3 x 7 pitches. The quality of its natural turf is internationally recognised for its excellence. During the tour around the complex, there was a large football tournament taking place with children from Denmark which was fantastic to see. It was then time for us to pull on our kit, as provided by Top Ten, and take part in a 40 minute friendly game of football! Unfortunately I missed 2 open goals and my team lost 10-5 but it was great fun with a bit of friendly competition between all of us!
After a very necessary shower, followed by a beautiful Tapas lunch in a local restaurant courtesy of Top Ten, we headed into Barcelona. We visited the Municipal Football Stadium and Pavello Municipal del Centre to see the suitability for sports groups in the area. I even found myself being interviewed by a local TV station! Apparently, it was broadcast the following evening! We then enjoyed even more Tapas (!) before checking into our hotel.
This was our last full day in Spain, and we had the chance to see some of the many tourist sites of Barcelona. We were joined on our coach by a local guide from the Catalunya Tourist Board, and had a 2-hour tour encompassing Monjuic, the Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. We visited the museum and took the opportunity to take photos inside the stadium …. a great visit for any football fan – like me!
The afternoon was spent in a workshop, meeting with a variety of different suppliers from Barcelona and the surrounding areas. This was a great chance to make contact with a large number of different sporting venues, companies, tourist boards and accommodation providers.
To end this fantastic trip, a cocktail reception was held, which included different types of Spanish wine, tapas and canapés.
The trip gave me the chance to discover different parts of Catalunya, an area renowned for its sports tourism, which is popular for both school and sports groups. I met with suppliers who can help provide accommodation, sports facilities and additional activities such as local games and football match tickets. I enjoyed the chance to meet new people, eat lots of nice food and explore a part of Spain I have since yet to visit!